Rob George explains how being a life model builds self esteem and confidence!
I guess that for most people, either insecurities about our bodies and looks are born with us or an event occurs in our early lives that makes us feel ashamed of our appearance.
I think for me I’ve always had a natural shyness and a tendency to think I’m ‘’not good enough’’ with a lot of things. So it has been a battle with regard to my looks and physique in that in my life I always felt substandard.
I started to lose my hair at age 23 and that really bothered me. (Actually I’m now quite proud of my shaven hair, I keep telling everyone that I’m going for the ‘Ross Kemp look’!). But, even though I lived and breathed sport all my life and I’m addicted to exercise and have kept reasonably in shape, I’ve still always felt that I had a lousy body.
At various times this has led to depression and totally withdrawing from any sort of social life, something which having spoken to a number of life models is a common occurrence.
I think maybe I made the mistake of comparing my very average body to those of the models on the front of ‘boys’ mags’ with their good looks and six-packs but I just assumed that’s how most guys looked.
I think this is a mistake most people make, i.e. comparing themselves against the models and celebrities in glossy mags, the images of which are mostly photoshopped anyway. I have no doubt that this has contributed to a lot of depression across the world and counsellors and psychotherapists are making a fortune as a result.
TV programmes such as “How to look good naked” have done a lot to remind people that they should be proud of their bodies no matter what and that we should care a little less as to what people think. In reality I think most people are so wrapped up in their own lives that they pay us less attention than we think they do.
Two years ago I decided that I needed to find the answer as to what really matters, to show my body to the world, and that by doing so I might actually discover the truth about people’s attitude to body image.
When I awoke on January 1 2012 I thought to myself “Let’s do something new this year…something radical”.
As I’d been thinking of life modelling for a few months prior to that, I decided that giving my body to the art world was going be my project for that year. Of course stupidly I had the idea that what I looked like ‘actually mattered’ in the life modelling world.
I started training as if I was going to compete at a bodybuilding contest and I suppose I was looking for compliments about my body (lack of self esteem and needing approval). However, I’ve now come to appreciate that people don’t really give two monkeys what you look like.
I can see that life modelling is not a beauty contest. Life models come in all ages and all shapes and sizes and there is no ‘stereotype’. What matters is the range of poses you can offer so as to give the artist or art student a challenge. The artist or student needs a wide range of models (different sexes, ages, body shapes) in order to be challenged and therefore test their skills.
I have come to appreciate how amazing it is that the body can be used as an art form and whatever the shape or whoever the subject is, it is still art.
I think Brighton is wonderful in that I believe it is one of the only towns the UK where you are free to be what you want to be, to effectively be free to ‘’let it all hang out’’ so to speak. This means, in my opinion, that it’s a town full of interesting people and a wonderful place to be.
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