I’m reaching my expiration date. Like I’m some kind of biological perishable, my time is dwindling down. Soon I will be considered sour – and I will turn so internally. You can only stay in this industry so long until you become disposed of (as if you weren’t before). Maybe a few gray hairs have come up or the stress of unpaid hours, nights in airports, and heartbreak have formed creases around your eyes. Whatever the reason may be, there is someone else behind you, waiting like a wide-eyed, fresh-faced vulture to prey on what opportunity you may, by no choice of your own, leave behind.
“…there is someone else behind you, waiting like a wide-eyed, fresh-faced vulture to prey on what opportunity you may, by no choice of your own, leave behind.”
Both my metabolism and enthusiasm have slowed down. I can no longer keep the unrealistic measurements without having to adhere to some obscene diet of pure liquids or rice cakes with a side of air or, the ever-so-famous: coffee and cigarettes. I have never committed myself to those kinds of diets and I promise you I will not start now.
“I will admit I am not the same girl I was when I started. The younger models look happier – and I hope they are.”
I always thought of myself as a disruptor; perhaps the first whistleblower on an industry that hardly smiles on anyone who does not fit the mold, but it hasn’t worked out beyond the handful of people of whom I have reached. The list of things that are wrong and unethical is overwhelming and exposing it is arduous. In an industry where “too old” is 25, its difficult to understand why we haven’t turned our backs on it yet.
I will admit I am not the same girl I was when I started. The younger models look happier – and I hope they are. As the adage goes, ignorance is bliss. The industry hasn’t stolen their hope yet. It hasn’t turned their naivety into disappointment and hardness. I don’t know whether I pity them or am envious of them. Perhaps both.
“My deepest fear is that I contribute to a systemic problem. I don’t want that. I want to be the disruptor who says “yes” when others tell me “no”.”
The real strife of it all is that it is consumed beyond the inner circles of the industry. I know that I cannot have the waist I had when I was 12. I am not supposed to. But there are girls that age who are modeling for the products targeted towards myself and other women who are much older than they. How is this fair?
My deepest fear is that I contribute to a systemic problem. I don’t want that. I want to be the disruptor who says “yes” when others tell me “no”. I want to be the girl who started late, came from nowhere, and changed something about the industry. I want to be the girl who stayed after her expiration date. That’s why I still swing when I’m two strikes to an out. That’s why I’m still here despite constant rejection and disappointment. If I don’t do it, who will? If it doesn’t change now, when will it? If I’ve come this far, why quit?
Model and Words: Jasmine Alleva
Photographer: Bartlomiej Kurela – @bartlomiejkurela
MUA: Jessica -@islandgirlmua
Stylist: Katherine Rousonelos – @katherinerousonelos