Awhile back in my life, roughly 14-15 years ago, I was a semi-broke college student working a minimum wage job to pay for tuition/books/expenses. That seems to the story of many post secondary students minus the (at the time) small minority who’s family were well off enough not to have them work.
I was always trying to find things to do to increase my earnings, legally of course. I bought and sold used cars privately and did well. The downside was that the opportunities didn’t present themselves very often, or at least not often enough to be able to rely on the extra money when it was really needed. I already attended school full time and had a part time Al Bundy job. What could I do that would fit into my schedule but not negatively impact my existing full time “job” and part time job?
One day, a friend that I had made a school semi-jokingly suggested that I model for a figure drawing class/course that our college offered. I had no idea what she meant. She let me know what was expected…show up, take your clothes off and pose in different ways for a few hours. Get dressed, get paid, leave. I laughed at her but in the back of my mind I was truly mulling the idea over. I had always to that point been a painfully shy type in relation to public nudity. Locker rooms made me uncomfortable etc. It was always a rush to get out of my cloths and back into them again as fast as humanly possible. Don’t make conversation, eye contact and for God’s sake, don’t doddle.
Over the next few weeks I thought about modeling, then dismissed the idea, then thought again, then dismissed it… you see where I’m going? On any given day I had talked myself into and out of modeling nude about 8-10 times. I then stopped and decided that I NEEDED to do this. It really wasn’t about the money, (which at that point in life would be great), it was more about growing as a person, being more comfortable with who I was and gaining confidence.
The next day I went to the art faculty and talked with the instructor of the course. She was very nice and could tell that I was *just* a little nervous about the whole thing.She made sure I wasn’t in any other art classes or enrolled in the faculty (I wasn’t) and then said she may be in touch. What I didn’t know then was that they didn’t want students of the faculty to be modeling nude AND attending the same classes with students that saw them nude.
I waited, and waited, and waited some more. I was at the point where I had dismissed the idea that it would ever actually happen. All of a sudden, I was contacted by e-mail asking me to model for a class the next week.
My first reaction was, “This is actually going to happen!” What have I just done??? I feel that I can’t back out, I am a student here and although I wasn’t part of the faculty I felt that I would really be letting people down including my friend who suggested the whole thing. It also helped (or made me feel guilty) that I had been raised that your word was your bond. Not much in life meant much if you couldn’t be trusted to follow through.
I knew nothing nor what I was supposed to do. I showed up, literally shaking at times and was told that there was a robe I could use (why I thought?) and that there was a space in the room behind a divider that I could get undressed at. I did what I was told to do and came back out in the robe as students started to file in. I looked at each one and mentally tried to remember if I had ever met or talked to any of them, even to say “sorry” for bumping them in the cafeteria line. Thankfully, I recognized no one.
The rest was a blur after being asked to remove my robe. I stood up on the platform they had and held poses (probably pretty bland ones) for the class. I was told to “wing it” but occasionally the instructor would ask me to pose in a certain way. Again, I did as I was asked.
At the end of the class, I hopped back off the platform and almost sprinted back to my clothes. It was one of the scariest and most liberating experiences of my entire life up till then. I LOVED IT! I couldn’t wait till the next time I was asked. I was kicking myself that I had only been told about this with one semester left in my academic career.
Over the next few months I had the opportunity to model every couple of weeks and it got better and better. I did the occasional modeling for some of the students privately which paid much less as they were just as broke or worse off than me. I developed some friendships where I would do sessions for free if I knew they were really in a financial bind.
Then, I graduated. I started building my career and with the art community being so small, the internet in it’s early days and me not knowing where to find modeling jobs, I stopped modeling.
I thought about it off and on over the years and again am looking for extra money at a job that won’t impact my FT career and family demands. I decided to start surfing around to see what may be available. I read posts by figure models, read about tips I could use to find work, build a modeling bag etc and generally get back into the swing of things.
I applied at the local art college who were looking for models during the day, evening or weekend. A couple of months went by and nothing. I applied with an artist’s group that met once a week. I was thanked for my interest and was told that my info would be added to their roster of models. Kind of sounded like a brush off but I had hope. Over 3 months I would check their site for updates and if models were needed. Nothing.
Then out of the blue I get an e-mail. A different group was looking for models RIGHT AWAY. It was urgent and they were having issues. Unfortunately it was not enough notice for me to shuffle my schedule but I did contact them to say that I was very interested about future dates.
Then I waited…and waited…and waited for a reply. I really WANTED this. I get an e-mail saying that they were changing the dates of the classes and that they were interested in me. I was very happy. I called the studio owner and discussed the job, the studio area etc and got a great vibe. I then e-mailed my availability and happily received a reply that they want me for at least three back to back to back weeks!
I have already started to practice poses, put my model bag together and get some props ready for the big night. I am truly happy to be able to get a chance to do this again in my life. I want to impress, be professional and most of all, be an inspirational tool for the artists who will be drawing me. My best experiences were when I could really connect with a group and give of myself.
I’m anticipating the plunge…this time hopefully there will be less shaking.