Early morning in Fierra de Milano was so festive that Daniela and Rigor, both brand Ambassadors arrived among other models. Daniela wore casual jeans and body hugging shirt while Rigor looked more of a front row regular than a model’s guest in his heavily brocaded dark blue caftan. He was holding a cup of coffee and a golden cane for balance which made him looked older. His bruises still ached. On his way inside, a newly discovered Filipina model greeted him. Models were on queue for breakfast. They waved to other girls to join them. Cameras flashed endlessly. Press people scribbled furtively. Rigor joined other guests in an assigned room to avoid a look of indifference or from unnecessary judgments from press people. Daniela shared a good laugh with supermodels. She’s glad not one of them recognized her as the one in a blurry CCTV red carpet shenanigans. Fortunately, that’s the only image of her captured by the camera being publicized. The challenge was to reinvent herself.
Daniela’s eyes roam around the lounge where a brunette model was on her cell phone; an actress/model giggled over her portable play station; a controversial model stopped reading novel and joined three others who delightfully exchange not only healthy diet tips but boyfriend in a form of an international Superstar. Thankfully, none of them ever showed sign of doubt over Daniela’s presence. Though her close friend and fellow newcomer crossed line of doubt when she said she had a portrait of a long ago girl that looked much to her likeness. It’s one of the many art collections her grandfather handed over. A conversation Daniela and newcomer had the night of the screening stirred her into thinking she might as well recognized the blurry image CCTV captured or some people would took notice.
“Danny” a familiar voice called out. Daniela spun around nervously to a group of photographers flashing their cameras before her. “Danny” a voice called out again, only louder. She spun back to the lounge where models do their thing unaffected by the world around them. Who the hell was calling? The buffet table was full of people talking in between munches. She try to recall all people who are close and who’ve known her personally that would only call her by that compelling name. A cold hand touched her bare shoulder like a chilly knife thrusting eerily she jumped and spun around.
“Danny, you seemed nervous. Anyway, it always does the first time.” Said Calista. Daniela felt stupid. Of course, a familiar voice should be that of Calista.
“Yes, I’m a bit nervous.” said Daniela honestly.
“Well, a trip to a dressing room this minute will do wonder and a complimentary massage will calm you. Come on, reflexologists, make up artist and hair stylist are waiting for you.” said Calista carrying a bottle of liquid oxygen labeled Anabie.
“Here, it will regulate blood flow. O, Iona changed your name to Anabie Falkhen. You know how it is with the police. Perhaps that would help your real identity be hidden. I’m sorry we’ve done it on your behalf, we thought it best for your own sake.” said Calista who paused as Daniela checked the bottle for spelling maybe or expiry date. The crackdown on drug users and pushers had the modeling agency do great lengths to protect their models.
“It’s fine, i thought of the same thing.” said Daniela remembering someone who used to be in the fashion world and lost it all to drugs. ‘is it a mere coincidence i am to share the same sounding name as that of ill-fated model? Or am i to share the same fate she had? No matter, I am to follow Rigor’s advice, go flux and we are to change the image of models around the world who are munching drugs for recreation and that’s what we are here for. To be a living example of someone who’d been on mud and will be cleansed to the last dregs.
“Let’s live her life. Anabie Falkhen it is.” said Daniela letting out heavy sigh and wide smile taking full responsibility as an advocate for mental health and a spoke person for drug use and abuse. “Wait, will you bring food to Rigor? He’s on a guest room wearing blue caftan to be in a gothic mood.” she said sounded forewarning of a supposed strange Rigor she is about to see.
“Of course, well is it bad? Anyway, he is to occupy Tonia’s seat in front row instead. She is to attend the La Scala reopening that is happening the same time tonight. She wished you good luck, i must tell you the earnest desire in her to see you walk the path but logically she can’t be in two places at the same time. Come on now, stress must be ward off.” said Calista who eyed the long queue on the table while Daniela headed the dressing room with the thought of the late model. She went inside a white room full of vanity mirrors labeled by model’s name, each of which had drawers full of beauty products. Lights from bulbs mounted on mirror were so bright it won’t miss any imperfection on your face. ‘I am to enter the world of the late model, what is here to be unfold?’ thought Daniela scanning wall where photographs of couture gowns hung and each properly labeled with model’s name. She found Anabie Falkhen’s vanity mirror on far end. She went right to avoid TV Moda’s crews to the left who took shots of models, stylist and assistants on the run. She thought of the room exclusively for models, stylists, and make up artists. Unfortunately, for Daniela, TV moda got a contract or rights to exclusively air the pre and post production of Milan Fashion Week.
Although, they’re the only media in the room. To Daniela, it was crowded. ‘I am to face them only when I’m done and ready. Daniela is not to be seen twice on television.’ she said to herself and smiled to the team of beauty experts on her space.
“Hi,i haven’t slept much, i look awful. I’ve heard your hot facial massage is the best.” said Daniela longing to lie on spa bed with hole for the head to rest on. “Please i need it before my hair and make up.”
“Of course dear, that’s what we’re here for.” said the reflexologist who prepared the hot towelette.
“You need not beg for it, you’re a star.” said the make up artist who emptied drawers and arranged beauty products in a random manner. Facial foam, cleanser, toner, moisturizer, foundation, then series of compact shades, pencils of various colors and applicators.
“Well, a star doesn’t necessarily be a bitch. I mean Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman both hailed Ambassadress of goodwill. See, good attitude do make you one.” said the hairstylist brushing Daniela’s tousled mane. Daniela smiled lying on the foldable massage bed and even with her eyes close, lights from TV Moda crew was so bright she wanted the towelette be on her face immediately only if not to be branded a bitch by the latter. All she cared then was to bury her face away from the camera.
Rigor was on his way out of the guest room to sneak a second helping from buffet table. A lesson learned from his previous near death experience. A lack of food intake contributed much to his being lame. A fact everyone knows but he avoided being seen especially by these figure conscious crowd who then came pouring inside the lounge doing the usual tète a tète among friends. He kept on scooping as much his plate could have and stopped as he noticed a black haired woman smirking at him. ‘She didn’t like the glutton sight of me.’ thought Rigor. He threw a curious look on her lean, muscular shoulder. Her exposed abdominal muscles merit a rigorous gym training that obviously gave her a stamina. Her gluteus flexed as she turned to the lounge greeting fellow models. She turned as if on the runway so that waist band on her pants slipped a bit revealing white skin on her panty line. Then they all went inside the dressing room as their respective make up artist cued them for their turn to a crowded and noisy beauty room. The reflexologist gently tapped Daniela’ shoulder.
“ O thank you. That lifts stress away.” Said Daniela feeling energized after half an hour of invigorating strokes that made her facial skin supple.
“ Kindly change into your bathrobe now so I can massage down to your legs. Those tired feet will have most of the job later, it deserves reconditioning. The trio used to complain how terribly tired their feet were, clamoring as if they were on a verge of death. For goodness sake that’s all they do for a living.” Said the reflexologist who threatened to tell her memoir as model’s reflexologist for nearly seven years.
“ I disagree, it’s the face that gets the most job” Said the hairstylist touching Daniela’s chin up “ Be it ethnic, exotic, it rakes.”
“Yes, my cosmetics can’t wait to dash and blush that mysterious face. Couture is all about drama, theater and character. Although shades could add instant color, compelling emotions is a must wear on runway and that face is a ticket.” Said the make up artist who sucked her cheek in and pouted her lips hinting Daniela to do the same.
“And good long legs to do those turns, shuffles and twirl. Go on dear, I believe it must be a long walk tonight.” Said the reflexologist as Daniela strode to the adjacent room where couture pieces hung. She picked a robe labeled Dan and went inside the cubicle. It was tight jeans that she needed to empty its pocket first of cellular phone and wads of bills still on an envelope. She replaced it on her tote bag together with jeans and shirt.
‘O god, she’s smirking not at my glutton act, she’s smirking at me for some reason.’ He thought. ‘ what are possible reasons behind those? Am I that hideous? Well, if she felt awkward the way I dress, that could not possibly be rational for she should be accustomed being surrounded by outrageous fashionistas in avant garde” Said Rigor
Note: Pop Culture has always been embedded in our lives. We are all ardent consumer of everything Pop. Earlier days of our lives or our formative years had been encroached with images shown by an intrusive media which turned out to be our go-to guide on what’s cool or not. Readily available Pop Culture had been the staple of what’s cool to be accepted by our peers.
Peer pressure is a force to reckon with for it always sucked us in to be competitive- keeping up with those fads and crazes which from time to time leveling up the ante. Those who lead the game of Pop obviously become princes and princesses; and few who really raise the bar so high become King and Queen- but there’s a catch.
Raising the bar so high comes with a hefty price- what’s with the substance abuse to cope with the stress brought by the impossible demands of Popdom and thus we all are trap in a world that threatens to burst any given time.
This is the story of Rigor and Daniela maneuvering in an ever changing Pop World. They have their fair share of heartaches and mental illnesses brought by the world that Popped.
Follow their journey to the ever changing Pop world where their child’s game of retail therapy that Pop is known for leads them to find a cure or a therapy (that is not a pseudo science or pop science) but something Pop icons and Pop luminaries pioneered and led Pop world to achieve Mental Health.
Discover the gift of Pop………
Disclaimer: This journal chronicle events from my past career describing activities on and off salesman’s duties. All events described herein actually happened irrespective of the order the blog was posted. Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them and that the author is not responsible for any assumptions that may arise; to construe from the fact presented is discouraged as the author is still trying to make sense of it. You may do so at your own risk.
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