Monday, March 30, 2009

It was 1993...

Oh you smarty-pant readers you, yes indeed the year was 1993! It was the summer holidays after I'd completed 10th grade, Kurt Cobain was slugging it out with 2Unlimited, Shaggy and Meatloaf for radio airplay and I had just been dumped for the first time. By the same boy who would become my boyfriend again two years later, remain my boyfriend for twelve stormy years and then be rather swiftly dumped for the love of my life... But that's another story.

So there I was, a freshly wounded, slightly gawky fifteen-year old, playing model-model for a couple of days with my eleven year old sister and stepsister in tow. I remember two other girls who did the course with us. Paige was a pale, fine featured girl with tight brown curls and icy blue eyes, who reminded me of Nicole Kidman in Days of Thunder. I thought she was perfectly exotic with her model-perfect name and sure to become a supermodel. She was also seventeen and thereby much too mature to be nice to me and my troupe of sisters. Which only added to my admiration of her untouchable beauty.

Madeleine was even older, maybe nineteen at the time? She was a very tall, classically beautiful brunette with a funky, short haircut a la Demi Moore in Ghost and loads of attitude. She dressed like Madonna and strutted the ramp like a tiger. I was in awe. And she was nice too. One break time over a plate of chips at the Spur steakhouse next to the agency, we got talking and she listened to my whole relationship saga. I was so happy to find someone to talk to. She gave me some great girl power advice I wasn't going to get from anywhere else. "Don't call his house ('93 - no cell phones yet!) a million times a day and hang up when he answers, don't hang out in his regular places in the hopes of running into him, don't spend your nights writing tragic love poems, don't believe that he will change his mind and come running back any second. Move on."

 
*In 1993*
I loved Nirvana, loathed 2Unlimited. Madonna was on her Girlie tour, Days of Thunder and Ghost was out on video. Bridget Fonda was my favourite actress, Liv Tyler was just Steve Tyler's model daughter. The supermodels stripped off for Peta and a young girl called Kate shot her first Vogue cover.

So I watched Singles way too much, cried myself to sleep at night and put on a brave face during the days. I found the course quite interesting and fun, but in the dingy grey office somewhere in the middle of our overgrown suburb, I still felt far removed from the big city and the real modelling world of lights, camera, action. It seemed like a very long way to go. As if sensing my cynisism and dire need for some excitement, our agent announced that we were all going for a photo shoot with a real photographer, at his studio, in the city, the very next night!
Once again we did our own styling, hair and make-up and showed up at a tiny little studio high above the city streets. I realise now that the photographer was obviously doing the shoot as a favour to our agent, and that he was only available at night because during the day he'd rather be earning money shooting real models! Regardless, we felt glamorous, nervous and excited.
I borrowed a skimpy, body conscious LBD from a sexy young friend of my mom's, accessorised it with opaque black stockings (oh how current!) my mom's pointy patent black heels and the biggest hoops I could find. That would all have been fine, if only I'd know what to do with my hair and make-up!



Some eyeliner would've be nice? Maybe a straightener to run through those bangs? Oh wait, this was in the days before ghd! How did we live? Some powder would take care of the shine in a jiffy. Oh, and honey, you don't know this yet, but eyelash curlers are going to change your life!


Also, I thought for sure that I was giving it my all at this point, 'making love to the camera' enough to make it crack. Apparently, not so much.


I'm actually quite taken with that last picture. I look so young and unaware, isolated in the spotlight, it's poetic!

That photographer went on to become one of the most successful fashion & beauty professionals in Cape Town. I've been meaning to send him the pictures as, not surprisingly, he has no recollection of the evening that meant so much to me.

17 comments:

Marie said...

Those pics are great, takes me back to the 90s. What a time that was! I'm already hooked on your story too, more more!!

Cate Subrosa said...

I loved that little collage of 1993. What a different world.

I'm pretty proud of myself for getting it right, especially as I was only 9 at the time! (But oh how I loved Blossom... Six was my idol. Hmmm, maybe we should call the baby Seven?!)

I can definitely see your potential in these photos already.

And GHDs... OMG seriously, how on earth did we live without them?!

Ruby Slippers said...

Haha, the early 90's! I remember them well! I was in std 7 in 1993 (you must be a year older than me, then, I guess) Oh sorry, that's Grade 9 to those of you who aren't privy to the way the SA school system used to work.

I also HATED 2Unlimited! "No no no no no no no no no no no no no there's no lyrics..." I'm trying to figure out who on earth I loved at that point but I'm drawing a blank... I don't think I was much into music and fashion and that sort of thing yet. Although I was getting over my Kylie Minogue obsession from a few years before...

I'm so enjoying this! Keep it up!

Kitty Cat said...

Oh you looked so cute, so young and innocent. Do eyelash curlers work? I can't seem to get them to work, but maybe I'm doing something wrong?

Amber said...

These photos are fabulous!!! I love this story. It just makes me want to giggle the whole time, I love that you were SECRETLY a model the whole time and just never mentioned it to us all... Sneaky!

agirl said...

Wow. The early 90's. Talk about taking us back! And you really don't want to see pics of me from back then... Think leggings, an oversized t-shirt with some kind of neon pattern, and a high side ponytail. *sigh* At least I was only 12? Therefore more forgiveable than the fashion disaster I still find myself to be today for example...

LPC said...

I like that last photo too. I, on the other hand, was already a mother of 2 in 1993.

Couture Carrie said...

Gorgeous! Love your photos and the '93 collage . . . That's the year I graduated from high school (eek!).


xoxox,
CC

dancefloortragedy said...

I was 15! I remember wearing mustard jeans and a crochet top! In my hair – a banana clip! What a lovely way to document the beginning of such an exciting life, I can’t wait to see and read more! (I also hated 2Unlimited – God they were such ‘posers’ hehehe)

ansie said...

LOVE the last photo, you looked great! You are stingy, give us more!

Brunhilda said...

Oh my. I was a sophmore in highschool in 1993. I was rocking the Blossom hats with my weensy baby doll dresses and offending the boys as they couldn't wear hats in class.

What a great story. I can't wait to hear more.

Hannah Noel said...

Damn, girl!!

Rachel said...

Wow, 1993. That was my guess too. In 1993 I was 11 and started secondary school. And was more interested in gymnastics than clothes. Loving the story telling! :)

Being Brazen said...

Cute phots. I think i guessed 1993 - *high five*

Maria said...

Beautiful! Great hair!!!

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Eric Uys said...

sooo... jyt n wel belese blog hierso, hoe kry jy dit reg?? ek blog al oor die 3 jaar lank en het n som totaal van 3 followers.. :( Wie was die fotograaf? (Who was the tog?)