Fifteen Gorgeous Gals and one Guy in Grey
One of the great things about WORN is that, though we are but a wee publication, we take everything we do seriously. So when it was decided that we’d do a group photo of the staff, it wasn’t going to be your standard everybody-on-bleachers sort of shot.
No, there was location scouting (a park down by the lakefront), a concept (a line of people, splashes of monochromatic colour), even inspirational pics by Annie Leibowitz sent to our in-boxes.
Everyone was to have one colour, which was fine for most of the girls who could wear dresses, but as the only boy I had to worry about matching my shirt to my pants.
“Want to take grey?” offered Chelsea, the fabulous girl who was organizing the shoot.
So I set off to find a grey outfit. On one of the most humid days last week (I occasionally had trouble breathing) I walked from Parkdale along Queen Street to the Eaton Centre searching for the grey short-sleeved dress shirt of my imagination,with matching pants. I wanted to evoke the “1920’s archeologist’s butt-boy” look I described previously, but without the shorts. I refuse formal shorts.
Frustrated by underwhelming options and insane pant sizes (finding 32 waist with 30 legs is like searching for the Holy Grail), I succumbed and went to American Apparel. So shoot me, but whatever man, I found my ideal grey shirt immediately. Then, on the off chance that they would have something that wasn’t a bagillion dollars, I went to Banana Republic and found blue-grey pants on sale for $19.95. The final piece, a grey suede belt, came from H&M and cost more than the pants, but it was worth it to be fully proud of my outfit.
A group of us met at a Starbucks on Queen West and took the streetcar past Roncesvalles to the very edge of the city. It was surreal out there: despite the nice weather and abundance greenery, no one was about. The girls all looked incredibly lovely in their dresses, all pastel-hues and twee details. It’s funny, even though ‘retro inspired’ was not a directive, the majority of WORNETTES wore 1950’s and 1960’s-looking day dresses which wouldn’t have looked out of place on Mad Men.
We posed on a wooden pyramid, we posed leaning against a white wall (“Like the bad kids in school!” I said), we posed on a bridge and sitting by some shrubbery, where we all ended up with bugs crawling down our backs. We did goofy things, like jump in the air and march single-file: the latter is harder than you think, and Gwen had to be a drill sergeant, shouting “Left-right, left-right, shoulders back, lef-right!” It was fun wondering what the few people who passed thought was going on.
Although I can be self-conscious in front of the camera, our photographer was snapping all the time, so you forgot she was there. Best of all, we had back issues to use as props, so as we pretended to read the magazine and discuss, we actually read the magazine and discussed.
At lunch time, I was glad I packed a peanut-butter, jam and banana sandwich.
As we relaxed at a pic-nic table under a large tree, I was a little jealous I was not part of a gorgeous picture of five ladies reclining in the grass, off-setting their bright dresses, WORN magazines held high. Then I got some attention.
“Okay, Max, we need you,” Gwen said.
“Okay, so you’re going to leapfrog over Avyn.”
“I’m going to what now?”
“Avyn’s going to crouch down, reading the magazine, and you’re going to run, jump, and leapfrog over her.” Avyn, I should say, is the lovely girl who was on the latest issue’s cover. Turns out, she’s also a good sport.
“Um, I’m not very athletic.”
“You don’t have to be. It’s just leapfrogging. Like… it’s easy. Leapfrogging! Also, you’re the only one in pants. Just try.”
Pretty certain that I have not leapfrogged this century, I suddenly worried if everyone has been secretly meeting each weekend for leapfrog parties.
Paranoid that I was going to crush her, but mostly just humiliate myself, I tried a couple ways to get out of it (“Won’t it look kind of funny, a boy jumping over a girl…?” “We’ll worry about that in editing!”), then decided that I would try this for WORN.
Patient Avyn knelt down, read issue 9, and waited for me to spring myself over her hunched back.
“Okay, just keep your head down, okay…?!” I called.
“Go Max!” the photographer called, so I ran, pushed off Avyn’s back with only one hand, and grazed her side with my foot, before running far past her and skidding to a halt.
“Sorry! Sorry! Are you okay?! Sorry!”
Convinced it was fine, we tried again.
“That’s good,” Gwen said. “Now we need to see some air!”
I worked at extending my legs and the photographer lay on the grass and pointed the lens up, which gave my jump the illusion of height.
The girls kept on encouraging me, although I would have felt more confident if every snap of the camera was accompanied by uproarious laughing, even from Avyn.
“What’s so funny?”
“I can feel your enthusiasm through my back!” she giggled.
At the pic-nic table, we ate grapes and pop-tarts and took goofy pictures of each other (one of the WORNETTEs had the idea of a blog dedicated to intentionally unflattering photos, entitled ‘Pretty Picture, Ugly Face’). Our shifts at the WORN office are scattered throughout the week, so we very seldom get to just hang out and talk shop.
I don’t know if it was all the sun, walking or leapfrogging, but I was positively exhausted when I got home. Sun-burnt and wobbly, I stumbled into my living room and dropped my bag.
“How was it?” asked my Dad.
I flung off my Ray-Bans and sighed, “A model’s life is a hard one.”
And as for detailed photos, you’ll just have to wait like the rest of us for the WORN website to publish the best takes.