disclaimer: illustrious used in the title is completely tongue in cheek, my career has been far less than illustrious
This is a Levi’s ad campaign from a few years ago that I shot in Cape Town. The director wanted us to fly through the city but look like we were moving through water, which meant we had to shoot the entire thing in a five meter dive pool on a green screen.
The plan was to shoot underwater and delete bubbles in post production so it looked like we were in air. It took three seconds of shooting underwater to realize that air is trapped all over our faces, up our noses, in our hair, behind our ears, under our eyelids - just one trapped batch of air meant a thousand bubbles they couldn’t delete in post.
The solution was to sit at the bottom of the pool, blow all the air from my lungs, and then wait while the director of photography slapped the shit out of me to knock the excess air bubbles loose, a task he did with such vigor sometimes I wonder if he didn’t enjoy it a little too much.
After that I had maybe thirty seconds to shoot whatever action they wanted, which was also my thirty seconds to avoid drowning. I never was very good at holding my breath. More than a couple takes were ruined when I began flapping for the regulator or had to shovel water with my arms to get to the surface.
Being underwater for long periods isn’t very fun. The water leeches your warmth, your eyes hurt, and you can’t help wonder how many crew members are just pissing in their wetsuits, but it messes you up in other gross ways. Watching the playback on a close-up shot I didn’t recognize myself.
It looked like I’d gotten a pepper spray facial.
My eyes, red and swollen from the chlorine, squinted like I’d rubbed chilies in them, and a type of white mucus (that I haven’t seen since) streamed from my nose and mouth. It was disgusting.
I’m fairly sure I looked this gross for the majority of takes, which explains why I’m only recognizable for the last half second of the commercial. That was all the usable close up footage they got of me. I’m certain mucus coming out of every orifice of their model’s face wasn’t a good look for Levi’s.
The other reason I got no screen time was the girl, who was fifteen at the time and spent her breaks eating exclusively fudge, was a superstar underwater.
I hate it when kids make me look bad, but as you get older in modeling that happens more and more.
United States house lawmakers sent a letter to BP chief executive Tony Hayward urging him to cancel the planned advertising campaign to improve the company’s tarnished image.
Honestly how stupid can you get?
In the midst of the largest eco-apocalypse in US history BP is contemplating how to win back the public?
Did BP really think cranking out a few commercials with happy smiling idiots enjoying sunsets and oil and talking about what a socially responsible entity BP is, would make people forget about the 20 million gallons of oil in the water, or the more than 100 km’s of tarnished coast, or the pathetic oil drenched birds starting to wash up on shore?
Shouldn’t BP be working on more pressing matters than trying to spin their eco-disaster into a eco-hiccup. There’s no spinning this, there’s no making it sound ok. It’s not. All they can do is buck up and fix the problem.
There’s no repairing your reputation BP, the best you can do is hope for respectability by acting with at least a shred of humanity and start paying less attention to your falling share prices and take care of the mess you created and the millions of lives you’ve impacted.
Had a fitting today that broke me out of a streak of nine consecutive Saturdays. For those who don’t know, a fitting is where I strip down to my underwear in front of a room of strangers so I can try on the clothes clients may want me to wear for a shoot. Part of the process is getting photographed and standing silent for the hours spent agonizing over how the fabric of my shirt falls or how my gray pants may not be gray enough.
Anyway, I was in the middle of changing pants when the stylist handed me a tie. Leaving my pants around my ankles I took the tie and said, “You know how to tie this thing, right?”
She shrugged. “You mean you don’t know? You’re the model.”
To which I wanted to respond, “You’re the stylist. You pull the wrinkles out my clothes for a living. You don’t know how to tie a tie?” Except I didn’t say that because she had a point.
I’ve been modeling for a long time and the only thing I can take pride in is approaching the job with a certain amount of professionalism, meaning I show up on time, bitch as little as possible, and never show up drunk (anymore). In an industry where alcohol flows freely, everyday is Saturday, and most models are just out of their teens, that’s saying a lot about my decorum.
Yet here was this tie hanging limp in my hand, useless as a flaccid penis - the evidence against my professionalism.
How is it that after more than a decade in an occupation that isn’t exactly chock full of skill sets, I didn’t know how to tie a tie?
I even went to a Catholic school.
“Well, I’m stumped,” I said hanging the tie around my neck and pulling up my pants. “If you can’t tie this bad boy, I guess the fitting is over.”
“Of course I know how to tie,” The stylist said and she tied the tie for me.
And this is why I don’t know how to tie a tie. I’ve never had too. If I worked as a banker, a lawyer, or any real job, I probably would’ve had to learn by now, but ironically working in an industry that is all about clothes I’ve never learned how to tie a tie. It occurred to me that modeling encourages uselessness.
Though I feel useless the majority of time I spend awake, I don’t necessarily like it. I made a note to learn how to tie a tie for next time. Never again would I be this apathetic, never again would I allow modeling to cause me to de-evolve into some sort of man child who needs to be doted on. It was time to take a stand against professional uselessness in modeling.
“Thanks,” I said to the stylist.
“No problem,” She grinned and then bent over to tie my shoelaces.
British Petroleum has successfully capped the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Great news right? Except the cap is only stopping 30 - 50 % of the estimated flow of oil. That means anywhere from 12,000 - 18,000 barrels of oil are still spewing into the Gulf.
What’s the deal? Why is the cap not working to cut off the flow? Because it’s not meant to cut the flow. The cap resembles an upside down funnel and is not stopping but siphoning the flow into a BP tanker. There are four vents on the cap that allow oil to escape and prevent the build up of hydrates that would interfere with the siphoning process.
Which leads me to ask: can’t you cap this fucking thing and be done with it?
A representative of the Coast Guard said the process is like stopping the flow of water from a garden hose with a finger, “you don’t want to put your finger down too quickly or let it off too quickly.”
If water was pouring out of hose into a screaming babies mouth, I don’t think I’d pussy foot around when putting my finger over the fucking hole. The analogy makes no sense.
Maybe it’s true, maybe BP can’t stop the flow and this is the best they can do, but excuse me if I don’t completely trust BP.
They’re the same company that downplayed the initial accident, then lied about the flow of oil, and whose solutions to stop the leak have had more to do with collecting than plugging.
I don’t expect much from large oil companies except that they’ll continually step over human rights for profits, but with an environmental apocalypse already underway in the Gulf of Mexico, the tourism and fishing industries in the region in shambles, and the promise that the oil will keep coming for months after the well is plugged, I hope BP is doing everything in their power to stop the leak because anything less is too evil even for an oil company.
Holy fucking shit. Really? Now this fear sets in?
Eight Rocky’s. Countless Friday the 13’s. The long awaited Indiana Jones and the ill-conceived Crystal Skull that inspired a South Park scene where Spielberg and Lucas rape the intrepid archaeologist. An unwarranted Terminator 4 that managed to make audiences long for the days of Nick Stahl and Terminator 3. And finally, the unholy fusing of already over-sequeled franchises Alien and Predator to create a sequel Frankenstein of pure crap that completely buried any memory of their ground breaking originals - and now Hollywood is afraid movie goers are tiring of sequels?
The fear is prompted by the lack of success of recent sequels like Sex in the City 2 and Shrek Forever, which completely ignores the fact that both those films sucked.
“There very well could be some burnout with moviegoers, who are looking for something new and fresh,” said an unnamed movie exec. Yes, new and fresh ideas like rebooting Spider-Man or remaking The Karate Kid which has got me jabbing a spork repeatedly into my eye in anticipation.
It’s hilarious that after decades of milking the same battered udder now Hollywood wonders if they’ve pushed the sequel thing too far. Wish they’d considered this before I had to see Indiana Jones jumping out of a UFO.
As a professional model, I look back fondly on my modeling school days. Posturing for Print 226 and Runway Stature 334 were among my most challenging but rewarding classes. Under the tutelage of Prof. Keating, my classmates - a rag-tag collection of prep school misfits - and I learned to stand against the status quo and seize the day.
Wait, that’s the plot for Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams.
I never even went to modeling school.
Luckily modeling is one of those professions, like being a prostitute or a sideshow-freak, where natural attributes are more important than stupid things like experience and intelligence.
I usually keep this kernel of truth to myself when some hapless parent mentions that their kid wants to model and is going to expensive classes to learn the (cough cough) skill set. I don’t say anything not because I’m a malevolent jerk but because most people don’t like to hear they’re being ripped off - and be certain, model classes are a rip-off that’s right up there with pyramid schemes and eating the silver pack of salted nuts out of the hotel mini-bar.
You can’t be taught the skills to model because first and foremost skill doesn’t matter.
It’s all in the
Fashion is a harsh world where even Simon Cowell could learn a few pointers about being a snarky little bitch so there’s no point fucking about. This is what you need to model:
- Height. Guys should be over six feet (183 cms), girls no less than 5’7 (170 cms). America’s Next Top Model started admitting contestants that are less but that just shows you what a farce that contest is. Have any of the girls that subjected themselves to months of painful public humiliation become even a top fashion model?
- Have a Genetic Predisposition to being Skinny. This isn’t a deal breaker, but let’s face it, even if you’re a rail at some point in the modeling industry somebody’s going to poke your bloated stomach and ask if you’ve been eating too much watermelon. You can dodge brushes with anorexia and bulimia simply by having good genes. It’s just that easy!
- Be Really Really Good Looking. This is completely subjective so I don’t know what to say except don’t completely trust your Mom when she pinches your cheek and gushes about how handsome/pretty you are.
If you fit these criteria, or at least think you do, give a local modeling agency a ring and find out when open calls are - a legit agency will let you have it straight and shouldn’t try to enroll you in their modeling academy.
None of the traits needed to become a model can be taught in model school unless you replace model with plastic surgery and school with clinic. Then you might get somewhere.
Went to a casting today that went very much like every casting I’ve gone to for the past ten years. Arrived, pulled out my portfolio, and the client promptly marveled that my headshot didn’t look like me which means I look like shit in person.
The client continued flipping through my book mumbling to a colleague “he only looks good from a couple angles.” You know how people want to be a fly on the wall to hear what people really think of them? Yeah - it’s not fun. Of course, I kept smiling pretending I didn’t hear anything.
Finally they made me show off my vast repertoire of poses (I’ve got upwards of four) with my shirt off. Which immediately invited the observation that I’m not looking as tight as I do in some of the photos in my portfolio. I shrugged and continued to smile. Then the client delivered the hammer to the nutsack. “You look better when you don’t smile,” she said like she was pointing out my hair is brown.
Good fucking thing I’d been smiling like a jack ass for the past ten minutes.
Then, as the casting was ending, a portfolio was dropped in front of the client and she exclaimed, “Who is that?” The client shoved my book back into my hands as she gawked at the ripped topless guy in the photo.
Another casting, another shred of dignity gone.