One of my good friends, Emily, here in Bangkok works for NightLight, which is an international organization committed to addressing the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by catalyzing individual and community transformation. NightLight’s vision is to offer intervention to sexually exploited women and children, to enable them to discover their dignity, and to provide a program of holistic transformation, empowering them to live and work in their community. What this organization has been able to do is incredible. Last I heard they have 90 women who have left working in bars and are a part of NightLight.
Emily asked me if I'd like to model some of the jewelry that the women make through NightLight Design which provides an economic alternative for women who previously had no hope of freedom from their circumstances. When people purchase the products they are securing the freedom of women who have been exploited or were at risk of exploitation in the bars of Bangkok, Thailand. So naturally I said of course! How fun is that?!?!
After school one day I went over to NightLight and one of the talented ladies did my hair. She braided it all around like a shell, it was so incredible. She did such an amazing job, I thought 'I know who I'm calling when I'm getting married!'. Then I got my makeup done as well. I was feeling pretty spoiled! It was wonderful.
We headed out to the streets of Bangkok for the photo shoot. It was such a sight! We had the talented Lucia taking the photos, her assistant holding the reflector and keeping track of the jewelry, a camera guy documenting all of it, and Emily and I as the models. We just set everything on the street and started posing while all the cars and motorbikes slowly drove past. We produced quite a crowd of on lookers including teenage boys with their cell phone cameras and older men trying to get their own shot... I'm pretty sure they thought we were actually famous. It's was too funny.
I'd have to say modeling is a lot harder than it looks. I was trying to put to practice all the things I've learned from watching numerous marathons of America's Next Top Model. Coming up with poses every couple seconds takes skill I'd say. But when else can you take yourself that seriously and strike a fierce pose? I loved it.
We taxied over to one of the biggest slums in Bangkok and took some shots on the railroad and with these cool older trucks. We definitely got some attention there! After 6 hours, I was exhausted- it was an incredibly hot day. I thought 'no wonder models always have a fan blowing on them- I sure would have loved one!
It was a great experience I'll always remember. I feel honored and privileged.
So go check out their website and support these incredible Thai women. You'll see my familiar face when you do. The jewelry is beautiful, trust me!
My favorite tv show is Felicity. I definitely felt like I was channeling Keri Russel. ^^