Taking the model flight from Milan to London: An eye-opening experience

posted on: Friday, 22 November 2013

Milan to London flights are known for being crowded with the who’s who of fashion. In fact, in the past four years of flying this specific route regularly, I can’t remember a single flight that didn’t have at least two long legged creatures claiming the plane aisle as their personal runway.  However, on last yesterday's trip, it seemed as if half the industry was climbing onto our plane. For reasons you are about to discover, their identities shall remain nameless.

I arrived on the plane early. Yes, I’m one of those annoying people that gets to the airport two hours in advance of the flight. I blame my own long legs. If it isn’t Business or First, it’s a scramble for a good seat and it’s always first come first serve. So my patterns are established. I am usually one of the first on the plane and one of the first off. Being first on, I get to partake in a true indulgence – people watching! Everyone must pass by you as they make their way to their seats and the Milano Linate to London Heathrow flight is a homerun when it comes to sightseeing.  Only today, my regularly scheduled broadcasting had a bit of a caffeine boost in the form of serious supermodels. It's important to mention that moments before I boarded, I was reading five different magazines, from five different countries. Each cover featured a different model, and my jaw dropped to the floor as each of these cover girls stepped delicately onto the plane for the trip to London.

Dressed in sweatpants, oversized parkas and chunky boots, they were a far cry from the covers I had just seen. In fact, each and every one required a double take.  Not one of these women had a lick of makeup on their face. Well, that’s a lie, one did but it looked like it had been stretched across her face. Obviously it was a big night in Milano for some!

It all got me to thinking. First my mind was reeling with the idea of how much we kick ourselves on a daily basis for not looking like the women we see in magazines. Here I am sitting looking at these ladies in the flesh and I was feeling a lot better than would have been expected. In fact, I so badly wanted to snap pictures and share as if to say, “see ladies, it’s not real, it’s all a production.” Sadly, that’s the sort of thing that’s frowned upon with these ladies. They all had agents or husbands in tow and I can just imagine being tackled in a Kanye West like manner while trying to capture the moment.

I then started thinking about the models themselves and their daily transformations, that are part of their day-to-day job. It must come with it’s own set of difficulties. Imagine you get "put together" everyday in hair and makeup. You step in front of the camera, a shot is taken, and then a computer whiz plays with the shot and spits out something that sort of looks like you. Now imagine you have to stare at that very same woman everyday in the mirror when you wake up – without the hair, makeup and photoshopping. I can only think that as hard as it is for us mere morals in comparing ourselves daily, it must be damn near impossible for a human being to see themselves transformed into an industry standard, only to have to come back down to earth every day when you are alone, just you and the mirror.

Then there’s the expectation of looking as you do, on a magazine or in a catalogue, for the general public. And this is where the flight comes in. Obviously these women have gone past the idea of caring what general Joe Bloggs has to say or think about them when they are out and about. These women seemed tired of the makeup, tired of the high fashion, tired of the industry standard. To most of us, that would be the equivalent of being tired of life. Getting up every morning, putting together an outfit,  and applying makeup, is just a way of life for most of us normal ladies, and one we've all grown accustomed to over time.

So what’s the point of sharing all this? Well, this is more a thought piece than anything else, just to say that these girls we all idolize aren’t so different than each one of us. Sure, they’ve been blessed with some defining features here or there that qualify them for the flashbulbs.  Yes, they have a life that seems glamourous and one that we should all want. But I’m telling you now, if you had seen what I had seen, you’d rethink it all in a second. Next time you crack open that magazine, remember that each and every woman on the page is a creation. She’s created for us, but she doesn’t walk the streets as competition. She’s a figment of the industry’s imagination. And you know what? She probably wishes more than anything that she could bite into that Krispy Kreme doughnut your biting into right now. 

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