First off, I feel the need to say this: I have some really good friends in this community. One of my best friends in this community is Tiviyah. She was the one that pushed me to really go for it after I sat on the fence for months about trying my hand at modeling. When I was away for a bit and I decided to come back, dive in, and really throw my cards out, she was right there again, pointing me to opportunities and giving me advice and telling me to breathe.
Tiviyah shared this song on her blog the other day, but she also shared it with me on Facebook the other day. As I’ve said multiple times before, I am first a dancer. It’s something I’ve been doing in SL for years, and it’s something that I enjoy. Something that I like to think I’m good at. When I first started dancing, I was constantly nervous. I was constantly wondering if the audience or the judges would hate me, or if I was doing everything wrong, or if I’d ever be able to do even remotely as good as some of the girls I envied in the dance community.
Now, when I get out there to dance, I could care less about the judges. The audience doesn’t make me nervous. I found my confidence and I ran with it and I have so much fun every time I dance that it doesn’t even bother me when I freeze or when a set completely explodes or an animation doesn’t play right. It doesn’t bother me because I know that regardless, I’m good at what I do and at the end of the day I’m just being me, and people are going to love me or hate me for it.
Why do y’all care about any of this, you ask? Because yesterday was the final audition for Miss Virtual World, and I went, and I’m about to draw some parallels. I’m also going to share my stylings for the two live auditions for MVW this year.
Audition 1: “Dress to Impress – Mix and Match!”
Audition 2: “Casual Chic (Inspired by some photos of clothing from Givenchy’s Line)”
When you go to an audition in the modeling world, you are judged on everything from how well you pose to how well your clothing works with everything else while you walk. You’re judged on your interpretation of a theme, on the tiniest most minute details of your outfit and your appearance–things that most of us don’t think about when we slap on an outfit straight out of the box. This same sort of thing happens when you dance. You’re judged on your outfit–does your outfit match the mood of your dance? Does it match your words? Does it match your music? Do your animations match the music? Do they match the mood of your dance? Are there any jumps between the animations? Does everything flow together well? Do your words do a good job of not only describing your dance, but your emotions? Do they help you tell your story, or do they hurt you? Did you start on time? Did you end with your music? Did you interpret the theme in your own way? Was your dance original? Was it YOU? Etc, etc.
This is how I interpret the modeling world. I want to be ME. I am a bit of a “hippy” in real life. I love holey jeans and cute tops. I love things that drape. I love flowing skirts and cute little dresses, lots of fun patterns. Lately, I’ve had a serious ~thing for black and white. I even have a shirt in real life much like the one I wore in my first audition–which was part of its draw.
The thing that sometimes upsets me about modeling auditions as opposed to dance competitions, exhibitions, and performances is that when you’re asked for your interpretation of something, in the dance world, your individual interpretation of something isn’t usually called into question. Some girls in the dance world even write their dances in first person. I HATE doing that. It really throws me off. It’s a stylistic choice that they make though, and that’s fine, because that’s them. I take risks all the time when I dance. I love taking risks and trying new things, but when I do, I do those things in my own way, because I don’t like to compromise being me, no matter what I think an audience or a judge will say about it. Long ago, I realized that the audience, the judges–they are either going to love me or hate me, but either way, I’m still going to be me.
Tiviyah is a good friend, and she knows how I think. When I was nervous for the second audition after lagging out and getting stuck in a wall during my exit on the first audition, Tiviyah helped me laugh it off. She told me to think about it like a dance, something I am familiar and confident with, and to play some music while I walked. She sent me the song I linked in the beginning (again). She’d already sent it to me once on Facebook and encouraged me to do something amazing with it since she couldn’t get it to fit into the sort of venue that we both compete in.
This was a huge confidence booster for me, and it made me feel better about the audition as I waited for my group to be called backstage. I was pretty confident in my styling for several reasons. 1. I know of this particular designer, and would likely own everything they’ve got in their line if a blouse alone wasn’t somewhere in the neighborhood of $1600 at Barney’s, 2. The styling specified casual chic, and at my first audition, I was advised that I was a little too ‘dressed down.’ I assumed that there wouldn’t be too much avant garde styling because of this specification–something I saw quite a bit of at the first round of auditions, and something that I just don’t usually do because it’s not me, and 3. I was still me. I won’t put things on Nova that I wouldn’t wear in real life. You are told in most modeling schools to be you because the judges will be able to tell when you are uncomfortable with your stylings. They tell you to be you because it is that personality that will help you stick out, and that will make a difference.
Anyone can change their skin and alter their shape, but being you sets you apart from the girl next to you that shops at all the same stores.
That’s what you’re told.
Now, I didn’t make it into MVW this year. There were almost 80 girls that went to live auditions in total. I was absolutely honored to be included in that number. My first styling I liked… but I didn’t entirely feel like myself. I felt like I looked pretty. But I didn’t feel totally confident in it. The first round, I noticed a lot of the girls that went really avant garde with their stylings. That’s not me, but here’s where I have a disconnect with the audition process, and where auditions for modeling are somewhat different.
I’m NOT an avant garde stylist. Occasionally, I find a headpiece that I fall in love with, but even these, while a little out-of-the-box, are fairly understated in comparison to most avant garde pieces. Nine times out of ten, I won’t wear such things to an audition anyway, because my thought process on an audition is that the point is to interpret the theme, go out there, be yourself and be judged on those merits. I feel as though a lot of times in the modeling world despite the fact that you are told not to style the way you think the judges would want (you’re told instead to style your own interpretation), that that’s what you should do. I’ve been to many castings for many different things, and the sad part about that is usually the times at which I am most uncomfortable with how I am representing myself are the times at which I do the best. In dance, when you are asked to interpret a theme, you may get an “I didn’t get it” comment on occasion, but usually, the judges just like to see you being you. The only time I have ever really been chastised by a judge in dance was for not being myself. It was blatantly obvious to this particular judge, and he scored me badly because he knew that I was trying to be someone I was not. I couldn’t blame him; I knew I had put the nail in my own coffin.
The thing is, in modeling, I still have yet to figure out what it really means when they tell you to be you. I am never anything but myself, so it confuses me when I continue to get signals that essentially tell me that being me either isn’t good enough or unique enough, or that being me simply isn’t good enough. I guess when I understand that, I will do much better.
I am definitely a little sad about not getting into MVW this year. I feel like MVW is one of those things all models in SL who are serious about what they do eventually aspire to do or to be. I may be new-ish to the modeling thing, but I’ve been around for a while. I watched MVW pass twice since I started my modeling journey. Just because I haven’t been around a while doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention, after all. This year, I finally got enough confidence to say “I’m going for it.” There were several really wonderful girls there. I picked a top that was ridiculously hard to pose, so maybe that was a bad idea. I’m still proud of what I did and proud of the fact that I went for it. I’m proud of the fact that I was me. I’m proud of my interpretation of the theme, but the whole audition process has left me feeling confused. I was looking forward to some profound learning experience or something, and I feel like I didn’t really take anything away with me this time. I guess that leaves me a little disappointed in myself.
That said, there’s always next year, and I intend to keep learning and bettering myself in that time and come back and kick butt next time around. I also intend to go to as many open events in the MVW process as I can attend and cheer on some of the lovely ladies who DID make it this year, some of whom I know have been working hard for years and aspired to compete. Congratulations to all you beautiful ladies. Everyone looked so wonderful, and you ladies will all do wonderfully. I can’t wait to see who is going to be Miss Virtual World this year.
I will add styling information here soon. I’ve got to pull up quite a few shops and things I don’t have access to at the moment, but please feel free to comment if you’d like the information before I manage to get it up here.