Bisexual Fashion Model! Freak Show!

Being a borderline goth bisexual fashion model in the nineties was hilarious because while I found neither of these to be huge indicators of my personality or career goals, it drove both. I was now being marketed as this ALTERNATIVE!!! LIMITLESS!!!! GROUNDBREAKING!!! but still teeny submissive female model who would sure, from time to time, make out with girls, but still preferred men especially in addition to another female. See, men love the idea of bisexual females because they think they’re more like to be eventually involved in a threesome. This was a very sellable idea for fashion companies in the nineties right when people started talking about the grey areas of sexuality.

Often this simply meant that I was more likely to book a photo shoot if I was willing to make out with Jenny McCarthy or Robin Tunney or Parker Posey. But this was also before the time when your sexuality could be one aspect of your personality rather than all that you were. And it certainly helped that I was still beautiful. Less beautiful people have always had a harder time so those who were/are also struggling with some gender non-normative or sexually “deviant” tendencies just have that much more of an obstacle to overcome. But for me, it was fiscally responsible to exploit this one aspect of my life and sort out my sexual ownership later in life. I certainly do not recommend this for other people, but it worked for me – as here I am, in my late-thirties sitting on a nest egg of millions of dollars that this self-exploitation earned me, and able to advocate for people who don’t have the same blessings.

Of course there were brands that wanted to be at the forefront of this emerging non-traditionalism, Candies Shoes gave me a big campaign, Guess wanted to be edgy so I did one spread with them, Marc Jacobs was doing the washed out polaroid Terry Richardson thing long before and long better than he did it so I was photographed for their fragrance line a few times, I enjoyed a lazy heroin-filled morning lounging around the Supreme office being photographed smoking cigarettes not even sure what I was “modeling,” and I was approached by American Apparel but even then, at my dumbest, I knew that this was not a reputably brand with whom I wanted to be associated. I was still aware that I was supposed to be some kind of role model for women even when being photographed nude or in undies.

I spent enough time around other female models being pressured to act just gay enough to develop an exceptional gaydar for faux-chic-lesbianism and while I’d indulge were it a paying job to send a message to young magazine readers that being gay doesn’t mean you’re invisible, I didn’t have much time in my private life to remind these girls that they weren’t actually gay enough, not to actually be gay. That was my burden to carry alone, and carrying it alone was easy logistically because I was the only openly non-straight fashion model I knew. It was not easy emotionally because I was entirely alone in a crowded room most waking hours of my life.

It is very challenging to be entirely alone and entirely surrounded. This is why one reason I began to use so many drugs and so much alcohol and relished numbness to such a degree that feelings felt weak and nothingness felt like nothing.