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I used to model. I’m not talking Vogue or the runways of Milan – I’m talking urban, club flyer, calendar girl, lingerie kind of model. Did I make a good living off of it? Not exactly, but it was fun for me. I met a lot of interesting people and felt that I made a lot of strides towards dispelling perceptions of worth based on skin tone. For my melanin impaired readers, there’s a lot of junk in the urban entertainment industry in reference to light-skin versus dark-skin… but that’s a whole other post.

There were many people who had opinions on my modeling choices. I think that my parents chose to ignore it, but I’m sure they were cringing on the inside at some of my photos. In my opinion, everything that I did was tasteful. There may have been sexual undertones, but not overtly so. Now that I’m a parent, I do feel that as a 20-something year old with no children, everything that I did was acceptable… but would I take those images now? I’m not so sure.

 

I came across an exchange that I had with a guy through Myspace back in 2007. He was questioning the modeling choices that I was making; and in my opinion being slightly judgmental. It was funny to read my responses and see the differences between the 24 year old single me and the 30-something year old mother and soon to be wife me. Five years later, I still stand behind the things I stated. Here is the exchange:

[*Names have been changed to protect the ignorant innocent]

Frank
11:44pm October 24th
can i be honest and give you some constructive criticism?

Me
Today at 12:10am
what?

Me
Today at 12:24am
…and not sure how you can ask a question like that without me automatically getting on the defensive. you should have just given me your opinion. always up for getting advice that can help me better myself in this industry.

Frank
Today at 10:18am
i think you have a beautiful body, particularly your skin tone, but why you have to be damn near naked? Thats not classy nor ladylike. I know I might sound like a gay dude and I’ll a lie and say i dont like eye candy, however I’m tryin to sound like I care about what people say about my sisthas. For instance, Don Imus and “nappy headed hoes” and why The Game says “You wouldnt get far.” Really, when men see those pics, the first thought, and in some cases, all we think about sex. I’m quite sure you have more to offer as a woman, but thats the only impression you’re givin. I mean, what are you marketing other than sex? Cant be advertising for Crest or Ralph Lauren right? If i was a betting man, I would believe your photographer is a man. In fact the only women in your industry are the ones who are naked. And why? To please men like you some hoe? Hell no! That shit aint right and I dont want people to look at you as a quick fix. Simply put, if you cant be a model with your clothes on, then maybe its not for you. But personally, you got a smile thats hard to come by and the fact you were in school was what got my attention. Save some eye candy for your man. Would you want him posting his goods all over the net for other women to fantasize?

Me
Today at 10:39am
Well, I truly appreciate your opinion, and find it refreshing that there are still men that feel the way you do. Unless you’re living in Maine though, the fact of the matter is that sex sells, and in Atlanta the modeling market is all about the “booty girl”. What girl can get men into my club if I put her on my flier? What girl can sell magazines? This is how I make my money. And I like it. I’m a very sexual person, and I love my body from my skin tone to my mile long legs. If a man decides to only see me for that, that’s his problem, not mine. All of my pictures in my opinion ARE classy and not overtly sexual or tasteless… and the last photographer, Shinobi… is a female (*i lied to prove a point – lol). I seriously appreciate your concern, but have never been treated like anything less than a lady. All the men that I’ve met or associated with since beginning my modeling career understand that that’s my job… not my mentality. And finally, if the first thing men think when they see my pictures is “sex”, that’s fantastic! I’m doing my job correctly.

Me
Today at 10:46am
oh, and yes. if my man wanted to show his goodies, and he had some nice goodies to show… more power to him. it’s simply a matter of preference and opinion. i respect yours, and i hope that you can respect mine.

Me
Today at 10:53am
man, you really got me going with this one, i think you’ve inspired me to write a blog. i was reading your message again, and found it to be quite judgmental. the next time you’re in a grocery store, go to the magazine aisle and pick up any “Vogue” or high fashion magazine, and glance at the ads. i’m sure you’ll find that over half of the ads displaying woman AS WELL AS men, depict them in some sexual way to sell the product. SEX SELLS MAN. David Beckman is shirtless and in his underwear to sell his new cologne. Kate Moss is topless (tastefully) showcasing jewelry in her jewelry ad. it’s just fact. nudity to me if done right, can me artistic, and beautiful. i hate that you don’t see it that way, but again, that’s your opinion, and i respect that… I’m done – lol

His response:

Frank
Today at 12:19pm
we do live in a society were its ok for men to called hoes. I know its a double standard like women are always right in arguements. But its less degrading for men than for our courterparts. So its better for Dave to advertise in his drawers. True indeed sex sells…all I asking, “Why you?” Why you have to be the one in bras and panties…(G-Stings), or bending over like you like it doggystyle? Its appears that you have a lot more to offer. We’re not back on the plantation were you have to please men or this aint the 70’s when pimpin was damn near legal. Not tryin to be nasty, but this is how it looks from the outside looking in. Honestly, the men who really go crazy over lookin at half naked women in pictures are the ones who have woman problems anyway cause they probably cant get women to do it for them in person.
Now you talk about these advertising ads…what magazines you read? King, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, or The Source (all of which i hate by the way)? I dont see half naked women in the ones i read, especially my favorite, Black Enterprise. The products that require sex to sell it are likely products that dont need to be bought or probably some crap that depreciates in value i.e. clothes, jewelry, and rims. When was the last time tyra advertise for TD Rowe, Verizon Wireless, GEICO, AFLAC, or simply home ownership? Why, cause sex is not as valuable, no 401K retirement plan, nor something you can build equity with. However to you, your precious goods are intangable and has no price tag right…so lets keep it that way and stop confusing men lol.

Trust me, you can make it without sellin you soul. That thing about booties in the “A”…thats small time crap. I think you should let your modeling put you on a tv citcom versus a club flyer. who cares about the club, niggas gonna come anyway right?
Now lets talk about your future…do you intend on getting married? Not too many models get married. Last i check tyra still single and she was fuckin chris webber, which at one point women would kill to be in her shoes. vida, megan good, most of the women on flav’s show and plenty more. Oh there is one…Esther Baxter however is habitual adultuer so being married was poinless for her but i guess if youre separated, it doesnt count right? bottom line is men do want a freak in the bed but not in the street.
Back to me being judgemental…ive heard that before so maybe i am. however i think we should be sometimes cause some people need it. some people find it hard to figure out their problems. but i say if someone calls me judgemental, then probably there is a concern with you. but if you take what i say me being a hater, then im probably am lol.

beside all my bla bla, i still respect you and your dreams. If this is what you love doing and its brings you joy, by all means stick with it. in just tryin to be a gentleman and date my sisthas only cause thats only woman i would have respect for and would treat like a queen

Me
Today at 12:37pm
wow. again, appreciate your opinion. my goals in modeling do extend beyond “flyer girl”, but there is an issue in relation to dark-skinned women not being seen as sexy or beautiful that needs to be addressed. This is the avenue that I chose to take to address that. But that’s another issue in and of itself.

As far as magazines I read, they wouldn’t be of interest to you: “Vogue” (which I mentioned), “Glamour”, “In Style” – all high end fashion magazines. All of which depict artistic nudity throughout.

As far as you passing judgement… you do. Glad you’re aware you have this issue – lol. Your first paragraph was completely your opinion and quite judgemental. Not at all views that I share. Why do I have to be the one in bras in panties??? Because I LIKE to be dammit. I LOVE my body, and don’t mind showing it. That’s my right, and for you to say that I’m wrong or simple-minded for doing so is quite condescending.

As far as my personal life is concerned. That’s none of your business – lol. At this point, I don’t believe that I want to get married OR have kids for that matter (so funny), but I do have and maintain a healthy relationship where the issue of my worth based on my modeling never comes up. He likes and is very proud of what I do – as are everyone else I associate with. I’m sorry this upsets you so, and am quite flattered that you’ve taken an interest in my personal choices. I’m not the one you need to preach to though. Talk to to those women that I see at castings attempting to sleep their way into fame. Talk to those women who hate their bodies enough to get breast, and butt implants and injections. Talk to those women who’s self-esteems are so low that the only way that they can be fulfilled and sustained is by being at every club and throwing their ample assests at every man who’ll look. Talk to them… fortunatley, that’s not me.

And it continues…

Frank
Today at 12:57pm
first i wanta say, i proud that you rep the chocolate hershey kisses out there. in case you cant tell, im really not attracted to my red sisthas. i guess thats why im takin time out to give a damn. not sayin you have to listen to me or anything like that. but i did do what i ask and that was to hear me out.
the point of the magazines was to point out that fashion is more of a want than a need. now i know fashion is your passion, but ask yourself, how important is it in life. yeah you would make some bread, great, but how do you feel inside? if you happy with it and can sleep at night, then this whole conversation doesnt apply to you. is for those who look for happiness in the wrong places.
the women you talked about in your last statement by the way are the ones who call me judgemental. but most people who are really content with themselves hardly ever call me judgmental. in fact they wonder what they look like from the outside lookin in.
i just thought that an educated woman with no kids and never been married and still young wouldnt post pictures in bras and panties on the internet. (OUCH) brothas (not ni*gas) might get confused.

Me
Today at 1:12pm
well i guess you thought wrong. not an easy thing for you to accept huh? lol. and i sleep GREAT at night! i’m quite happy with myself and the life i’ve made. not sure why that’s so hard for you to accept. it’s as if you’re insisting that there HAS to be something wrong with me emotionally or spirtually. like you want me to break down and cry on your shoulder in retribution for my sins – lol. this is weird. crazily enough this conversation has only given me stronger opinions on what i believe. i’m a free spirit. just let it be.

look how it ends up… (of course) lol…

Frank
Today at 1:27pm
lol, i’ve been accept that fact that youre happy. im glad we can talk like adults. i was expecting you to call me an a*shole and tell me to f*ck off. other than that, how was your day?

Frank
Today at 1:28pm
by the way, i dont do that cryin shit. not my damn shoulder lol!

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We Got Kidz readers, what’s your opinion on sexuality in modeling and in the media? To my Moms, if you had the body and opportunity, would you take fun and sexy images or should that be solely for the single and childless?

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