by Shelton Bumgarner
I have a personal fashion sense of a goat. It barely registers to me what I’m wearing at particular moment. But I do have an eye for beauty. And I do love photography. So every once in a while, I go through a phase where I’m fascinated with the fashion industry.
One thing that sticks out to me is how much easier it is for an actress to pass themselves off as a model than vise-versa. Usually, young talented gorgeous women have to make a decision as to which subfield they’re going to concentrate on. It’s only later that they can broaden their range. Rihanna, for instance, was a beauty queen growing up. She then went into singing. But under different conditions she was attractive enough to be a model.
I honestly can not think of any establish model who manage to transition into a singer or actress. Sure, they often enjoy some success off the runway, but they almost never end up as successful actresses. The ones who do find success are the ones with very strong, unique personalities. Cara Delevingne is a very unique person just in general and that’s given her a lot of opportunities that other models would die for.
This brings up Emily Ratajkowski. I think she’s probably the gold standard for beauty in the Western world right now. She’s not even dumb. She’s a vocal feminist and is able to put words together that resemble a sentence. Her big flaw, I think, is how languid her personality is. This comes across on screen. If you saw her in Gone Girl, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The highlight of her performance was she reminded the audience of her astonishing body. Otherwise, meh. What’s even more intriguing about Ratajkowski is she loves being naked in public…and nothing. She’s not really that much of a cultural touchstone as, say, Cindy Crawford in her heyday.
Alexa Chung is an example of the limits of being a star in the fashion industry. She’s long been an “It Girl,” but while she’s quite witty, she just never had a break out moment. While too often the average person lumps Hollywood in with fashion and music, the different industries have very, very different demands. Hollywood is so powerful because it creates reality in a way. And, really, to be a star you have to have a connection with an audience. Actors…act, while models pretty just have to have a razor thin amount of stage presence.
As someone who fancies themselves a storyteller, I like to think that proving yourself as an actor is far harder than walking the catwalk. By definition, models don’t really suffer in the artistic manner needed to build the character needed to be an actor. I say this as someone who really respects the fashion industry as an art form.
In fact, in a down low manner, Playboy Magazine has actually been a better jumping off point for ambitious gorgeous women. It’s not really the case anymore because, well, Playboy is now just a legacy brand that is dead in the water when it comes to relevance, but it definitely had a moment for several decades.
Anyway, I’m not picking on models or the fashion industry. It’s just there’s a reason why the old Hollywood saw is, “But can she act?” A true Hollywood star has to have a rare combination of beauty, stage presence and personality. Demonstrably attractive people simply do not have to work as hard as less attractive people in social situations. That’s why both often very shy and have pretty shitty taste in romantic partners.
Having said all that, I still often daydream of being a fashion photographer. In fact, it’s my dream job in some respects. While I have the native talent, I just don’t have the money to buy the equipment needed. Add to this how old I am and where I live and, well, being a fashion photographer is likely to remain a dream.
Look me up on Instagram. You might be surprised how good a photographer I am.