Models are confident. They are wispy-thin with perfectly dyed hair, fake fingernails and a figure Barbie would kill for. Literally.
Yet we can waltz out onto stages in front of billions of people in a swimsuit to answer questions about world peace.
There are days I wish I was behind the camera instead of in front of it. This may be one of them.
I don’t dye my hair because it’s my pet peeve. Right now it looks like an Olympic frizz fest.
I’m a model, we’re allowed to be finicky. I mean, who cares anyway? We can throw temper tantrums, fit into size zero anything and rip each other apart over a thirty-second slot.
We also donate half of our profits to the charity of our choice, sponsor starving kids overseas and every week we pick a personal Miss Congeniality.
Am I fake? I don’t know anymore. I keep breaking the miniaturized surfboards on my fingertips if that’s any indication.
I’ve also managed to land the most coveted spot on the cover of Vogue this month. I so want to laugh. It’s a joke at most.
At one-hundred pounds, you’d think I’d be happy. I’m five feet and two inches. I can’t lift anything over fifty-pounds. But don’t tell the girls that. They have trouble lifting their double-decaf, vanilla lattes to surgically enhanced lips.
Cynical? I can’t help it. It’s a model scratch model world out there. We love catfights. We hate our agents.
“Malina!” Gertie’s too-cheerful voice accompanies her Popsicle head, interrupting my deliciously hateful thoughts on the twisted world of modeling.
“Darling, there you are!” She gushes, sweeping down from the doorway to pat my head with fluttering fingers. “They want you on camera in fifteen minutes. I’m sending Laureen with that gorgeous sundress Monica made for you last week. Pedro should be bringing footwear to match, if he doesn’t make it on time, remind me to fire him. You just can’t be late for life!”
Gertie smiles at my dark reflection in the mirror. I don’t have to wait long for her to notice.
“Malina! Oh my word! Malina!” Her hand has gone to her mouth and she is now speaking through manicured fingers between gasps of disbelief. “That hole on your neck!”
I lower cranberry-tinted eyelids to glare in her direction. “What hole? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
It couldn’t possibly be the scar from my cancer surgery, could it?
Gertie swallows hard, the veins in her neck are straining as her hand drops to her side. She is scrambling to avoid saying something she shouldn’t.
My fingers caress a darkened depression on the left side of my neck. I pick up the powder puff and begin patting. I know it will fade into a memory once my makeup team arrives.
On cue, Sherona bursts through the door, the girls in tow. “Out, no agents allowed during the transformation!” She waves her hands at Gertie as her assistants escort her out.
I try my best not to smile at Gertie’s enraged reflection. “Hold your mouth still, girl!” Sherona barks.
I smooth my face like a canvas.
Magical fingers go to work, smoothing, painting, polishing.
When they are finished. I will be perfect.
Perfect on the outside, heavy inside.
Fighting for your life in a hospital where you’re nothing but a number can send a girl looking for hope in too many places.
I found one place. One peace and acceptance. I know what I need to do, but it doesn’t make it easy.
Dear Lord, I’m sorry for pushing you out of my life. Thanks for saving it anyway…and giving me this chance. I wince inwardly, praying words that take more. Forgive me?Lousy attitude and all?
I feel His presence settle over me like a golden, gossamer veil with the side effect of goosebumps.
“All done…whoa girl!” Sherona steps back. “Your happy glow. It’s back.”
Staring at me is the face of model Malina Nanton.
Walking onto the stage for the next photo shoot is the real Malina.
It’s not just confidence that pulls you out of a slump and shoves you on your feet.
No, that’s God-confidence.
It picks you up, smothers you in love and tells you to go get ‘em girl!
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