The backstage was in a frenzy. People were rushing hither-tither looking for
something of someone. This was the case in all the shows that I'd attended.
Same ol' routine, same ol' show.
"Get that girl here right now! She's up next. She needs to go through
the final check through.", the manager screamed at probably the walls. I
could see the next girl, Jess from my 'cell'. She was ready to go.
Sometimes I felt like an un-Karen, I HATED managers. But God willing, or
rather, un-willing, I was named Karen at the orphanage I grew up in.
"Where in the world is the showstopper?! We need to get her done up
before the last model goes on. Find her, NOW!" It was the manager again. I
had started to hate her even more, if that was possible, her voice piercing in
'Finally', I thought to myself It was my turn. I had been sitting
in this gas chamber of a room for the past few hours, I was all stinky, and
sweaty, but apparently that was the 'look' they were going for their
showstopper. Suits me 'til I'm getting paid.
I go through the majestic arch that was made just for the entrance of the
models. It was beautiful. Had I not seen many more, more beautiful arches
before, I'd have frozen in my step. But I had, so I didn't.
I walked the ramp, making sure to put my 'model face', or as I liked to call
it, my 'expressionless face'.
People were staring at me, probably wondering why I had beads of sweat up my
head while I was wearing rags and walking down the ramp on one of the most
famous fashion shows in the world.
I think what surprised them most was my jewellery. A leading brand and the sponsor
of the show had offered me their best piece and the show organizers agreed. I
don't know why. I was supposed to be 'Cinderella in the 21st century', and I
was apparently covered in millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds and almost
equally expensive clothes. Some 'Cinderella'. The clothes were rags. Rags
that one would get in the dumpster were starting to become the 'latest trend'
in the fashion industry and I would set that trend, today.
Nonetheless, I kept walking, and people kept staring. I was indeed the
showstopper. People were looking, clicking photos, judging the designers and
most importantly waiting for me to mess up.
These 'incidents' had increased. The number of models slipping, falling, or
even going off balance for a second on the ramp had increased and reduced the
reputation of my kind. Not mine though. I let that thought go back,
way back in my head. It reached the dumpster I had dumped all my thoughts in
when I was on the ramp.
Thoughts lead to expressions and one can't afford that while on the ramp.
I kept walking the never ending runway and then I came to a halt. I turned
around, twirled for a bit and walked back.
And just like that, another show was over, another pay check was gained and
another trend was set.
Just like that.
“Today will be the best day ever.” I said aloud, to no one in particular, I was at a fashion show, my dream event, and I was going to see HER.
Karen Kyle, The world’s most famous supermodel. My idol. She was about to come up. The whole audience went silent. Leave a pin, you’d be able to hear a feather drop in that moment.
And then she arrive. She ewes looking weird today, covered in sweat from head to toe, she was definitely looking like the ‘Cinderella’ part she was supposed to be. But her jewellery. Jewellery! On Cinderella! How’d the creators even think of that?! And how in the world did Karen, THE
Karen, agree to that?
After that, the show had all those speeches and stuff like that. Boring stuff.
I just sat there, trying to bear it all. Finally, it was time for the brunch and I set off to find her.
After a few minutes of searching, saw here. She was looking regal, having taken a shower, I suppose. With baby steps, I approached her. When I spoke, my throat was dry and my voice was coarse. I just managed to say, “Me, Dahlia Andrews. Big fan. Want tips. Love your work. Total inspiration.”
I don’t know if she understood me or not, but her expressions didn’t change. Then, like a gentle river, she said, “I can offer you just one tip. DON’ OFFER ANYONE ANY TIPS. That’s the trade secret I hold dearest to me. Now shoo! Go back to whichever little town or village you came from and stop your mental picture of living my life. You will never be able to achieve it.”
I was shocked. How could she, Karen Kyle, say this? She just shattered all my dreams, hopes and aspirations. That day, I’d entered the show as an optimist, wanting to meet her idol, I left as a reformed person.
‘Ugh!’, I thought.
There she was. Karen Kyle. The supermodel, the showstopper. My assignment.
I had to prepare a report on her and send it for publishing within the next hour. I couldn’t think of anything to write. Except…
“Hello! I am Flora Tayy. I’m a reporter XYZ News. I just saw you talking to Karen Kyle, You look upset. Is something wrong?” I said to the timid little girl.
“I…I..Will you print this?”
Guess she wasn’t a little girl anyway.
“Only if it is worthy.”
“I…I have to think ‘bout it.”
“Take your time dear.” I was about to turn around and leave when she said, “I have something that will blow up the world.”
I stopped on my step and asked, “What did you say?”
“I have something that will blow up your story This will make all those people who look up to Karen look down on her. She’s gotta pay for what she did to me.”
“What’d she do?”
“First you gotta agree you won’t publish anything ‘bout me.”
“I agree”, I said immediately, “I don’t know anything about you in the first place.”
“That’s good then.”
“Do you mind if I record this?” I asked, taking out my phone.
“No I don’t.”, she said.
“So, what was your experience with Karen Kyle?”
“I idolized Karen, she was my inspiration. I wanted to be just like her. At the fashion show I was looking forward to meeting her. But when I met her, she was not at all like what I’d imagined her
“Can you elaborate more on that?”, I asked intrigued.
“Well, she…I. I asked her for some tips as I wanted to be a model too. She just said something about not sharing any tips and then shooed me.”
“SHOEED you?!” I didn’t think this was possible.
This surely was a scoop and my seniors would be very proud of me. I would finally earn the placement that was due after my internship.
I went back to the newsroom and asked for a minute with the editor.
“Good job, Flora! We’ll run this in the newspaper tomorrow.”
I was overjoyed. I was finally getting a place in the paper! I was about to walk back when Stephanie, the editor said, “Oh! And one more thing, Flora.”
“Yes ma’am”, I asked, turning around.
I couldn’t feel the Earth under my feet. Was this really happening? I saw the solemn look on Stephanie’s face. She was not joking.
In a second, I held my head high and said, “Then I am taking my story with me.”
“I am sorry Flora. You were an intern here when you gave me the story. You can’t take it with you now that you’re fired. You signed a contract, remember?”
That stupid contract! Why’d I sign it?
I just swallowed my emotions and boy! there were plenty of them, and stormed off.
That day I’d entered the office a happy woman, I left as a reformed one.
I was woken up by a call from my best friend, Stacy.
“Karen! Wake up! Are you sleeping? Did you read the newspaper?! You are all over the front page!” she yelled from Paris.
In a half raspy, half morning voice, I said, “Stace, I was at the fashion sow yesterday. OBVIOUSLY I am all over the news. This should be normal for you now. It’s been more than a decade now.”
“I know, but this is NOT about you being on the ramp yesterday. Well, it is and it isn’t. It kind of is. I don’t know, check it yourself.”
I agreed and went to the doorstep to find the paper. When I opened the folded piece of news, I was shocked.
The headlines read, ‘Karen Kyle – A typical Karen’
I skimmed through the article, and then re-read it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! How dare this, XYZ News print such ridiculous things about me?
Just then, the manager of an upcoming event called me. I am sorry, not the manager, the secretary
of the manager called me.
“I am sorry to inform you, Ms. Kyle, but in the light of the recent developments, we will no longer need you at the fashion show next week.”
Soon after, my phone was buzzing again. Another manager called, another one cancelled. This continued till lunch time when I’d had enough. I just switched off my phone and went to tend to my beauty needs.
That day, I’d woken up at the top of the world, I slept in a reformed one where no one valued me anymore.