The countless hours spent watching rerun after rerun of modelling reality programs such as America's Next Top Model, the Face and Supermodel Me means I get to not only distinguish between a good makeover and a bad one, the importance of a portfolio, the need for your eyes to communicate as well as the flow and connection of your whole body and face, and also the difference between a commercial and a high fashion model.
In the programs, girls are always quickly divided and labeled into 'commercial models', whose looks are common and conventionally beautiful enough to book jobs for commercial advertisements and magazines, and those who fall into the category of 'high fashion models', who have a striking look and certain quirkiness to themselves that attribute them to high-end fashion magazines such as Vogue. The latter are the models that walk through the runways of high-end brands, those whose looks are unforgettable and have the traits of a future supermodel. You will see commercial models on buses, when you flip through a teen magazine, or have them featured in a beauty how-to editorial segment online. They will model clothes for your local mall, clad in the brands they represent - be it jeans, daily cosmetics, anti-acne products.
But the high fashion models are the ones you will remember. They will pose in unnatural angles and have their make up done in such a way that screams unconventional, but everyone of great power in the fashion industry will love it. They will strut down Fashion Week runways in see-through couture dresses, wearing nude make ups or looking as though they've just stepped out of bed, but so, so gorgeous. They are the faces you will see and think inwardly, oh, she's not that pretty, but there's something about her...
I've begun to think that this applies to writing as well.
There are the so-called commercial writers, and high fashion writers. The former can easily have bestsellers in modest to good quantities, publish more books than we think possible, and attend seminars, be in public workshops or talk-show, and have their faces in the interview segments of most magazines. Their success is wow-inducing, based on the amount of books in a specific genre that resonates with its target readers, and might even have a cult following who won't miss a single book once it hits the shelves. Their books have hits and lows - some are great to cuddle in bed with or you can't take your eyes off it during a holiday break, some are snoozers that you only read because you used to like the author.
Then there's another type of writer entirely. The literary prize winner. The one whose debut shoots up straight to the bestselling charts, where it stays for weeks, possibly months. The writing style is genius. The idea is mind-blowing. Awards after awards swoop in and carry the author's name to become a household name. Every home must have that book on their shelves. Movie producers are making deals one after another for that book, along with a string of equally famous actors to represent the adaptations. The author that makes you think, she definitely writes flawlessly, as if it took her no effort at all, though we all know it's not true... but I'm just so in awe! (and so jealous).
Deep down, I do think that is true.
I also believe that while 'high fashion' writers are born out of sheer talent (as well as hard work), it takes a genius and a rare gem of a talent to achieve that. While 'commercial' writers probably possess more luck, find a niche, or simply work harder than everyone else, and do enjoy quite a nice amount of success, often being a 'high fashion' writer is more desirable. I certainly wish I am one, though I am grateful to be where I am :)
It might take ages and lots of hard work to be that, but I also believe it is entirely possible.
It can also be that my musings are wholeheartedly wrong. After all, every writer is unique.
But deep down, I close my eyes and imagine the quirky girl on the Vogue cover, and smile.