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Red had once been one of the most sought after models in the business. She had left the modeling world to attend to her family in rural Virginia and stayed on at the farm as some had passed on and others moved away. She told me she just couldn�t make the farm profitable in today�s economy and wanted to reignite her modeling career. She had contacted me to help her rebuild her portfolio.
She told me that her family farm was a beautiful location that would offer wonderfully rustic backgrounds for our shoot. I agreed to meet her there.
When I arrived the farm was a little more rustic than I had envisioned. I almost missed it from the road as the driveway was not much more than a trail through the underbrush. I knocked on what was left of the door and got no response. I let myself in and found Red passed out face down in the living room. I checked to make sure she was alive and gently woke her. Her eyes were bloodshot and she was coming down from a three day bender. I got her some coffee from my truck and helped her to the couch. She explained how life hadn�t always been this way. She told me how she had grown up in this house when the fields were cultivated and the many barns filled with horses and other implements found on many Virginia farms. Her parents had grown to old to work the farm and her brothers and sisters had all moved away. By the time she came back to help her parents they had sold most of the horses and anything else of value to pay the bank and the taxes. When her parents passed on she couldn�t bare to give the farm up. Trying to eek out a living took its toll on her psyche. She told me how she had turned to alcohol and drugs to escape the crushing depression that had overcome her. She had stopped doing anything at all around the farm and the land, the buildings and Red herself all fell into disrepair.
Red wasn�t much to look at the day I found her on the floor but life isn�t always pretty. I believe in second chances. I believe that for every door that closes many more open. I also believe that sometimes a person needs help choosing the right door. I told red that I would like to hire her as a model and assistant. I also suggested that we do the shoot that day without any makeup or wardrobe changes. I wanted to capture the gritty and dirty side of life and she certainly looked it this day.
We did the shoot at her family farm exactly as she looked when I found her. She follows me around now and models when I need one. She has turned herself around and is once again a beautiful young lady. I love that gritty look though so these days we use makeup to recreate it but we must always remember that true beauty is not what we see on the outside but what lies beneath the surface and redemption is always possible, no matter how far down we may go.
April 26th, 2012
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