Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Proud to be different?

Here's a somewhat sensitive subject for people.

I'm an aspiring alternative model. And despite my love for all things fetish, latex, gore, horror, metal music, dark, gothic and the likes, I will never be accepted as a true member of the alt community.


Because I'm neither heavily inked or pierced. I have a few subtle piercings and a few tattoos that aren't immediately visible. This is instantly met with disdain by a lot of people, which is a terrible shame for several reasons.

The alternative community "pride" themselves on being more accepting than other social groups. The attitude of some people contradicts this. I've had more than one snide comment from people about my lack of sleeve/leg/full body tattoos.

Firstly, there is no way around it. Good tattoos by a reputable artist are expensive. VERY expensive. Artists whose work I admire usually start at around £80 per hour, and for large pieces you could be looking at 12 hours work for example. I don't have access to that kind of money, even if I was to save. It's a lot of money for someone like me that struggles to get by as it is.

Which leads me neatly onto work. Sure, I'll always be on the campaign bandwagon that is waving the flag to accept alternative types in the workplace. But to be honest, in 25 years of living, I've not seen much progress with regards to this in a lot of career paths. I'm not naive enough to expect this to do a massive u-turn anytime soon. As such, I can't help but be aware that if I don't make enough to survive by modelling, or when this chapter of my life is over I must get a day job. Unless I can wangle a lottery win this is inevitable. I'm a trained journalist, so the majority of jobs I go for will end up being office-based. While I'd love to walk in with a beautifully colourful and imagination inked body, chances are that my interviewers are going to judge early on. And while of course that's a shitty fact, it's a fact nonetheless. And I can't expect any different.

Likewise, with my hair colour. I love having tomato-red hair. It's bright, I feel sexy and it works very well in pictures. But I wouldn't kick up a fuss about going back to a natural shade if it meant getting a steady job with an income that means I can live comfortably.

I don't want to start yet another campaign bearing the slogan "Accept me! This is who I am!". But I would like to see elitism take a step down once in a while. Yes, I appreciate that the whole point of having heavily modded girls in commercial magazines is the point, that you don't see these girls in say, FHM. But why can't being alternative be about attitude and state of mind? In my natural form, I'm a 5'6 average-looking blonde. This doesn't mean that I don't listen to heavy metal. Nor does it mean I don't spend hours looking at pictures of amazing tattoos, wishing I had the money to get something more elaborate than I already have.

But isn't that part of the beauty of the contradiction here? If I could afford it, I'd reach a compromise. But for now, I shall continue to live as I choose.

Viva la individuality...


  1. Yeah I know the alt models are expected to be really visibly alternative with tattoos, piercings, weird hair etc. Hopefully despite that you will get modelling jobs you like :)

  2. Ideally, I would love to be covered in tattoos. But the reality is, I don't have the time to look up people I would pay £80 an hour to do it, let alone the actual cash. I love the tattoos I do have, but even I will admit they're not perfect. Thats why I'm not covered in them. And yes, I would like my septum pierced, but I also like paying my rent.

    There is definetley a double standard. My friend from school does modelling and burlesque and feels she has to take her facial piercings to be seen as more versatile in the burlesque world. I call bullshit on that.

    Its my opinion that the model, stylists, photgraphers, etc, should be talented enough to not HAVE to rely on ink.

  3. I've aonly just seen these replies annoyingly enough, but thank you for the replies ladies, it's certainly good to get some feedback.

    Shame that there are too many niches these days, each expected to adhere to a certain aesthetic :-(