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Anna Okorokov

July 10, 2021

Anna Okorokov
Sutherland's Anna Okorokov
It appears that the only indication of how much time has passed since I arrived is the gradual, and now absolute, disappearance of my stockpile of peaches and cream flavoured instant oatmeal sachets from Food Basics. Were it not for the demolition of those heavenly little bags of joy I would think I had arrived just a few days ago.

Don't snicker, sometimes Asian culinary manifestations can get a little overwhelming. Not that I don't enjoy occasionally pointing to unidentifiable items on picture menus. Through trial and sporadic error I have established my favourite local dishes; popiyah rolls, pineapple rice, white carrot cake (fried eggs with some veggies- no carrots), green curry chicken, papaya salad, shaved ice desserts that come in numerous variations (chendol is best), tapioca in any possible form and strawberry red tea. I have yet to try the black pepper crab, a special Singaporean dish.

But it may be a few years before I am again able to bear the sight of chicken rice. It is served as a staple at any job. I was given chicken rice 20 minutes before runway shows, on break during shoots and once found myself weighing the pros and cons of eating it on a starved stomach before a lingerie editorial. I am waiting for August to see if my decision is visible.

Despite my agent's insistence that it's not bridal season, I find myself repeatedly walking down raised aisles. I have now put on so many gorgeous white dresses that I am no longer much impressed by them.

And it gets worse! I genuinely believe that posing at the end and then promptly turning around to waltz away is now turning into a permanent habit. Try explaining that maneuver on your wedding day..."Honey you don't understand, all the other times I was paid to walk away." Yeah, that will fly over well. I think I now understand why some folks opt for the unconventional underwater and skydiving ceremonies, a little hard to run away in a wedding dress and flippers.

Fountain in Singapore
If not for the lack of a fiancée, the bridal shows are almost like the real deal. We do full dress rehearsals, get hair-do's that take an hour to whip up and wear bank breaking jewelry that is completely inutile in the outside world.

It's all good fun until someone's eye gets poked out. No, I am not exaggerating. My innocent, unsuspecting right eyeball came within an inch of losing its life at my last show. Every model was given fake eyelashes for the event, on the upper as well as lower lids. As luck would have it, both of mine were too long and joined together in stabbing the corners of my eyes. Most respectfully, I pointed out this misfortune to the make-up artist. Most carelessly, she denied any such affliction. I insisted that it is in fact quite real. After some persuasion, she agreed to fix it. I closed my eyes and waited for the lashes to be peeled off, shortened and stuck back on. But something did not seem right, and I decided to peek just a bit to see what she was up to. Guarded by two coats of lashes, my eyes opened a tiny fraction and stared right into the blades of a pair of scissors that were opened and ready to snap at my lashes. Like at the climax of any retarded movie, I emitted a long “Noooooo" as my chair slid back in slow motion and my expression morphed from shock to horror and then, complete rage. After ripping off the stupid lashes I did the show in plain mascara, and was booked again by the same client for the following week.

Modelling is not easy. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of humour. Maybe supermodels like Naomi Campbell can flip out and continue getting booked, but the rest of us may as well pack our bags and go home after any such stunt.

I had to repeat this to myself several times during a commercial shoot for the local media company. Only one shot was required and my position was predetermined. Smiling, I was to stand holding a laptop in my right hand with the elbow bent. My left hand had to stretch out towards the ceiling holding a cell phone. After three or four shots my position was perfect.

But the shoot continued for the next two hours because the shot had to be perfect. The only recurrent problem that prevented that shot from being made was my hair. It just failed to flip up the required way when fanned. Two men operated the giant fan that blew at everything except my hair, while the stylist and MUA fussed around me trying to hold my dress in place with duct tape and random strands of hair in check.

What is most amusing is that this is perfectly normal and expected. I was booked for four hours to do one shot and we finished right on time. After that day I started paying a little more attention to the giant ads posted all over the city. Each one was a perfect shot; a gorgeous woman standing in 4 inch stilettos on a beach in an evening gown and flawless make up, a muscular top athlete jumping out of a wave in butterfly style, a young girl staring stargazed at a swirl of flowers.

All of these images no doubt took hours to create, but everyday we pass them by and simply accept that the people pictured are naturally stunning, effortlessly immaculate. And eventually, we start to believe that we too will achieve that status with the advertized produces. I deem this ailment the spell of the perfect shot.

Kisses from Singapore,

Anna

Anna Okorokov is a Chantale Nadeau model, currently in Singapore.

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