Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 4 in Istanbul-- Europe and Asia

Picture 74

Dress: Cache (thrifted)
Stockings: My Own
Shoes: Nine West '09

Last night I went out with my roommates. My flatmates, Alexandra and Anastasija (both models), were supposed to be spinning at this club in town. It was quite funny because neither of them spin, but the club promoted it as model night with DJ Alex and DJ Anastasija. When their time to go on came up, they went to the dj booth and pretended to spin, while the real dj stood next to them and did all the work. What a funny business this is!

I got to wear my little "ice-skating" dress that I picked up in a thrift store two weeks ago. I love it-- it has huge shoulder pads, which I notice are popping up everywhere in fashion right now. You can also see my new bangs that I'm sporting. I'm quite happy with this haircut!

Picnik collage

Yummy Turkish-style Tea and Food

We stayed out until 4am, so I slept in quite late. When I finally awoke, I noticed my roomie, Jeanne, getting dressed to go out, so I asked if I could tag along. We went with Koray (our booker) and Anastasija to the Asian side of Istanbul to a sort of a Turkish Bath. (How fun to go to one in Turkey!) After steaming ourselves, we had a nice lunch at the spa, and then we drove to the marina where Koray's friends took us out on a yacht to see Istanbul by sea.

We sailed around the Sea of Marmara and the along the Bosphorus Strait (which divides Europe and Asia), where we saw palaces and famous Mosques. It was quite a day! I am so charmed by this city now-- the history is amazing! I took tons of photos, and hopefully I will post some tomorrow. Until then, here is a little taste:


The View of Sultanahment (Old City) from the Bosphorus Strait. On the left is the Blue Mosque and on the right is the Hagia Sophia.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Istanbul and Modeling 101

Sea of Marmara
December 2007, Istanbul, Turkey. In front of Bosphorus Strait with Farah

December 2007, Istanbul, Turkey. With crazy Turkish man selling Cashews at Grand Bazaar.

I think I failed to mention this before, but I am now in Istanbul, Turkey. I arrived last night, and am geared to stay for two months. I am here for work-- although, I should specify that I don't have any actual work lined up at the moment.

I shall pause a moment and explain how this modeling thing works-- or, at least try to. I suppose like most other jobs out there, it's really hard to understand what one does unless one actually does it. I mean, how many of us can accurately describe what our own parents do for a living?

So, where to begin? I think the best way to explain it is to compare it to something else. Let us say that you are an actor. As an actor, there are many places you can work-- i.e., you can stay in the small town you're from and try to do local theater productions, you can move to the nearest city and audition for commercials or theater there, or you can move to New York or LA and try out for films, Broadway, commercials, theater etc. When you move to Los Angeles, you move there without a job, but with the hope and expectation that you will find work when you get there. It works much the same way for models. I moved to NYC at the age of 23. I did have a job per se (pay close attention as this is where it gets confusing), my job is modeling, but I did not have any jobs lined up. The idea is akin to an out-of-work actor. He is still an actor, and being an actor is his job, but he currently does not have any work.

100% of the time I am a model (as in that's my job, or what I do for a living). That said, I only have jobs (as in specific bookings that pay me money) about 25% of the time. Does that make sense? An actor between movies is still an actor, but in the meanwhile, he's out of work (and, not getting paid). Perhaps I belabor the point. Let me continue.

Models are lucky in that the world is our oyster. There are many cities in the world where models are in demand and are able to work. For instance, I grew up (sort of) in Delaware. Living in northern Delaware meant that I was close to Philadelphia, which meant that I was able to work out of that city. Living on the northeast also meant that I had easy access to New York, so I was able to find work in that city. After working in New York for a while, I set my sights on Europe, and in the summer of 2003, traveled to Athens, Greece to model. Like the actor who moves to LA saying, "I'm going to go and see if I can find work there," models move to different cities with the same hopes. When I went to Athens, I didn't have any work lined up, only the hope that once I got there that perhaps I would find work. And, to clarify further, when we find work, it means we work for a day or two, and then we are out of work again. An example would be like if I booked a job to be in a Pantene Shampoo ad. It takes two days to shoot the ad-- I am employed for two days. Once the ad is shot, I am again out of work. The same is true of magazines. I work one day for Cosmopolitan shooting pictures for a story that they write. At the end of the day I go home and I get paid for one day of work. I am at point unemployed again. Because our individual jobs are so short-lived, we are able to travel from location to location in search of work. Many girls also pick one place and settle down; it depends on their own penchant.

So, I am in Istanbul. I came here because 1) it seemed like an interesting city that I should like to explore, and 2) I hope that I will be able to find jobs here. I've committed to staying for two months, but I do not know if I will work or not. Only time will tell.

So, that is my essay on modeling. Sorry to write such a long rambling post.

I arrived last night and am staying in an apartment owned by my agency here. There are several other models here, which is quite nice as I have instant friends. The internet also works here (in some countries it doesn't) which means I've been busy video-skyping my sis.

The girls are all lovely-- everyone has been so nice to me. Here are the girls in the apartment (with apparently six more arriving on Monday).

Picnik collage
From Top Left to Right:
Alexandra from Austria, Taylor from Canada
Jeanne from South Africa, Me from USA
Anastasyia from Ukraine, Olga from Ukraine

I am already formulating my thoughts about this city-- I'll keep you updated as things progress. Tomorrow I think I will explore the city center. But, for now, I sleep.


P.S. A BIG thank you to everyone who voted on my new hair style. The votes were overwhelmingly in favor of bangs, so I took your advice and chopped them. I'm quite pleased with my haircut and will hopefully post pictures soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Long and Short of it

Hello Blog Readers-- I need your help.

I need to get my hair cut. It's getting fairly long, and it is about time.

So, the question, dear reader, is bangs (fringe) or no bangs?
I'm including some photos of me with both styles-- which is better? Also, which is better from an editorial sense (i.e., for me working as a model-- which looks more "model-y?")? I'm getting ready to travel overseas for work, and hopefully get some new photos for my portfolio, and I'm just not sure which works better.

All of you lurkers, make yourselves known. VOTE!

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Picnik collage


Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Look Up When I Walk

I heard this song on the radio the other day and now I'm obsessed. Click on the link below to listen:

Sukiyaki (Japanese love song) - Kyu Sakamoto

The song went to number one on the American Billboard pop charts for three weeks in 1963-- the only song sung entirely in Japanese to ever do so.

The song's original title, Ue o muite arukō ("I Look Up When I Walk") was considered too difficult for American audiences to pronounce and remember, so they changed the name to Sukiyaki which is a type of Japanese food.

The lyrics when translated tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won't fall. The verses of the song describe him doing this through each season of the year.

The singer, Kyu Sakamoto, is considered one of Japan's most influential musicians. He died in a Japan Airlines crash in 1985. Before the plane crashed, he was able to write a farewell note to his wife.

I hope you like it as much as I do.


Birdcage Vintage Shop Update

I've been working hard on getting these items into the shop since it has been awhile since I've done an update. Some of these items are already in the shop, and the rest should be up in the next day or two.


shop update 1
shop update 2
shop update 3
Shop Update 4
Shop Update 5
Shop Update 6
Shop Update 7
Shop Update 8
Shop Update 9
Shop Update 10

What's your favorite?


Friday, May 15, 2009

The End

Vogue Grandma

The above photo was taken of my grandma, Lillian Herbrandt Stiefel, in December 1966 (the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor) at the airport in Hawaii. I love this photo. We found it in a photo album when we were cleaning out Grandma's house. I'd never seen it before. She looks so incredibly stylish and beautiful-- that's how she always struck me. I admired her and respected her so much.

Her death came as a shock to us. We had gone down to South Carolina in March to visit grandma and when we saw her, she was the same goofy grandma she always was. I dragged her all over Batesburg, Lexington, and Columbia taking her to thrift stores with me. Ironically, we visited the undertaker and what would become her grave (I'm a sucker for cemeteries, and he just happens to be an old family friend who knows where all our relatives are buried). She stayed up late with me every night (to midnight or so) and would drink beers with us and laugh over the silliest things. She was like a girlfriend to me. A girlfriend who was oh so proud of me (she adored her granddaughters: me and my twin sis, Erin), and loved that I was following my dream, but worried about me every time I headed to New York, or abroad. She was the best book club member you could ever want-- she let me pick all the books! I'd read them, then send them along to her, and a week or two later, we'd discuss.

I was in New York when I got the call that she had passed. We'd been trying to get a hold of her the week before, but hadn't had any luck. No one thought anything of it, since Grandma lived alone, and she was a bit hard of hearing so she wouldn't hear the phone ringing, or a lot of time, she would be out gallavanting around town. We don't know when she died-- her neighbor found her on May 1st, sitting on the guest room bed with the tv on-- she had just gone to sleep. She had been dead for a few days when he found her.

We spent last week cleaning out her house. Because of the odor associated with her decaying body, everything in the house that would hold a scent had to be removed. We spent five long days sorting through and divvying up her belongings. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through. It makes one wonder what is a life if it can be dismantled so quickly?


One of the neat things about an overall shitty process was seeing the things that Grandma had cherished. She loved her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren. I was struck by all of the old letters and cards that I had sent her that she still had. She loved photos and had photo albums coming out of her ears (so to speak). She had the last set of photos that my grandfather had been in (he passed away in 1997). She had videos of me from when I had first started modeling-- back in the days when I appeared on MTV and my QVC appearances.

It's been a hard couple of weeks for me. That ever-looming depression seems to be geared up for a return (why, oh, why did I stop taking my anti-depressants at Christmas?). I'm missing the woman that I loved so incredibly much. I'm cursing my own faith that is so weak that I can't be happy that she's gone and in heaven with her Lord.

In short, I am diminished.

Thanks to my friend Lief for his comforting words via the poetry of my favorite metaphysical poet, John Donne:

...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Thank you everyone for your comforting words and prayers. I am so thankful for my friends and those people that support me. You are invaluable.

For those of you who still have grandparents, and moms and dads, take my advice and give them a call. Tell them that you love them. You won't regret that you did.

This is part of my grieving process. I will be back to my old self shortly, I promise. I know all too well that life goes on. I have other news, and shop updates, and new books that I am reading. I'll be back soon.

One of my favorite pictures of Grandma. I'm on the left, and Erin is on the right. Just look at the smiles on our faces to see how much we loved her.

Grandma, I am the luckiest... because I had you in my life.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I haven't been blogging this week because I found out on Friday, May 1st, that my beloved Grandma died. She was very special to me and will be sorely missed. We've been in South Carolina since Saturday-- the memorial service was on this past Monday and the rest of the week we've spent packing up her house.

I should be back next week, when I'll tell you a little bit about my Grandma.

I just did a blog post about her at the end of April-- she was the coolest!

Have a great rest of the week!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Death Be Not Proud

Death Be Not Proud

by John Donne

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

"And the enemy, death, shall be destroyed last"

1st Corinthians 15:26