IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Once Did a Nude Modeling Shoot and It Cost Me My Job at a High School

A week ago today, my modeling past became an issue of “immoral conduct” and I was forced to resign.
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Melanie Dawson
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A week ago today, my modeling past became an issue of “immoral conduct” and I was forced to resign.
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A week ago today, I lost my job.

I’ll expand on that. I was given the opportunity to resign my position as a campus supervisor at a high school, which I promptly took advantage of. Why was I asked to leave? Because some of the students discovered modeling photos I did for a nude magazine called Jacques.

Let me rewind. In Spring 2013, I was a recent college graduate who was a volunteer tutor at a high school. I was feeling very lost in my life and needed some excitement. On the suggestion of a friend, I sent my photo into a magazine called Jacques. Taking inspiration from classic men’s magazines, Jacques took the idea of nude pictorials and threw in their own little twist: the photographs are all done on film, which means no photoshop.

Obviously, the idea made me nervous. I certainly fantasized when I was younger about modeling, as many people do, but never assumed that career was for someone like me. I’m just a little over 5’6, 135 pounds, and have 32E breasts. Not exactly sample size material. 

I also battled with the idea of posing nude. It sounded extremely exciting, but I didn’t know exactly what the impact would be on my future, if any. I decided to say screw it and just send my picture in. The odds of me actually being picked seemed so slim that I figured I was safe.

About a month later, I got an email from Danielle Leder, Jacques creator and editor in chief, asking if I wanted to pose in her magazine. I couldn’t believe what was happening. This is a woman who has worked with top people in the modeling and fashion industry, and she wanted me to be in her magazine! 

Everything after that was almost like a dream. I was flown to NY by Danielle and was given a crash course in modeling for the next week while simultaneously shooting my pictorial. I got to travel all over New York for different shoots, everywhere from Coney Island to a very trashy motel upstate. I had my hair, makeup, and clothes done for me by real professionals in the industry. I had my photo taken by a top photographer who works for brands such as Bobbi Brown and Maxim. I got to wear electric blue eye shadow with a ton of gold jewelry. I felt like I won some kind of “be a supermodel for a week” sweepstakes. After my adventure-filled week, I returned to the normal world and was hired part time as a supervisor at a high school.

OK, now we’re back in the present. I kept all of my Jacques information separate and used a different last name for all of my modeling. I was chosen for the cover (hell yes!) so I did my best to make sure my real name could not be connected to my Jacques name. 

My Jacques cover. Note the boobs.

My Jacques cover. Note the boobs.

Over a year passed and I forgot it could even become a problem. I was a supervisor in charge of discipline, which basically means I babysat kids in detention. 

Then one day, I made a little mistake that eventually led to my demise as a school district employee. I showed one of my favorite students a picture of my new dog (I don’t regret it, she’s fucking adorable) and he memorized my Instagram name. Once I figured that out, I made my information private, but the damage was done. My Jacques photos became a hot topic on campus, and eventually I found myself at the district office signing my letter of resignation because of “immoral conduct.” The past week has brought many different emotions.

At first, I felt extremely sad. I didn’t want to pursue a career in education and needed something full time anyway, but I liked my job and had grown very attached to many of my coworkers. Now, not only can I not work as a supervisor, I can’t work in the district at all. It feels as if I’m being exiled because I did something terribly wrong.

The next thing I feel is embarrassed. I need to repeat that one because it is so extreme. I feel humiliated and embarrassed. As I write this, some bratty teenagers are probably passing around my photos and laughing at me. I have to block former students from adding me on Instagram and Facebook several times a day. My former co-worker even contacted me yesterday to say that she had to yell at a student who was showing her my pictures. 

When I modeled for Jacques, I knew a lot of people would be seeing me naked and I was completely OK with that. But, I guess I never considered those people could be nasty high schoolers that wanted to have me fired.

One thing I will not miss: having to take pictures of graffiti and reporting them to an administration. As you can imagine, 99% of these photos were of penises.

One thing I will not miss: having to take pictures of graffiti and reporting them to an administration. As you can imagine, 99% of these photos were of penises.

I am also worried. I realize in education, having experience as a nude model isn’t exactly desirable, but what about in other careers? Will this experience follow me around the rest of my life and pop up when I’m trying to find/start a career? Modeling has limited what I can and can’t do in this world, as silly as that sounds.

I saved this emotion for last because it is the most prominent: I am mad. I am mad because I shouldn’t have to feel any of the emotions I listed above. Posing for Jacques was one of the most exciting and proud moments of my life. 

From now on, I get to say I was on the cover of a magazine that Elijah Wood is a fan of (he has an interview featured inside my issue). Why should I have to hide that? I am angry that I had to resign under the grounds of “immoral conduct.” It seems as though I am being made to feel sorry about something that wasn’t wrong in the first place. I was a good campus supervisor. I was dedicated and fair to the students, and now I am blocked from ever working in this school district again. I fail to see how my Jacques photos can take away from and impact my moral character. It seems irrelevant and frankly, stupid.

I’m treating this experience as a new beginning. I needed to start thinking about my future career regardless, and it’s time to choose one that gives me personal satisfaction and doesn’t view any of my actions as “immoral.” I also need something willing to work me full time and not cheat me out of hours. And most importantly: I need something that will assure I will never have to work with teenagers ever again. Seriously, fuck them.