22 July 2009

One model's insight into the industry


The fashion world loves a good guessing game. So there were many debates on the second rows at the shows about the identity of Jezebel.com's anonymous model blogger. Well, not this season. Because the girl has identified herself as New Zealand model Jenna Sauers. After penning a very revealing piece on the industry, she's just quit to become a full-time writer.

First she covers the finances – or should that be lack of – details of which are proof enough that the ‘It' bags models swing nonchalantly from their shoulders must be freebies.

‘I learned early that the higher a job's fashion quotient, the less money I would be offered. How exactly I was supposed to make a living as a model never became entirely clear; when I worked two months in Australia last year, after agency fees and the rent were deducted, nearly AU$5,000 worth of earnings became AU$690.90. Less than the cost of my airfare, certainly less than the cost of the food and subway passes I'd had to charge during the trip. I left Sydney in November. I didn't get my $690.90 –$413.70, after wire transfer fees and currency conversion – until this April. "At least," said the agency accountant, "you worked!"'

Then there is the constant home-hopping, never being sure where you'd spend the next night.

‘I had 11 addresses last year, and that's just for starters... Like in a tiny Washington Heights studio. Milan was a single room in a long-stay hotel with a hot plate, a bar fridge, and two other models... Paris was a Pepto-Bismol womb of a room in an apartment where Diane Kruger stayed when she had my job. (The color gave me pregnancy nightmares.) I spent three nights in a models' apartment near Wilshire and La Brea with no electricity; my three roommates and I removed our eye make-up by candlelight.'

Add a few details about teenagers taking Class A narcotics, the addictive nature of Red Bulls, fashion editors bitching and a fellow group of models she describes as the 'sweetest, dirtiest-talking, weirdest, comic-book-loving, Internet-nerding, most breathtakingly cynical, tallest, hard-drinkingest, Proust-readingest, silliest, one-day-I'm-going-to-fuck-all-this-and-be-a-lawyerest, funniest, toughest crowd I'd ever run with' and it's intriguing reading. We can totally believe the speculation that's already started that she'll be writing a book next... In the meantime, take five – well it is almost lunch time – and read the whole ‘I am the anonymous model' essay.


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