I watch ANTM. Yes, I do, and though I fast forward through all the tiffs and angst brought about by so many young women living in the same house, vying for the distinction of becoming America’s Next Top Model, I learn a lot about what it takes to rise above all that and become a performing artist.
I do think modeling can be a performing art and one that draws from other arts: a vision of what the art director sees, of how a costume enhances your character, and how a performing artist brings a sense of self to fulfill that in his or her own unique way. There are other arts brought in, movement, posing to show the costume and the model in the best light. How it looks on a body like yours, how to convey meaning through your voice and body.
It’s acting, in other words. Acting on many stages: runways, commercials, editorial attitudes, and meeting the right people at go-sees – all performing art.
I was watching the first episode of reruns of an early cycle of ANTM to see how people were chosen from what seemed like hoards of would-be models. I noticed a familiar face: Jaslene. I remembered her, how she grew into a real model with coaching from Tyra and her guests, turning into a model week after week before our very eyes. I remembered that she overcome all the obstacles, that she stuck with it and learned and grew as an artist. She won.
I almost turned off the episode I was watching because I had already seen this cycle. I had spotted a contestant, Jaslene, who I remembered, but I continued to watch anyway. I wanted to see how so many girls would be eliminated and why.
I got a surprise. Jaslene was one of those eliminated and I saw her determined goodbye to Tyra when she was sent home. “I am not giving up,” she said or words to that effect. “I will be back.” Indeed, she did come back to a later cycle and went all the way to the top and won the competition and got modeling contracts and the whole bit.
I got it. The lesson of ANTM and life. You have talent. You and a whole lot of other people. But you know that only gets you so far. As does hard work. You need both, of course, but that is not all you need. To me, the most important thing is the growing part and that means growing into the person you were meant to be and not staying stuck in that holding pattern that keeps you in that “poor me!” mode. You have ambition, talent, and you acquire skills and technique. Then you let it go – the “wanting it soooo bad!” It will happen if you stick with it and grow and get the skills and mentoring you need and just let it happen.