This past Wednesday, Thread held a model casting call in front of the Scripps building. I was in charge of running it and putting it together and making sure that people showed up.
I was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of people and overall interest in modeling for the magazine. The casting call was ‘successful,’ and we came away with about 84 interested people. I thought that on a good day we might have gotten 50, so I was quite pleased with the fact that we surpassed that goal easily.
As good as the turnout was, it unfortunately was not all that diverse. I had written in the invitation that we were looking for all heights, shapes, sizes and colors – and that any and everyone should apply! The people who showed up were GREAT, don’t get me wrong… but I was hoping we would get a wide array of people.
Through out the afternoon we pulled people off the streets, called our friends, bothered people coming in and out of Baker and walking by Scripps to come over and get their picture taken and sign up to model for Thread Magazine. There was some good response to this, but witnessing these accounts first hand, I was surprised by all of the people who turned us down.
I felt like most of the men and women who arrived at the casting call were on the thinner side. This is fine, but we were hoping to cast people of all sizes. When we asked other people walking by who might fit the latter description, they kindly declined. At first I thought it was coincidence, or perhaps they just didn’t have time to stop by on their way to class. But after a while, we got the message that a lot of people were declining based on the fact that they didn’t perceive themselves as being “model worthy.”
Soon, other people helping out with the casting call were noticing the same thing. Everyone started commenting on the lack of variety in the types of people who were coming up to us and wanting to model. We are aware of what the majority of society deems as “model” appropriate, but at Thread Magazine we aren’t about that at all. And as much as we tried, we couldn’t convince people otherwise. No amount of flattery would change their mind. And oddly enough, the majority of people who were unsure of themselves were actually guys!
“I’m not a model.” or “I’m definitely not model material.” and even “Hah! Definitely not!” or “Are you joking?!” Were the responses that we got from most people who refused us.
The sad part of all of this is that we can only work with what we have. And since people self selected themselves as “not worthy” or “not appropriate” of being a fashion model, our model database is slim. (Both figuratively and physically). And the irony of not wanting to promote only one body type, but only getting that certain body type to sign up is hard to deal with. If normal/average sized, but also beautiful and fashionable people don’t throw their hat in the ring, then there is not a whole lot we can do. Other than try again…
Thread Magazine is well aware of the stereotypical model body promoted here in the U.S., and while that is beautiful and works well for some things, there is a whole plethora of other shapes and sizes that we also want to incorporate. We do not want to alienate anyone, and we don’t want to further the mainstream media’s choice of only using ’80 lb. 6 ft models’, and no one else. That’s not right nor is it practical, and it goes against the message we, at Thread, are trying to send.
So the next time we ask and invite you, don’t be afraid or hesitant. Put your best foot forward and bring your smile and come get your picture taken! This is a student publication for STUDENTS, and we want to account for everyone within our pages; not just whom society has deemed acceptable.