Sunday, December 7, 2008

How to Be a Model

The idea of modeling brings to mind the "glamorous" high stakes world of the supermodel, complete with fame, fortune, and addictive disorders. But what about the majority of women who make a living on catwalks, billboards and in magazines? Filmmaker, and ex-model, Allison Beda sets out to demystify the profession by mapping the 12 steps on the road to success. Yet, faced with a job that prioritizes virtually unattainable external qualities and promises daily rejection by prospective clients, it quickly becomes apparent that modelling also entails a process of recovery. From New York to Paris and Toronto, Beda follows her friend, international model Peggi Lepage, as she embarks on what will likely be the final year of her career; given that a youthful appearance is a prerequisite, the need to move on to new endeavours is inevitable. With "go-sees," agency meetings and castings, the myriad challenges and contradictions of Peggi's career emerge. Many of the most insightful moments in the documentary arise when Beda must confront her own role as filmmaker. As she finds herself drawn back into the world of modeling, she re-experiences its lure firsthand but also re-discovers its pitfalls. Drawing on interviews with agents, former models and even Peggi's mother (who is protective but supportive), Beda ultimately tests the limits of Peggi's resolve. Their divergent perspectives begin to drive a wedge in their relationship and Peggi threatens to withdraw from the project. The end result is a revealing guide to being a model, filmmaker and friend


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