What is an Alternative Model?

An editorial piece by Auxiliary cover model SharonTK.

So you want to be an alternative fashion model eh?  The problem is, does anyone know what that really means?  I truly don’t think there is a definition for this but the modeling industry seems to think it is.  Do we all have tattoos?  Is our hair to be a certain off-color of the rainbow?  Do we only like to wear latex or dress in ant shopping mall fashions?  Maybe we like to wear our make up a little too heavy and like to be photographed in “dark environments”?

Well, whatever the definition “alternative” modeling seems to be hitting the mainstream modeling culture.  It is slowly but surely invading mainstream magazines such as Elle, Cosmo, and Harper’s Bazaar.  Just the other day I saw a spread that had latex pieces in it.  Or what about all the models with tattoos and bright hair?  What about Dita Von Tease in the front rows of the Jean Paul Gaultier show?  I’m pretty sure that high fashion magazines would like to believe that they are “discovering” these underground secrets.  Those of us who know and live the lifestyle know otherwise, that these fashions are more mainstream than they’d like or want to believe.

Smaller magazines such as Marquis, Shut Up, Inked, Cause a Scene, Bizarre, Skin Two, Leg Show, UCE, etc. know what’s up!  They recognize that fetish, tattoo, pinup, and high fashion are the basis for mainstream fashion ideas and layouts.  I’m pretty certain that all these famous fashion designers secretly read and research these cultures.  You always see touches of these cultures in fashion shows such as: Victoria’s Secret, Gaultier, Versace, Chanel, McQueen, and Galliano.

Do I consider myself an alternative model?  Shit, I don’t even know what that means!  And I’m pretty sure not many people in the industry know what category to put me in.  Yeah, I meet the measurement requirements for and agency, but oh no, I have tattoos and my hair is a brighter shade of red than the norm!  I like all styles of modeling, why limit myself to just one category?  I believe that keeping a portfolio showing a wide range of looks will in the end get you the most paid work, so far it has worked to my advantage.

So let’s rap this up.  I don’t know if there ever really was a point to this or if it’s just a random rant, but whatever it was is, really it’s up to you to decide.  I just want it to be heard, I just want it to be known, that without the underground world of modeling (to those of use who can’t get signed because of stupid little things that the big guns deem unworthy) they would soon be running out of ideas and inspirations!  Because one thing I do know is that “alternative models” are nonetheless some of the most inspiring people in the business!

Viva la alternative chicas!

– SharonTK

Auxiliary Magazine
The Magazine for Alternative Fashion, Music, and Lifestyle. Available in Print and Digital Editions with weekly website content!
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