Becoming a model wife

2008-11-25 00:00

It’s a universally acknowledged fact that, with the exception of young children and movie stars, very few people relish having their photograph taken.

The standard reaction to a new ID or passport photo is usually one of shock and consternation, as if the photographer somehow manipulated the shot, deliberately endowing his or her subject with a double chin and crooked teeth. The painful truth is, however, that photographs don’t lie.

I loathe having my picture taken because my photographs never do me justice — they look just like me. So when my husband’s group of camera cronies asked me to pose as a model for a portraiture workshop, my initial reaction was one of horror.

But, being the devoted wife I am, I reluctantly agreed to the assignment with the assurance that slicking on some lipstick and grinning like a chimpanzee would be the extent of my involvement. That my husband will be forever in my debt goes without saying.

Although a life of glitz, glamour and provocative pouting may sound like a dream vocation to some, I was clearly not designed, physically or otherwise, to strut my stuff as a supermodel.

For a start, shimmying down the catwalk, clad in snippets of fabric masquerading as a bikini, is not my idea of a day at the office. Nor would I survive on a diet of lettuce leaves and mineral water.

Photographic modelling, however, is little different. Along with whitening your teeth and defuzzing your chin, the photo lab is able to effect all manner of flattering modifications, from enhancing your cleavage to toning down your colour. And vice versa for that matter.

With my self-esteem not what it used to be, I’m not too comfortable plastering my face with war paint and parading in front of a camera. It was thus a little alarming when the

ex-model-turned-photographer who hosted the workshop set about transforming my conservative image with lashings of blusher, lip gloss and hairspray.

Suddenly I looked like something out of an eighties rock band — short only of leather hot pants and an electric guitar.

Without a hint of embarrassment, the rudiments of “making love to the camera” were then explained to me.

“It’s all about tits and ass,” said my tutor, flashing a dazzling smile at the ogling group, while chivvying her bosom and wriggling her bum.

No one felt inclined to disagree.

With my big hair, sticky lips and a dozen lenses aimed at me, feeling like a glamour model was one thing — it was the acting like one that presented the challenge.

In a vain attempt at the same seductive moves, I succeeded in looking like I was auditioning for a role in the pantomime — namely the ass.

While the professional model threw smouldering glances over her shoulder, I looked like I’d cricked my neck and had something in my eye. And I can’t pout properly either — images of the aforementioned chimpanzee spring to mind.

Fortunately, the “paparazzi” were all too busy fiddling with their flashes and their apertures to notice anything amiss, as the model writhed on the floor exuding sex appeal and I grovelled about exuding perspiration.

After three hours of grinning and grovelling, I can say with certain authority that a career in modelling does not feature anywhere in my immediate future.

The results of the photo shoot have been … well, let’s just say it’s a good thing photography has gone digital and since my husband owes me big, he will be effecting a few flattering manipulations.

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