Friday, January 31, 2014

HEARTly Worth Anything Without An Orgasm

After a long day of auditions, runway class, and lecturing this is the first thing I see on Facebook when I get home.

And the debate that followed was SO frustrating that I'm not even going to go into how my day was. That's for tomorrow.

First of all, I have to say GET OVER ****YOURSELF**** MR PHOTOGRAPHER MAN. Based on your resume and photos I don't see every girl on the planet throwing themselves at you with their panties and bras being flung the other direction. 

Ahem. So a little background story.

Along my journeys, I have been honored by receiving invites to friend photographers from all over the world through social media sites. And this man (let's call him Vomitron) was one of them. His page claimed high fashion, tattoo work, and animated retouching. His photos were gorgeous... All three of them that I could see at the time.

It wasn't until last night that I realized he was a nude photographer.

Now, there is a place for nude photography. When I was struggling with rent back in the day, I used to do nude modeling for art classes and photography classes. I never took off my underwear, but I never felt uncomfortable or threatened to either. Nude photography can be a gorgeous, artistic, expressive, light and a powerful way to capture the human truths that the subjects have to show. It especially has a great ability to empower people's images of themselves by showing that skin is skin and you don't have to be ashamed of your body.

That being said, let's go back to Vomitron.

I first address this subject by stating that it is not fair to illegitimize a models profession based on the fact that they do not want to BARE IT ALL.

Vomitron says that if I'm not open to his type of photography as a model then I'm not truly a professional.... But rather a hobbyist. Have you heard of a little publication called VOGUE- he asks. You should look into it.... Still want to "be a model" now?

First of all I don't ASPIRE to be a model.... I AM a model. Professionally. But Vomitron doesn't know this. Second of all when I signed with Major, they went through a full scrub to delete or research any full nudes that may be of me and other models on the internet. Now, if sooooo high class, why would one of the top ten agencies in the world be so concerned about whitewashing the histories of models gone wild? Thirdly, I think to my newest model friend, Spencer. He is a signed model... Who is Mormon. He refuses to do any work that his mother wouldn't approve of and has almost walked from a set before due to the nature of the shoot. He holds very high standards for his work and himself. In a world where SEX SELLS why is it that he just came back from 3 months in Milan, has NY Fashion Week to attend, and is full represented?

Perhaps there's more to modeling, more to creating imagery than just sex. Perhaps when models do their work, they don't always need to be thinking "what's the best way to pose so that the person seeing this advertisement or garment will think to themselves.... I would fuck the hell out of that model right now."

My emotions are peaked.

But, I DO go back to Vogue and check out their images. There are some gorgeous, tasteful simple nudes. People just sitting in chairs, kneels, floating in water. Just casually chillax ing there naked. And the images are stunning.... Powerful.... Empowering.

I decide to give Vomitron a reprieve from my argumentative onslaught. Perhaps he is simply a guy who likes to capture these types of moments. To harness the simplicity and artistic side of the human canvas. What a noble thing!

So I go through his portfolio and study the photos one by one. This is what I find and thus is what I think.

Ohhhh look at this one. DEFINITELY Vogue worthy. What else says provactive like the
unrealistic image of two straight girls pretending they're lesbians?
Wow, the lighting here really highlights that powerful, soft, gorgeous
moment that only can be described as lipstick and lace. The jaw lines,
slacked down in the most relaxed way.... Geez. I don't know about YOU
but when I see this... All I can think of is GET ME A PICTURE FRAME

I just want them to have a head start on their dreams.

When I grow up, I hope I can model as a lesbian like that too.

Oh this on is great! This girl is obviously portraying an existential sleeper,
who is smiling as she dreams.... Est il ya UN mutton dans la bateau? (The Petite Prince)
Look at the carefree waves of her hair just doing it's thing.... What I get from that
is that before she puts her head down on the pillow.... Wait there is no pillow. Maybe this
is a piece about poverty being beautiful? She can't afford clothing, a pillow, or a hair tie
but she's still happy? It seems that she can't afford underwear either... Because she is apparently
covering her ladybits from the cold. I mean it doesn't look like she's touching herself
in appropriately at all right? Man... The soft pink of her skin against the creamy white bed sheets....
she's like a little pearl. A little happy masturbating pearl just laying there- I mean.... Um

MOM! Come see this! This is what I hope I can do when I'm a legitimate model! Ah man,
Mom you don't even know! If I were that chick, I'd squeeze my nipples juuuuust a little,
You know.... Just add some emotion and energy into the photo.


Clearly this one is inspired by the aftermath of Cinderella... And talks about not being able to let go.
Of your shoes.
Perhaps what this photo suggests it's that, the "Cinderella" featured here is afraid
to remove her footwear before crawling into bed, because the fact that the shoe fit,
was the reason the prince found her. And she's afraid to lose him again. So sleep, shine, or swimming.... Those stillettos are staying firmly in place.
I think the most Vogue-worthy note on this exceptional shot,
is the way the legs are splayed out. It really says that since we spend a third of our lives in our beds,
Our beds are our homes... And this girl CLEARLY wants her body to be pressed
as close to home as possible.


Speaking of cookies.... Vomit.

Wow! This is by far my FAVORITE! This photo plainly says, AMERICA IS A PLACE
For instance... Who has TIME anymore for a shower AND breakfast? Both? Seperately?
I mean, this is America! We are in the clock all the time!
So why not save a few precious minutes in the morning and eat your breakfast
WHILE you shower?
JUST LIKE THIS GIRL you too can be singing to your morning apple under lukewarm
waters. Like Ariel!
Don't forget, you've REALLY got to throw your head back while you are in there,
just to get the best angle possible at your food. As a model, make sure that your motions
are slightly exaggerated so that the camera can really capture the emotion....
For instance, make sure your mouth isn't just open to take a bite,
make sure it's cavernous. We, as the audience, REALLY need to see that action.

I personally want to know what kind of lipstick she is wearing.
Waterproof for sure... I wonder if she knows that the shower
isn't taking it off? She needs better soap.



Let's get real here.

There IS an art behind the types of photos that Vomitron takes. There IS a talent. There IS a market for it. And it is one that is appreciated by many members of society. The girls are gorgeous, the photography is flawless.... It is it's own entity.

But it's not VOGUE. It's not high fashion. It is not the kind of photography that you will find in any high end gallery anytime soon. And that's ok.

The models above are REAL models too.

But I want to make it very clear. VERY FUCKING CLEAR RIGHT NOW!


Sexy does NOT mean SEXUAL.

I do NOT have to FUCK the camera, fake my sexual preference, or get wet for you to want me.

As egotistical as this may sound.... And scary.... I am confident that clothed or not, I can be desirable.

This is what is wrong with this world.... The mystery is dying. The magic is dying. We are becoming desensitized due too the easy access to naked moaning women all over the internet.

If I'm wearing a garment in an advertisement (no matter which gender I'm representing... Bt let's say women). IM SELLING TO WOMEN. And people, I hate to fuck your minds a little bit, but WOMEN are no longer RELYING on their MALE COUNTERPARTS to buy their clothing.

Which means, when WOMEN are buying their clothing, and looking at ads, they are seeing what THEY could be.... Want to be... Etc. and often will dress to impress their friends, family, or lovers.

Why can't we change this so that people dress to impress THEMSELVES?

So that when you don an outfit, you truly are able to say, I love myself in this and I don't give two fucks if someone else does. This is who IIIIII want to be.

A sex kitten.... Absolutely if that's what you want get it!
A conservative collared shirt gal.... Totes for it!
Dark and moody with chains.... If that's who YOU are!

There is nothing wrong with being sexy. Porn. Or experimental clothing. But we MUST change this concept that SEX is the only way we will be taken care of, loved, and validated.

We really need to promote that we are enough for OURSELVES and that IF we choose to mold our appearances slightly to impress a friend, lover, or family matter- then it's an honor for them not an obligation.

You are a powerful person. You are capable of creating, crushing, and conceptualizing things that can change the world. Whether you feel that or not. You (MEN AND WOMEN) are more than a fuck toy. You are ENOUGH to be desired, no orgasms required. You are MORE than your genitals. You are more than your hormones.

You are your heart.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IGNORance is bliss


........."Five hours earlier"........

The alarm that jarred me awake today was not exactly the kindest noise. My only GO SEE (audition) for the day was an early one. I slipped into my too tight black skinny jeans (that I was supposed to wear to show off my legs.... Black is very slimming don't you know?) I had worn them pretty much one week straight... Washing them in the sink every other evening and hanging them to dry with newspapers in order to save money. NYC is by far not the wallet's best friend, and I was doing everything I could in order to save a little here and there.

When I was a kid, or even.... In high school... I wore everything EXCEPT for black. Firefly wraparound pants, shirts with bells on them, mismatching sequined socks... Berets. I didn't wear them because of how they made me look... I wore them because I liked the experience of having that type of clothing on my body. The vibrant pinks, oranges, and greens.... The sound of little metal coins jingling on my belt like a pirate... The soft joy of having glittery fluffy feet. For me fashion was feeling- and I wore whatever I felt good in.

Good didn't reflect what others thought of me. It reflected what I thought of my own experience.


If someone had told me back then that I was going to model professionally either for this short period of time or for a career (wherever this amazing path takes me) I would've ruffled their hair like a kitten  and laughed.

Hell no. I wanted to change the world and run an orphanage in Tanzania.... What useful change could modeling bring to the world?

I grumble at the temperature. Negative five degrees outside. NEGATIVE.... As in NOT GOOD. That's the kind of cold that when you go outside, your nostril hairs freeze. In fact you know that expression "don't.... Or your face will freeze like that!" ???? That probably came from two people who were waking down the street together in this kind of weather.

The train is swaying full of sleepy faces. I love it when the commuters are all packed so close together like this... Because they are trying SO hard to stay in their own little bubbles. But their jackets keeping grazing the person next to them, a strangers sweaty palm grips the metal railing inches above theirs, and the best part.... They don't know where to put their eyes. No one wants anyone to think they are a creeper... That they are staring at them. So people tend to dart their eyes around from the floor to the ceiling to someone's shoes etc.... To everywhere but someone else's gaze. It's like a game of Russian Roulette... With your face. Personally, I enjoy intentionally making eye contact with people. I'll let them notice I'm noticing them... And when our eyes meet, they usually smile nervously. Then look away. Then notice I'm still looking, and usually will nod or say hi softly. And I'll flat out ask them how they are doing. It's very upsetting.

Very upsetting.

You ever see a bird get thrown out of a chicken coop? Their feathers get all poofy. Their heads tuck in a clucking flustered bobbing pattern... Thats the reaction I get 90% of the time. Apparently the best policy is to stand amidst hundreds of people, inches away from each of them, and pretend that they they aren't there. Who knew all of those years of peek a boo as a child would have such a valuable application to my adult life?

The building I'm running into is broken down. The inside is shoddily cemented and the stairs are seemingly made of several recycled materials all kind of screwed together. I go up six flights, and burst through two marred double doors into a short line of well groomed people. An edgy intern asks me to sign in an sit down. I do so and notice that they have almost every copy of a Vogue magazine ever created in stacks about the room. I'm about to pick one up, when a young gender ambiguous person with a fedora comes and grabs one of the girls. Their shirts says they are the casting director.... But they look barely 20.

The edgy intern is speaking with a pixie cut redhead from Germany about the process. "Edgy" says they are looking for someone to represent everyone... They want the most diverse cast possible.

I look around. It IS the most diverse casting I've been to thus far... In everything except for age and size. There aren't any models larger than a size four. Or over the age of 26. But hey, who's counting.


They finally call me up. I meet the casting director... He wants me to walk twice... Once in male form and once in female. We giggle together and take photos and just like that I'm outside and back on the street again.

The frigid air and the early morning made me eager to move to my next couch surf location in Brooklyn. I was looking forward to a down day to just relax from all the gogogogo of the GO SEES and the stress of working out every day.

As I'm waiting for the L Train in the barely lit station, I first hear then see a homeless man crying out. I couldn't tell if it was joy, pain, anger.... But it was loud. I moved closer to see if everything was ok with him. He is hunched over his cane howling like a wolf to no one. I ask him how he is doing, and he says "not so well Calvin. Not so well. I'm not well."

He says his name is Jeffrey.

Ten feet away an elderly Chinese couple have set up a busking station and are playing on native instruments. Jeffrey excuses himself as if he has a very important appointment. I notice that his socks are nothing but paper bags stuffed into his shoes.

Jeffrey walks towards the music playing couple and begins to free verse. It's beautiful at first, and his words actually inspire me. But then he starts howling like a wolf. He does so over and over again to the sound of the native Chinese instruments... And then when the instruments stop playing... He pauses for half a second and continues until he is forcing the howls out like dry heaves and drool is dripping from his lips.

My train arrives. I tear myself away and get on it.

I cry.

How can we walk away from that? Anyone?

Just as I'm sniffling away into a napkin, a woman enters at the next stop. She wobbles weakly through the door. Her face is elderly and haggard... Or perhaps just very very worn.  She asks for everyone's attention and explains that she is is dire need of financial help. That she's unable to get a job due to her age. That she's unable to feed herself adquately off from food stamps. That she's hungry, she asks for money or train tickets. Everyne keeps their heads down. Bt the minute she turns her back on them, the people she was closest to lift their heads and watch her in pity. (See vid clip)

The homeless/unfortunate woman bursts into tears, and departs on the next stop.

I suddenly feel claustrophobic. Irrationally I get off at the next stop and run up the stairs. I needed air. Now. Immediately.

I've never felt so grateful for a Polar Vortex.

I pace down the street walking semi blindly. Perhaps I'll go to a coffee shop, perhaps I'll go back. I don't know. I don't fucking know right now. Suddenly I pass a man sitting on the ground. He has a sign saying that he's homeless and needs help... The sign also says that his name is Ronnie.

Ronnie is bundled up to the max in dirty scuffed second hand clothing. Only a small portion of his face is exposed, the rest of his body grips itself and rocks back and forth. He's shivering visibly, and having acquired a paramedic license a few years back, I knew someone should check him for hypothermia.

I kneel down and ask him how he's doing.

"Not good. I'm fucking cold. I'm really fucking cold." He glares at me from the peephole in his hoodie like Kenny from South Park.

"Look, take it or leave it but from my medical experience it seems you might be experiencing some of the first signs of hypothermia. From the looks of your cup you aren't really making enough today to cover a medical bill. Why don't you head inside a coffee shop for a moment to get warmed up? Come back out when you aren't blue in the face?" I smile and touch his arm. He flinches slightly then shakes his head.

"I can't go inside any of these places.... They know who I am. They'll kick me out... Say it's not good for business to have me loitering."

"Hmm, well what if you were a customer? I could buy you a cup of coffee and you could drink it inside very slowly?"

He looks at me and shrugs. I laugh.

"Come on its worth a try.... At very least you should keep moving... Get your blood circulating."

He nods and stands up, brushing himself off as if he has invisible dust all over. He doesn't even bother to pick up his belongings or cup. He simply takes his sign and that's that. I offer to grab something but he refuses.

We head into the coffee shop across the street. Immediately the employee tells him that he isn't allowed in there. I explain that I'm buying a cup of coffee for him, and the employee says that while it's a nice gesture, he can drink it outside. I ask "what if HE bought the coffee?" The employee says that it doesn't matter, they have a policy.

I don't bother to argue, there are plenty of coffee shops. I go back outside and grab Ronnie. We go into EVERY SINGLE restaurant, coffee shop, and boutique within four blocks. ALL of them welcome me, and despite my best arguments refuse to let him in. No one feared that he as violent. All just didn't want to encourage him to loiter. I even tried to explain to what appeared to be a soft spoken business owner that this man was on the verge of hypothermia but they got angry at me for "making them feel bad". I got kicked out.

Ronnie is outside, his teeth are chattering.... I ask him if perhaps a subway would be good enough, but he's afraid of getting arrested for loitering there because he's slept in the subways so often that he's a recognizable face. Sigh.

I rummage in my pockets to get him a tissue for his dripping nose, when suddenly my hand brushes something... And it dawns on me. I pull out my gym card. Of course! Why hadn't I thought of it before? Planet Fitness allows me to have a free guest every day while I'm working out. Tanning beds, television, massage chairs, full workout suites were available... And showers! Hot showers!

I rummage in my bag, I have one pair of workout shorts and the Planet fitness tshirt I had received upon signing up just a week ago. I explain my plan to him, and he doesn't think it'll work but is willing to give it a try.

We walk the 6 blocks to my favorite location.... The one with the pizza shop next to it. I'm able to bribe the owner to let Ronnie use the restroom for a moment... And Ronnie changes into the workout clothing before we go into the gym. I hold his jacket, sweatshirt, and sign all in a bundle.

The motto of Planet a Fitness THE JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE.

The front desk girl is judging.

BUT she decides to simply give me a highly quizzical look and allows him to sign in. She says "you know you are responsible for you guest right?"

She gives us coins for the massage chairs, and I take him downstairs. He smells like urine. I tell him that he should get warmed up with a hot shower first, then meet me upstairs.

A part of me is nervous to let him go in the locker room alone. I DONT know this guy. He doesn't seem dangerous, but what if someone harasses him? Or he has epilepsy and goes into a seizure? Or decides to take a nap on the benches in there? Or licks someone's foot? For a moment I almost use my looklikeaboy superpowers to stride in there with him, but I decide not to. To trust... And let go.

I have no work out clothing, just an extra pair of skinny jeans and a tank top. I figure it will suffice.

It takes him half an hour to come out of the locker, Bt when he does I barely recognize him. He shaved, washed his hair, and the Planet a Fitness shirt really looked crisp. He trudged over to the massage chairs... There are only two in the room and I give him the coins. Within fifteen minutes of the machine being turned on he is fast asleep, snoring slightly.

It isn't uncommon to see someone asleep in these chairs, so I sit outside of the room on my iPad and do some research. I work out a bit. Make several phone calls. All I want to do is go home and take a nap.

I loiter there for three hours, checking up on him periodically.

A new casting call for Fashion Week comes in for tomorrow. So does a request for Runway Classes. I realize that it's starting to get to THAT TIME when I've got to keep moving along. So I pack up my iPad and frolic over to the massage room.

But Ronnie isn't in there.

I ask the front desk if they've seen him leave, they say no. I ask a man if they saw him in the locker room... They say no. I figure he may have voluntarily left already. Damn. And with my only shorts. Now how else are my legs going to get the breath ability they need in order to jog lightly on a treadmill. Ugh. I'm doomed to thigh rashes for the next few weeks because more than likely I'll have to run in pants.

I decide to check the upstairs just in case, and have no expectations. But lo and behold to my surprise not only did I find him... But I found him working out. Hard. Well, for a tired man! He was bench pressing like a madman and blending right in with the rest of the gym. He even had a complete stranger spot him on the weight lifts... And then that same stranger trusted Ronnie to return the spotting.

Little did he know that he just trusted someone off the street... Literally... (Who can't even be trusted to stay in a coffee shop for more than ten minutes...) to prevent 150lbs of weight from crushing him to death.

How can this be? That a small coffee shop will not trust this man on the verge of hypothermia become a PAYING customer in order to warm up.... But the same man is trusted with someone's life.


With layers of hoodies, slight urine smell, and dirty pants Ronnie is undesirable.

But with moderately new shorts, a shower, and a Planet Fitness shirt he is suddenly seen as safe.

Hygiene aside that's the power of clothing. Or presentation.

The more you are able to afford, the more others must be investing in you, the more others must be trusting you with their investments, the more YOU can trust that person.

It was in that moment that I realized the true power of the things I may soon be modeling. These high priced garments, if purchased or gifted to an individual can instantly buy you trust. Approval. Status.

As human beings, we spend our lives seeking approval, either from others or ourselves. With clothing we can buy that and instantly wear SOCIAL APPROVAL on our bodies.

If shorts and a tshirt can change this gyms outlook on this man... Than imagine what a suit and tie would do?

I think back to the man who was howling until he was drooling and out of breath. He needs help, love, someone to howl with him. How can we walk away from people like that in our society? What compels us to not give a damn as we pass by people on the street... Especially handicapped people and elderly folks....who are literally crying out for help.

Doesn't it hurt?

I know we all have different capacities in time, money, resources etc. but that doesn't mean we shouldn't at least offer some kind of movement.

The hardest part to fathom is that someone gave birth to Jeffrey, Ronnie, and the woman on the train. Someone had SEX with someone else... And it resulted in a baby. And then some woman decided NOT to have an abortion and carried that baby nine months. The food they ate, hormones they shifted, and steps they took were one with the being inside of them. That baby was then born and no one threw it in the dumpster. Someone cooked the meals it was fed. Someone bought the clothing It wore. Someone named them. And it's illegal not to go to school in the USA for elementary students at least so more than likely they were someone's study buddy, someone's friend, someone's love interest.... Or if severely mentally handicapped maybe even someone's patient. Either way you slice it... These people were CREATED and NURTURED. They were once cute, giggly, irresistible, pooping babies. And now, they are guttered, trashed, spat upon people that could literally SCREAM for help and no one will soothe their cries. More likely... They would have the cops called on them instead.

We have the power to change this. There will always be transient people... By choice, drugs, misfortune. But we can at least advocate to filter out the unnecessary and aid people that truly need help by perhaps including mental health facilities in Our Universal Health Care act. I KNOW your taxes would pay for it... But your taxes pay for police to put these people in jail, for paramedics to bring them to the ER, for surveillance in heavily impoverished areas, for street workers to clean up their makeshift sleeping areas, for the city put in new sod wear large populations of homeless sleep... The costs would balance out... Easily.

If you lose your mental health you should not lose your country. Your people. Your community.

If I have the opportunity to walk in Fashion Week this year I can promise you... With every step down that runway I will not ignore the privilege and power of a single piece of clothing. And I will use that power to bring more light to this issue.

When you feel intimidated, inadequate, lesser than another person based on their appearance... Just remember- they are buck naked right now. Stark naked. And the only separating them from being the same bare flesh as you, is a thin layer of material that comes on and off with a simple motion, zipper, button. They are definitely still mortal humans depend on the same oxygen as you do to fill the naked insides of their delicate lungs.

So breathe deep.

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Monday, January 27, 2014


All I had to do was say yes and I was in the show. Just one big YES!!!

....2 hours earlier....

I walked into my final casting call for the day. My boots clunked against the steps heavily as I took them two at a time. This time instead of a room of erect, serious, high heeled models and a cloud of perfume.... I found myself storming into a mist of cologne. Men were sprawled out, legs wide apart, fully leaned back.... Almost as if bored. Their shoes were all splashed with street soil and water stains. Most wore comfortable clothing, like large sweaters, loose tshirts, and baggy jeans. The only thing polished about them was their hair... And their portfolio binders. Which unlike female models binders, were large, fat, and made out of heavy leather.

I was told to sign in and take a seat. The models next to me spoke candidly with each other, sprawled back as if they should have had a beer in their hand while doing so.

The process was slow and relaxed. Models were sent over to a MYSTERIOUSLY hidden panels of judges and designers, asked to walk, and then were either sent out or given an outfit.

Watching men walk for runway is like watching a business man walk on one of those moving walkways in the airport. They glide swiftly and with ease to the end of the runway and back. Simple. Chin down, shoulders squared.

Shoes can be whatever you want them to be. Boots, sneakers, flip flops. Bunny slippers. It doesn't matter because you don't need to accentuate your back by precariously standing on shoes that emulate you tiptoeing around. (Heels) You've got a dick. You therefor need nothings else besides a good suit to make your body look good.

Twenty minutes later I was called over. They see my book. They realize the card has a bust size on it. The grand reveal of the actual gender annnnnnnnd ACTION!

"Can you walk for us please?" A flamboyantly giggly gay middle aged man asks, flipping His wrist emphatically in the direction of the runway.

I nod and take off. They murmur behind me as if forming a game plan for my return. When I'm back in front of them they ask me to keep going back and forth.

"Put her in this outfit."

"I don't think so."

"Do it.... Just try it."

"Waste of time -"

"That redhead you wanted was a waste of time."

"Fine, but after this- no more charity cases."

The man asks me to stop. On his right a disgruntled young blond woman adjusts her black glasses and shakes her head. He points me over to a clothing rack and asks me to change into a specific outfit.

The men in the area are asked to leave. I say that I'm not shy and wearing boxers... But the three people dressing me insist it's the right thing to do. All three of them are women. They say it's for my protection.

Yeah.... Just because one of the guys might see me with an ace bandage bound chest and baggy black boxers and have the sudden urge to go jerk off in the bathroom. Good luck buddy.

They take twenty more minutes to slip a turtleneck, cargo pants, a scarf, and jean vest onto me. They steam everything to make sure there aren't any wrinkles.... Then scrunch up the scarf so it looks like it has NATURAL wrinkles in it. Despite the foofy preparation, I actually can't help but admire the craftsmanship of the clothing. It actually made me feel stronger.... Bolder.... More dapper?

I'm rushed back over to the panel. They ask me to turn around. They ask me to walk. They stare.

And elderly lady pats doen one of my legs like a tsa agent. "She stands strong at least."

More staring.

I'm sent back over to put on another outfit by the middleaged gay man who originally addressed me...Let's call him Bob. While the blond girl with glasses (let's call her Noway) sighs in frustration.

Again the space is cleared of boys, as they run out of the dressing room area in their boxers and briefs. The women change me again and I stand like a scarecrow letting them pinch and prod me with their attention orientated hands. A sweater, skinny jeans, fake glasses, and a collared shirt are donned. I feel like a fluffy hipster. Twenty more minutes.

I'm sent back over.

The panel oohs and ahhhs, grimacing and grinning in ripples of what appears to be A LOT OF EMOTION. They ask for another walk, a pose, they hand me a book as a prop and have stand there with it... Casually. ACT CASUAL they say. No pressure.

Then "Bob" looks at "Noway". She shakes get head. He looks at me and sends me back AGAIN.

The boys know the drill by this time and take off. This time I'm given a pair of loafers, baggy jeans, a leather jacket, and a brown tshirt. The women hand me a comb as a prop.

Nothing is more inspiring for getting a feel of what your clothing strands for...then a comb. So much inspiration. In this outfit, I'm clearly portraying a person with a lot of money who likes to make sure that their hair stays the way they like it. All the time.

Thirty minutes later and I'm back in front of the panel again. It's been an hour and a half in this room, and "Bob" apologizes for that. He looks me over and nods enthusiastically. And that's when it happened.

"Yes. I love it. Pass her on to-"

"No. You can't-"

"Are you kidding? He's gonna love her!"

"And in the end she will just give him a headache-"

"Why because of the press?"

"Oh come on I'm not in the fucking stone ages! I'm talking about the complexities.... Fashion week is already so stressful. You think he's gonna want to add the stress of having a model in a whole other dressing room-"

"She doesn't have to be in another dressing room!"

"Yes she does! Women need their own changing space.... If any of those boys penises offends her or if one accidentally rubs up against her knee or someone looks at her wrong.... There could be instant lawsuit. I don't want the boys to have to worry about that."

"Well there are lots of gay boys in there.... I don't see an issue from the straight boys about their junk being ogled!"

"I'm not going to turn thus into a civil rights issue ok? I'm just saying.... It's a huge risk to take for her safety And the other models. And right or wrong in this day and age it's STILL not appropriate it have a woman in the men's room naked."

"But it's ok for gay men?"

"What did you just hear me say?"

"What about trans?"

"If female to male then yes... Trans is fine. We aren't going to discriminate- if they're a guy they're a guy."

Suddenly it dawns on her. They both look at me.

Uh oh. This AGAIN.

"Bob" grins at me.

"Rain, I really think you would do well in our line. You look great in the clothing and I'm confident you could get a lot of great positive buzz going. Do you like the clothing?"

I nod "yes sir."

"Great! Well I hope I don't come across offensively by asking this.... But it's just because I want you to walk in this so badly but there are so many logistics... Fashion Week is complicated. Hectic. Um... Are you doing menswear because you are....trans?"

"Noway" stares at me curiously. The panel leans forward slightly. "Bob" gives me a secret "say yes" mouthed over with a mischevious wink.

I stare at him.

He blinks.

"I'm doing it because I have a square jawline and like pizza too much to have a size 2 ladies physique. But I was born biologically a woman and that's how I identify." I stand there amidst their silence. "Bob" sighs and puts an arm around my shoulders.

"Look there's nothing to be ashamed of if you are..." He pokes me playfully and gives me an ultra exaggerated wink that says (just lie about it... Hoodwink's no big deal I got you).

I take off the jacket slowly. "I'm not. But I appreciate you trying to accommodate me, trust me I'm worth making an exception for."

"Bob" shakes his head as if I've just rejected a free check for one million dollars. He shakes my hand, keeps my comp card, and sends me on my way.

On the windy washed out out walkway I stomp towards the subway. The loneliness of commuting kept me in my own mind and right now it was raging with anger.

I wasn't upset at being potentially pegged as trans. That's bound to happen... I'm a handsome woman.

I was upset that they actually tried to use it as a loophole to get what they wanted.

What the hell?

The claim to a gender identity that you aren't biologically born with is an empowering thing. Not a thing of power. You can't use that to get around situations.... Thats wrong on SO many levels!

When a trans person uses the bathroom, and they enter one of their gender identity that might not reflect their physical form... They rely on the trust of others to use that space. They rely on the fact that if someone asks them what they are doing in that restroom- just the answer "I'm a girl." Is good enough.

I get hit by women all the time... Or asked to leave.... When I use a women's room. That's why I just flash them. But not everyone has tits like me.

When people abuse the power of identity to meet an end... It brings hollowness and distrust to those claims. It makes it harder for people to trust that others are who they say they are. If that makes sense.

And that deeply saddens me. Because trust is the biggest component of unity. And unity us peace.

I've used the identity of male to gain more trust and power in the past. And it worked. Why? Because to be male in this culture means to have more knowledge, confidence, and stability. If I had just pushed through those times as honestly female... And just demanded fair wages, did the work without complaint, and made a point to master my craft... I would've brought more of the same trust/respect/power men get into the field for women to obtain as well.... This balancing out the issue a bit better.

But instead I was a facade. And incidentally while people may say that dressing like a boy was empowering- it was likewise dis empowering to women. We should not have to appear as men to gain privilege.

Some people say "fake it til you make it."

No. Not anymore.

 If I look like a handsome boy, a sexy lady, or a being of ambiguity... appearance has nothing to do with my gender. I'm showing myself... My rawest in the moment purest version of self. And however you feel when you see an image of me... Just know that you are simply looking at RAIN DOVE....whatever that may mean to you.

No one should have to appear as anything other than themselves to gain anything.


This may seem cliche. But it's real.

You don't need to be LIKE anyone else. You don't need to pretend to be ANYthing else. You just need to be YOURSELF demand a better world for YOU. Fair wages, equal voice, trust, truth, love, respect. JUST F***ing GET IT AND GIVE IT.

THAT should be powerful enough.

YOU should be powerful enough.


Want to follow more photos and find like minded friends? Find RAIN at:

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Five am rolled around too early. Way to early... The kind of early that FEELS like - well.... Five am.

A full day lay in store. Two GO SEES, a photoshoot, and five miles to run at the gym. I had stayed up until two am applying to side jobs, researching the designers I was going to see, and watching Calvin Klein Fall 2013 as suggested by the runway coach at Major.

Those girls never move their arms. If their fists were clenched into little balls then combined with the serious GRR FACES and the TOO COOL DONT LOOK AT ME BUT PLEASE DO swagger steps in their teetering heels... They would reflect much larger versions of whT may appear to be little girls throwing temper tantrums. Yet, despite this semi humorous observation... I couldn't stop staring at them. Because while it may not appear it to one who's just watching... These girls worked hard to walk like that. This was their lives... Perhaps their careers. This show was a big moment for them... Something they most likely felt great joy over being cast in... And for some, they may have practiced a thousand times in hopes that by perfecting their walk... They might get noticed. And further their careers.

I slipped on my heels and practiced for ten minutes then rushed into the shower. The photoshoot today was a femme one, and I knew lingerie may be involved. It was my first big chance to really show the agency that I belonged on both MEN AND women's boards. Thus far they'd only seen my in denim, collared shirts, and boots... With a faltering attempt at strutting heels.

In the general world, men make more money than women. And that is something I've capitalized on for years! I used to have long flowing curly locks that rested into the middle of my back and a more femme approach to things. But when I found myself under hardship a few years back- I started to do random gigs off from craigslist. I'd show up to moving, landscaping, construction work- and they'd always be surprised to see this tall lady arrive. One day I noticed that two male workers on the site got paid 160 while I got 100. I asked the employer why that was, and he said its because they were lifting all day while I was only screwing in boards. I told him I would rather lift all day and make more money but he said it wouldn't be appropriate because I was a woman. I tried to explain that I had been in conservations corps, farms, firefighting crews... But he just nodded and smiled at me as if I were a child saying "daddy when I grow up I want to be a pony."  That night I  went back to my vehicle and slept in a BART parking lot. What the man didn't know was that I was homeless, desperate for cash, and willing to work as hard as I needed to get back on my feet. Staring at thd torn up roof it dawned on me. The most cliche truth of our time. I could make more money as a young white male in America than as a female. Period. So I restyled my hair to a very short boyish cut, started wearing oversized baggy jeans, and went to gigs under the name Rupert (which had been a nickname in elementary school... My original last name). Not only was I hired for 90% of what I responded to on craigslist... I was paid nearly double and given more responsibilities. I also gained special respects that included a beer at the end of the day for hard work, an all knowing "good work son" treatment from employers, and a larger amount of trust in my work. If I told someone I knew how to fix something as a woman.... They would ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAAAAAYS ask me how I. Was gonna do it. But as a boy.... They hardly ever did.

In the fashion industry, it's flipped. Women by far make the big bucks and men make 80% less. Which means that as provactive and interesting as it is to be a female doing male work... The chance of being financially successful and gathering a decent fan base are infinitely smaller. This shoot today was CRITICAL in providing evidence that I shouldn't be pigeonholed into one gender. It could literally make or break my career direction with this agency.

In the shower I scrubbed as hard as I could. It was awkward because admittedly there is only ONE part of my body that I'm self conscious of. My legs. My thighs specifically. They are covered in tiny scars from working outside and stretch marks from growing to fast. They hide under jeans most of the time so they are so incredibly white that you can see the veins through them in a most unattractive way... Pulsing as if to say WARNING THIS PERSON IS ALIVE. Plus they're larger than two girls legs combined in this industry.... My thighs may seem skinny to others but to these people they are massive.

During my second runway show ever, I took off my pants in front of a designer to try on an outfit. He screamed and covered his eyes. Literally. Sigh.

I remind myself that each scar is hard earned... Proof of guttering through to get what needs to be done done. That each stretch mark is a record of how swiftly my body created me.... A living free thing who is fortunate enough to be in the shower right now. That the veins in my legs were meant to be there, and the white complexion was simply a reflection of science hard at work. It's not always easy to love yourself fully sometimes I think. I find that when I find something that I have a hard time loving- I state it as a fact and accept it instead- then just settle for being grateful that I can experience that "fact".

Before I know it I'm back into the blustering flurries outside and swishing through the snow from Queens to Manhattan. Everyone on the train is plugged into an electric device today. A young man walks through and asks for bus money. No one looks up. "Anyone? Anyone at all?" He raises his arms exasperated like a parent who knows their kid stole their pocket change.... Bbt the kid pretends they didn't. He storms out.

Finally I reach my first destination. Another straight lined skyscraper that shot up 30 floors. I take the mirror  clad elevator to the 16th level and stumble into a staircase that is laden with models. They are predominantly blond. Everyone has long long hair. Almost everyone is wearing black. Each step has it's one single girl on it, and for some reason I can help but think a lot of money could be made if a photographer were here. Everyone was either on their iPhones tapping away, adjusting their heels, or talking to someone they arrived with. When models talk to each other, it's often SO interesting to watch. I find that in many cases (not all) (but most) models tend to over express themselves to whomever they are communicating. Like when they want to express annoyance they really shake their heads, when they want to show they are listening they reeeeeally nod hard and furrow their brows, when they want you to know they are concerned their reeeeeeeeeally scrunch up their faces. And when they want you to know they are excited or upset, their bodies bob, voices raise, and head twists and tucks to emphasize the enunciation of key words. It's quite entertaining.

I get the usual stares. I go on my phone and ignore their faces...To take a picture of them for this blog.

As I get to the middle part of the staircase, I over hear that there are over 300 people auditioning and only 25 slots being cast. A comment that the cometition is stiff this year comes up. Recently I had heard TWICE from two different fashion aficionados as personal advice to me "there will always be someone prettier and better than you attending a casting call. So you really have to fight for it.... Get dirty. When you are going down the stairs don't be afraid to push a bitch. Hard. Just push her."

I look at the girl behind me... She wouldn't even know what hit hit. In fact it'd be like dominoes... They are all so engrossed in their devices and exaggerated conversations that they wouldn't even notice if an avalanche of above average looking legs and lipstick cascade over them and took them down two flights.

But this is what's wrong with the industry. Not the ignorance thing.... But the insecurity thing. Feeling that we need to harm others and their chances in order to heighten our own. It's a way of not BEING the best. If you truly believe you are the best.... The other people don't matter. And the person next to you.... They could end up doing much much better than you. They could be that person who is "prettier" than you. But so what? Aren't you more likely to share in their success if you befriend them? Thus becoming more successful yourself?

But hey, what do I know? I'm not the Dalai Lama of the Dolce world.

I start to slip on my heels. The girls in front of me stop chattering and stare. By now I'm used to this routine. One of them introduces herself very abruptly. Viviana. Ahead of her is Estelle, Stacey, and Ariana. They all look like they shop together....

They suddenly go into interrogation mode. Who am I? Who am I signed with? Can they see my portfolio? Oh wow, I look like a boy! Geez how I unique. Giggle giggle.

Finally Vivianna hands me my book back. I had just told her that I have a femme shoot I right after this then another GO SEE.... Because they had asked what I was up to. She smiled a genuine bright smile. "You know you can probably just skip this and get a head start on this shoot."

I laughed. "Why would I skip this? I was sent here by my agency...."

Vivianna pats my hand softly. "Hun, everyone was sent here by their agencies. Everyone."

"Well they wouldn't send me here if they didn't think I had something to offer." I replied.

She shook her head. "Hun, agencies are just pimps that want to make a dime. That's it. They will cast as many people out here as possible to up their chances that they could make some money. But... They know YOU aren't going to get cast. I'm sure they just want to give you the experience so you gain confidence."

I shake my head at her.

She continues "Look Fashion Week women are size two or smaller. You are a what... Size 12?"

I grit my teeth "I'm a six."

"Doesn't matter, point is, that there simply won't be anything for you to wear. Nothing in your size anyways. You are better just sticking to men's. I'm sure you would do great there... Right?" Vivianna gazes up at her girlfriends who all nod and murmur "totally..." "Soooo handsome" "successful for sure".

"Well, I guess Ill just stick around for the experience at least then." I prop up against the wall.

Vivianna glares at me. "Seriously... You should take this opportunity to go work out at the gym before your next shoot. Get in the best shape you can before-"

"Love.... You are so sweet for giving me advice and I really appreciate it." I touch her hand softly. "But I know that this is where I want to be right now."


"What you think the designer is just going to MAKE you clothing a week from walking down the runway? That's stupid." She's tosses her hair.

"Actually yes. If they want me badly enough, I'm worth the time and investment. They will create something for me. I have just as good of a shot as you do."

Estelle pokes her head out. "Whaaaaat? You are sooooo optimistic."

"You are what.... Blond, long hair, five nine, white, blue eyes. There are, I'd say about 150 other girls that have your look in this room right now. There's no one who looks like me. Unless they want an army of similar looking women walking the runway I'd say they will most likely pick maybe two people with your look. So your chances are 1 in 75 of getting chosen. Mine are 1 in 2. Because with me it's either yes or no. There's no one else to compare me with. You either want me or you don't." I might as well have just shoved her down the stairs. Her eyes widened and she looked around the room and sighed. Then without a response she turned her back to me and resumed on the phone.

I felt guilty for the rest of the wait... And a little nervous that perhaps she was right. What WAS I doing here?

Before I knew it I was being ushered into the casting room. It was jammed with well dressed men and one older woman in a turtleneck. A dusty sharp five o'clock shadowed man in a chair gazed at me. I took off my shirt so that I was wearing a black tanktop instead of the denim collared. His eyes flared, he smiled. Where are you from, who are you signed with? He asked me to walk for him.... I did so while answering his questions. He took my comp card. Another person also took a comp card. I wished him good luck in the castings then backed awkwardly out the door, making a few dorky jokes as I grabbed my shirt and iPad. I couldn't tell if it went well or not....did it?

Then from that crowded crazy sweat box of stress back onto the street.

I was twenty minutes late to my photoshoot.

Every step I bounded up to get to the studio was filled with nerves and fear.... I'd never been late to an appointment for Major before. I didn't even have to knock on the door, the photographer Shanita was already standing there.

All the fears melted away swiftly. She was brilliant, bubbly, and understanding. No judgement, and in fact SHE was the nervous one. Because she was supposed to have a makeup artist arrive on set for the shoot but the person bailed at the last minute.

We both silently were relieved the other person was human.

Unfortunately due to the lack of makeup artist, we couldnt do any femme fatale shots. So we stuck to boy looks. It was an hour and a half of ease, good music, and collaboration and then just like that it was over. It was the first photoshoot I'd ever felt fully relaxed at.

I dashed off to my final appointment. I realized I hadn't eaten at all throughout the day and found a cookie in my bag to nibble on. This time the building was short and square... Sandwiched in between two car lots. I managed to get inside... A fire alarm was going off on the base floor but no one seemed to care. I paced back and forth waiting for the elevator to arrive. A tall handsome man tried the door but couldn't get in. I saw him trying to figure out the buzzer, and opened the door for him. He brushed past me. "Thanks man. You already do the casting?"

I know he thinks I'm a man. And that's how I wanted it to be. So I shake me head no.

"Damn, I was hoping you could tell me how it was. Sometimes these guys can be real harsh." He brushes himself off neurotically picking a few small dog hairs from my jacket. "So, where you from?"

I intentionally deepen my voice slightly and change my posture. "Live in San Francisco area. You?"

"Aww dude I love that area. Man me and my friends used to surf there all the time. California has smokin hot chicks on the beach.... "


"So.... How'd you get into modeling?" His eyes were intense and his face right in mine.

"Uh... Just kind of fell into it. Was discovered by a model named Carole."

"Dude women in this field like almost never help other people out. Especially us dudes.... We are supposed to help THEM. I hate model chicks. I mean they are in easy in the bed but not like, on the emotions you know? I just went out with this chick the other night, and she was smokin. A ten. I pay for everything, even though you KNOW that girl is making BANK. And I take her back to my place.... The girl spends three hours on the phone on the couch bitching with her girlfriends about how awful other models are. It was annoying. Meanwhile, I'm in the background ready to just get down to business...."

Ding. The elevator has arrived.

This one has no mirrors.  He puts an arm around me. "I'm so glad I met you before going in. You're a cool guy you know that?"

I smile and look at the floor.

We walk in... I immediately distinguish the casting director from the rest of the crowd. There are only two other models in the room. A soft short excited man in hipster attire checks in the guy... Then comes back to check me in. The minute he sees me he gets excited.

I sign in an fumble around for a comp card. I panic because I realize I have no more. How will these people find me? I wonder why I don't have enough and then remember that this morning there had been TWO people who took one instead of just the casting director.

"Do you have your book and comp card?" He asks, he seems barely able to contain himself.

I hand him the iPad and explain that I only have masculine shots right now but that femme ones were in the making. He oohs and ahhhs over the photos. Then I explain that I have no comp card. He interrupts me by whipping one out of the back of his pants. Seriously.

"Don't worry I have one here." I stare at him. He gushes "I heard about what you were doing and looked you up online, I've seen all your work.... The magazine shots, runway press, your Facebook, even that news report from a while ago. I have to say, I'm a big fan of your work. Big big fan. I think you're going to do well here in NYC."

I was taken aback. A big FAN? I hadn't even done anything yet.... And there was this man whipping my photo out of his pants like a pro. Dang. What do you even say to that?

"Uh... Wow thanks. Thanks so much that's very kind." I laugh nervously.

The casting director calls me over. I realize I hadn't had time to slip into heels yet. He asks me where I'm from. Who I signed with. Who I've walked for. Then he has me walk for him... He doesn't care about heels. He just wants to see that I can move confidently perhaps. He stares at me for a moment and asks where I'm from again. He puts a pink sticker on my comp card. Then sends me off to get a photo taken.

I gather my stuff to leave. I feel a little mechanical for some reason. As I throw my bag bag over my shoulder, I involuntarily say loudly in passing. "Thank you sir, good luck with casting."


"Yes sir?" I turn around.

"It's a pleasure meeting you. I'll be seeing you again soon." The casting director smiled briefly then went back to his current model.

I left with a full grin. Whether or not I got cast... He remembered my name.

And I didn't have to push anyone. I didn't have to pretend to be someone else.... Or something else.

I made a beeline to the gym, and veered into a pizza shop for a 99cent slice before I went to work out.  I'm pretty sure the grease it what makes it delicious.

Halfway into my daily five mile treadmill run (trust me I'd run outside if the weather wasn't so arctic)... I mulled over the day. And a simple conclusion popped into my head.

You don't need to push anyone... You just need to push yourself.

Out of of your own way, out of your own head.

Push yourself to be the best you can be. Not to be better than anyone else... Because no one else can compare.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


I went to sleep nervous that after such a critique filled day, perhaps I had blown my chance to redeem myself In time for Fashion Week GO SEES. Fear pinged me in the back or my mind that perhaps the disgruntled gazes at my inability to walk in heels were translated into the agency having second thoughts about sending my out for casting calls.

I slept in, ignoring my beeping iPad. I floated lightly in the dreamy darkness halting existence for a moment. I wanted a second chance. I wanted more chances. I wanted the opportunity to show them I could conquer. Finally, when the beeping became too annoying I indulged the iPad and checked my email.

To my surprise there were FIVE castings calls for GO SEES as well as a photoshoot... All to attended within the next three days. My heart leapt! A second chance! Then as I scrolled the opportunities eagerly, I realized that one was for today. And it was in two hours... For women's wear. Ugh why did I sleep in? Every other model had already had their latte, laxative, or laps in the pool already... And I was still in my long johns.

I took a deep breath, the biggest factor in this upcoming GOSEE was clearly as it always has been... THE WALK. So I teamed up with my friend Shaista, barely even bothering to clothe myself and transformed the hallway into a runway.

Shaista is one of those people that tells it like it is. She took on the role of "model coach" with gusto. "That's too manly" "too much arm motion" "what's happening with your hips?" I walked the hallway almost a hundred times, each time trying to remember... Heel, toe, arch your back, shoulders back, chin down, head up, eyes forwards, arms to the side, hips swaying. That's the biggest factor. The hips. Mine are used to pelvic thrusting.... That's my favorite dance move, sexy move, and impatient motion. Ahem. I don't often wiggle my butt side to side. I'm not trying to entice anyone to frolic in that general region. These hips don't lie... They don't say ANYTHING AT ALL. THEY ARE SILENT HIPS!

The video in this blog says it all.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Well... Today was awkward lol! I was almost half a foot taller than most ppl at the GO SEE (the fashion world term for auditioning) the only one wearing cologne, and definitely the only one who still had armpit hair o.o

My hair was slicked back greasily like Trinity from the Matrix, and instead of the skin tight black clothing others had clinging to their body- I was wearing a pink striped men's collared shirt. WHY?!

8 out of 10 girls there were long haired, Caucasian, blonde with legs so skinny that my biceps could give them a run for their money. One of my thighs was practically a waist for most. They would flicker smiles at each other half heartedly and then sit rigidly over their iPhones. Their 6inch stilettos were sharp enough to gouge the foot of a mugger should they need to. I glanced nervously in my shoulder bag where my 3" heels seemed to glare at me.

The process was simple. Stand in front of a white wall, get some shots taken. The walk your BEST WALK 20 feet one way and back.

Walking sounds simple but it's not. First of all, imagine you are 6'2. Just tripping flat footed is enough to cause a concussion. Now add at LEAST 3 inches... Suddenly you're 6'5 and it's instant death. Now, not only are you way up there but you are on your tip toes with only practically a pencil nub to support your ankles. When they ask you to move, you have to let your legs carry you pencilnub heel to tiptoe. Your hips swaying side to side with every step, and if done right, your legs should walk so crossed and straight ahead that if a string were on the ground you would be Able to follow it all the way down without leaving it with either foot. Now do that in front of 30 people.... 26 of which can do it perfectly. 3 of whom are literally judging you on it.


Anyways, It took a moment to get the butterflies out needless to say.

The past few days I'd known that walking would be a challenge. But I also knew that like any sport, it's something you can mechanically learn and own. So I had purchased some cheap heels (in case I broke them by walking wrong) and downloaded a lot of popular female empowerment songs.

The snow made it unsafe to practice with open toed shoes... So I had to figure out a different strategy to create an artificial runway. I would go work out at Planet Fitness for five hours daily, then one day realized in the locker room there was a long 40' walkway lined with toilets and shower stalls.... With a full length mirror at either end. I would take the heels and in only underwear and a bra, strut from one end to the other, listening to jams on my phone for inspiration. The first few times were disastrous.... I looked like a newborn calf.... My legs were jelly and even standing still was impossible. Walking looked drunk at best.... Maybe even as if Id been poisoned. It took hours of blistering attempts to walk a straight confident line... And thousands of awkward looks from late night exercisers. But after several several SEVERAL strolls, I was finally able to at least walk back and forth in between mirrors (and the occasional naked showerer) and say to the reflection... "Ha! You'll get this yet!"

As I slipped on the heels in the GO SEE room I could feel the girls on either side of me staring at my feet. They were up manicured, not tanned, and definitely made for supporting a 6'2 person. I tucked my pink socks back into my boots and sat back, watching each girl haughtily do their photos. Then click down the walk, posing AT&T he end for an invisible audience.

Someone called my name. I stood up abruptly and almost skewered the girls foot next to mine with my baby heels. The photographer stared at me wide eyed, his eyes travelled to my chest swiftly then he cleared his throat. Silently he adjusted his tripod upwards. He said very little except to hold the paper in front of my face like a mug shot. Then to slouch a bit so I fit into the frame. Then after a few clicks, he furrowed his brow and pointed me to EdwRd Kim.... The main casting director for the GO SEE. Ed was a young KoreAn man with a modern styled tshirt,  glasses, and the healthy glow of someone who used face moisturizer. His eyes were kind but his posture was practical. He asked my name.... I told him "Rain.... Like from the sky!" He smiled at that. He asked me where I was from, what shows have I been in, and how tall I was. I answered each one with enthusiasm.... Knowing my personality was at this point my biggest selling factor besides my androgyny.

Then he asked me to walk. I nodded as if I'd done it a thousand times.

I teetered into a beginning pose, then strolled down to the end. Instead of stopping and posing, I spun around on one heel with the action of a bad bake trick and posed in his direction. Then powered back towards him. I could tell I walked like I had something in between my legs on the way back, my feet were shoulderwidth apart instead of foot in front of foot. But instead of smiling, I just pretended that I meant to walk that way.

When I got to the end he said "Good. Very confident... Like the Stature of Liberty... If she could walk." I flashed a smile. Then he said "but I hope that unless you are DRESSED like Lady Liberty.... You don't walk like that. At all. Ever. Again." I laughed and thanked him for his time then rushed out into the frigid Polar Vortex of the outside world. 

I had one hour to get back to the Major Model headquarters for a Fashion Week evaluation. Ugh. This included potentially shots in lingerie (of which I only had boxers and a bra), a study of my portfolio, and then.... A critique of my walk. Again. Same day.

I didnt want to mess it up twice so I ran into a hotel and practiced in the bathroom. An older lady said "Young man just because you're ashamed to be walking in heels in the men's bathroom doesn't mean you have to do it in the women's either." I pulled up my shirt and flashed her. She walked out wide eyed.

Two trains and half a bagel later I found myself in the headquarter lobby, chock full of gorgeous women, all with those skinny legs, and dazzling eyes. There were a few odd ones out- a girl with Pink hair, a girl with crazy eyebrows, and a sassy model from Korea who was using trail mix as a social device to mingle with other models. I sat quietly. At first everyone stared at me... Wondering why I was there perhaps with my portfolio in my hands. But then an I house Agent named James suggested I be in heels alreAdy. The minute I put those on, people because even more confused. Finally one girl approached me and asked what I was doing there.

I explained to her that I was an andro model and showed her my portfolio. She laughed and called over some other models, who all took a look. They all giggled and said they thought I was a male model. I laughed back and said "well at least you knew I was a model." That seemed to break the ice, and slowly I was able to ease in socially with each of them. One girl said to me "you know, I normally keep to myself during these things. But, since you aren't really competition for MY market- I feel a little safer sitting next to you. May I?"


Finally, after combing through people alphabetically, they finally called me in. I was able to walk into the room on the heels just fine. I was introduced to a runway coach with intense but smiling eyes by my handler Domonick. "She's a... Project we are working on... Um she needs some work. A lot of work." He asked me to take off my shirt and walk for them. I nervously mentioned I had just learned to walk in heels that week and went to the starting point. I strolled towards them, my ankles rolling slightly, the bottoms of the heels slipping on the faux wood flooring. I walked like a man. I could feel it.

When I got to the end, the runway coach shook her head and took a deep breath in. "Yeah girl you need help. Ok, go back to the beginning. You need to let your legs carry you... Not your body. You need to be more confident in the way you step."

I returned to the spot and tried again. I want even finished before she shook her head. I laughed nervously. "Don't smile. Never smile halfway down the runway!" She gave me a demonstration of how she wanted me to walk. Then had me go back to the beginning. This time they called the president Katia in to watch as well. No pressure right?

They gestured me to come at them. This time I put my shoulders back and had my feet take me forward. The runway coach grimaced a bit but shook her head up and down slightly "that was a little better." Katia nodded "that was a little better from the last time I had you walk". 

"Now walk for us as a man."

I took of my heels and dashed to the starting point. Then took off to the end powerfully. Everyone studied me approvingly. The runway coach smiled "well there you go."

I thanked them and stood there nervously. Domonick looked me up and down. "Look Rain, you have a great personality and a look but that can only get you so far. At some point, you have to also be a great model too." For some reason those words stung a little. I said "well, I'll definitely practice, for sure-" he noodled and cut me off "and another thing, models don't talk often. They are cool people, like you are a cool person, but when they are going on a call... They say yes- no- that's it. They are quiet. People want to look at a model not hear them." I laughed, "yeah, I definitely saw that today at the casting call-"

The runway coach interrupted me this time, "see? That's an example of a time when you should just say. Yes. Okay. End of story. Not go on and on."

I blinked. "Ok."

The runway coach looked at me. "Katia is going to set us up with a date together to work on a few things."

I gave her a thumbs up "ok."

She looked at me quizzically "it's not impossible."

"I'm a quick learner, I promise." 

"I can see that. Let's hope it's quick enough."

And with that I was sent out into the street again. I didn't feel angry or upset. I felt frustrated. All my life I'd never fit in with any crowd really.. Especially the femme one. It feels so weird... So fucking weird to have been able to master this male side of me that I am not even biologically connected to. It feels embarrassing to be so disconnected from the energy that surrounds the female form which I AM biologically connected to.

I am a woman. I was born a woman. I love being a woman. But... The way woman is defined by marketable modeling and commercial standards... It makes me feel alien to myself. Are these 36Ds and a vagina all I have to prove that I'm a lady to all these designers?

These next few weeks will be truly an exploration of that side of myself that I've never really been introduced to. Another light and being that has not had permission to expose itself. The one that is vulnerable, soft, seductive...sultry. The one that we claim is feminine. How I will discover this side, I don't know. All I can be sure of is that I have never felt so much pressure to be a woman as I do now. And though I've been one all my life, I'm beginning to realize that perhaps I've never truly been one at all.... By our standard definition.

I will conquer FEMMEness.... And then I will turn it on its head and redefine it for the world to see. Because no one should ever feel this disconnected from their own identity ever again.

I will be Lady Liberty.