Managing Expectations

Hello everyone,

Hope you all had a great weekend. I know I did. Stretches of productivity, but also got to catch up on some reading, tv and video games. The best of both worlds.

I’m still stalled on working on my second book at the moment, but I am nearly ready to re-submit my Master’s Paper to the Howard Journal of Communications. Hopefully it will be published. I am also working on creating my own social media business, which you’ll hear more about in by the end of September.

Looking ahead to september reminded me of an event I tried out for, Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOMS). I did some modelling training in my final year of high school, but I never continued with it since I was going to be moving out of town to go to the University of Ottawa, and it would have been impossible to work with a Toronto agency from 5 hours away. My best friend was going to the audition for TOMS and his mom was kind enough to send an invite to me as well. The audition was going to take place on a friday night, so we all planned to meet up afterwards for drinks.

I left for the audition straight from work, clean cut and dressed in ironed and form-fitting clothes. I tried to get back into modelling when I moved back to Brampton but I was rejected by many agencies for being too tall or for having a “similar look” to a lot of other models on their rosters. I saw this audition as my way to possibly get back into modelling. I wasn’t deluding myself of having a career as a supermodel, but I figured that I could aim to secure a part-time job that could bring in some much needed money.

The audition was held in a lounge that had been reserved for the event. There was a desk set up where patrons would normally pay cover. After registering there, I made my way down a set of stairs to the main lounge area. Wooden floors and leather chairs were set up in the center. All around the central area, there were different stations. One for physical inspection of candidates, where two women met and greeted each person one by one. The next was an area with a box light set up, where the photographer guided each model through a set of poses. The final station was the one for measurements.

I was nervous at first, but other people in the waiting area broke the ice. By the time I was called up, I felt loose again. I got positive feedback on my body and my runway walk. So did my friend. I walked out of there thinking that we were both going to be accepted.

The generic rejection email arrived two weeks later.

I am used to generic rejection letters e.g. “we regret to inform you…” from my pursuit of publication, but I wasn’t used to receiving one after getting nothing but positive feedback. I realized that maybe I was being naive. It wouldn’t make sense for the judge to list all the things she didn’t like when she sees someone in person. That would only serve to make them miserable for the rest of the audition, starting a self-fulfilling cycle. Focusing on positives was a tactful move. I let go of my pride and figured this out about ten minutes before I started writing this post.

Once I got the email I did what I always do when I feel down, called my mom. Yes, I am that type of person. I wasn’t in tears but I was disappointed. I began to worry that maybe my stomach wasn’t toned enough. I do stay in pretty good shape but I was worried that my lack of an eight pack was what led to my rejection. My mom was able to talk sense in me, telling me not to think about it too much. Modelling shows and agencies always want something very specific: a specific height, body type, skin tone etc. Not fitting the bill is not always a sign of unattractiveness or inadequacy.

That was an important lesson for me, and one that I think applies to many walks of life. It applies to my attempts to get published: my book may be good but it isn’t what agents are looking for. You may be a good candidate for a job but you may not be exactly what the employer had in mind. Sometimes they might make an exception if you stand out enough. Sometimes an ideal, or the closest thing to it, is the only option for some people.

I always try to put a positive spin on failures. I don’t just follow this idea because I read it in a book, I follow it because it is the only option that makes sense. What is the alternative? Moping, accepting defeat and giving up. We’re better than that.