The other reason I was talking about was actually very simple, it was America's Next Top Model. Male models would be allowed to compete this year. (1)
This was a reality talent-show and the final award of the program was also very alluring. The winner would sign a contract with the model company that sponsored the show, get the chance to get on the cover on a famous fashion magazine and get an advertising contract with a luxury brand.
Regardless of whether if I could win the championship by competing this time, it was only the first step in my trilogy. I could start to gain publicity.
In this competition, what matters to me is not whether I can win the championship on the program, but whether I can win the people's support on the program. After all, this is an era of looking at faces. No reality show can attract fans more easily than a beauty show like this, which accounts for more than half of model talent competitions.
The goal is to get into the entertainment industry, but not take a career that was too binding like an actor or a singer. Reality show star was the most suitable career direction I came up with after two years of research.
With the attention of the public, the urgency of worrying that I will be considered an outlier will make it easier for me to adjust and clear my psychological state. The shackles formed through external factors had the same effect as Officer Harry’s presence had been for Dexter. I don’t have a strong and responsible adoptive father, so I created an external factor.
And if you want to hide your true self. Approachable people integrated into the community? In fact, this is only the most commonplace approach and it is also the most easily exposed method after an incident occurs. In the profile analysis of criminal psychology, no matter how well you normally hide in the crowd, under the psychoanalysis of the profiler, you will show your true colors.
So my purpose is not to hide, but to create a character. When I participate in reality shows, I create a deeply influential image in people's hearts. After people can think of an image as soon as my name is mentioned, who can still easily chisel through the thick shell and see me who is within several layers of nesting dolls?
"You're going to take part in the auditions for America's Next Top Model??!” when Mike heard the news I told him, for the first time, he showed obvious surprise. He obviously couldn't understand why I, who was so private, suddenly chose to participate in a reality show that could expose all my information.
I nodded, poured cold milk into two cups of brewed tea, and then put one cup of tea on the table in front of Mike. "Yes, America’s Next Top Model began to allow male models to compete this year. It has a lot of hype and the reward is great. I just want to give it a try before I torment myself in college. What, you don't have faith in me?"
Mike lifted the tea, took a sip of it, and almost got burned. "No, of course, I have full confidence in you." He smiled insincerely, “It's just that I didn't expect you would want to participate in this kind of program…After all, you always seem to have no interest in what young people like."
Actually, I had the idea of participating in reality shows for a long time. I just didn't expect that I would apply for America’s Next Top Model first. Originally, I preferred social games like Big Brother and Survivor. After all, only social games will truly let me train my psychological control, whether it’s towards others or myself.
What's more, reality shows will expose the contestants' private lives. Compared to using singing and acting to enter the spotlight, reality shows take me less time and get more attention. And I want to use this attention to monitor and control my behavior from the perspective of a third party. Because even if I stepped out of the mental health center, I was still afraid and worried about the impact of Brian's personality on me.
Of course, I will not tell anyone what my real intention is.
“In the past, I just didn't have time and energy. I sent a video that I recorded a month ago to participate in the initial preselection and then received a selection notice two weeks ago. Tomorrow's flight is to New York. I expect that they will select 35 participants, and then they will cut it in half when the first episode is officially filmed.” I picked up the teacup with both hands and laughed towards Mike.
Mike stared at the cup of tea silently and said after a while: “No wonder you didn't say a word about resigning. There’s still a month before college starts.“
"I'll have a day off after I get to New York tomorrow. The day after tomorrow is the audition, and then I’ll wait for the notice in New York for a week. Wish me luck, hope that I won’t be eliminated before official filming starts.” I said as I drank a sip of tea.
I pulled out and wore the simplest white T-shirt from my small suitcase. The legs of my straight jeans were rolled up to my lower legs to keep it away from my ankle-high Martens boots. I went to the mirror and flipped my hair. My ginger curly hair seemed to emit tangerine light in the sunlight reflected from the window.
As if everything was ready, I stuffed some change and credit cards into my pants pocket, held my cell phone in my hand, picked up a book that I had read halfway from my suitcase, opened the door of the hotel room, and walked out.
Although I was often called a little old man by Mike, I still prefer to read psychological books that he thinks are abstract and obscure to pass the time. I heard that there are more than a thousand people at the New York auditions, it’s always good to bring something to pass the time.
After taking a taxi for more than ten minutes, I arrived at the audition site, a spacious studio. At this time, the studio was cleared of all stage sets and cameras. There were only rows of chairs for the models to wait in line. After receiving my number, I found a place where there was no one according to my wishes, sat down, and opened the book in my hands.
There was still half an hour before the official start time, but almost everyone had arrived. At a glance, most of the male candidates tended to be gender-neutral, which made some of the more masculine boys get special attention. The female models only looked at each other, their looks provocative and guarded at the same time.
There was no discrimination, it can be said that homosexuals are also the majority of the audience for America’s Next Top Model. However, for the fashion world that respects female models, only male models full of masculinity can set off women's sexiness, gentleness, and beauty even more. At this time, these excited boys will probably be disappointed and go home.
I'm not interested in joining the social games of people who I don't know if I will interact with in the end. I just sat in the corner reclusively and scattered my thoughts. After turning through a chapter, Rob Evans showed up with a camera, causing a commotion. (2)
Rob Evans is a model judge in America’s Next Top Model in addition to top model Tyra. (3) Naturally, he is the representative of male models. Like Tyra, Rob is also a black supermodel. Although he has a dark complexion, he has a deep and angular face because of his mother's Caucasian blood.
I already thought it was unexpected that Rob, as the judge for male models, appeared in the first America’s Next Top Model in which there were male models. Unexpectedly, Tyra, the pillar of America’s Next Top Model, and Johnny, the creative director and outdoor host, also appeared on the scene after Rob. (4)
The staff began to direct the models to walk down the runway in groups according to the number they got. The models who passed took another number plate and went aside to wait for another screening. The models who were rejected face to face left with pale faces.
I waited for almost another hour before the number plate in my possession was called. It seemed that I came late. In my group, there was one male model and two female models, which looked very balanced. When the number was first called, they had long been standing in a circle, watching in the crowd and jumped out excitedly as soon as they heard their number.
I kneaded my eyebrows, stood up, closed my book, put it on the chair, and walked around the crowd to where the camera lens was facing. “Excuse me, excuse me." I raised my smile and squeezed out of the crowd.
Every time I move under the camera is a test, I calculated my every move accurately as if I was standing on the stage. I stepped out of the crowd that had separated, dully maintaining a smile amidst the excited looks on the faces of the three models.
"Brian Morse?” Johnny took the last piece of information from a staff member and called my name.
"Yes, sir." The congestion of the crowd let the curls on my forehead cover my brows. I answered Johnny while raising my right hand to comb my hair behind my forehead, letting it slide behind my ears.
Johnny and Tyra looked at each other and smiled when they saw me. It was as if I didn’t pay attention to their interaction and I only walked up to the three models. I could feel the sudden tension around me, and the focus of the camera panned across the four of us standing side by side.
When the camera panned across the male model beside me, I pretended to casually raise my eyes which were originally looking at the ground in front of me and looked straight into the camera lens. The camera froze for a second, and I moved my eyes away and put away my smile.
"You can start." Rob raised his hand and spoke.
The crowd quieted down. The male model beside me obviously wanted to step in front of me, but he didn't know that I was looking at his elbow out of my peripheral vision the whole time. When his elbow moved slightly, I took a step out almost at the same time as him. My pace was calm and powerful, but he looked like he was starting fast because he wanted to take the first step.
My Martens boots lengthened the whole line of my body, and there were clear and audible footsteps on the ground. My eyes tightly held on to Rob's gaze. After his eyes moved away, I turned my gaze to Tyra.
With the proximity, what could have been an eye-level gaze had to become looking down because Tyra and Rob were seated in the judges’ panel. I averted my gaze before Tyra. I had an inconspicuous smile on my lips and I began to look behind the judges’ panel.
I wasn't as insistent on catching the judges’ eyes with my gaze as the male model beside me. I just raised my jawbone with a faintly discernible smile, I knew that too far is as bad as not enough.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see Johnny’s gaze on me the whole time, and I knew that in the judges’ panel, I had caught at least one judge who would speak up for me.
The models who got to the end had to stand in poses. I didn’t forcefully get into an awkward pose. I just stood casually. There was no deviation from the smile on my lips.
“Ok, thank you," Tyra said. She looked over the information on the table and put down her pen. Rob also turned his head and talked with her quietly for a moment. Johnny seemed to have no objection to their choice.
Then Tyra looked up again. "Alice Ann, Brian Morse, please step aside to receive your second selection number plates.” (5)
I moved my feet and looked at Johnny’s side with a smile from Rob’s side of the judges’ panel, just to make sure they saw the smile on my face. Then I swept past the seemingly disheartened male model beside me and walked to the female model named Alice.
Alice's modeling stride was very powerful and standard, and her facial features were the most standard Germanic facial features which were marked by her blond hair. There was no way she wouldn't make it into one of those 35 selected people.
I greeted her, and the two of us walked to the staff member holding the number plates, side by side. We took the number plates. She was going to be a strong opponent, I have a very strong intuition. Alice obviously had a lot of modeling experience, and I guessed she'll be very skilled at hard poses. With her face, I'm sure she's done a lot of print media work.
But she also had the biggest weakness of a model. My smile remained unchanged. I looked at Alice's subconscious low gaze as she took over the number plate. She was very nervous about looking at people face to face. She was not confident enough.
She rarely looked at the male models around her. I guessed she had been hurt by her ex-boyfriend or ex-husband before. Looking at her hands firmly clasped between her legs, her left hand kept stroking the base of her right ring finger. Perhaps she had removed her ring recently and just got divorced after long hesitation.
Although I don't know why she got married at such a young age, maybe it was because her popularity in school caused her to have a dependence on men. After entering society, she subconsciously wanted to tie herself with her boyfriend. But it was obvious that the person she had liked had hit her hard.
Oh, I suddenly looked away. It seemed impolite to casually give a mental profile of someone I was about to spend a month with.
The second selection required models to walk the runway in underwear only and take side, front, and full-body photos. The underwear I was wearing was the same white skintight type as before, not an over the top white brief, but the short type that wrapped around the top of my thighs. I was skilled at knowing what kind of pants would display my leg shape better.
Unlike most Caucasians, my body hair seems to be relatively sparse, saving me the trouble of shaving. And for photoshoots that record personal information, because striptease training took place for me in a dance studio with four surrounding mirrors day after day, I'm skilled at grasping the angles of my body.
In front of the camera, although it is a frontal photo, the angle of the jaw height can determine the feeling of the whole picture. The side photo was the same distance away. Maybe just the angle deviation of a single degree could take you from a mediocre photo of your ID to a work of art. It was also a familiar skill to me on how to show the curves and skin texture of my body and find the light and shadow when doing full-body photos.
The second selection show was a one-man show. Repeatedly, Tyra would ask some personal questions at the end of the show. Alice’s number was very close to mine, and her answer confirmed my guess about her ex-husband.
Regarding Tyra’s question, “Why do you want to be on America's Next Top Model?”, most of the models responded with standard answers like modeling is their dream. But I knew that the essence of America’s Next Top Model is a variety show.
There were currently three cameras filming, at each major angle. If it's just for recording, you don't need so many cameras, so I know that the recording of the program has already started. On how to make sure that your share won’t be cut off in these many scenes, besides walking the runway, there is also your story.
Yes, the sympathetic and melodramatic story that had happened to a handsome young boy, is there any other stunt that could grab more attention in this season's competition between the male and female models?
"Brian, why do you want to be on America’s Next Top Model?” Tyra asked the same question after I walked the runway.
1. The Chinese was 全美超模大赛 which refers to the show, America’s Next Top Model. https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%85%A8%E7%BE%8E%E8%B6%85%E6%A8%A1%E5%A4%A7%E8%B5%9B
2. Pictures of Rob Evans’s mother: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBswDm-h8jO/
3. The author uses 泰勒 which is directly translated to Taylor. I think it should be referring to Tyra Banks.
4. The Chinese was 乔纳森 which is directly translated to Jonathan. I highly suspect the author was referring to Johnny Wujek, but I’m not sure. I’ll just translate it as Johnny. (This website includes the judges and other staff members: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America's_Next_Top_Model)
5. 爱丽丝安 was translated as Alice Ann in the text.