Sadly, at 31, it's starting to seem like I'll never make it in the world of fashion modeling.
Publish date:
September 30, 2014
modcloth, modeling, plus size models, performing

Somewhere in a jumble of stuff at home I've got a little audio tape marked "Emily's first cries." I first listened to it as an adolescent -- the big highlight is hearing my father's reaction to his first look at the face of his precious newborn child. He's all, "She looks like a frog, huh?"

But also, a few minutes later, someone (a nurse?) remarks that since I'm likely to be tall, I'll probably grow up to be a MODEL. Auspicious! (Someone else retorts that maybe I'll be a basketball player, so don't worry, feminism was alive in '83.)

Sadly, at 31, it's starting to seem like I'll never make it in the world of fashion modeling (or basketball). To be honest, my odds never looked that good.

There are Russian teenagers just a few years older than me in this picture who have already done Vogue.

Still, I grew up harboring desires I'm sure I had in common with a lot of other young girls: to be an actress, or a singer, or to otherwise perform in front of lots of people. But "American Idol" wasn't around yet to make stars out of semi-regular-looking people and even back then I already knew that my appearance was going to disqualify me from ever becoming a performer. Get ready to get sad for ’90s Emily:

Jared was some kid at school whose dad was, evidently, a dick. And the end of that last sentence says I might have "an audition tomorrow," which I think refers to one of those fly-by-night "talent agencies" my mom took me to at my request where they tell you you're super-talented and ask you to pay a bunch of money for headshots.

I'm a terrible actress, but I do have some mild talent for performance, which I utilized as a teenage poetry performer, and in my adult life when I wrote and starred in my own video series. (Here's my "talent reel" from my last job, if you're really really bored.) I feel so, so lame admitting it, but I harbor a lot of secret performance-related dreams. I've always wanted to try stand-up comedy, for instance, and burlesque dancing. And while I've never had the proportions to make it attainable, I harbor a secret, embarrassing desire to do plus-size or pinup modeling.

I was an intern at BUST Magazine when I first saw a plus-size model in person. She was, I believe, a size 8, and I never in a million years would have connected her with the term "plus size." Even the plus size models who are a size 14 are built just like larger versions of a thin woman -- no lumps, bumps, rolls or flab. Most people these days are savvy to the fact that a plus size models' figure isn't really much more attainable than a straight size model's.

But I just might have a chance because Modcloth is currently doing a big ol' casting call for non-model models, as part of their commitment to "cast a variety of women sourced from our community, and show them as their true selves." This pledge comes as part of their larger commitment to showcase diversity (which Lesley wrote about a few weeks ago) by refusing to Photoshop and by "sourcing, making and selling clothing in a large variety of sizes." Modcloth was already one of my favorite companies. They're not for everyone -- I always describe them, and my style, as "pretty twee, very dogs on sweaters." But they are perfect for those whose styles veer toward the retro and sweet a la ME and Lesley and Marci.

Anyway, nobody's paying me money to write about this, I just really like Modcloth and getting my picture taken. To enter, you just share your photo on Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #fashiontruth. They'll select from the hashtag users for a model to feature on the site monthly. (They're also giving out weekly gift certificates.)

Basically, MOVE over bitches, this is MY TIME TO SHINE. JK, everyone's invited. In fact, I MADE everyone in the office join me in entering this thing. Here we all are, in our Modcloth finery, before I shoot our entries out over social media.

Lesley suggested that Modcloth just send her everything they make in a 4X and make her their "official spokesfat." I think this is a pretty genius idea, because Lesley makes clothes look awesome.


Smell you guys later, I'm off to become a star.

In the meantime, please reveal your secret embarrassing dreams to me in the comments.

All the clothing photos but Lesley's were taken by Christina Shields.