I have been been modelling since 2012.
That feels like ages ago.
I started with practically zero confidence.
At around 14 years old, I went to an online forum for models and was told that I was too short to be a model.
At 16 years old, I got my septum pierced a long while after discovering Suicide Girls during their guest appearance on CSI:NY.
At nearly 18 years old, I got my first tattoo, it was the First Fig by Edna St Vincent Millay because Roald Dahl used it as his life motto.
I spent most of my teenagehood admiring Marilyn Monroe and spent a lot time blogging about how I wanted to be exactly like her; all in her 5’5″, D-cup, blonde glory.
I wanted to bleach my hair and curl it.
I wanted breast implants.
I wanted leg lengthening surgery.
I wanted to waist train.
Frankly, I wanted to be white passing at the time as well.
Even after discovering that alternative models did not necessarily have to be above 5’5″ (the height standard in Asia) or have umpteen tattoos and piercings, when I finally had my photographs taken, my body image troubles had not ended there.
I am 5’2″ on a good day (I have mild scoliosis) with a 32-28-37 body. That doesn’t seem too bad to the layman but I appear like an oompa-loompa to agencies in Asia. Even if I was 5’5″, my bust-waist-hip ratio is considered too fat.
While Western modelling agencies require at least a 5’9″ tall and 34-24-34 body, Asian ones want at least a 5’5″ tall and an even smaller body at 32-22-32.
We have talked about my body, now let’s get to my face. I have a very high forehead, a large nose from my paternal grandfather, small lips, plump jowls and very thin 1A hair, both from mum. Western ideals for female faces include a smaller forehead, hooded eyes with a clear crease, a button nose, high cheekbones, very plump lips and dense hair with the help of extensions or a lace front wig. Asian ideals for female faces also want smaller foreheads then diverge in the sense that the lips are plump but smaller and rounder, noses are small and sharp, jaws are sharp with a slim jaw and their hair has wavy extensions attached.
I have always identified as a woman and I was assigned female at birth but I still have to deal with a lot of misgendering and questions. It took me a while to realize that makeup and hair can only do so much.
Additionally, due to my ruler figure and shallow bust, I feel like a crossdresser, with or without a cinched waist and breast fillets.
For a while, I say that I am gender non-conforming, after admiring the work of gender capitalist and high fashion model, Rain Dove. Now here comes the other issue, I do not look masculine enough to pass as male either. Once again, I try packing, heel lifts, shoulder pads and I look more like a young effeminate boy.
I came to the realization that my relationship with gender, femininity and masculinity is very cold? I feel like the real me is neither of these things. I understand that presentation and internal feelings are different. My status is now questioning.
To conclude my first blog post in a long time, people don’t like me because I don’t fit the mold. At the same time, I don’t feel like I can fit said molds. One of these days I might figure this out.
Just don’t assume I am very confident in myself, in reality, I am always at war with my own thoughts and looks.