Model Mimicry

Does everyone get stopped on the street?  I lived in NYC for  8 years (4 years of college, 4 years of work) and I eventually got used to complete strangers handing me their business cards and inviting me to model castings and random photo shoots. These invitations usually fell under the generic, run-of-the-mill offers for open-calls from modeling agencies or amateur fashion photographers in need of a subject for building their portfolios.  That is, until I met Beatrix Ost.

I remember this day (Feb 23, 2004) because I had just flown in on the red-eye from London and had a Monday morning interview with HR at The Gap.  Walking past Union Square Cafe, I experienced one of those awkward moments when you accidentally lock eyes with a complete stranger and hold their gaze for a millisecond too long before realizing that there’s no way to casually look away without acknowledging that you were unabashedly staring.  To my defense, this woman sitting outside the cafe was dressed in the most outrageously fabulous outfit and I couldn’t help but appreciate the boldness of her fashion sense (she was wearing a pillbox hat with a veil).  After flashing her my most polite, apologetic smile to compensate for my lack of discretion, I realized that she was following behind me.  Being the quintessential city girl, I was lost to the blaring sounds on my iPod and completely oblivious to the comically dressed woman chasing after me until she grabbed ahold of my arm.

This was how I came to meet the beautiful Beatrix Ost.  She introduced herself to me (in a rather heavy German accent) and told me that she was an artist working on a series of portraits entitled ‘Intimacy, 15 Minutes of Drawing‘ and wanted to work with me.  I was flattered by her proposition but, being so young and naive, was consumed by the insecurities in posing nude before a random stranger.  Sensing my hesitancy, Ms. Ost reassured me that I wouldn’t have to pose nude if it made me uncomfortable and that she was merely excited at having spotted me on the street that morning.  We exchanged information and agreed to phone each other  within the week.

To cut a long story short, I eventually decided not to partake in this project.  Ms. Ost called several times and left many lovely messages on my voicemail, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  There are certain things that we can only do at the ripe age of 21 and this was one of those opportunities.  I must say that it remains one of my greatest regrets…



{images via BeatrixOst}

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