It's fashion week, so Madeline, Cato and Austria are busy hoofing it down runways — and doing all the castings, fittings, and journeying around town that leads to them. (For that matter, so am I! Seventeen appointments yesterday left me zombified on the couch, too tired to do anything for dinner but munch on a big bowl of cereal. I didn't even have the wherewithal to follow the storyline of whatever dumb MTV reality show my Brazilian roommate seemed to find entrancing.) But: the modelfolk persevere! This week's episode of Model.Live is a taste of the pre-show week whirl. In the clip above, everybody lines up, waits, walks, and repeats — and Madeline, who mislays her book and freaks out at casting #30, pronounces the series' very first "Just stop filming for a minute!" in urgent tones.
I've been there. (Literally: I did my thing at most of the castings in this episode.) But then, I did it on public transportation. And until someone is reduced to eating breakfast food from a box at 11:30 p.m. I won't feel that my modeling experience has been faithfully rendered.
On a different note, I have to wonder if this series has found, or will find, a significant audience. I think it's fascinating — but that's because this is my job, I'm naturally sensitive to how it's portrayed in other media, and I would watch almost anything modeling-related just out of pure curiosity. (Most models are this way: basically every English-speaking girl I know has a secret ANTM addiction, which we generally process by talking, together, about how ridiculous and tragic the series is. It's much the way I imagine architects are with Ayn Rand.) But if the greatest intrigue this vastly more realistic show can serve up is "Will Madeline find her lost book?" (and even then, it seemingly drops the question for lack of interest), then perhaps the reality is that my job just isn't necessarily interesting to watch. In fact it's almost as repetitive to see the same string of introductions, abortive small-talk, Polaroid posing, and demonstration walking on my laptop as it is to live through. It occurs to me that the process of getting a modeling gig just isn't that dynamic, that it doesn't scream "online reality-documentary with unprecedented sponsorship backing deals and $31,000/minute production values!" Can Model.Live continue just by fanning the flames of native teen girl model worship? (Sample from Cato's Bebo page comments: "I want to be a model when i am older, how do you get your thighs so thin?") I suppose we'll find out.
Because, possibly to its credit, Model.Live is certainly not doing anything much to trick out the storyline. The models themselves seem fairly vanilla; in the full episode, Cato shares her castings philosophy ("You might think it goes good, but it goes bad, or you think it goes bad but it goes good, you never know") and Austria passive-aggressively quizzes her about real estate. (Austria: "You have your own apartment? You buy one?" Cato: "No, renting." Pause. "It's not...that...expensive." Austria: "Oh." Glance with raised eyebrow. "Okay.") It's the kind of subtle/banal moment I'd sooner expect from a David Mamet play than an online series brought to me by Express.com.
Speaking of which, in the middle of this episode, for no reason I can discern, Madeline and Austria go to an Express store. (Shop for fast fashion, why, that's just what I would do in the middle of a 20-appointment day!) There is a montage where they each try on a lot of outfits. Because at castings, as in life, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
I would say something pithy here about how Model.Live's first impression on me is fading, but...that probably doesn't make sense, and I'm beat. Excuse me, I believe I need to go subject my hair to some flat-ironing and assorted sprayings and gunkings. I have appointments to keep.
Vogue's Model.Live: Models Are Strange, When You're An Agent
Vogue's Model.Live: Castings Can Really Be A Grind
Vogue's Model.Live: Don't Get Famous, And Other Gems Of Parental Wisdom
Points For Effort: Vogue Reality Series About Modeling Surprisingly Realistic, A Little Boring
Related: Model.Live Episode 5
Model.Live on Bebo