Kalee Rinehart is a talented BYT writer but obviously not a model. She’s a former stand up that wrote a very good NIGHTMARE GIG but is obviously not a model. For a brief moment, she was a model. -ed.
For a brief period in my life, I was a model. This amazing experience started when I was 6. I won a contest held by Rogers Department Store, basically the Macy’s of Grand Rapids, Michigan. And girl, did I work.
Here are some examples of my incredible versatility and professionalism:
A newspaper ad where I am wearing a velvet dress and huge bow;
A brochure where I am standing next to the bike I owned in real life (which was amazing, as you can see);
A commercial in which I am pretending to be very busy opening up a fanny pack, until I knowingly glanced up at the camera and smile;
A 1993 calendar photo, specifically the month of July, in which I am patriotically adorned and surrounded by children of many different ethnicities; and
- A cameo on a local news segment about Back to School Fashion
As it was the early 90s, my hair was big, my make-up heavy, and my clothes bright and dorky I am pretty positive if I had been born 15 years later (or in Texas), I would have been a pageant kid. I was pretty cute though, so it’s no surprise that I was a huge megastar.
Since my career was really taking off, my stepdad decided to take some professional-style photos for my portfolio. A local photographer who specialized in senior portraits had curated his property as a haven for cheesy outdoor photos. We did not employ his services, but we did sneak onto his land and got some really amazing shots.
Looking like the child of a sister wife
Shirt on, chillin’ by a tree
Shirt off, sitting on a wagon
- Cool fence, cool outfit
A year prior, we had a successful shoot at my grandma’s house. I had what I called a mushroom haircut, along with some very inspired poses.
Lookin atcha from behind a flower bed
Having some stability issues
On a fence, just thinkin’ bout retirement
Obviously, I was a child on fire and no one could put me out. OR SO I THOUGHT.
When my mom saw an ad calling for models for a fashion show at a hotel, she submitted some of my sweet pics. And they accepted! I was pretty jazzed. Even as a kid, I understood that the runway was the epitome of what it meant to be a model. So I’d been in a couple print ads. Big fucking deal – that was small time. I was ready for the majors.
I did the show, and from my 7 year-old perspective, things went fine. I walked sassily in different outfits, I ate a free lunch, and I mingled with other hot little kids. But after the show, I didn’t book any more gigs. I never asked about it and I think pretty shortly after that, I moved across the state.
Later, when I was asking my mom why I stopped, she told me that when we got to the hotel and met the organizers of the event, they took one look at me and said, “The photos you submitted were deceiving. They made her look taller.” In other words, at the age of 7, I was already too short for the fashion industry. And they were right – today, I am a monstrosity that barely breaks five feet.
But, for a brief moment, I had tasted the good life. And that taste was free sandwiches in the lobby of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and cherished memories of stylish trespassing. God Bless America.