letting go of the bright lights

Ten years ago I would have jumped at the chance. I’d skip my last class at college so I could board the train to the city. To spend the next 3 or 4 days as a professional model. Hours of waiting, primping, waiting, costuming, choreographing and all for the final day of the hair show—going on stage in front of at least a 1000 people. I loved it. I lived for it. The day after the show I’d go back to class with sunglasses over my eyes, caked in glitter and a mask of dark eye shadows. The makeup artist said she invented a new look based on my eye shape. If I washed it off right away, I’d be washing off the experience. The experience of being adored.

three hair models posing on stage

I started dating my husband on Mardi Gras 2000. I stayed up all night with him and went straight to the hair show, where they proceeded to spin me around on stage as they snipped off most of my hair. Then colored it to reveal a new look and their latest hair techniques.

getting a haircut by the international creative director

Fourteen years and lots of stage spinning later, I get an email asking me to do it all over again. I love modeling and this hair show is the biggest they have. But I’m not 18 and carefree anymore. But saying no to a show that’s been a major part of my life for so long is like closing the door on a relationship. If I attend, I’m separating myself from the life I have right now. If I don’t, I’m admitting that this part of my life is over. And I don’t know if I’m willing to let go.

haircut demonstrated on projection screen at hair show

Last year I went to the model calls and was chosen for the show. My world came crashing down when my grandma passed away and I couldn’t be at the show on the days they needed me. So they found a replacement. Maybe this was a sign that it’s time to accept my fate.

I will be insanely jealous when I see young pretty girls with shades of blue and platinum or silver spattered over their tightly cut hair, knowing that one of them got my spot on the stage. I will continue to do the in salon hair modeling when I am needed (I did just a week or so ago) but it won’t be the same as being on stage. But what’s different now, fourteen years later as I go to a yoga class to stretch out my childbearing hips, is that I have the memories. And the forced readiness to accept a new stage in my life.

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