A really, really interesting article in Vice magazine about being a Professional Naked Girl by the esteemed Molly Crabapple. I did this kind of work for a while, myself, but have never found the right place to write about it from. This might be wonderful inspiration for me, and many others who did this kind of work.
I started by posing for drawing classes, which was honestly one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Being paid to pose for a drawing class is is almost like being paid to meditate. You have to find a place of personal peace with your body being stared at and examined by dozens of strangers, and you have to learn how to sit perfectly still for up to a half hour at a time, ignoring body pains and itches and calming spasms with your mind. It’s a humbling experience that forces you into mindfulness, and I always left feeling beautiful and accomplished.
But being an art model doesn’t pay much. I did drawing, painting, and sculpture classes and workshops until I was exhausted and still broke. Then I started looking for other work on Craigslist. I listed myself as an artist’s model, looking to work with painters, but what I got were offers for photo shoots. And the occasional dick picture–eye roll. Thankfully, even at 23, I recognized the risk in posing for photos that could easily be put online, so I was able to charge a lot. Back in those days, artists and Guys With Cameras had money and were willing to spend it for a good photo session. I could pull in a few hundred bucks in a few hours of posing, and even with the creepy overtures I constantly got (“Ok, I’m going to pose naked with you in this shot, like a body-building magazine, you know? No, not like that. You have to be staring at my dick like you’re impressed by it.” or “Some models really like it when I finger them during shoots. Do you want that?” and so on), the money was worth it when I was as broke as I was. I got into a few weird situations but always managed to get out of them with my dignity intact, if not my peace of mind. It made me feel powerful but it also made me understand my own vulnerability. It got very Real, as they say.
Go-go dancing was the next step, but that’s a blog post for another time. In the meantime, read Molly’s excellent article in Vice.