I’m Gonna be a Subpar Model?

Sometimes it feels like I’m expected to try to look like a supermodel. But because models are anomalies, I’m gonna fall short of the ideal we’ve made. Way, way short in fact, to the point that if I spent thousands of dollars and years of my life trying to fix my flaws, I could still never catch up.

So, I could be a subpar model.


Maybe I’ll just go be awesome instead.

That is a thought I had the other day at a singles meetup, where a beautiful woman batted her enormous extended eyelashes at a man who didn’t even notice her. And don’t think I’m judging her for having fake lashes. Trust me, I’ve gone to great lengths myself. I thought of my own lashes which I’d carefully coated and combed to the max. There was even a time I’d cut them short, having heard it would make them grow long and thick (it doesn’t work.) And for what?

My thoughts went something like this: “Why do we do this? Are we trying to look like we sell mascara for a living? Or like our job is to stand in the department store window? Like some sort of sub-supermodel?” None of those words formed in my brain, because my brain doesn’t work that way usually. But this phrase did appear: Subpar Model. I could be a subpar model (not even that, really). And I laughed to myself at the play on words, and figured my dad would like it.

I also figured I should never ever blog about it.

Until I ran into this story.

Announcer John Inverdale speculated whether Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli’s dad had told her she wasn’t pretty enough. He said maybe her dad coached her to be scrappy so she could successful. What an asinine thing to say, right? And then, in an attempt to make things right, he said he was simply poking fun in a nice way about her looks.

Poking fun in a nice way? Mmhmm. Sure. But it’s not all Inverdale’s problem. He didn’t come up with the idea that a woman’s most important quality is her looks, and lacking that we must seriously compensate. That attitude’s been around a long, long time. He is just repeating what he’s been taught.

What impressed me about the article was Bartoli’s response to the criticism.

“It doesn’t matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry, but have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes. And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing, and I am so proud of it.”

Awesome answer. I just want to be healthy and active and do what I love, and be really good at what I do. And I’m gonna eat today, and I’m gonna eat tomorrow … and I’m never gonna try to be a supermodel. 🙂


  1. Deni

    The gifts you have naturally are the ones which cannot be purchased. A girl can purchase fake eyelashes, fake hair, fake nails, fake tans, nose jobs, cheek implants, tummy tucks, etc. But, if a girl isn’t smart, wise, funny, or generally considered calm and sane, she cannot purchase those things.

    Better to be naturally graced with the traits not available for purchase and choose to add a few surface enhancements, such as mascara, hair color or high heels, than to be born naturally tall and beautiful without any special beauty tricks but have all your flaws fall into the category of things that cannot be changed no matter how much money you invest.

    Go easy on the poor girl with the fake lashes. We can’t all have the confidence that comes from your brilliance, and we must distract men from our personality flaws for as long as we can. 🙂 If she could have invested her money on your intellect rather than her lashes, she may have wisely chosen to fake your natural gifts instead.


    1. Velda

      I have no problem with the woman with the fake lashes. Lots and lots of amazing women wear them. But for what? What have we done to create a society where women feel pressed to do these things to be liked? Or in this poor woman’s case, to be ignored anyway?

      And I don’t believe for a second that actual supermodels have nothing else to offer the world.

      What I do have a problem with is the notion that we should be aiming to look like models and to compensate for every way in which we fall short visually, because even if we freaking win the Wimbledon people are gonna be talking about how we don’t look good enough. That is terrible. No one would ever say “This famous athlete’s mom told him he should get good at this sport to make up for being ugly.”

      Also, darlin, you and I both know you’re a very smart person, too. I don’t know how things were for you growing up, but being the smart girl was NOT something that created confidence for me. Just got my glasses broken a number of times, til I wised up and started playing dumb. I’ve learned since then that being real is more important than being loved for someone I’m not.

      PS: Your hubby is in love with your mind, too.


  2. Deni

    I think I have been suffering from this flu more than I supposed. My thoughts are not coming off lately in the way that I intend them. I was totally agreeing with everything you said, just wanted to give you a nice compliment that you are fortunate to have beauty and brains and unfortunately, some girls only get beauty and there’s nothing they can do about it. So, total agreement with your article, plus a compliment. Cuz I didn’t want to be a lurker who reads a blog post but doesn’t comment.


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