Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bye Bye Blog

I have bad news.

Last night after having the most amazing night (a boat ride on the Bosphorus with friends followed by a motorcycle ride home), I came home to find my beloved Macbook (which is just got at the end of March) flashing the symbol of a folder with a big question mark. Upon subsequent restarting of the laptop, I've discovered that this is all it will do, although now it seems even the folder is gone, with only a white screen to greet me.

I don't know what happened to the computer. When I left for the evening, my roommate was using my computer to Skype her boyfriend in Russia. She swears that the screen froze while using Skype, and then that symbol appeared. I think there's gotta be more to the story than that, but I doubt I'll ever know what really happened.

I'm stuck in the faraway land where nobody seems to speak English (the Turks I mean), and Macintoshes aren't really the computer of choice here (it still is a PC world after all), so finding someone who can help me fix it seems a bit tough. I did visit the Apple store in Istinye Park Mall but that was a complete bust.

Being computerless makes me quite sad (thank you Dene for letting me use your laptop to write this!) as now I feel all alone over here without the support of my dear sister and everyone else back home.

I shall have to take a break from blogging until I can get this sorted out. Thanks so much for reading, and please do come back once I get everything working again. If you subscribe in a reader (such as Google Reader-- just type in the subscribe field of your reader) you'll automatically get my posts.

I'll miss you guys tremendously!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans Collage
Click on Picture to Enlarge (As Always!)

I am a nerd. Those of you who read this blog have probably figured that out already. I love all things Elves (and would love to learn some Elvish), took the time to memorize the English royal lineage (for fun!) from Henry VIII to the present, dream of visiting places like Pompeii (and various cemeteries) on my honeymoon, and I keep a running list of vocabulary I don't know so that I can look it up when I get home.

Well, maybe I'm not a nerd, but I fancy myself one.

Picture 112

This was my FAVORITE movie growing up (right alongside Red Sonya, The Beastmaster, and Conan the Barbarian. Am I a child of the 80s or what?!?). The Greek mythology fascinated me; I thought the mechanical owl, Bubo, was awesome; and desperately wanted to be Andromeda so that a Pegasus-riding Perseus would rescue me (Come to think of it, I still would like that). I thought the effects were awesome, and was especially mesmerized by the miniature pawns that looked like people that the gods in Olympia played with (changing the fates of real people along the way).

I developed a girl crush (definition here) on Miss Andromeda herself, Judi Bowker. I really thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen! You can see her above in the photo on the left and judge for yourself that she is indeed lovely (and what a tragic existence she leads!) You really must watch this classic movie if you haven't seen it.

Picture 110

Imagine my surprise when I saw on IMDB that they're making a new Clash of the Titans for 2010. I don't know much about it (who is this Sam Worthington and Alexa Davalos, playing Perseus and Andromeda, respectfully), but I'm excited.

I'm also looking forward to this movie:

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. The first Father's Day was celebrated on July 5, 1908, and was created as a complement to Mother's Day.

Today I am thankful to have a father who loves me (and my siblings) very much. He worked for many years as the sole income earner so that my mom could stay at home and raise us kids. He has endeavored to teach his children right from wrong as well as God's truth. He is a faithful husband, a father who wants the best for his children, an upstanding member of the community, and a devoted and diligent member of his church. He loves the Lord, and loves his family. He continues to work hard, and to support me even now as I enter into my thirtieth year.

Thank you, Father, for all that you have done and everything you have sacrificed for your family. I am so thankful to have you.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 22 in Istanbul-- What I Eat

Turkish Breakfast
Sis Kebap
Beets, Yum!
Turkish Dessert
Mussels from Izmir
Burger King

I've been taking photos of the different food that I get here in Turkey-- and now I've posted it for you to see. I do cook at home, but then it's just chicken with green beans or potatoes. I must say that I really do enjoy the Turkish food.


Day 22 in Istanbul-- Istanbul Collage

I've been a terrible blogger lately. I'm not really sure what to write about, and, what's more, the internet connection here is terribly slow, making it a headache to try and post anything.

The city of Istanbul is growing on me. It's true that we spend most days in a van, being shuttled to castings (sometimes for up to 12 hours), but it also affords a view of the city that most tourists never get to see. Istanbul is a hilly city and I am consistently amazed by the ability of our driver to negotiate the narrow streets in our van, and, more impressively, to drive the manual-shift car up steep hills without stalling.

I've created a collage of some of the things I am able to spy from the window of our van (actually some were taken on foot as well). Perhaps this weekend I'll be able to do a little more in-depth exploring.

Istanbul Collage
Starting at top left, clockwise: The Six Minarets on the Blue Mosque, Two Views of the Bosphorus Strait, the Bridge that connects Asia to Europe, an old Roman Aqueduct, the streets in Old Istanbul, a Gate that we pass every day, Turkish Lanterns in the Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, some Palace on the Bosphorus, the View of my Neighborhood, Tarabya

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Falling in love with Tilt-shift Photography

View of the Bosphorus

Have you discovered Tilt-shift photography yet? I'm not really sure about the ins and outs of it, but true Tilt-shift photography uses a special lens that affects the depth of field. The truly amazing TiltShiftMaker will transform your photos so that they look like a set in miniature.

I discovered TiltShiftMaker about a month ago and immediately started playing around with my various photos. Since then, I have started seeing the world in "tilt-shift" i.e., I see scenes that I think would be candidates for the tilt-shift treatment. Such is true of the above photo, taken from the European side of Istanbul, Turkey overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

TiltShiftMaker enhances the colors a bit as part of the process, but I also tweaked the above picture a bit more in Picnik (which is a wonderful free photo editing site). Here is the original:


By the way, I'm developing a love affair with the Bosphorus. It is so beautiful and I feel incredibly blessed to gaze upon its shimmering waters every day. I'd post a Bosphorus collage, but I have no patience for the s-l-o-w internet connection here.

Until next time,


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Looky What I Found!

Picture 86

Last week I booked two jobs in the city of Izmir, which is an hour flight south of Istanbul, and is referred to as the "Pearl of the Aegean." Hopefully I'll be able to share some photos and details of my trip later, but for now, I wanted to share what I found stuffed in a corner of the photo studio: three vintage issues of Photoplay Magazine.

What a nice surprise! The above issue, featuring the lovely Jeanne Crain, dates from October 1948. It was such a wonderful taste of home to see all of those familiar faces starring back at me (including one of my favorites, Montgomery Clift).

Picture 88

I really love these summer looks. If I were in Delaware right now (instead of Turkey) I'd be sewing up halters and high-waisted shorts/skirts a la Casey. I found this website the other day that sells vintage patterns (some are quite affordable!) with just the look I'm going for.

Picture 85

I haven't been able to sew lately, but I came up with a modern version of the look using pieces from my wardrobe. What do you think?

Picture 93
Shorts: Hudson Jeans Summer '08
Swimsuit: Lux by Urban Outfitters Summer '08
Sweater: Anne Taylor Spring '05
Wedge Heels: Ellen Tracy

One of the articles in one of the Photoplays was a reader poll where readers were asked to predict who would most likely become a star. The results are quite interesting (in hindsight). I've never heard of the first place winners (John Agar and Jean Peters) but there are some familiar names on the list: Ricardo Montalban, Montgomery Clift, Janet Leigh, June Lockhart, and America's sweetheart, Doris Day. Is there anyone else you recognize?

Picture 95
Picture 96
The actors voted most likely to become stars by readers of Photoplay magazine, 1948


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 14 in Istanbul-- My Day in Pictures


Picture Me

From my friend Debbie:

Hey Elise, I saw this article in The Guardian:

Since you focus much of your blog on the ins and outs of the modeling industry, I wondered how accurate you found this article to be - who it most pertains to, or if this sort of behavior really is more prevalent than we imagine it to be.
In case you haven't seen it yet, this article has been making the rounds in the fashion-y blogs. Sara Ziff, a 27 year old model who has been the face for Gap, Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein and others, has spent the last five years filming a documentary of the modeling world. With her ex-boyfriend in tow, she filmed the backstage of fashion shows and shoots, interviewing other models along the way. This material has now been turned into a documentary, Picture Me.

A beautiful woman sits in front of a video camera. Her name is Sena Cech and she is a fashion model. Her tone is matter-of-fact, as though what she's about to describe is commonplace in the industry in which she works. The scene: a casting with a photographer, one of the top names in his profession. Halfway through the meeting Cech is asked to strip. She does as instructed and takes off her clothes. Then the photographer starts undressing as well. "Baby - can you do something a little sexy," he tells her. The photographer's assistant, who is watching, eggs her on. What's supposed to be the casting for a high-end fashion shoot turns into something more like an audition for a top-shelf magazine. The famous photographer demands to be touched sexually. "Sena - can you grab his cock and twist it real hard," his assistant tells her. "He likes it when you squeeze it real hard and twist it... Read the rest of the article here.
The question asked by Debbie is if I've encountered this sort of thing in my own experience. I must start by saying that while I was first scouted at the age of 12, my parents were reluctant to let me start modeling until I was much older. I waited until I was 19, when I entered a modeling contest and won a contract with IMG in New York. At that time, I was in school studying fashion design, so I decided to delay my career further, and did not move to NYC to model full time until I was 23. I think starting at such a late age for this industry probably hampered my career growth (I was starting when many girls are wrapping up), but also helped me to avoid some of the situations that the young girls relate in the documentary.

Thankfully, I don't have any stories like that from the article above. I've certainly been in situations where I've done things I've later regretted, but somehow I'm gotten this far relatively unscathed. I remember one time meeting a photographer in his apartment where he asked me to strip down to my underwear so he could see my body. He took a couple of pictures of me in my underwear, and somehow the whole thing (mostly because I could see this guy was a creep) made me feel cheap. I told my agent I did not want to work for him, and he later booked a friend of mine who ended up posing topless for him in the bath. After the shoot (which was not for a paid job, but only for the photographer), she admitted that she regretted doing it and felt taken advantage of.

The stories I can relate are more of a different nature-- having to do with size and diet. There's the time when my agent happened to pass me on the street as I was eating a Snickers bar (the only thing I'd eaten all day). Without pausing, or missing a beat, he simply said, "I hope you're going home to throw that up," as he passed. I've heard girlfriends tell of how their agency gave them a bag of coke to snort before an important upcoming shoot, or how my one friend working in Germany found her roommates eating cotton so they wouldn't feel hungry.

As far as the sexuality end of it goes, I find that my body is not really considered my own. I've been told by a photographer at a shoot, "You do what I tell you. If I tell you to take your clothes off, you take your clothes off. You're a model now, you don't get a say." Last night, for instance, I was told that I have a casting for a underwear job. I don't do lingerie, so I asked my booker about the casting. She told me, "No, it's not for underwear, it's for pajamas. You need to go." So, I went, and what is it for, but sexy underwear. Of course I left the casting, but it took three hours of my time to get there and I did not get back home until 10pm.

My roommates here in Istanbul are all quite young (with Sigrid, at sixteen, being thirteen years younger than me). These girls left home at fourteen, traveling to China, Japan, Italy, England, and France to work. The photos in their portfolios show girls who look much older posing in provocative poses in their underwear. One sixteen year old girl has been repeatedly told she needs to diet, which just breaks my heart as dieting should be the furthest thing from one's mind at that age (especially for a skinny toothpick of a girl!). Daily as they leave for castings, they are exhorted to look sexy.

It's a frustrating business-- certainly not as innocent as it looks on the outside. My hope is that people will see this documentary and that it will open up a dialogue. Perhaps parents will think twice before allowing their young daughters to enter into this industry.

Now I must run... my agent just called and needs a poloroid of me in a bikini. Ugh!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tie Your Shoes

Picture 84
via swissmiss

I wish I could print this out and stick it up in the model's apartment. I'd put it by the front door as a gentle reminder before the 13 of us piled into the overcrowded van for a LONG day of castings (and where lunch breaks are not usually included).


Day 13-- Back to Istanbul

Hagia Sofia from the Golden Horn, Istanbul via Flickr

I have to apologize for not blogging lately. You'd think with my being in a foreign country that I'd have more than usual to share. Unfortunately, I've also been just too busy to have any time to write.

The day usually goes like this: I wake up around 7 to take a shower and to ensure there is hot water before the rest of my 13 housemates stir. I move extra slow in the morning, showering and doing my makeup, and then checking my email before piling into a large van around 9:00am. Once in the van, our driver, Koray, drives us girls (and two boys) all over Istanbul to castings. Castings, for those of you who don't know, are the modeling world's job interviews. We do multiple "job interviews" a day-- meeting a catalogue companies, magazine editors, photographers, etc. They're each looking for models for their job (or shoot), and we meet with them and show them our portfolio. The actual interview process only takes about five minutes a person, but getting from casting to casting in the sprawling city of Istanbul (which traverses both Europe and Asia) takes all day. I haven't been home before 10pm since I arrived, which means that I pass a whole day in a hot car with 10 or so other models. It's quite draining, believe it or not. (Think if you had to go to ten job interviews a day, every day).

I did end up booking two jobs last week which meant that I was excused a bit from the tedium of sitting in that van every day and going to castings. What's more, the jobs were in Izmir, a lovely town in Turkey that sits on the Aegean Sea. I spent five days there, shooting two different pajama catalogues.

I'd love to tell you more about it, and post pictures, but right now I am too tired. I'm hoping that I will have a bit of free time in the morning as our castings are starting a bit later tomorrow.

I do have several new roommates (I swear they keep coming in droves); here they are:

New Roomies
From Top Left to Right:
Sigrid from Estonia, Anne Mai from Estonia,
Gerli from Estonia, Laura from Germany
Junita from Lithuania, Viktoria from Russia
Dene from South Africa, Williams from Argentina