Mel the Model

Mel the Model

A Story by Persona
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Inspired by watching "Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model" I decided to write a piece from the perspective of a plus side model.

"

I always wanted to be a model. I remember this one time, the summer haze reached my blonde streaked hair through the window and the light made my eyes really pop. The swirl of the hazel in the orbs of my eyes, the way my lashes stroked my face as I blinked, lengthy and soft, my oval unblemished face, the absolute beauty that emanated from within and out from me was purely recognisable as one thing. ‘The look.’

“Little Mel, you look beautiful!” My mother, Wanda said as she twirled my strawberry scented hair around her fingers. Her slight wrinkles, just around the eyes, came together as she proudly looked upon my reflection. “Your eyes are like your father’s.” My mother admired me, seeing deeper into my eyes, possibly to my soul, similar to my father’s.

Mother crouched down, facing me. She looked so strong, years after the accident - but I never knew my father. I still remember when mother sat me down, on the little grey rug in the living room...

‘What happened to daddy?’ I said, my high pitched voice inquisitive.

My mother sighed, taking a firm hold of my shoulder as she took her seat on the sofa. I watched her lean back, the steam from her freshly made tea rising up into the air as she held the cup by the handle. She looked away at first, as if she’d tried her hardest to forget, and now recalling what happened was a struggle.

After blowing gently on the tea, she began, ‘He was out enjoying himself, as always. Your father could be so reckless and dangerous,’ she paused, smiling to herself. 'But he was so exciting and every moment with him was a pleasure.'

Then her eyes fixed on mine - she wanted me to know, really know, who father was. 'He was so generous. Don’t ever let your grandparents tell you he was a mess, or a menace, because he was a great man and he did all he could. But he suffered a terrible fate. I’m sorry little Mel, but your father had an accident. I just wish that I could’ve had longer with him, that he could’ve at least seen you being born.'

Mother placed her tea beside her on the coffee table, very slowly, as if being careful now would resurrect my father. Then, she leant down to me and whispered, 'Life is a gift, little Mel. Do everything your heart craves. Any dreams you have - pursue them. I want you to make the most of it, to do it all.'

Mother cupped my face in her hands tenderly, like it was fragile, just as Father’s life seemed to have been.

'You have your father’s heart; kind, warm and generous.'

So in that moment, I knew, at the precious age of six that modelling was for me. Mother supported me, financially and emotionally through all the beauty pageants. I strutted out on that stage, a giant smile aching at the sides of my face, a hand perfectly poised on my hip, that little twirl I had to do precisely at the upstage centre to show off all the sparkly detail on my $2,000 dollar dress.

The days when I won, were glorious. Being presented with that HUGE check that I struggled to hold up in my tiny hands filled me with the intoxication of success!

But when I lost, a storm would rush up from my little feet, as I stomped out the room. My screaming was an eruption from my vocal chords, causing my mother to cover her ears and try desperately to console me. Just as she thought I was fine, the screams would re-energise themselves, becoming stronger than before, like my pain was fresh. My fierce fists snatched for my tiara and I tossed it to the ground. Even second was ‘losing.’  Grumpily, I used to sit, cross armed and silently stare at my competitor - that smug little girl across the room on that stage with the bright, hot lights. Unable to control myself, my desperation caused more than tantrums. That’s when food came along.

***

“You’re too fat to be a plus size model.” An agent looked at me in disgust, as I had ballooned to size 16, years later.

“You should be a size smaller.” He told me matter-of-fact. I stood, with a blank expression, but behind it, my hazel swirled eyes showed my deep thoughts of disappointment.

As the agent ranted and quickly flicked through my thin portfolio, all I could do was hang my head in shame.

All that money spent on me, for pageants, all the years of pampering and training to walk with good posture and practise cute dance routines and the few acting roles where I fluffed the lines or interpreted it wrong...I can’t do this. I’m ‘too fat’ and soon I’ll be ‘too old.’ I thought.

'I don’t want to hear back from you Miss Trinket.' Then he looked me up and down scrupulously, 'Unless you lose weight.'

Another door closed behind me as I stood out the building, staring up at its towering pale brown complexion. He was still in there, the agent, probably praising some thinner girl with a perfect smile.

I sighed, glancing up the building’s glistening windows, freshly cleaned, its polished floors that echoed the sound of the tiny ‘click, click’ of my heels as I walked upon them...oh I wanted to go to that building every day, or at least know that in a week’s time I would be good enough and have miraculously lost the weight. Who was I kidding? Little Mel Trinket wasn’t a model - she was a waste of space. Or had a waist full of too much space.

That ugly waist, still bulging from my black belt, couldn’t be tucked in as I walked into my last ever casting call. No agent was going to book me now: crease lines were developing on my forehead. And no amount of make-up could hide them.

I leant against the wall, a hundred girls sitting down, squashed into the small hallway awaiting their turn. They were wringing their hands and straightening out their blouses. I smiled to myself, thinking when I was that hopeful - when I thought the tiniest out of place hair would cost me the job.

“Mel Trinket.” I was called, and lead into the room, a wide frightening white room with a long, slender silver table that seated three - all chairs facing me.

Mrs. Matthews was choosing whom to cast for her hair advertisement. With her head in hands, she told another girl in the room, 'We’ll be in touch.'

The girl with long brown hair cheerfully skipped out the room. I know how this is going to go...

Mrs. Matthews looked like she’d seen a number of girls with the same hair as the previous one, like everyone was the same, but time seemed to slow, almost to a stop. She lifted her head, her ginger fringe hiding her eyes as she looked up at me. Then I saw her lips, opening, then widening into...a smile?

For a split second, I thought a caught a glimmer of hope in Mrs. Matthews’s eyes. Then time sped up.

She was alive, scooting out of her chair rushing to come greet me. “You!” She buzzed, an inadvertent high pitched flicker arising in her voice as she gazed at me. It was like she’d never seen another person before...the way she came at me and suddenly stopped, right in front of my face. I felt her breath on my face as she inspected my hair, running her fingers through it and messing it up and pulling it back...

“You have beautiful hair!” She exclaimed.

Is this real? No one acts like this! I thought, half suspicious, half feeling the adrenaline rush, just as I used to when winning pageants. My confusion died down, and the idea of getting a job resurfaced, like an animal thought to be dead that suddenly springs to life again. For once, someone was enthralled with the way I looked, almost consumed, and that was only in the way my hair shone, the way it bounced as much as a small kid on a big trampoline.

'Mrs. Matthews?' I asked, caution in my voice. 'Do you want my portfolio?' Or lack of one...I prayed in my heart, the doubtful, little pit right at the bottom, that it was wrong - that my portfolio wouldn’t hurt my chances.

“I don’t need one - not to see such glossy hair. How do you manage it?” She was still staring at it. I wondered if she’d noticed the rest of me. The rest, meaning the bulge sticking out from me, the proof of my struggles, the one item that held me back because of my cravings for the sweet taste of chocolate. I could trim my nails and make sure there was no dirt under them, I could use as many moisturisers as possible to keep my face fresh and even style my hair with smooth gels and sweet-smelling sprays, but I could not manage to stay off delectable food.

What is your name, dear?”I felt a tug at my arm. Mrs. Matthews’s fingers were tightly wrapped around it, like a snake’s body. Her fingernails, red and pointed, poked my flesh as she enthusiastically pulled my over to the silver table.

“Mel.” I replied, as Mrs. Matthews sat down opposite me, chin resting on palms.

“Mel,” she parroted. “You have just the right look.” She lifted her chin, like a gesture, “Walk for me.”

Nervously, I placed a hand on a hip and thought, make Mum proud. Make Dad proud. Make up for the years of failure, put your pageant walk to use...feet straight...head high, shoulders back, swing the hips a bit, not too much! Don’t try too hard...and spin round on the spot...

I faced Mrs. Matthews as I spun around, and instantly cringed. You’re over thinking it. Now open your eyes. She was still in the same position as when I’d started, only her head tilted and her right eye narrowed as she watched my legs, my feet, my hands. Just because you’ve got the hair, doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride. I counted my steps, making sure to stop long before the table so Mrs. Matthews could see every inch of me.

“You’re good, Mel. I like your walk - you must practise a lot!”

“I do.” I acknowledged, with a gentle nod. I wanted to come across as humble.

“Well I think you have potential. Your hair is to die for.” She stressed die, as if suggesting dye. It was nice that she attempted humour.

“Thank you, Mrs. Matthews.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll call you.” She smiled. Not ‘we’ll be in touch’, not ‘we’ll call you’ but I’ll I thought.

I crossed my fingers as I walked out, only to find a message on my answer machine when I got home.

“Miss Trinket,” it was Mrs. Matthews’s voice! I took short, but fast steps toward the phone, as if trying not to scare the message away.

“I saw a few girls after you, and found that I kept comparing them to you. I know, I’ve been told I can be too friendly with clients, but you must know how much potential you have!”

I felt a shiver of excitement up my spine, a tingle at the end of my fingers just listening to the only casting agent who’d praised me. I tucked my hair behind my ear, eager for more compliments. My forehead was breaking out into a sweat, and my palms weren’t much better. I kept staring at the machine, as if it could disappear at any moment if I took my eyes off of it. I knew I would never delete this message.

 “Miss Mel, please do call back-“

I cut it off and speedily snatched the phone up, frantically dialling her company’s number. With both hands clutching the phone, I waited, impatiently as it rang.

That’s one. She’s not answering...she found someone else. Of course she did! Two rings. This is too much. She must answer! I thought, tapping my foot. The carpet was developing a dent from the thin, square heel digging into it as my weight pushed down on its small surface area.

I could handle a few more seconds. Three and-

“Mrs. Matthews’s office.”

I leant over and took my heels off. Breathe. Relax. The job is yours. And ‘Daddy’ will be proud.


© 2012 Persona



Author's Note

Persona
A new and improved version - about 96% different!

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Featured Review

What a lovely story of confidence and a very difficult journey. Filled with honesty. I find that in most cases that you are very right, plus size models are most often overlooked in the line for modelling. I think your piece was creative and filled with intellegent wisdom. Very clear and well presented

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I have never read a story like this before. I think your a good writer.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Persona

4 Years Ago

Thank you again. Did you prefer the other story more?
well done

Posted 5 Years Ago


oh i love it! it seems so dedicated. how she lost hope and then went to another place to get the job. i love it!

Posted 5 Years Ago


I just lost the very harsh review I just wrote for your story and almost don't feel like repeating myself. However, I think it is important for you to know. This story is under developed overall. I read a vague plot that had a slight character development with virtually no climax. The grammar-sentence structure and comma usage- needs to be edited. I think that a creative writing course would be in your best interest. This is the only story I’ve read of yours and I am not impressed. I am a brutal reviewer, because when you submit your stories to publishers they will be worse. Also, I would suggest reading a few books analytically so you can understand how to create a story. Fitzgerald does a great job in the Great Gabsy, The Harry Potter books have great character development, and the New Yorker publishes short stories that are exceptional. Oh, I love analogies, I really do. However, your excessive use of them in one paragraph was distracting. Another suggestion would be to get in a critique group in your area that will not tell you what you want to hear. Online writing communities like these can tend to not a help a writer at all. Also, try reading your stories out loud, because you'll catch more mistakes that way. That is all!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


Persona

5 Years Ago

Please clarify for me - so I need more descriptive back story for Mel, and to make a much bigger end.. read more
Heather Maria

5 Years Ago

No, simpler is not what I'm saying at all. You don't need a bigger ending to get people excited, but.. read more
Wow, this is amazing! Nice!!!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


What a lovely story of confidence and a very difficult journey. Filled with honesty. I find that in most cases that you are very right, plus size models are most often overlooked in the line for modelling. I think your piece was creative and filled with intellegent wisdom. Very clear and well presented

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This caught and held me the entire time. I think this is a completely original idea, well written, and I greatly enjoy the inside voice of your character. Most importantly, it deals with relevant issues, and is extremely relatable. Finally, a story where the character is real and realistic, not perfect and completely adored for no reason... I think you've got the beginning of something revolutionary and amazing here. Go with it! I want to read more!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


Nice! This is the first I've seen of a written story about a model. Great job :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago



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Added on July 10, 2012
Last Updated on November 26, 2012
Tags: model, next, top, hopeful, mel, the, dream

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Persona
Persona

Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom



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I really appreciate people who review and will happily return the favour. Look at 'Make a Move' as I am primarily a story writer. I give honest reviews because I want to help people improve their w.. more..

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