AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK- CHAPTER ‘THE TIME I ALMOST BECAME A SUPERMODEL…’

…Funnily enough, modelling hadn’t quite fallen out of love with me, not yet anyway and one Saturday whilst out with my friends in Covent Garden, I was approached by a model scout, this time from Storm Models, Elite’s rival agency. They asked me to come in for a meeting because they were interested in signing me. I had my mouth full of jacket potato at the time, so it was quite the surprise, a very flattering one at that. My friends all thought it was all v. exciting and that this clearly meant I would star in a L’Oreal ad by at least the end of the week, cockily rotating in a swivel chair whilst slathering myself in cream and declaring I was, ‘worth it’. However, I was by now pretty pragmatic (aka ‘totally fucking jaded’) about the business and knew that even if Storm did sign me up, it didn’t guarantee me work — there would still be a long long road ahead of me of go-sees, rejections, the occasional job, but then more go-sees, more rejections. Was I really willing to go through it all again? Was I strong enough? Not with skin this thin — that’s for sure.

I did meet with Storm though and Sarah Doukas, the owner, was so sweet, with a very supportive attitude to her models. Straight away, she arranged an appointment for me to see Corinne Day, an up-and-coming photographer and I thought why not, let’s give this a chance — maybe I’ve just been waiting to meet that one photographer who will inspire me and bring out my inner model and then I will get my model mojo back. So, after a long day of pretending to listen to what was going on in class (I was way too excited and needed to daydream about catwalks), mum and I got on the train to meet Corinne. A pretty young model opened the door. I recognised her immediately. It was Kate Moss. ‘Come in, come in. Do you want a cuppa tea?’ She asked. Now this I have to say yes to. Kate Moss, making me and my mum a cup of tea! Supermodel tea, no less! I followed Kate into what was basically a teeny tiny residential flat. Corinne was sat on the sofa and the room was full of smoke and incense; at least I think it was incense…

‘Hi, I’m Kate’, Kate Moss said to my mum, polite as a lamb, ‘I know who you are, you’re Kate Moss — you’re amazing!’ I said, ‘And you must be Alexis?’ asked Kate, I love your pictures’. Wow! I did a little dance in my head, stunned that someone like Kate would know who I was and think I had potential (even if my hips were now fast approaching 37 inches in circumference). Corinne waded in, ‘Alexis. I really like your look. I’d love to photograph you. Here’s my book, have a look and tell me if you’re up for it.’ Of course, I didn’t even need to look at it! Of course, I would say yes on the spot! Why wouldn’t I?!! Corinne was wonderful, Kate — her friend and muse, was wonderful. Everything was wonderful…

And that’s when I opened Corinne’s book and on the first page spotted a totally nude model. ‘Boobs out, foof out’ nude, I mean. On the second page, another nude. Then some pictures of Kate, tastefully topless but still with her boobs out. I began to detect a pattern, I began to spot a high genital headcount. I heard a sharp intake of breath, not sure if it was mine or my mother’s, or both. Suddenly we were like two prudes in a ‘70’s sitcom. ‘What do you think?’ Corinne asked me. Now, I was well aware that fashion modelling wasn’t opposed to the occasional tit, often a little bit of pubis, but I wasn’t ready for this, however high fashion and artistic the images were. My face grew hot with embarrassment. I desperately wanted to be cool enough to say yes and I desperately wanted to be as cool as Kate. Of course I was well aware that any pictures Corinne took of me would have looked amazing and been something to show off to the grandkids after a few glasses of port at Chrimbo, but at 15, I just knew I couldn’t face getting my kit off. It wasn’t wrong but it wasn’t for me and I suddenly felt anything but special or super and I wanted to get out of there fast, aware of my own failure to step up to the mark. I wished I could have been freer with my body but I would never have lived it down in Double Maths and it would have made Dad look at me funny (or not look at me at all), so I said ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

A few months later, Corinne ‘blew up’ (figuratively, not literally) as THE photographer of the zeitgeist, the proponent of ‘heroin chic’, earning her place in the annals of fashion history. I totally could have been a part of that alongside her. I do wonder what would have happened if I’d said yes — I replay it in my head, like that film, ‘Sliding Doors’, only with my foof and tits in the starring roles…

YOUNG STRUM, THE ALMOST MODEL

2 thoughts to “AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK- CHAPTER ‘THE TIME I ALMOST BECAME A SUPERMODEL…’”

  1. Alexis this made me laugh out loud! And reminded me of me, as I turned down a lucrative tv commercial for baby oil as it would have had me being filmed in the shower ( it’s ok – nothing will show on screen – only the film crew and ad men will see your naked body!). Ummm actually not ok. I’m not a prude either, but just couldn’t face it. My reddened cheeks (face and bum) would have given my embarrassment away.

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