Love to self
We all know the modelling industry is about "self". We are imprisoned in the appearance/form of ourSELF in this industry. No matter how you say you don't care about how you look (most of us care loads), we are affected hugely by our appearances--whether it is overweight, underweight, too tall, too short, we incessantly have critical comments about every spot. In this industry, our norm is to be super conscious about our form, so that it overtakes everything and distort our true sight of what life or us is about. This reductionism of our multi-dimensional self is breathed in our every breath.
I have modeled for about 4 years now and I have over the years witnessed the grotesqueness of this beast, yet I have lived with it for so many years without knowing it is consuming me! The first commercial I landed in 2019, the beast was absolutely ferocious and unrelenting, taking every tiniest opportunity to poke its head and steal the limelight. If the self (our looks, the recognition given to us) wasn't being fed, it lashes its sharp teeth and gashes at anyone and anything that does not give it airtime and oxygen with jealousy and fury. It was indeed so grotesque that I withdrew, it was awful to accept that the hatred of such a thing was so huge towards everyone with no differentiation, it was not personal.
A lot has changed in these 4 years. Long story short, I would not have survived one moment more if I kept allowing the beast to devastate myself and others and so I started giving it no air time. I starved it with loads and loads of love. I called it out whenever its ugly head starting appearing. Starving it with love means taking care of mySELF in self care and self love, and that is a MUST in 101 to even survive one moment, let alone the long hours we have to work in and I have no plans to ever retire!
Many people ask: if we self-care and self-love is that all about ME ME ME then? Let me tell you that the ME ME ME moments often appear, but they come not because we have self-cared, in fact, exactly because we haven't. When we have not taken care of ourselves, we expect, demand even threaten others to do that for us!! Have we not heard or experienced how models who abuse their bodies get cranky and angry, such as if the makeup artist or hair stylist did not do a good enough job in their expectation, or heaven forbid when the photographer did not take a good enough photo because they trashed themselves and look crap and then feel entitled to give people shit? Or if a job is early in the morning, we are entitled to come moody, such as the infamous film directors having the right to vomit emotions on everyone around, or crew with arrogance just show up late and hold up the whole production?? Or agencies and clients feel entitled to rip off the people they are working with just because they can?? Not focusing on any party here, as our entire industry actually treats each other as shit most of the time. Everything is about ME ME ME--because we have not nurtured a sense of care and respect in our bodies to actually live that with each other.
Not perfect in any of this but observing the truth (of abuse) in our industry, this body started training itself back to a rhythm of care about 10 years ago, which is simply a foundation that keeps deepening. So that this body is able to handle any job at any call time. If the hours are long, this body would have self-care so as to be able to attend to its responsibility. It may look like ME ME ME such as taking care of what foods I eat, making sure I sleep at a certain time, preparing my own foods and lunches, starting my day super early, making sure I get paid and paid on time--simple rhythm but it could cause reactions in a lot of people, which I don't care, because every such move goes back to the industry. Only if I respected my body and nurtured a healthy and settled body, respected my professionalism enough to be paid on time so my finances are solid, would I be able to attend any job in my full settlement ready to handle any challenge. Why would I be any less than that and give any job less?
Self-care challenges our whole industry to raise its standards of love. It does not tolerate any casualness, any timidity, any seeing ourselves as less, any irresponsibility with our actions, it makes sure we take responsibility and accept the consequences and not burden the industry and therefore hold back EVERYONE. NOPE.
To conclude, I want to share an experience (and some photos) lately where I was asked to go for an ad hoc casting. I only knew about the casting on the day and I had already left home. I did not do my hair, did not wear appropriate clothing for the casting, I had a lot of other work on hand to finish, but suddenly I realised, the casting was NOT ABOUT ME. I was only to SAY YES to going. Attend everything on hand and just move my body to the casting. And I moved. I went there and melted with the whole studio, the director, the assistant, the other models, actors, talents, we were ONE. There was no competition or comparison in me, I just had a great time and enjoyed the casting. This was the best casting I have ever been to. I used to feel nervous, or had comparison running through me whenever I went to castings. NO MORE. This became my marker of bringing at least this level of movement to any work. Whether I am picked for the job or not, it really did not matter. It was about re-building a foundation. I know every future casting and job will never be the same.