“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By Iris Ophelia for Iris Rants: New World Notes.
I speak from hard experience: Before I transitioned to blogging about SL fashion, I got my start as an SL model, and believe me when I say that I haven’t looked back since. Whether you’re an aspiring model or a curious outsider, you’ll definitely want to read on:
This has never been the case for the vast majority of brands in Second Life, for one simple reason: Why pay someone to park their avatar for you when you can just use your avatar or a friend’s for free? When you see named models in pictures in a store these days it’s usually because those people won a Flickr contest or similar promotion by that designer, or because they’re friends. Brands that frequently and prominently feature models are almost always doing so because models are their primary clientele, which leads into my next point.
There was a time when fashion shows seemed to happen every week in SL, and almost every major designer participated in them. Bloggers and society fashionistas sat giddily in the audience while models (many of them also bloggers) did the rounds. Then we seemed to collectively realize how laggy and useless these shows were, especially since in most cases (unless a designer has been sitting on their entire collection instead of releasing pieces regularly to actually make money) most of what was being shown was old news. So the majority of the community moved on; runway shows are a format that just doesn’t make much sense in SL. More designers started tending blogs for their brands and regular events took over as the best way to remind people about their lines.
What remains of the runway business in SL (outside of the occasional large event) is mostly by models for models. What I mean by this is that the brands sticking with this format are the ones who get most of their business from models. They pay the agencies to run the shows and the models that aren’t participating attend in the audience, and then they go shopping at those stores and the cycle continues.
So you still want to be an SL model? Most agencies will tell you you need to take classes before they’ll have you walk in one of their shows… And conveniently, most agencies will also offer classes. For a fee, of course, but they’ll teach you everything you need to know. Right? Skills like walking straight, or reducing lag, or fitting eyelashes… Things you can learn for free on innumerable SL blogs. Classes can offer useful insights if you’re a new player, but there are no big secrets there worth the fees you’ll be paying to get them. Just like in real life, if a business wants you to pay them before you can get a job there it ought to raise a red flag.
Mavi Beck, one of the most successful and highly-regarded models/photographers in the Second Life fashion community, had some sage advice to offer Plurk. “It’s just another way to make money off people,” Mavi shared, “I am a firm believer that modelling schools are useless. They enroll dozens of girls with the promise of fame and fortune, when there’s no fame nor fortune in modelling in SL. Just spending a LOT of money. More than you could ever earn.” And that brings me to the next myth…