On my search to gain new experiences (and more money), I recently took on the job of a "life model" for the art classes at the local University.
I signed up a year ago, but they'd already filled the position. Over the summer, I received an email offering me the job for this semester.
I jumped at the opportunity without even thinking about it. $12 an hour; fuck yeah!
When I did start to think about it, I realized how absolutely terrified I was. Stripping down so that a class of people I didn't know could sit there and draw me suddenly loomed over me. Because that's what I'd be doing. I couldn't sleep, and I spent the three days up until my first class so nervous I was practically shaking.
The morning of my first class, I woke up early to be there by 10:55. I had my bag packed with my crappy, fuzzy, super short robe (courtesy of my mother far too long ago), my only pair of flip-flops, and a towel (someone recommended I bring one, but I'm still not sure why). I didn't have a lunch, anything to drink, or (what I found out later I'd need) any female accessories.
So I showed up, met the teacher, changed into my teeny tiny robe, and sat around as the class filed in.
I quickly realized two things about my current state. I was A) terrified, and B) cramping. Shit. I kept thinking about my new birth control pills (I had just started my third month of Seasonale), and when I was supposed to get my period. But, as I was trying to keep my sunny I-Think-I-Can disposition, I popped some pills and kept my mind off of it.
After shakily pulling off my robe- which is, I swear, the worst part- I was feeling pretty okay. My hair was twisted up in a pencil (I think it looks best that way), my stomach was flat and lean from not getting the chance to eat yet, and I didn't have a single thing on except some dark eye makeup (also something I feel sexy in).
Shit, even thinking about it now I feel nervous.
The first day actually went really well. That class was a good one to start with because she didn't have me hold many poses for too long. I had a little incident with my period, but not a single person noticed, and the girls in class were sympathetic and completely helpful.
Time went on and, well, things just fell into a sort of normalcy.
While my current teacher tells me I take great poses naturally (models switch classes every few weeks to give students a variety of forms to draw), I felt like an idiot during most of my early attempts. Luckily, however, that first class was a Life 1 class, and so most of the poses were short and simple, sometimes even as short as 3 to 5 minutes. It helped me get used to what the students needed and the teachers wanted.
Arms and legs out, bent, or turned in different ways to create a shape, back bent, slouched, twisted, or otherwise off-kilter to create a spinal curve, and (if standing) a tilt to the hips to bring out the center of balance, add more shape to the spine, and make the body a bit more "flowy".
It wasn't until later that I started having to hold poses for longer. In my current class I take a single pose for the entire class, taking a break every 15 to 20 minutes.
I must say that over time I've gotten a whole lot more comfortable with everything. Sure, there are mornings when I feel like I'd rather get the flu than go into class, but that's the way it is with any job at some point or other.
As I said, taking off the robe is always the worst part. Those few seconds of slipping it off can feel like eternity, even when you've been with the same class for weeks. It's just nerve wracking to be exposing yourself like that. But really, once it's off, the world is a different place. You sit back, relax, and chill out.
In a way, you can even enjoy the fact that you're sitting there completely naked without these people judging you. And believe me, they're probably not judging you at all, they really do get fucking focused.
I've actually gotten kind of fond of doing this, and wish I could make it a full time job and quite my real job. Right now I can only do one class at a time (hell, they probably only have enough Life Drawing classes for me to do one at a time), but if I could do more at once, I'd never ever have money problems.
I have this sickeningly sweet, uber-christian girl at work who, when I mentioned my side job, said she didn't understand why artists had to learn to draw naked people in the first place. Perhaps its my fairly liberal and very artistic upbringing, but I thought this was a ridiculous and sad question. How could you ever expect to really be able to draw a human body (clothed or unclothed) without ever seeing what the actual form was. There's so much to see and learn. It'd be like... trying to draw a cube without putting the lines around the edge to show what it actually is. It's just an outline of something obscure and unrealistic.
My friend Sammie, who I've recently (actually, it was over a month ago) commissioned to make my new Sin Secret logo, was always very timid about nudity, and -while she's a great artist- always said she didn't need to take live model classes. But then she took one, and fuck have I been able to tell the difference. Her drawings are so much better. The form is so much more proportional, accurate, and beautiful. Even clothed characters in her sketches look so much better because she has the basic knowledge of how the form itself is constructed.
Below I've listed the bad things about it, but also the good things.
- People joking about you being naked. (this doesn't happen very often, actually. I joke about it more than anyone else)
- People touching you to put down tape (to mark your position. Not that bad, really, unless they're doing your thighs or back/stomach, or your standing and they have to end up right under your crotch...>.<)
- Walking by really cute guys in the hall way (or worse, people you know) while in your teeny tiny robe
- Anything involving bodily fluids (sweating a lot, feeling like you're getting ...wet, etc.) Having your period is an odd situation. Apparently some girls choose to wear bathing suits, but I either don't come in (the cramps take care of that problem) or I use a tampon and tuck it in nicely. That, however, is also an awkward factor. I spent a lot of my first class worrying about whether or not anyone could see it. >.<
- Once again, bodily fluids. There's nothing worse than feel like your vagina's leaking when your sitting naked on a desk with people all around you so you can't check. Especially when you're wondering when your period is supposed to start. (This must go double for guys if there's a pretty girl in the room and you're not focusing really really hard. ....eeeeww...)
- Hickeys, body acne, scratch marks, and ...well... whip welts. I love feeling the sensitive areas on my back, neck, etc. after a good nights play (although it's more often scratches and welts, I don't really do hickeys, and acne's not a big issue for me), and I don't mind showing off my "battle scars" when they're accidentally exposed, but when I pull off my robe and I've got lines down my back and hickeys all over my boobs, I get a bit nervous in front of everyone.
- I don't do this, but apparently there are male models that will actually hit on female students while they're sitting there naked. I may make friends with the students in my classes, but that just seems...creepy, not to mention tacky and sleazy.
- Teachers forgetting about your time. My current teacher has me time myself, but in that first class, the teacher forgot about my timing, and I wasn't facing a clock, so I had no idea what time it was. It was a standing pose and by the time I got the courage to ask if I could go ahead and break, it had be almost 45 minutes and I pretty much collapsed onto the floor, legs numb, hips tingling. Don't be afraid to ask for your break. Ever.
The 5 Worst Things about Modeling:
- Taking off your robe. It's terrifying having to take of your robe the first few times in front of brand new, strange- sometimes old or creepy- people. Taking off the robe is really the worst part. Once it's off, all is cool.
- The bad poses. Not only am I talking about the poses that hurt and make you twitch, shift, and move all the time while your legs, arms, and ass fall asleep, but also the poses that make you (me) look like total shit. Also, some poses are really hard for the students to draw, and then everything comes out looking bad and you feel like it's your fault.
- The occasional awkwardnesses. See list above.
- The fact that I only get one class at a time. If I could do two or even three classes a month, instead of just one class twice a week, I could quit my actual job and still pay all my bills, just for sitting naked for a few hours a day.
- The cramps! Oh my god when you're doing a single pose, your body starts to hurt so much by your second or third break. Your arms start to tingle and fall asleep, your neck stiffens up, your shoulders too, your legs start to feel heavy, numb, or hurt like fuck, and even your ass and genitals fall asleep all the damn time. Sometimes all you want is to collapse completely and just curl up into a little ball.
- The simplicity. I love that I'm...not really working. Sure it can be painful to pose for so long, but the way I see it, I'm building muscle mass through a sort of resistance training. And if I were in shape it wouldn't be nearly as bad, so it gives me a reason to take up Yoga.
- The reliability. I get paid even if the teacher spends half the class lecturing and I barely pose. That's pretty damn cool.
- Did I mention I get paid $12/hr? The fact that I make more in three hours there than I do in a full shift at work...that rocks.
- The ego trip. There's always those days when you spend the entire three hours in a horribly unflattering pose that makes you look lumpy, slouched, and pissed off, but every now and then there are those days when you look oh-so sexy, slim, and adorable. Talk about walking out on Sexy Little Cloud 9. It's also very freeing, and even makes you feel better and more confident about your body no matter what you look like.
- The pictures. Like above, many pictures aren't all that great, but when you get someone with a picture that makes you sing with arrogant glee, it's not taboo to ask for it. You might have to wait for the end of the semester, but more often than not they're more than happy to give it to you when they can. Come December, my apartment is going to be filled with framed drawings of naked little me.
So...is it a gateway job? Will I soon be off to nude photo shoots for porn sites, stripping at bars and, eventually, selling myself on the streets? My mother certainly seemed to think so. She tried to pay me NOT to do it.
But....*shrug* I've certainly thought about it, being as much more comfortable with my body as I've become. But still there is that very basic difference. These sessions are not, in the least, about sex. Any of those jobs would be. I'm comfortable with this, but I probably wouldn't be with any sex-based job. So no, I don't think so.
But overall, I like the job. In fact, I could almost say I love it. If I had more hours I could pay my whole rent just for sitting in one spot for 3-6 hours a couple of times a week. Until I can, however, this serves as a great side job, and I definitely plan on keeping it up until they kick me out ^-^
PS: None of the pictures posted here are of me. I have requested some of the sketches students have done, but I haven't gotten any yet because they need them for portfolios. Once I have some, I'll try to put one or two up. But, fyi, none of these are them. ^-^
Have fun and play safe!