Lately, there has been a lot of mail sent to Gothic Charm School from female readers who are all asking about the same topic. You see, they all want to become Gothic models, and does the Lady of the Manners have any advice?
The Lady of the Manners’ first instinct was to answer “Don’t”, but realizes that not only is that not terribly helpful, but would make for a very short column. So the Lady of the Manners went and asked all the gothy models and photographers she knows (and it surprised her to discover how many Gothic models and photographers she does know) for their perspective on the whole thing.
Firstly, think about *why* you want to be a Goth model. Is it because everyone has told you how cute you are, and that you should be a model? Or is it because you want everyone to tell you how cute you are, and putting pictures of yourself online will cause that to happen? The thing to be VERY aware of is that putting pictures of yourself on the internet will get you attention, but perhaps not the sort of attention you really want. Not just people thinking of you … er … in an perhaps inappropriate and prurient fashion, but people looking at your pictures and saying horrible, catty, and mean things about you. Not to mention people making up lies and spreading rumors about you based on nothing more than a photo.
Now that the Lady of the Manners has gotten that cautionary statement out of her system, on to possibly more palatable advice:
– Put some thought into your photos. Web cam shots are overdone and cheesy, and not in an amusingly ironic way. Other rather tired Goth model clichés include pictures with knives, fake blood, in graveyards, with wings of some sort, and with such high contrast levels that your nose completely vanishes. If you really, really want to pictures with those themes, go ahead, but be aware that they’ve been Done Before.
– Wear things that flatter you. The gothiest, most out-there outfit is pointless if it doesn’t look good on you. Of course, if you’re trying to look horrific, scary, or shocking, that is a different objective entirely, but having a bad photo because you thought you HAD to wear PVC to be a Gothic model is just silly.
– ALWAYS ask for the references of any photographer who contacts you about doing a photo shoot if you don’t personally know them. Don’t let your enthusiasm to have your picture taken override your common sense. There are unscrupulous people out there who have figured out that having a camera and calling themselves a photographer will bring young women to them. Any photographer worth the name should be willing to show you their portfolio, have references from other models they have worked with, and not raise an eyebrow at a model’s request to bring someone with them to the photo shoot. (This does not mean bring an entourage. However, bringing along a trusted friend to keep you company AND to make you feel more comfortable is always a good idea.)
– Do not fall prey to the dreaded Model Ego trap. Having your picture taken does not mean you now deserve extra-special treatment, should expect that every wish of your heart will be granted because you’re pretty, or that you get to say things like “But don’t you know who I *am*?!” when making outrageous demands. Modesty and humility are important ideas, even if your picture is on a gazillion banner ads across the Internet.
– Get used to the fact that all sorts of people will not only consider images of you public property, but some will copy them to use them as icons on web boards, blogs, or anyplace else where someone could claim that the picture really was of them, honest!
Now, with all that in mind, do you still want to become a Goth model? Yes, the Lady of the Manners thought so. Very well then, go forth, start building your portfolio, and have fun. Be sure to come back next month, when the Lady of the Manners will probably deliver a worried lecture about something else, unless she gets distracted by horrible behavior at the local goth clubs.