I suppose I should start this post off by introducing myself. My name is Lucky and I’m really excited to be joining Mask and Mien. I used to blog, once upon a time, never very seriously though. I stopped for a couple of years due to time and all that good stuff. Things changed not long ago and as I’ve spent more time with Portia, I have to say that bug is hitting me hard again. I’m not one for talking about myself so let’s get to the good stuff!
“This is going to be a hard post to write.”
Well, I wasn’t wrong.
Honestly, I’ve been wondering if this is a post that belongs on my blog at all, if it’s a thing I should just leave as a question mark for anyone that wants to read through my experiences with L’Amour Management’s ‘Mr. and Miss Model International‘ (MMI) competition that began at the beginning of the year. It was a largely positive experience while it was taking place and I think -some- leeway can be given since it was the first time this competition had ever happened. Mistakes (I still believe they were mistakes) were made.
Easy links to my MMI Experience:
- Audition: To Thine Own Self
- Challenge #1: The Pose-Off
- Challenge #2: Photo Challenge – The Madrid Solo Experience
- Challenge #3: The Trunk Challenge
- Challenge #4: The Partner Challenge
Which brings us to:
Challenge #5: Partner Photo Challenge ~ “An Artistic Experience”
This is where I’m trying very hard not to sound bitter because my friend and partner, O, and I tried really, really hard to do what the theme suggested. And it blew up in our faces.
Photo Challenge Styling
Since Occasus and I were already styled from the previous partner challenge, this part wasn’t hard at all. We received high marks for our outfits and poses so there wasn’t really much to do here. I can say with full confidence that we both loved what we’d done with our theme.
Photo Challenge Execution
This, too, was a thing we were comfortable doing. Since we’re both fashion bloggers, we were comfortable taking pictures together, working with editorial poses instead of having to wrestle with runway execution (which, if you’ve never had to line up thirty seconds of posing that make any kind of sense and don’t result in your avatar looking disjointed and strange, is not an easy thing to do). We spent a good amount of time discussing poses anyway, of course, and lining things up to achieve what we thought was ‘a good look.’ At this point, we were still riding high from weeks of success and wanting very badly to excel here, too. Chances of us both making the final five were better than good. One could say we were a shoe-in for the top ten. A few people were saying it.
Since we were asked to submit a headshot and a full-body shot, we agreed that Occasus would take the headshot (above) and that I’d do the full-body workup (below). O is a raw shot kinda girl, which I love, and I will admit that even then I was enjoying the heck out of working in photoshop. I’m still not super great at it but I must have spent hours working on my photo anyway; even learned how to use a curves layer to make my wand look extra-magical and provide some much-needed light to what I thought were interesting shadows and background colours. I still love the look of it; that little bit of blue in the upper right corner is similar to one of the backdrops used in the musical (Wicked) itself.
Photo Challenge Comments and Feedback
And now we arrive at the part that’s been holding me back since February. Even now, I have no idea how I’m going to address comments and feedback; the best thing I can do is list them in their entirety and then .. something. Huzzah for stream of consciousness prose, huh?
- Composition: Headshot 4 Fullbody 4TOTAL SCORE (20 pts) 8
COMMENTS: ok just totally honest here….cuz that is how I roll. The headshot is to dark and tiarra in Portia’s head. You have to really be carful with dark pictures O is completely lost in both. The only thing that I see in headshot is the jewelry. The fullbody same O is lost in it.
- Composition: FACE 6 / BODY 7
TOTAL SCORE (20 pts) 13/20
COMMENTS: I really thought this was a brave attempt to be different a take on wicked (wizard of oz) what was lacking was a sharper image the foggy wash did not enhance the picture the ediing also needs work as looks disjointed , the body shot was better a nice use of shadow helped create atmosphere but could have been cropped better and poses were a bit wooden
- Composition: Head 5/10 Full 5/10
TOTAL SCORE (20 pts) 10/20
COMMENTS: The choice of partners was amazing ..good choice. the head shot is drowned out by the background and all i can see is the jewelry glowing. Also the hair is in the tiara. On the full body, The background is too busy and takes away from the characters. A much simpler background would have been better. The photo is also very dark making it hard for me to focus on any one thing.
So these were the comments we were given during a feedback session the night before our final runway challenge. You can see that the scores netted us just over 50% of total possible points and, for me, I don’t feel like these were failed attempts at photography, especially in light of the fact that other photos that were scored much higher than ours were closer to screencaps than SL “art.” Other comments included:
- Improper cropping for headshots and bodies not lined up properly/standing on the ground for full-body.
- Lack of cohesive posing for couples according to theme and relation to one another.
- Eyes focused everywhere but on each other or the camera.
- Poor choice of background and/or lighting.
Another real issue I had is that even though these comments were fairly common, the scoring varied widely from one photograph to the next. And I hate to say it, but some of the pictures that scored well were not especially good. My Canadian Self is still reeling from the fact that I’ve said this much at all. We couldn’t use photographers, it’s true, and one of the key points of this competition was inclusiveness and equality, which I loved and still love to this day. The problem with relaxing these criteria, however, and allowing everyone to compete on an even field regardless of .. whatever .. is that overall quality suffers. Our pictures weren’t the greatest, granted, but they were far from the worst in my heavily-biased-but-still-trying-to-be-objective opinion.
Thoughts on the Partner Photo Challenge and the MMI Competition in General
First of all, there’s nothing in this post that I haven’t expressed to the show’s creators during the exit survey of how I felt after taking part in the the MMI competition and, though I’ll spare you the full extent of what I had to say about it, there are a couple of comments I wanted to make here in the interest of wrapping up this post series. I’d originally intended to post my styling for/details of the final runway challenge but I’ve decided against it, not because the outfit wasn’t amazing (it was) but because I just want this chapter of my SL life to be over. Closed. Done. I will not take part in MMI a second time.
Overall, it was a good experience. I believe that completely and if my partner and I hadn’t bombed SO hard in the penultimate challenge before the finals (a challenge that was inexplicably worth 25% MORE points than every other one until the finals), I’d have had a much easier time writing about my experiences at the beginning of the year, rather than seven months later. I lost a lot of confidence in my ability to take interesting pictures and am still working to get to a place where I can feel good about my contributions as a blogger, stylist, and model in Second Life.
So here’s some of what I had to say on the subject of “Any Additional comments?” on the questionnaire:
“I have a few additional comments, yes, and again I hope they don’t overshadow all the good that has taken place in these last two months. There has been so much good and I can’t stress it enough.”
- It’s hard to say this delicately. One of the things I admire most about MMI is the fact that contestants aren’t required to spend massive amounts of money in order to compete. It’s one of the reasons I joined in the first place because, to put it simply, I’m far from rich in my Second Life. I agree that success can and -should- be measured by what a person can do with what they have instead of what they can obtain from one week to the next, tying in with the obvious issue that some models have connections and some really don’t.
- With that said, however, I feel that overall quality suffered for it. While contestants were not penalized for working with what they had, nor should they have been, it seemed to me that success was more likely if one had less to work with in the first place. In the effort to keep the playing field level for all competitors, I wonder if the balance tipped in the other direction instead. It felt like doing more with less was rewarded while striving for more and missing that higher benchmark, sometimes only by a little bit, -was- penalized.
- Maybe I’m still too caught up in my emotions over the final week of the competition (I’m trying not to be) and if this isn’t a fair assessment, I apologize. For me, having an updated avatar is a necessary part of competition, as is styling in the most effective manner possible with all I have at my disposal; if I can’t make something work and have no means to improve upon what I have, I simply try something else. For me, it didn’t feel like every competitor understood these concepts but, from week to week, managed to achieve middling to high scores from the judges.
- This is the double-edged sword of transparency and open feedback sessions. This competition was an amazing learning experience and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone I know but, even now, I know I’m going to have a hard time getting over my own injured feelings.
And they were injured. I can’t say that I worked harder than any of the others that stuck it out through the end of the competition; I can’t even say that I put more time and energy into my planning and preparation because at the end of the day it isn’t about what I was or was not able to do but what the judges saw and did not see. I can disagree (politely) and share what I know; I can take what I’ve learned and try to apply it in future endeavours. I can post here, before I’m super-syndicated and people know who I am, to leave this message in a place that’s meaningful to me, personally. This isn’t about causing problems or making waves and though I was angry and upset at one point, I’m not either of these things now. I regret the time it’s taken to get my head on straight again and missed opportunities from the last several months but in truth, I wouldn’t have been ready for them anyway.
I am ready now, though, and look forward to the run I’m going to have in the very near future. <3
~ O ~
Gown – Junbug – Ariel (Ink)
Rose Embellishments: Dead Dollz – Tainted Love – The Black Rose Mesh Gown
Collar- Maitreya – Vintage Collar & Pearls – Black
Headpiece- Miamai – Titania Headpiece – Black
Bracelet and Earrings – Yummy! – Jennifer Pearl Set
Eye Makeup – Madrid Solo – Legend -Grayscale – Tinted by me to match the green
Lips – Madrid Solo – Facade Lips – Hulk Green
Skin – Nuuna’s Skins – Crayon Skins – Green
~ Portia ~
Gown – Dead Dollz Sakura Gown ~ Kiddo Oh
Jewellery – Chop Zuey – MVW Le Voyage de la Terre Australe (Platinum) ~ Belle Roussel
Tiara – Imperial Malagasy Aurora ~ Belle Roussel
Fur Stole – Nylon Outfitters – Fur Stole – White ~ Nylon Pinkney
Glove Appliers – Sweet Tea Formal Gloves – Jasminefairy Resident
Bubble – Homemade :) (Portia Pexington)
Wand – Dusk Designs – Custom Wand ~ Dusk Claymore (modified by Portia Pexington)
Poses for O and Portia: PosESion ~ Dahriel Resident
Thank you to anyone that took the time to read this post. Heck, thank you to anyone that skipped ahead to the credits before my walls of text crit-hit for a million temporary damage. 2k words. Aack! SORRY!
I think every man and woman breathing has a Dream Person, some face fixed in their mind representing an ideal of beauty and inner Grace, a body they know and one day hope to possess for their own. This is what you need to understand when women rhapsodise over shoes they’ve found. This is what you need to understand about my deep and abiding passion for the new Gos Boutique line; yes, I have a Dream Person of my own but I also have a Dream Shoe and this, my dears, is It.
I adore the new Grace sandals so much that, perhaps for the first time in recent memory, I have put a picture before my intro text so I can stare at the pretty shoes as I write. I’m doing it now. Just LOOK at them and believe me when I say that I have never, never, in all of my Second Life worn a shoe that fit as perfectly and configured as effortlessly to my desire as these.
The Gos ‘One Time’ HUD is a revelation; it connects to an online database that SAVES your customized preset for any shoes you will wear in the future. It’s something he has worked on for months. And months. The shoes are mesh, of course, with feet built into them as close to RL perfection as he could make them. As these shoes are HUD-driven, you’re able to configure everything from your skin preset to your shoe colour to any one of 59 (yes, that’s FIFTY NINE) nail colour options.
So why in the world are you still here? Get your pretty selves over to Gos right now! Join the Gos Boutique group in-world for future updates and a shiny member discount. Visit the gorgeous Gos Boutique blog. Find your Dream Shoe!
~ Portia ~
[LeLutka]-APHRODITE hair – Marilyn
If your quiz results were mostly B’s, and I think you know this already, you’re definitely a Femme Fatale.
Mostly B’s – The Femme Fatale
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘sex on heels?’ Well, that’s you. You’re gorgeous, of course, but that’s not the first thing people notice about you. Most of the time, you look as though 1) you just tumbled out of bed (in a sexy way), or 2) you can shrug one shoulder, remove a hairpin, and be ready for a wild night IN.
You like slinky clothes and mile-high heels. If your clothes are hiding anything at all, odds are it’s a wicked surprise.
~ Fatale ~
Fairy Skin -Avie- /*natural *REDGRAVE*
>TRUTH< Portia w/Roots – seasand
!!Beauty[S]hop!! black sexy dress
[Gos] Equestrian Boot – Black –
Prop & Poses: Diesel Works