Sorry for huge!face. This photo was taken in-world and is un-edited.
I can see myself catching some hell for this opinion, but here it goes anyway.
The thing about modeling in SL is that everyone has vastly differing opinions. Sometimes I wonder why I do it, especially because there is a lot of criticism involved. I’m legally blind in RL so even in dance, something I’ve been doing for years, I miss things–jumps in animations, prims that don’t sit quite right in sets. For modeling, I’ve learned a few tricks (thanks to Tivi Inglewood and Steele Sirnah) that have helped with some of the issues related to modeling in recent weeks, but I still miss things. I’m always going to.
Recently, I participated in a style challenge that I thought I could have a lot of fun with. I even had some items in my inventory from when I took a college class in SL and had to turn Nova into a boy for a week. There were clearly some vastly differing opinions on what the challenge was, but I lived in Japan in high school and was a huge fan of some of the 80s bands (X Japan being the main one… poor Hide) who headlined this particular fashion trend, so I figured, “what the hell?”
For this challenge, I did my damnedest to make myself look androgynous. That’s a big point to this particular style. I once showed my little brother a pic of the guys from Dir en Grey. His reaction was, “why are you fawning over a bunch of hot girls?” And then I showed him pics of some of the members outside of the flamboyant costumes. He was mad at me for a week. But I digress. If you’ve followed these bands or this trend outside of googling it on occasion, you’ll see it’s mainly related to the music scene, but has also undergone some changes, and in recent years, some harsh criticism for being too over the top and overshadowing the music. Some bands take it so far as to border on harajuku styling, IMO, but the point of it is that it’s supposed to be fun, and it’s supposed to be an illusion. I went for androgynous instead of flamboyant because I didn’t want to jump from one style straight into another. I wanted to keep the illusion, which to me is part of the fun of this fashion trend. I used street style instead of 80s glam rock style because many of the bands have toned this styling down somewhat, and because I didn’t want to show up to the styling challenge looking exactly like everyone else.
Two of the girls were wearing the exact same jacket. Both had boots. Both had fishnet. Okay. So there’s the glam and the flamboyancy in a sense, that this style is often known for, but it’s also more often than not known for its androgyny factor. I didn’t alter my shape for the challenge at all, but I still feel like I accomplished what I set out to accomplish, and I’m proud of that. Here’s the real kicker: I don’t think anyone should have won yesterday. I saw more “punk rock with Asian-inspired hair” than I saw Visual Kei. I didn’t really see Visual Kei at all. I went for the androgyny, yeah. I guess the others went for the flair? But no one really pulled it off. See, this is Visual Kei:
Aren’t they ~pretty?
But look. Here’s The Gazette. They’re new-ish to the scene, but still not only fall within but consider themselves a Visual Kei band:
Still just… so damn pretty, aren’t they?
Note the differences. The second, and newer-to-the-scene band, is much more subdued in this photo, although sometimes not so much. It boils down to when and where, really. The mask thing has become popular, but in modeling in SL we’re told “omg don’t cover your face! That’s bad.” I have several masks similar to the above, and even a few with teeth and other fun elements, which I didn’t add because I figured I would be chastised for covering my face. I was also chastised for not having a hair base. The hair didn’t have one, and since I’ve been docked before for using another base when using hair that doesn’t provide some kind of base, I again decided against it. Y’all can see my prims are screwed up in the photo below. I was also docked for having boring poses, and for failing at walking (I lagged out and ended up in the fountain at one point and posed from there–does anyone have a trick for being able to see you avatar from head to TOE without setting the rear camera offset back such that your default view kicks several yards behind you?). Anyway, poses — I’d prepared several, but not enough (I wasn’t aware of how many we’d need). Lesson learned. I’m taking ten with me to every challenge from now on.
That’s me. My shape didn’t change but I think I pulled it off. IDK though. Maybe the mask would have helped it, but I doubt it.
In any case, I got my scores back, and it seems at least one of the judges understood the direction I took the theme. So that was nice. I’m still proud of what I did. I always tend to go the simpler route with things. First off, if you know me in real life, you’d know that’s just me. Secondly? I don’t see well, so the less tiny prims I have to deal with, the better. I think one might even be screwed up in the above picture.
I don’t usually let things bother me. But you know what? I’m living in a hotel right now. I thank the internet gods every day that I’m even able to access SL as it is. I constantly put myself out there even though I’m battling a crappy connection and some other issues, and nine times out of ten I’m shot down, or told this sucks or that sucks, or I have no idea what I’m doing. The thing is, almost every single time, it results in some kind of learning experience.
I just get so disheartened sometimes. In modeling, you are often told to style your interpretation of x, to be yourself, be unique, but then many don’t see that there are two sides to every coin. It’s like going to a casting that says “casual chic” and being surrounded by people with creatures coming out of their heads and fashion pieces we all know wouldn’t be even remotely feasible in the real world. It’s why we love them in SL of course, but it doesn’t mean everyone should shoot for avant garde, either. And by nature of what it is, most of avant garde isn’t even remotely casual wear. The confusing thing is that is what people seem to expect, so you can’t really be yourself and get ahead. You can be you or you can be what you think they want you to be, and only one of those will get you work, unfortunately. Still, like I said, everything is a learning experience, and I feel like I’m growing on this journey every day. I’ll never be a top model because my prims will never be perfect and no matter how much I alt+click on something, if I can’t see once I hit the arrow key I’m going to screw it up. But I know these things, and I often have a nice laugh about them (or Tivi in my IMs telling me I’ll have a nice laugh about them) later. So in my book I’ll always be a winner.
And that’s why I keep doing this, because despite the negative feedback and the people in the modeling world who probably think I’m just bashing my face against the keyboard at any given moment, I’m still having fun, and I’m still learning. And that’s the point isn’t it? When you get to the point where you think you’ve got nothing left to learn… Well, I hate to tell ya, but you’re wrong.
I’ll be updating this with styling info in the AM. Gotta take pain meds and go back to sleeeep.
Here, have some Gackt to tide you over until I fix the styling info. I forgot how much I love this song. I will be doing a choreo to it, soon. Soooon…
And WP won’t let me embed the video for some reason, so here’s a link to Gackt – Mizerable.