Models are poked and prodded backstage so much more than I ever thought they were. It must drive them crazy to basically have no personal space for the duration of the shows. And it's interesting to note that three is Freja's lucky number. Hence the three lines tattooed on her finger and the three circles on her wrist. Any other threes you can think of?
Freja is so relaxed and so nonchalant about everything. I can see why she's so appealing to the people she works with and for. There is a calming, soothing nature about her that comes across so well here. I can only imagine how attractive it is to be around in real life especially during a hectic show season. But I think it's important to note that this nonchalance should not be confused with apathy. Even though Freja may not show it in conventional ways, I do believe that she is invested in and enjoys her job as a model. In the past five years I think we've seen her accept her own role in the industry on her own terms. It was a process that took time and the onset of maturity--two things not often granted to models.
She's deeply entrenched in the midst of all the action, but her demeanor is such that she appears to be floating above it all, slightly detached. She personifies the meaning of her tattoo "float" to such a perfect degree. And now I understand why it's on such a prominent location of her body.
After watching this all, the following quote is what particularly stuck out to me:
"I don't think you should let anyone dictate what you should do with your own body. You do sell your body as a product but it's still yours. I mean.....my body....I get to do with it what I want."What an interesting thing for a model to say, and perhaps the reason why Freja has been labeled as the "rebel" throughout her career. You can sense the conflict that she must feel towards her role as a model. One the one hand, it's a job that has given her success and access to the comforts life can offer. On the other, it has required her to give up part of her autonomy and individuality. Relatively speaking, it's a tough position to be in and there's an implicit struggle in Freja's words and a yearning to reconcile the two conflicting factors.
The sentiment Freja shares about her body is a perfect microcosm of the feeling that I (and I think many of you) have towards the fashion industry as whole. There's an internal conflict that perhaps all of us feel towards fashion at one point or another. Assuming that you're open-minded and liberal (as most people in fashion tend to be) the industry's tendencies towards sexism, racism, ageism, and sizeism are all political and social issues we fight against in our daily lives and denounce in our beliefs. Of course women should be treated equally and schools should be integrated. The color of skin shouldn't affect a person's place in life, nor should the size of their waist or the wrinkles on their face. Yet you look at the fashion industry and all those things are reflected back in the worst possible ways. (i.e. Terry Richardson, white-washed runways, the fact that a size 4 is considered to be "curvy," etc...) But because this is fashion and we love it and get so much enjoyment from it, we accept it's negative aspects in ways that we'd never allow in other avenues of our lives.
I don't know....maybe I'm only speaking for myself here. Although I do feel that this is the same type of conflict that Freja expresses in regards towards a model's relationship to her own body. We might appear to be complicit with the industry's discriminations, but hopefully we'll actually end up being subversive in the end. Just like Freja tattoos her body to regain the autonomy she loses every time she's required to become the "blank slate," I hope that some of us will leave positive marks that eventually change the industry's way of doing business.
On a less serious note, I have to say that I'm in love with Sasha now. I nearly died from laughter when they show her at the very end trying to close her beat up suitcase plastered with random stickers. She comes across as such a lovable, genuine, fragile, yet strong woman. She's an individual through and through and I find her personality incredibly endearing and addictive. As a matter of fact, all the models come across very well. Vogue Paris has a wonderful feature on their hands, and I sincerely hope they decide to do this at least every year, if not every show cycle. It's a win-win for everyone. More press for the magazine, more press for the models, and more fodder for the increasingly model-obsessed fans like us out here.
And Freja, I know it's your body and all, but geez girl.....at least try to pace yourself with the smoking. Your fans want you around for a long time to come!
All in all, my expectations were met with this film. It was entertaining but also thought provoking. It changed some of my opinions, but for the better. And it instilled in me an even deeper sense of respect and awe for the models who are able to endure and persevere season after season. What about you? Your thoughts? Changed opinions? Anything?