Today’s crisis of conscience: Do we allow our oldest to explore modeling and risk being subjected to the highs and lows of the industry, or put our feet down and steer her toward nobler, more intellectual pursuits?
Tough call. First, she’s gorgeous. Tall, blond, blue eyes. Everything looks good on her. Sure, we’re biased. What parent isn’t, right? Although, I’ve been struggling with this concept. What if she weren’t such a good looking kid? Would we still encourage her despite the risk of someone in the business eventually bursting her bubble, or the industry eating her alive, or, while we’re on the subject of eating, the risk of eating disorders, negative body image, psychological damage?
Here I am, though, surrounded by mothers and daughters. Aggressive, pushy, loud, fast-talking types. What am I doing here?!? I’m not that guy. On the contrary, I’m mellow, laid back, easy going. How could I possibly subject our child to this insanity?!?
And yet, there’s our girl facing the camera. Strikingly beautiful, tall, confident. The photographer tells her to look down at her feet, then, with just her eyes, to look up at the camera. She does it. Boy, does she look good. This can’t be right, I think to myself, our girl’s supposed to be a Rhodes Scholar, cure cancer, stop global warming. Snap. Hand on hip, other hand on knee. Snap. Tosses hair back. Snap. Smiles. Snap. Now no smile. Snap. She’s a natural. When did she learn how to do this? Snap.
We’re normal enough. She’s grounded. Likes to read. Curious. A smart cookie. Full of spirit and vitality.
She’s no mannequin!
So, what the heck are we thinking bringing her here? Are we succumbing to superficiality? Sending her the wrong message?
Boy, she sure looks great. I’m so proud of her. I’m smiling ear to ear.
On the way back to the car, I ask her if she had a good time. She nods her head. I tell her that some models make a ton of money and become famous. Of course, I remind her that that’s a long shot, that there are so many things she could do, and what’s most important is that she feel good about herself.
In that moment, I’m not sure who’s more seduced by the lights, camera, and glamor. I have a pretty good idea, though.