Friday, July 17, 2009

Life on the Runway Isn't Easy

Model: A Memoir: Pretty Girl, Ugly Business by Cheryl Diamond
3.5Q 4P; Audience: J/S

Confession: I don't have a clue who Cheryl Diamond is, and I care not one whit about fashion or modeling. But positive reviews for the book caught my eye, and knowing that a lot of my teen patrons do like fashion-related things, I ordered it for the library. When it came in, I picked it up to check it out. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Cheryl was just sixteen when she went to New York to try to break into the modeling business, and this book covers a year or so in her life. She writes about how she dealt with her less-than-supportive modeling agency, bizarre photographers and makeup artists, catty fellow models, and the numerous guys, some quite shady, who are always on the sidelines trying to hook up with a model. She describes what she had to go through to get bookings when her own agency was working against her, what it's like doing a runway show (Chaos! Don't smile! Walk like a horse!), the perks of being a model (bouncers love models!), and the downsides (it's an ego-bruising business). Even better, she's funny. The haughty look in her pictures hides a wicked sense of humor. I don't know that I can quite swallow all her stories as happening exactly as she tells them. She seems to have picked up on all the inside knowledge about the modeling business (and her own agency) almost as soon as she arrived, which seems unlikely for anyone, let alone a sixteen-year-old girl on her own in Manhattan. And she always has a witty comeback or smart aleck answer in any situation, which got not only a little tiresome but also seemed a little unlikely. Whether or not it all happened exactly as she claims, it makes for fun reading. It's also quite eye-opening. Even if I were gorgeous, twenty, and tall (none of which describe me in the least), I'd never want to be a model after reading this book.

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