MIFF #4: I am going to disclaim responsibility for choosing to see Picture Me: A Model’s Diary at 9:15pm on a school night.
So RM and I were flicking through the MIFF program and he surprised me by saying that he wanted to see ‘a visual diary of Sara [Ziff]’s experiences within the sometimes glamourous, often controversial, world of an international fashion model.’ He said that he’d read some good reviews about the documentary, that it was a no-holds-barred insight into the exploitation and dark side of modelling and was particularly effective because some of the people who were filmed did not realise that they were going to be part of a documentary.
It was pleasant enough to watch pretty girls wearing pretty clothes for 90 minutes, kind of like seeing Vogue come to life. But the supposed ‘insights’ included:
- when you’re a model you get paid a lot of money to be pretty and on time, and after a while you can get used to the money;
- a model who jumped into a hot tub with a completely naked photographer and was surprised when he made a move;
- feeling annoyed because you often have to pay for your friends on holidays in St Barts because you earn 80-100k every time you work;
- you are often treated like a prop, your hair gets pulled, your skin gets burnt;
- backstage of a catwalk show is chaos and you have to get undressed in front of everyone, often within sight of the backstage photographers;
- working as a tall, thin coathanger means you get a warped sense of the ideal body shape;
- modelling and jetsetting around the world can be really tiring and the lack of sleep can play havoc to your skin and your emotions;
- after a couple of years of walking up and down in a straight line and posing for cameras, modelling can start to feel kind of empty and pointless and it’s a challenge to work out what you want to do next; and
- there are lots of too-young, too-skinny girls in the industry.
Yawn. I feel sorry for any young girl who is placed in a situation where they are likely to be exploited or even sexually assaulted, but Picture Me taught me nothing new about the modelling industry and it was boring.
I did like the opening credits though. They were pretty creative.