Prancing is harder than it looks

Have you ever looked at a fashion model and thought, ‘Wow, now there’s someone pulling off a really demanding, difficult job.’?  I mean, on the scale of professional difficulty, one would think modeling falls even below acting on a Disney Channel sitcom.

To the outside observer (i.e., me – who has never watched any modeling reality shows), the occupation appears to have a small skill set:  stay thin, don’t smile too much, and walk with that strut that slices your legs over and over across the front of your body.

But there came a day when the scales were removed from my eyes, and I now tip my hat to anyone who has become a professional in the world of modeling.

The day was about three years ago in Montreal.  I was touring Canada as a chaperone with a girls choir and we were roaming around ‘Old Montreal’, with its infamous cobblestone streets.

Those cobblestones are not polite.  They are uneven, jagged, and a hazard to walk on.  I felt I could get stuck up to my ankle in some of the gaps between the stones.

The group of girls I was tending to came upon a crew of people who had taken over the middle of the street while doing a photo shoot.  I spotted at least twenty production people with lanyards around their necks, drinking Tim Horton’s, while a female model took center stage in front of a cameraman in the middle of the road.  She was wearing a sleek, chic outfit, as well as impossibly high heels that I think classify, technically, as stilts.

The crew was resetting things after a take as we approached the scene, but when all was ready again, that model started strutting down the street, taking her jacket off and tossing it over her shoulder, keeping her perfect pout in place, swinging her hair as if there were a strong breeze.  I swear to Kabbalah monster she accomplished all this without looking at the ground.  She did not even afford a glance at the uneven, rutted, ankle-breaking stones she was prancing on in those 4 or 5-inch heels.

I was in awe.  All day, I had been carefully picking around the old stones in the streets, even in my sturdy walking shoes.  But here was this woman, hardly regarding them as she placed her feet safely on solid rock with every step in that dangerous-looking footwear.  That model was doing what professionals of every ilk do – she was making it look easy.

I lost my self-righteous distain for the occupation of modeling after seeing that feat in Montreal.  Maybe I would have come to my senses sooner if I had simply tuned into ‘America’s Next Top Model’ on occasion.

But let’s get real – that would mean I’d have to have enough respect for reality tv to actually watch it.  Never gonna happen.

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