Back in college, we used to have discussions in class about what we wanted to be when we went out into the working world. Everyone had the usual list of occupations: Doctor, lawyer, teacher, and so forth. When I first uttered what I wanted to be, everyone laughed. I laughed too at the time, but I’ve never forgotten my dream.
Fast forward to a decade later, and I’m now working as a senior executive in a respectable marketing company. It pays well, but it’s not my dream job. After one very bad work week, I finally decided to pursue my true ambition of becoming a model… a lingerie model.
I thought it would be easy: I already had a huge collection of intimate wear (something my husband of two years thought was too obsessive but was secretly delighted by), had years of knowledge from looking at lingerie advertisements and shows online (I loved watching how top models like Lily Aldridge and Adriana Lima work the runway), and experience (I practised poses and catwalk in my bedroom). I had the looks and the body to boot – yes, it’s all real – and needed just a little tweaking to get into perfect shape.
I had a detailed plan. First, I went on an intensive diet and exercise regime which had me drinking soup all day, doing hot yoga at night (I wanted a lithe body, not a muscular one), and getting a facial and body treatment every fortnight. I also researched all the top lingerie models, brands and agencies extensively to gather tips. I even started a new Instagram account that only showed off my body and parts of my face, both as a way of keeping track of my progress to look model-worthy, and also to gather likes and fame.
I did all these while keeping it a secret from my family, friends, colleagues… and even my husband. I didn’t want to expose myself to ridicule, as I was already fearful that I might not succeed.
My loved ones did ask more questions when they noticed I had begun purchasing more lingerie and becoming more image conscious, but I waved away their concerns by saying it was due to vanity. My husband even became so suspicious, he asked me pointblank during dinner one night if I was having an affair. My response was a mouthful of minestrone, spat in surprise, onto his face. That was the last time he brought up the subject.
The day came when I finally felt ready to try out for an actual modelling gig. A work acquaintance introduced me to a small scale agency, and armed with a portfolio of photos (yes, I even had professional studio photos shot), I took a day’s leave and went for a casting. I spoke with confidence, showed off my best poses and walk, and even my Instagram account. But at the end, I was simply given a flat “no”. I left feeling upset and demoralised.
I haven’t given up on my dream. My Instagram fan base account is growing slowly but steadily, even though I haven’t shown my face, and I’m continuing to post pictures of myself in lace, leather and sequins. Last month, I even booked a large studio with a custom made runway; I hired 50 “audience members” and a professional film crew so I could stage my own lingerie runway show – everything was captured in a specially-edited video. All in all, I spent about $10,000 but was very happy with the end result. Meanwhile, I’m still looking for other model agencies and hoping one of them will sign me on.
Although my friends and family don’t know about my lingerie model aspirations, my husband is now in on my secret. Last week, I cried and spilled my secret to him. He encouraged me to continue trying if I really want this (just don’t quit my day job yet, he advised). If I ever succeed in the future, I will stop keeping my dream a secret.