Rum and the Runway.
The problem with modeling fashion is that it's just like art; No matter how good you are at drawing, there's always someone that draws better than you. And in the modeling world, the biggest shot at one's self esteem is showing up at a show their supposed to model in and realizing that even though they're hot and even though they're noticeable, there are hotter and more noticeable people in every direction.
Because of this, I spent the majority of the time before the show outside chain smoking cigarettes and drinking Bacardi from an emptied Starbucks cup. This night was different from the show I'd modeled in before. There were about 500 more people here, scouts, photographers, important people in important suits, catering complete with little sandwiches, and real models. This was no little school function like the Couture Trash show had been, where students were modeling their friends work and nobody was getting paid or even that noticed. This was the real deal. This was a fashion show at twenty bucks a seat, on the corner of two of San Francisco's main streets, at a place that was regal right down the name on the outside of the building.
After about two hours of complication, trying to figure out how I could maneuver and flaunt the massive dress the way it was supposed to be flaunted, we came to the conclusion that the dress simply just wasn't made for a runway. Sure, everybody loved it, and yes, it looked amazing, but a dress that cannot make it up two steps without getting caught on itself and dragging its wearer to the ground is not meant to be showcased in a world as judgmental and criticizing as a runway. We were reluctant about the entire idea, and I felt awful because the entire point of a runway model is to make the outfit look as good as it can -- as good as it was meant to -- and I wondered if it was possible in my dress. I could barely walk, I couldn't make it up steps, and to top everything off, everyone around me was walking with the most effortless stride, making their outfits and themselves look like a million elegant dollars. The event was just as big for me as the wearer as it was for Bunny as the designer, but how good the final product came out all depended on me and how well I could walk in something that had been sitting in a basement, falling out of its frame, and becoming practically unwearable. There was nothing to do but hold our breath and hope that nothing went wrong.
As it turned out, I was going to be the last person on the runway for the entire show. That meant that I had even more pressure on my shoulders to do well as the last thing anybody would see before they went home. I was what people would remember when they left. So I got out there on that platinum runway, drunk as fuck after finishing the entire 5th of Bacardi and a bottle of expensive wine, and I just decided to fuck it. I looked straight ahead into black and didn't take my eyes off the other side of the room. I wasn't listening to any music that was playing, or any applause that was taking place. I couldn't see camera flashes or peoples' faces or anything but the lightless area of the room I was focusing on. All I felt were my feet hitting the floor at a pace I swore went with every beat around me. I felt the sledgehammer weighting down my shoulder and my eyes squinting and my lips puckering just enough to accentuate the seduction I was trying to put across. I slammed the massive tool down at the end of the runway, perfectly on beat with the song, swung it up around the opposite shoulder, turned around and shot every doubting person in that audience the most courageous of looks, and proceeded back up the runway, where every step continued without a hitch. In a dress my legs couldn't strut in, I strutted. In a dress my knees couldn't pop in with every step, I popped my knees. In a dress I couldn't walk up stairs in, I walked up stairs. And in a dress I felt more lacking in confidence in than anything else I'd ever worn, I flaunted my never-ending ego to everyone that gazed upon it. "I don't need you," the walk said. "I don't care about anybody but myself," the walk said. "Fuck every eye that's on me right now, because I'm too good for all of it," the walk said. And I exited the runway.
And I may not have been or felt like myself up there, but I certainly felt like the dress, the smoky makeup around my eyes, the faux-hawk that pointed so sharply to the side of my hair, and the attitude of the runway. I certainly felt everything that a model worth millions was supposed to be like and feel like when she was up there, not feeling obligated to take note of anything around her but the elements of herself. It's chaos up there, I'll tell you. When you get up there everything disappears. Everything blurs around you but the definite shape of the lit runway against the darkness of the seats surrounding it. Nothing moves, nothing speaks, nothing exists around you but you. It is the most you will ever be judged in a thirty second time period, and the most you will ever be admired. It is the most you will ever be noticed; the highest you'll ever feel knowing that there is nothing in an entire massive space for everyone to look at but you and the way you move.
Everything was worth it when after everything, the dimming of the lights, the running back stage, the recognition following, the free mini sandwiches, and the praise from everyone around, Bunny and I took the dress to the sidewalk and wailed on it with its infamous accessory. We were no longer victims to this dress. Now there was stomping of feet and slamming of a sledgehammer to prove that nothing this experiment with construction could dish out would stop us from making it amazing.