This post is my response to the Model Workshop meeting last night. Thank you Monica for allowing the forum. My only regret was that emotion got in the way. In my humble opinion, Sabine Mortenwold’s blog was an opinion with her expressed emotion, which is what blogs are all about. Emotion is not right or wrong, it just is. So, when I read her blog, I agreed with parts, some parts I took to be her opinion of the moment. I hoped that those who needed to hear parts of it would and know that just as we models are never done in our quest for perfection, that even the contests we enter can look at their side and find ways to improve. And I have a few ideas, which will follow.
Let me say I see truth on both sides. I do not like drama or pissing matches nor do I believe in burning anyone at the stake. Yes, modeling is expensive and like life, it is not ALWAYS fair, but we are human beings and as such we are going to express things sometimes that may not make everyone happy, which is why I said in the meeting last night that the day I am perfect I will cast the first stone.
Sometimes, my close friends will hear me whine and bellyache if I do not win, but HOPEFULLY they know me well enough to know I am a great person and I have a heart and I will keep on trucking. It is not easy, but it is a wonderful sport, this modeling we do in SL.
First of all, as an American, I am used to freedom of speech, I am very transparent and you may like me or not. I speak my mind. Lots of folks have ideas on what is “appropriate” or not to express. Sometimes, these types of things are viewed differently no matter WHERE we are from, so I just want to ask everyone to take a chill pill and try to assume the best. Sabine is a wonderful friend and her expression of her feelings does not change that. I would love to think it can spark discussion and make modeling in Second Life even better than it is today.
I have a few ideas, I might not remember all my thoughts but if I forget some I will add them later as a blog is a work in progress.
First of all, everyone knows SL is a very small place and many of us know lots of people and we pretty much hear what is going on through the grapevine. We know which models are wonderful and which ones are not. We know the contests with the best reputations. So, not matter what is said or done in any blog people know things and make up their own opinion. What I say, or Sabine or anyone for that matter is for each of use to use critical thinking about and make up our own minds. We are not lemmings marching off a cliff here.
First, let me say there are many good contests and many wonderful fashion houses. Thank you for all you do for us. Here is what I would love to see from any legitimate contest.
1. Get rid of any public voting. When you do this, it becomes less of who is best and more about who has the most friends who show up that day. It does not help to have someone win based on popular vote over the vote of judges who have the criteria they care about. We as models spend a lot of time and money. If we lose merely because we have not brought more friends, it is too bad. Again, this is life but we can make it better.
2. At the semi final, or final level, let’s take the mystery OUT of the situation and repay the models for their efforts with a score card. I would love to see a scorecard that has a foundation of agreed upon criteria across the grid of SL, that all contests use. This could be supplemented by the needs of the fashion house or sponsor of the contest to find the look they are looking for based on other things.
If we get graded by a simple score that is measured and tallied up, it keeps things honest. It would then get rid of passing a model through based on anything other than merit. If we agree that proper styling, poses, our walk and other measurable things are important, then grade us and help us grow by showing us in our score cards where we are weak and where we are strong. I personally would love this. What I would love even more would be a public ranking from top to bottom of where I am. That also shows me where I sit in the scheme of things. When I do not pass through the pearly gates of winning I have no idea if I was second choice or last choice. I think it is more work, but since we are buying things and bringing a lot to the show with all we do I think it is a reasonable request.
3. Don’t break your own contest rules. If there are contest rules like not changing your skin, then if you do, you should be disqualified. If a show is about winter and the theme is you dress in a winter outfit and someone wins wearing spring, then is it a wonder we get upset? This is the kind of thing I think Sabine was talking about. Set the rules and please stick to them. Some of us follow the rules to the letter. We need the contest machine to stay the course. Sure, we can all break the rules but then state that in the rules that breaking the rules is ok.
4. I would love to see a survey on how everyone feels. If you think a fair survey would be good so you can express how you feel anonymously please IM me. If you have a question you would like to see in the survey, let me know that too. I have the ability to write one that exposes the results to all and I could do that IF AND ONLY IF we can use this to improve things and not for a pissing match. Public opinion can be useful.
Yes, fashion houses can hire the best. So hire them, do not have a contest. I know when I make my Truthball ads, I pick who I want. A contest IMPLIES fairness. If a race is run, the winner is who is the very best…the person who crosses the finish line first.
I know, I know, this is a lot like real life…we can choose to keep SL no better than RL if we want to. I am hoping that we can use Second Life to be better. What do you think?