Since I was a child, people have always complimented my hands. It never fails that when I go to a nail salon for a manicure, the technician compliments my hands. I think it is mostly because of my long nail beds. Even if you have short nails, your nails will appear longer if you have long nail beds. For the record, I have never received compliments on my feet from anyone… I am pretty sure my toes are just as long as my fingers.
Click HERE to see another one of my personal stories.
So, back in 1999, I tried my hand at hand modeling (pun intended). I went to a professional photographer and had my hands photographed and I spent a lot of time researching modeling and talent agencies around the country. After sending out my photos and contact information to about 100 agencies, I did receive some interest.
I decided to focus on the local Atlanta modeling agencies as some agencies out of town were asking that I meet with them at their offices and pay my own travel expenses. Not being in the modeling business before, I didn’t know if that was a common practice or a scam. Additionally, I didn’t have the extra cash to spend on these trips which may or may not result in employment, so I declined their offers.
A few Atlanta companies did hire me for jobs. However, my short-lived hand modeling career ended when I was hired to do a diversity photo shoot for a major airline company. I showed up to take the pictures, and once the photography started, some comments were made about my hands not being dark enough. The photo shoot was supposed to focus on the diversity of the employees at the company. There were six models of different racial and ethnic backgrounds hired for the shoot. We were all told to raise one hand up and the photographer arranged our hands together to show the racial/ethnic diversity in the different colors of our hands. The photographer kept asking, where is the African American model? No one answered his question but they all looked at me. He then looked at me and told me my hands were not dark enough. So, they added a dark shade of liquid foundation to my hands. After taking several photos, the photographer still wasn’t happy with the color of my hands. So, he asked a Caucasian hand model with a suntan that was there as an extra in case one of us didn’t show – to step in for me.
Needless to say, I was embarrassed and humiliated. Nothing in the contract said I was being hired as the African American hand model and I didn’t list my race on any of my contact information. I mean, they saw my photos – -couldn’t they determine my skin color from them?
How can a photo shoot (ultimately an advertisement) promoting diversity exclude an individual for not being black enough? Of all of the things that I could possibly see a Caucasian girl getting before me, I never expected it to be because she was considered “blacker” than I am. Oh, the irony.
I stopped hand modeling after that incident. I had a full-time job at the time and it didn’t seem worth the hassle of wasting time on rejection. Looking back, I think that I shouldn’t have let that one incident stop me from hand modeling. But, my life didn’t suffer as a result of my decision and that is all that counts.
There is still a demand for hand models. And I think I will stick to my own modeling on my blog for now – but who knows what the future holds?
Click here to see my review of Hotel Mousai.
Check out my friend Kara’s blog HERE.