In America, I blend in amazingly well, and I hate having my picture taken. But in Indonesia, because I'm a bule (white person) I am automatically 'cantik' - beautiful. So when I met my host mom's two friends, a makeup artist and clothes designer, they told me within about ten minutes of meeting me that I must become a model for them. I agreed, in accordance with the exchange student law saying "never say no". Also, because what girl doesn't secretly want to be a model?
The day we were supposed to model my host mom, Avery (the other girl living here in Surabaya with AFS/YES Abroad), and I headed to a salon where we were made up and had our hair done for approximately two or three hours. Watching myself go from a plain, freckly and pasty girl to an Indonesian-style beauty queen was quite an enthralling thing. When I first saw my full transformation in the mirror I couldn't believe it was actually me. Berbeda sekali - veeeery different!
|This picture: makeup, co-starring my awkward swim tan!|
The studio was a few minutes' drive away, and we all hurriedly changed into ill-fitting (for our non-model bodies) but extremely fabulous designer clothes and got in front of the camera. There was even a male model there to pose with us.
I wore a red dress and a bridal dress, both of which barely fit because of my non-Indonesian proportions, and tiny but extremely tall silver shoes which hurt to take off, not speaking of how bad it was to wear them. Avery and my host mom wore kebaya and more Indonesian-style clothes and of course they looked absolutely gorgeous in them.
Modeling was super fun, definitely tiring and even a bit nervewracking. Being highly inexperienced in front of a camera, I had no idea what expression to use, where to put my hands, who to look at... little things like that. I was pretty convinced I botched every single picture I was in, but everyone there was really patient with me and a lot of the shots turned out awesome. And I learned how to be a model, so in the event that I'm called upon again for my bule beauty I'll actually know what to do!
|Can you see the bug bites on my legs?|
After the studio we had a smaller shoot in my host family's house. I wore an over-the-top kind of dress reminiscent of a fairy, and we all took pictures posing on a wooden couch in our little front sitting room. It was all good fun but the most memorable moment of the evening was definitely when I took off my makeup to find that half of each eyebrow had been cut off in the process of my makeover... that was deeefinitely an unpleasant shock.
I may or may not have had a bit of a panic attack about that discovery, having already had a bad salon experience in Indonesia. Basically, I went to just have my hair dyed dark brown but ended up getting a surprise haircut with black, not brown hair and I couldn't say a single word! From now on, my hair will sadly have to go uncolored and uncut, in the interest of preserving my fragile exchange student sanity.
That was my first modeling experience. In a word: awesome. My second actually happened today, 19 December. This week there's a school competition called Cereal which I will post about soon, and one of the competitions is Cosplay! I entered along with a girl from the Social class above ours - she wore a kimono and I wore a schoolgirl uniform - and we ended up winning with two scores of 9.5. Probably because we actually got the judges to come up and stand/dance with us, which was a genius idea on mbak's part.
Today just solidified my new-found appreciation for the whole process of putting on makeup, getting dressed, primping carefully and finally stepping in front of an audience, whether that be a camera or over a hundred Indonesian high schoolers. Maybe that's not a life path for me, but I'm so thrilled that I can have glimpses of it in manageable doses.