Brazilian Challenge Day 61: Brazilian Giselle Dream

So today I took my daughter to a modeling agency.

In exchange for a can of dried milk for the orphans (or for their coffee, who knows) they took some test shots of her and told me they would get back to me within five days.

Yes, I’m probably feeling unfulfilled in my own life. No, I’m not going to start entering her into beauty pageants.

I don’t even know if the agency is a good one. They had a nice website and it is near where we live. I just thought it would be something fun to do together, me being a stage mother and her being tortured to look happy. And of course, she is the most beautiful little girl in the world. Why waste that on photos that are only sent out to family or posted on Facebook. Like many Brazilians, I believe that the next little Giselle is sitting in my living rooms watching cartoons. (Only they are wrong and I am right.)

I do recognize the danger in this. There is a debilitating parental disease out that some of you may not be aware of. Though some of you are. You know, when your friend brings their 2-year-old over to your house dressed up like a sailor and your dog won’t stop barking at him. It’s called the Beautiful Baby Syndrome.

One day, when I was a young adult, my parents admitted that, when I was a baby, they entered my photo into the Chicago Tribune’s Beautiful Baby Contest. They waited and waited. My photo never appeared in the paper. They called the paper to make sure the editor received it. They again took to waiting. My Beautiful Baby picture was never published. They were devastated. Obviously, a conspiracy was in play there.

I asked to see the photo. My mother pulled a cardboard box down from a closet shelf. She dug through the box and finally handed me the picture.

It was a portrait of what could have been a lizard in a yellow dress.

Sure, over the course of time my face filled out and my hair grew in so that I look much less reptilian, even pretty. But my parents had been struck with this disability, so thoroughly that they went public with their attempts to prove I was gorgeous.

Fast forward fifteen years. My husband and I created birth announcement cards for my daughter. We scoured through photos of our beautiful infant and finally selected what we believed was the most stunning. We had the cards printed and send out to all of the family members and friends we could think of. Co-workers even.

Fast forward another two years. I’m sorting through old files and come across one labeled “Sophia cards,” because, of course, the birth announcement was only the first of many photo cards. I pulled out that birth announcement that we spread across continents a mere weeks after she was born.

On the cover was what could have been a 90-year-old, naked Chinese man.

Yes, the chemical effects of the Beautiful Baby Syndrome do wear off after a couple years, only to be replaced with new convincing images. And you are left to wonder, is my child as ridiculously attractive as I think he/she is? Or is it just some evolutionary, biological, chemical reaction designed to stop me from killing him/her when he/she wakes me up in the middle of the night, every night for months.

Maybe the modeling agency thing is simply my burning desire to prove to myself that what I am seeing is logical, by having a third party confirm it.

In the end, does it really matter? Of course not. I would love her no matter what she looks like. But deep, deep down inside, don’t most of us have that need for the rest of the world to stand up and take notice of how inhumanly lovely our offspring is?

Or perhaps that’s only me.

Regardless, I guess we’ll see what happens in five days.

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16 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 61: Brazilian Giselle Dream

  1. Alex says:

    Who doesn’t want to be (or be with) Gisele? Hahaha

    But, like you said, take this all with a grain of salt. I had my own scary run ins with the scouts from High Profile New York agencies 3 separate times, and as it can leave you with a good feeling of self confidence in the beginning, I do believe it can mess up self esteem in the long run. I think I wrote a post about it a while ago, where I didn’t tell some of the things I’m going to tell you now.

    They told me I’d be a millionaire if I lost 20 pounds. I’m pushing 6’2 and I weigh 160, so if I lost another 20 pounds I would most likely pass out every time I tried to stand up. They had me at the gym, every day on the treadmill burning thousands of calories. In the meantime, my daily allowance for calories was 500. It got so bad that I would pass out in the gym. This happened numerous times.

    After seeing that this would completely ruin my life, I decided that I couldn’t make myself a slave to this. The literal only way to keep staying sooo thin like that is to do hardcore drugs. I’m sorry, but I’m no heroin addict. Even with all the allure of promises of Milan, Paris, London and living in New York, I knew that I couldn’t live such a life.

    Plus, it was obvious that I was going to become a literal toy for all of the photographers, no matter what sex they may be. I’ve heard stories. And from the get go you feel very objectified. I heard all kinds of weird comments from them like “your right cheekbone is more prominent than your left, that’s weird and makes your face lopsided”, and “Its too bad your eyes are that color, you’d look better with grey.” I mean, really, come on.

    BUT, take all of this with a grain of salt. I bet you can see that this has left me a little bitter, mainly because the fact that the only thing “holding me back” (in their point of view) was the fact that I didn’t disappear when I turned to the side. It’s left me with a feeling of not being good enough, like the old saying “close, but no cigar.”

    I wish you and your daughter luck though obviously and hopefully the Brazilians are a little more humane than the New Yorkers.


    • Alex says:

      OK, sorry for that awkward rant. I got a little carried away.

      BUT, I wish all the best to you and your daughter and I can’t wait to hear what happens! If you smell something fishy, jump board ASAP.


    • Stephanie says:

      Alex, WOW. It’s good you shared this information, truly. It’s not healthy those expecatations, and only a very few people are naturally bone-skinny while eating normally. VERY few. It’s good to remind people that those you see in magazines and on t.v. are representing something that is hard to accomplish, if not impossible, and probably will sacrifice your health in the long/short run. You SHOULD speak up! Especially coming from a man, it’s important.

      • Alex says:

        Thanks Stephanie.

        I feel weird talking about it because I’m afraid I’ll rub people the wrong way, and because it’s a little uncomfortable but I thought in this case it was a good idea to just get it out there.

  2. I laughed out loud. I’ve got a pretty cute kid, but when pops tried to get me to an agency in LA I paused…because it is funny how we trick ourselves with new babes… I’d describe mine as a new puppy whose still growing into his skin at that age.

  3. Shelley says:

    Oh my. My husband has taken our daughter to the neighborhood modeling agency. She had a portfolio made. No calls back. And he still wants to pursue it. She’s cute alright, but my husband is soooooo gaga over her, he can’t really see straight. In the states I was outright opposed, and then in Brazil we had the language/culture barrier to help me. But he still doesn’t really get it.

  4. Rachel says:

    Lol, I totally feel you. I thought about that with my boys (especially because they were both born hams). Good luck! Let us know what they say 🙂

  5. Alex! Oh gosh! I’m glad you shared that story. WHat weird things to say about your eyes and face. The world of fashion is so odd.

    Headshots are fun, and modeling can be, too, as long as you’re not getting whack-o comments!

    • Alex says:

      Yeah, super weird.

      The thing was that I wasn’t even pursuing this and literally was flat out stalked on the street all of those times by the scouts. Should have been a red flag!
      The scariest agency that stalked me was dna model management, they tried to get me to do the drugs. Ford wasn’t all that bad but they still called me fat. And they were the ones that made those comments above.

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