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Melissa Stetten's Bratwalk

I Wish Death Upon Other Models

"Being hot" is a really stressful, competitive job to have.

Two of my biggest fears are being stranded in the middle of the ocean with sharks, and running into an ex-boyfriend without makeup on. My worst nightmare is being stranded in the middle of a shark infested ocean with no makeup on, and bumping into an ex-boyfriend. But that doesn't even bear thinking about… Being stranded anywhere with no makeup is a big no-no as far as I'm concerned. Whether it's a NYFW party, or a hospital bed.


Bombshell: being a model makes you weird about your face. Since I was bullied at school and then suddenly propelled into the NY model scene where I'm constantly scrutinised by dickheads (doesn't sound that different, does it) I've developed some serious insecurity complexes. True story: I don’t feel at all attractive unless I have bucket-loads of foundation masking my face from the world. When people ask me what I do and I say, “model”, it's almost always followed by internal pangs of fear – do you understand how awkward it is to declare that your full-time job is "being hot", to a stranger? All I can think about is them snapping: “Oh sure honey, keep working that makeup counter job till it happens.”

But the majority of models who get a lot of work (myself excluded, I hope) really aren't sexy or even that attractive in real life. I’ve seen some very unusual looking models, women who are definitely not beautiful in the generic sense of the word, suddenly turn into early JLo-esque sex kittens on camera. The way they transform in photos is what makes them models, they're not meant to look like Megan Fox, you know?

People love to not get that, though. A lot of the time if I casually show someone (a hot guy I just subtly chased into the subway, for example) an editorial shoot I'm in, they'll say, “Wow that’s you? That looks nothing like you!” Thanks, asshole. It’s similar to hearing someone say, “You’re really photogenic!” Which actually means, “You look like shit in person!” Neither one of those is a compliment. I hear them often.


Even though the industry is a little more understanding (in a way), I’m obviously expected to look flawless at castings. Flawless and brimming with confidence, which to me is achieved via five layers of Chanel foundation, a triple shot americano and a whole pack of gum. Some of the 17-year-old chicks just show up with a little bit of mascara on and a hangover, to make their eyes "smouldering". Fuck them. I like winning and I’m very competitive. Honestly, when I see another model in a commercial or ad I didn’t book I try really hard to pretend I’m happy for them, but I secretly hope they die of cancer from anorexia and laxatives. Sorry world, but our smiles aren't genuine, being a model in New York is like the Lower East Side Hunger Games, it's a fight to the death.

When I hear a guy is dating a model, I think, 'Oh, he must be rich and have a giant cock.' I’m a runway-walking stereotype, but pretty girls should be dating accomplished men, right? I'm not a bitch, I spent a few years dating guys who barely had jobs and made way less money than me, and I didn’t mind at the time. Now I'm double crazy, I could never date a guy who was still figuring his life out. I’m fucking nuts as it is. I need a stable, successful man (cock size optional) as my boyfriend. I’ve lost my marbles. I only slept for three hours last night and I have a casting for some facial moisturising crap in the morning. Being pretty all the time is exhausting.

I worked at a gay bar for a few years and I rarely wore makeup. There were no straight guys there so I didn’t give a rat's ass what I looked like, and none of the girls wore any makeup anyway. Now that I think about it, I hate wearing makeup, I'm almost definitely in the wrong line of work. I'd be so happy living in that gay bar community with all my bare-faced friends, I could just smuggle straight guys in every once and a while for a rumble. Shit, that would be amazing.

Follow Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaStetten

Photography courtesy of Illustrations by Sam Taylor. Follow him on Twitter @sptsam or visit his website at

Previously – Make Me the Face of Vaginal Yeast Infection in the Czech Republic