Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Make Me a Super... err... Writer?

I don't know if you've seen it yet, but Bravo has a show called Make Me a Supermodel. It's hosted by ultra-hot male model Tyson Beckford. Per the site's own 'about' page: Make Me A Supermodel follows a group of beautiful and talented men and women who will compete for $100,000 and a contract with New York Model Management.

It starts out with thousands of hopefuls as they try for the few spots on the show. They come from all over the world, headshots in hand and stars in their eyes. For most of these people, obviously, it ends with heartache and tears. Then the show gets down to a mere couple dozen, and those people have to strut their stuff for the panel who'll decide which entrants make the actual show. These potential models strip down to their underwear, and are judged on their bodies. (A big lesson came with one of this year's entrants - wear underwear to the contest because when they ask you to strip down to your skivvies, they mean it.)

In the end a limited number of those are chosen. They all move to New York for the contest, and live together in a gorgeous house. There's the usual back-stabbing and cattiness, but there are also occasions of camadarie and friendship (and the occasional burgeoning romance). Like any other reality show of this nature, you can see who really wants to be there and who's just phoning it in.

But how does this all relate to writing? I mean, modeling is a totally different animal, right? Not as much as you'd think.

As I was reading through the morning forum posts at RD, a fellow writer was talking about how her daughter wants to be a model. While I was writing my reply, giving what I hope were helpful comments, I told her to make sure she researches the modeling agencies involved... Umm, like writers need to research literary agents. And then I went on to recommend Make Me a Supermodel, because before her daughter enters into that business, she ought to be aware of exactly how hard it is to really be successful... Again, like writing.

On the show, the contestants are given challenges, which they need to step up to or face failure. Afterwards, they face a panel of judges who tell them what they did right and what they did wrong. The ones who did poorly, but weren't kicked off, need to take those comments and improve their work. Sometimes they need a better walk, or a better attitude, or even more exercise to shave a few pounds off the middle.

Writers have our own sets of challenges, and we either need to step up to them or face rejection. We have our own set of judges - whether they're actual judges of contest entries, or critique partners or beta readers... or the person who just bought your book - and we need to listen to what they have to say about our work so we can improve. Sometimes we need a better walk (presentation), or a better attitude about our work and ourselves, and sometimes we need to shave a few pounds (words) off the middle to make it the tightest, lightest writing we can.

This isn't an easy business to break in to. For the models on the show, the difference between being on the cover of Vogue or doing headshots for a hair magazine is the amount of effort combined with the amount of talent (and the hotness factor, of course). For us, the difference between the NY Times bestseller list and a stack of manuscripts under our beds is also the amount of effort combined with the amount of talent (minus the hotness factor, or Stephen King would've never gotten published).

Those models, and us writers, have a long road to success. Some are sure to succeed even if they don't win the show. (I mean, come on... who wouldn't want to see Jonathan on the cover of a magazine?) And others will surely be pointing dramatically towards a car in the future. But I believe if the effort is there, some measure of success will be attainable.

Any thoughts? If you've seen the show, who do you think is going to win? Personally the jury's still out here, but I have my favorites - Jonathan of course (I love me some Brit, and he's so much hotter since he cut his hair) and Amanda the single mom model (but if she fakes cries again, I'm going to be so disappointed. Unfortunately, I think Jordan's going to win. She's got the look, but something about her hips just grosses me out.


  1. I like Jonathan too! And the girl that used to be Amish or Mennonite.

  2. Salome! I really like her. I can't imagine coming from a background like that and trying to make it as a supermodel. Big kudos for guts on that one.

  3. I've seen a few minutes of the show and have a question. How did yo manage to sit through an entire episode?

  4. Season 1 was much better. Ronnie Kroell is allthat!