"It's Hard Work Looking Good"

Watching and critiquing how the contestants on ANTM do in their photoshoots is probably one of the most underrated armchair sports of all time. Everybody's a critic as we gals listen to the judges comment on the frontrunners and the disappointments. Jordana and I have had many an MSN conversation where we can't wait to chime in with our two cents.

Well, last weekend I discovered that modelling can be hard, especially for a shy quiet girl who's always believed she was average-looking at best. My friend Jalil had mentioned to me a long time ago that I had a good face for portraits, but it was so long ago and nothing was said since, so I shrugged it off. Imagine my surprise when he mentioned that, weather permitting, he wanted to shoot me in Stanley Park! He told me it was going to be a casual shoot so I didn't have to dress up, and that I had to do a bit of light makeup to even out my skin and cover blemishes. I could bring accesories like a hat or necklace if I wanted to.

I met him late Saturday afternoon not knowing what to expect, and we walked to Stanley Park together. When we got to the park, Jalil did some test shots and fretted over the sunlight: sunlight is too harsh and washes out the colour in the surroundings and the subject's complexion. As we started shooting, I found that I just felt awkward. It's surprisingly hard to fake fierceness in front of the camera and strike a pose when you feel clumsy and like you have no idea what you're doing. Give me a good salsa beat and a lead and I can move on the dance floor, but in front of the camera? Well, I felt less than imaginative.

After he'd gotten enough portrait shots (his main goal for this photoshoot), Jalil said I could go crazy and do whatever I want - "Hug the trees!" I climbed onto a low-hanging but sturdy tree limb growing at a 45 degree angle from the ground and lay on it. In the photos I look so relaxed, like lying on tree branches is something I do all the time, but in reality the bark was wet and slippery after a night of rain and covered in moss, and I was sliding down the branch so I had to brace myself by planting one foot on each of the other tree limbs. Carefree as I appeared, in reality it felt like I was doing a 40-minute continuous lunge squat, the branch was digging into me, and my back and neck were sore from holding the same position for so long. Let me just say that I have so much more respect for what those ANTM girls do after this experience.

Post-photoshoot, we had a nice walk around the seawall and a dinner of Korean food. I got the photos a couple days later and was absolutely delighted; they're now up on Facebook and piquing the curiosity of all my friends, who've been asking me things like when I started modelling and if I'm moonlighting as a sunglasses model. (The answers would be "last Saturday" and "no.")

Anyway, check out some of my fave shots from the shoot!

A big kudos to Jalil, who's an amazing photographer! When I thanked him for making me look like such a star, he said, "Hey sweetie, thanks for the comment, but all I did was point a camera at your cute face and shoot."

Also, a smaller kudos to Jordana for inadvertently coming up with this post's title.

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