#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Beitrag auf Deutsch

#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Helau & Alaaf, my dears!

Well, if you don’t know what that means, probably you’re not from Germany and/or have never lived in areas where carnival a.k.a Fasching (in my area we call it Karneval) is celebrated.
No prob, it’s a great festivity before Lent, with a long tradition, where everybody dresses up as someone or something else and celebrates with parades and music (and a lot of booze).
It’s not comparable to the colourful carnival de Rio, obviously, as the weather mostly isn’t as spectacular, but many people across Germany get feverish for the 5th season, as it’s also called.
[if you want to know more about this tradition, which has its roots in Christianity, let me know or ask uncle Google or aunt Wiki :p ]

So, now, Gina, is modelling like a great carnival in front of the cam?
Do you feel like wearing a disguise or dressing up as someone else when you work as a model?

Well, for me personally, my work in front of the cam is not comparable to carnival.
Although I participated in photo projects in which I felt like wearing a disguise or rather like an actress playing a role and slipping into a different character.

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

But in my personal case, I have to say that modelling showed me rather more of my own facets than taking me away from my own character, I’d say.
I think, the fearful thoughts of a mother, when the kid says “Mum, I’m gonna become a model!” swirl around things like “Great, now they will get superficial, compare themselves constantly to other models, take their measurements three times a day and only eat cotton pads soaked with orange juice!”. Ergo: Panic!
And by no means do I intend to diminish or belittle these worries.
The age, in which many of the girls and boys start entering the model business, is a fragile one, one, in which the self-confidence and character is not yet as stable as to deal with the constant competition, the comparisons and the many rejections without taking it personally or connecting it to oneself and one’s body.
On the other hand, we could say that youngsters don’t have to enter the model biz for that, as peer dynamics and peer pressure do the same.
That’s what I know from my instagram-free youth. Nowadays the oh so social media just adds to it.
But what I’m aiming at, is that youngsters and young adults will end up searching for themselves and their uniqueness by trial and error anyway. One day they will run around like a hippie without a bra and the next day they’ll wear fake lashes looking like a femme fatale.
I am not denying that the pressure in the model industry, especially if pursued as a professional career and not a hobby, is another dimension!
Important note here: No matter, whether it’s normal peer dynamics or whether your children, friends, etc. decide to start modelling, let them try out things, but if you detect dangerous and harmful changes in their behaviour and thought patterns, please do talk to them! That’s my humble opinion.

Talking from my own experience, I can definitely say that there were moments in which I compared myself to other models concerning height, measurements, weight, outward appearance, hair, style, body and work ethic. But probably every employee and amateur pursuing a hobby does the same.
We compare each other and our work.
And probably that’s the biggest crux in this particular field of work: To make a distinction between your work and your body when it comes to modelling isn’t as easy as in other fields, let’s say a report, a product, a text.
If I wrote a text my client doesn’t like and they say “Gina, the text you produced does not fit my requirements.”, of course, I could take it personally, but there is the text and here I am. Although I produced the text, the text is not me.
But when a photographer says “Gina, your posture is a catastrophe and your body doesn’t look like the measurements on your profile, you seem more corpulent.”, to make this distinction between my work and my outward appearance, my body, the home of my soul, becomes far more complicated.
I think you get what I mean.

But it’s not impossible. It’s a lot of hard work, as is taking critique not too personal in general and to despair and doubt oneself directly, which probably everyone of you knows, be it professional, hobby wise or in personal matters.

Fortunately, in retrospect, I can say that modelling rather helped me see and understand my own facets than pushing me into crises.
To the contrary: On days, where work didn’t go as planned or when in personal situations things went wrong and I started doubting myself, my work and wondered what the eff I was doing, a look on my colourful portfolio often gave me a kick of “I am Miss fucking Laventura, I have been so many things already, a fairy, a nerd, a fashion model, an artificial being, the powerful rock girl, the delicate one, and so much more. Why the heck should I not be able to do it?!”

helena behle

JimP4nsen

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

vanessa marie

sw-fotografie

norbert josefsson

But, here’s a big BUT, that can also be related to the fact that first of all I didn’t pursue a professional model career, I didn’t run from casting to casting, and quite early on my focus was put on creative, artsy productions and later on on expressive pictures that I could combine with my texts. Maybe that helped me a bit to escape the pressure of the mainstream. (And I say that with all the love, I mean the popular fields of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, commercial).

By the way, I don’t mean to sugarcoat anything here. I received so many rejections that I can’t even put all the frustration, disappointment and doubts into words right here.
Agency after agency rejected me because they didn’t see good placement chances with their clients, because either my face was too special or not special enough.
So many jobs slipped through my fingers, although I fulfilled all the requirements, etc. etc. etc.

But through all this experimenting one can learn what feels natural and what doesn’t, where is the line between a facet of me and a role I play?
There were shootings in which I wore clothes and styles that couldn’t have felt more strange to me and I can say, it was a role I loved playing.

christian becker
visahamm

What counts then for me is: Did I play the role well? Does it come across as authentic?

Likewise, there were shootings that set out as a role, with which I couldn’t identify at all, and during the shooting itself I discovered that it was an unknown or even neglected facet of myself.

norbert josefsson

This playing and experimenting has the potential to teach you a lot about yourself, which can also contribute positively to self-confidence.
After a while, it becomes clear what feels natural and what feels like a role, which role is a role that I can identify with and which one goes completely against my natural disposition.
Likewise, it teaches you to reject projects that don’t fit you, no matter how versatile and flexible you are, because if it’s a role that you cannot bring across authentically, it doesn’t serve anyone.

And sometimes it’s just great fun to jump into a different character and to be someone you’re normally not.
Like on Karneval: You’re a princess, a king, a clown, a childhood hero.

The most important thing is that you always take the core of yourself with you.
And that means mostly and foremost to know yourself and to get to know yourself. Of course, laughing about and with yourself, too.
And in an ideal case it’s fun and enjoyable to be yourself.
With all the facets, crazy attitudes and quirks.

manufaktur lichtbild
andreas trnka

Did/do you celebrate carnival?
If so, what’s your disguise today? Who are you?
I’m sick, so I go as a bottle of cough sirup.
And you?

xxx
Gina.

Insight into Labelled Love: Terms

On Instagram there is this #6wordchallenge and a fellow writer, @joshuacallawaypoetry challenged me to participate.
I ended up having more than one inspiration, but one was actually taken from one of the chapters of Labelled Love, a little bit modified, but nevertheless.
So, instead of just using it on insta, I thought, I’m going to share the whole chapter with you to set it into context.
Enjoy the read, my dears 😉

Terms

Stamps, labels, scales, measurements.
This seems to be the way we understand the world, our surroundings.
In her life, she was allowed to experience the miracle of unconditional love.
A love without conditions.
Without thinking “I love you, but…”, or “I love you, but only if you…”.
The universe had allowed her a glimpse on the utmost and only truth: Love.
A small glimpse, the rush of a moment and since then, she understood that she was able to love someone without expectations, without ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’.
That was why she revolted against stamps, scales, measurements and labels. They just didn’t matter to her.
Once she had discovered that she loved him, that was the only thing she needed to know.
Where would it go from there? Would she be defeated? Tricked and fooled again? Would she fly too high and fall too hard?
She banished those fearful thoughts and exchanged them with the only reasonable answer or contra question possible:
What does it matter? Does it matter at all?
If she fell, she’d get up again. This might be the most stupid and risky or the best and most moving idea ever. Anyway, it would be an experience.
Truth or dare? She dared the truth.
And she was rewarded by the soft words of a smart young man, who didn’t care about labels either. He told her that the term ‘relationship’ was what they both would define it as. And that they would discover this definition together in time.

Gina Laventura©2014

Happy (Chinese) New Year and Thank You!

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

IMG_0445
Photo & Editing: freshandjuicy

My dears,

I am utterly, utterly sorry for not having posted for so long.
And I know I have said that a hundred times before, but as plain as it sounds: sometimes life comes in between!
I had planned so many blog posts and thoughts I wanted to share with you and I am well aware that I still owe you two sundaystories.
But I hope you will be kind with me and understand that I was just too busy and too many things happened all at the same time, so I had to set priorities and work my way through a whole lot of to-do-lists and tasks. And although art and writing is definitely a priority in my heart, other matters had to be put first.

I felt terribly sorry and even told a friend “now that I have gained some new readers who even show interest in my blog and interact with me, I let them down” and he said I shouldn’t worry and that my readers probably would be patient and understanding and caring and kind and that they would be happy when I finally post again.
So, I hope he was right.

I won’t promise to publish a bunch of blog posts right now, because I prefer making promises that I can keep and as it is still a turbulent time for me with loads of things to do, I don’t want to disappoint you by not finding the time to blog.
But I promise that all the posts I had planned will be published bit by bit and I hope you find something interesting, enjoyable and inspiring in it.

Well, I haven’t made it to post at New Year to wish you a wonderful start into a hopefully successful and amazing new year, but at least I made it to Chinese New Year, which started on the 8th February.
It will be the year of the Red (Fire) Monkey and is said to become an interesting, adventurous year with many chances to achieve goals.
So, I wish that this year will hold its promise for you and that you find the strength to set out and achieve the goals you’ve set yourself!

Remember when in my Christmas Post I invited you to count your blessings on Christmas Eve?
Well, of course I did the same and I think it is a beautiful way to end one year and step into the next: Being aware of and thankful for one’s blessings!
This is why I’d like to say a big

to all of you.
To the ones of you, who have followed and accompanied me from my first blog steps to the relaunch, through texts and videos and photos to the publishing of Labelled Love.
I am thankful for my family and friends who support me in all my endeavors.
I’m thankful for all the inspiring people I was and am allowed to meet and for the remarks and moments that brighten my days and keep me going.
Some examples (as shown in the picture):
Once an acquaintance wrote me a message, saying something along the lines of “I’ve just read your blog and I love your story Reflection” followed by one of the remarks that has stuck with me ever since: “Your art matters.”
Or when I was having a really bad phase and a million things happened at once and I was struggling and one of my closest friends asked what was wrong with me and I answered something like “Everyone reaches their limit at some point” and she replied “My free spirit Gina has no limits!”.
Or when another one of my closest friends bought my book and when I said that she doesn’t even read in English, she said “but it’s written by you and I want to display it on my shelf because I’m proud of my friend”.
Or the moment when I advertised my first book being published on social media and a former close friend hit the ‘like’ button and I had to smile, because we had known each other eight or ten years before “One day” (the day I published) and I always said “One day I’m going to publish a book”; it was as if my words were remembered and hitting the ‘like’ button somehow said something like “Well done, girl, I knew you would.”. Despite my critical point of view of overrating ‘likes’ and the like, this was a moment it actually meant something.
The moments when someone says that they read my blog and liked it or when people send me inspiring and motivating quotes or ask for more entries to keep me going; the moment one of my favorite poetry slammers (Patrick Salmen, the first slammer I ever saw on stage and the reason I still go and watch slams) started following me on instagram; the moment I was allowed to see Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Big Magic, a book I love, live and even ask her questions; the moments I’m able to collaborate with other creative people, like writers, dancers, actors, directors, photographers and videographers; the moments you guys read and like and comment and interact with my work; the moments I’m allowed to be connected to creativity and experience inspiration.
I could list at least twenty more examples, but I’m going to leave it at that.
Thank you!

What is it that you are thankful for?

I think it is important to sit down once in a while and really take the time and list the things we love, appreciate and that we are thankful for.
And to communicate them.
That is what I’d like to invite you to: Think about it, count your blessings, list them (in mind or on paper), communicate!
Tell someone what you appreciate in them, tell someone that you love them, tell a stranger that you find their aura astonishing, tell yourself something nice.
Life is too short not to spread the love.
Namaste.

To provide you with a sweet little appetizer of what is planned for the next blog posts (please, give me some time):
* Two book recommendations
* Some tipps for creativity
* Two sundaystories I still owe you
* Another game of #sundaystory
* At least three further blog posts on diverse topics
* Text and Image collaborations telling stories through visuals and lyric
* Further projects, still to be planned in detail 😉

Any preferences how I should prioritize? Any other ideas?
Hey, it’s New Year with goals to be achieved: Let me know, is there anything you’d like to see here and what you’d be interested in?
Comment here or send me an email or a message on Facebook.

All the best and loads of love.

Gina.