Friday, July 9, 2010

More Than a Clothes Hanger

Maybe my perception is a bit skewed, but doesn't it seem like models are once again back in the spotlight as individuals with personalities? Definitely not back to the level of the 1990's Supermodels, but no where near as cold and dismissive as the early 2000's felt. These days it feels like people everywhere want to hear what models have to say, wear what they wear, and follow every turn of their career.

I know this is all anecdotal evidence, but the model threads on tFS are exploding with hyper activity. Just think of a model (besides Freja) in your head and you can bet that someone has created a "fuckyeah" tumblr in her honor. It just feels like models at all levels of the industry are gaining in recognition and success (i.e. Rosie HW cast in the new Transformers movie and models edging out celebs in campaigns). Does it feel like this to anyone else, or is it just me?

I realize that my perception might be more than a bit skewed because I keep up with a lot of agencies and new models for fun (yes, for fun...I'm weird like that), so I always have models on my mind. And maybe this is why they seem to be more prominent to me, buoyed along by an internet culture conducive to the cultivation of niches that are otherwise too specialized to have warranted attention before. We can practically trace Freja's career from the very beginning, with only a few holes here and there. But with a model like Missy Rayder, who's career height came before the internet played such a huge role in fashion and models, the early days of her career aren't nearly as well documented. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I sense a new era where models are once again becoming celebrities in their own right.

The eminent Cathy Horyn seems to sense a small part of this as well. Just read the opening sentences of her write up on the Valentino HC show:
"A thick mob of people, mostly young and nearly all clutching cameras, stood in the blazing 6 p.m. sun outside the entrance to the Valentino Show in the Place Vendôme. They extended to the curb, and guests had to walk through a narrow path the onlookers seemed reluctant to provide. Liz Hurley was inside, in a pretty fuchsia slip dress, but most of the other V.I.P.’s were young socialites and, of course, models. The throng was waiting for them, a glimpse of someone famous and beautiful."
So maybe I'm not too off the mark here. For when did a model like Freja, a model who isn't Kate Moss or being touted as the next big thing a la Lara Stone, become popular enough to garner a two page cover feature in one of the big Vogues?? Just think about it for a moment, and you'll see how amazing it is all things considered. She's popular to be sure, but definitely not what you would call "mainstream." So the fact that Vogue UK put her on their cover and wrote a feature story on her says something, don't you think? Model as an individual. Model as a voice. Model as role model. Model as more than just a clothes hanger.

A few excerpts stuck out to me:
"Face to face, Freja's personality is harder to discern. Although she embodies an intoxicating cool, she's shy, reserved and defensive about her privacy in a way that doesn't invite girly conversation. While her slouch suggests someone who isn't entirely at east with her five feet 10 inches (she was 5ft 9in by the age of 12), she has fantastic command of her body in front of the camera."
Taking the above into account, I wonder how Freja would feel if she knew this blog existed? Now I'm SO glad that I've always made it a point to stay away from her private life and focus instead on her work. But if she's as private as they say she is, even such an intense focus on her work is probably disconcerting. People say work is work, but as a model your work is your body. You model long enough (do anything long enough for that matter) and it becomes part of you, nearly inseparable from the way you define yourself. So maybe the intense scrutiny over Freja's work on this blog constitutes a different kind of invasion of privacy? I don't know. I haven't received any ceased and desist letters yet so.....
"'Freja is entirely her own person,' says photographer Josh Olins. 'I love to photographer her. What you see at first is this tough boyishness, but then comes something else, a sensitive, softer side. She's beautifully androgynous.' For all this boy-talk, though, Freja is very pretty, with baby-soft olive skin, a high forehead and deep brown eyes that flicker when her fringe skims her lashes. 'Freja's innate sense of style somehow translates into the way she is photographed,' adds Vogue's fashion director Lucinda Chambers. 'She is one of only a handful of models who have this unique combination of a strong personality and look, while at the same time being a total chameleon.'"
I knew I loved Lucinda for a reason. This is exactly what I've been saying, and what I try to explore, on this blog. I feel justified, and not so crazy for posting all my long babbling posts. :) Anyway, the article is a great read so make sure to check it out if you haven't already. There are lots of great tidbits about Freja in there, including bits about her upbringing, her family and her hobbies. She comes across very well on the page, just like she did on film. Memorable, funny and endearing enough to convert the naysayers and win over new fans.

Image Credits: scans by tFS member fearless123


Anonymous said...

I really like freja's take on her career. On the surface, she looks nonchalant about it all yet in this interview she said she's ambitious otherwise she wouldn't be doing it. She's laid back but very focused on her career.

AMELIA said...

Reading the article just made me love her even more.and don't depreciate what you write coz they are always very enjoyable reads.Your take on topics are always insightful and an eye opener.

BunnyBehan said...

I always love to hear more from her though there are not many Freja's quotes in the article, mainly information. This is satisfying though :)

What I cannot get is why some cannot understand the Beha appeal because her appeal is way too obvious

Skinny Bado said...

Part 2 of Les Filles En Vogue has been uploaded. Here's the link - (hope it works :>) More Freja, Yeah!

Miranda said...

I wouldn't see why you would receive cease and desist letters! Thanks for putting the article up, by the way.