I worked with photographers Elgort, Avedon, Miesel, Compte, Penn, so many others. They didn’t notice me, of course. I was usually somewhere lost in racks of clothes, or laying out shoes and bags and jewelry for the shoot. I ran out and brought cigarettes for (some still famous) supermodels who have since quit, so I won’t name names. i ran out to buy blueberries for a famous Russian model who was It at the time, because I was told she wanted them;. I was told and I did what I was told. I ran to little stands for fresh flowers, to Tower for the “right” music, whatver that meant, and settled on Ruben Blades, I ran and I ran all through lower Manhattan in search of ….whatever they wanted, and felt the make-up melt off my face and my feet blister and my ego plummet.
I never believed I was beautiful, but I was pretty enough, and at 5’6” I was taller than most of my classmates. I had always been slim – I thought – at size 6, which now seemed gigantic. I was surrounded by these incredibly tall slim women who miraculously, all still managed to have larger than my 36 C, which I couldn’t figure out because they weighed less, had flawless skin though they partied a lot more than I ever did, and yes, even without make up, when they just arrived at the studio at sometimes 5am, they were that gorgeous. NO air-brushing, no make-up. They are not like me and you. I’m sorry. I wanted to believe it too – but it’s just not true; they are more beautiful, and they don’t even try. And worse, most of them were really, really nice. Suffice to say, I hated myself. Every ounce of fat, every inch I lacked, every freckle I owned. I began to avoid mirrors.
I began my day at 5:30 am, getting ready; did make up on the train. Arrived in Manhattan at 6:45 or so. Walked from Penn to Madison, usually just as the flower boutiques were opening up and setting out their French silver pots of freesia and lemon balm and lilac. At this time of day, Madison was pretty deserted still and I felt like someone. Someone important in a way. Not like anyone I worked with, of course, but better than I was. Maybe taping shoes had made me a better person? I felt it. I felt the breeze in my hair and I felt good about life and confident about the future. But as soon as I pushed through the smoked glass of 350 Madison, that confidence was deflated. There was;