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Anna Okorokov

July 21, 2021

Anna Okorokov
Sutherland's Anna Okorokov
If you have read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or viewed the educational masterpiece in theatres, you would know that the meaning of life is 42. I am now able to confirm this. It was quite an unexpected surprise and I even double checked to ensure no inconsistency had been made. But the eventual calculation was correct, the number was indeed 42. It is the number of pins I pulled out of my head after a Cartier show.

It was a splendid affair, invite only, for the utmost royalty of Asia. *To be qualified as royalty, one must be in complete comfort to dish out a few mil on sparkly jewellery.

A luxury condo sales office was converted into a Raj Palace for a couple of days to host this event. It was lavishly decorated with all things Indian, two bronze tigers were placed on a fountain at the entrance and the surrounding pools of water were filled with floating flowers.

The models were dressed in saris, gowns of Indian silk and other imaginative creations I cannot even begin to guess the name of. For instance the name of my costume; two fluffy black skirts, one on my hips the other dangerously fastened around my thighs with the intention of creating a 'layered' look, a memorably itchy embroidered Kurti shirt and a gold, glittery turban.

At this point you may wonder why I needed 42 pins if my head was covered in a turban. I cannot answer this question.

The operation was divided into two parts. During the first stage, we did not wear any precious trinkets and simply walked around the guests, supposedly exhuming an aura of mystique and entrenching an Indian theme, in the offset chance that the bronze tigers and turban wrapped valets outside had failed to do so.

In the second stage we were ushered into a little room, surrounded and filled by solemn looking security men. In there, we were issued our individual Cartier pieces and tested on our knowledge of them. Since at that moment it was understood that Cartier now owned my life and the future consistency of my parent's mortgage payments, I made sure I could count and identify the glittery trinkets I was displaying. The list is as follows:
  • Sari necklace with violet sapphires and emeralds ($2 million)
  • matching Sari earrings at 6 carats each ($700 000)
  • 4 carat ring ($475,000)
  • white gold & diamond watch from the Blue Balloon collection ($31,000)


    As we exited the room to showcase the pieces, we were followed by numerous, madly nervous eyes, all belonging to the security guards unfortunate enough to be working that night. I'll swear on anything I heard one of them whisper frantically into his tiny microphone, "Model coming out, model coming out!!!"

    I walked around the tables and showed the fancy ornaments, I stood on the platform and posed in fancy and hopefully, Indian looking poses and I went to the private screening room to allow Mrs. Yang to try on my Sari necklace. Mrs. Yang didn't end up liking it...

    And then the entire escapade was repeated the following day (but without Mrs. Yang).

    It will probably be the most memorable job I've had in Singapore or in general really. I just don't recall any other time I wanted to sneak off from a job, run into the first forested area I could find, build a small underground fortress and camp out for a few years until the search was abandoned.

    My very last job here, a show for a Jayson Brunsdon boutique, thankfully did not disappoint in level of ridiculousness which has prevailed to date. At the fitting that occurred three weeks prior to, I tried on all of the dresses. My size was recorded and a picture for each piece was taken for reference.

    Those efforts were thereafter completely disregarded for the actual show and the stylist decided to engage in 'let's guess the model's size."

    Four of my dresses simply refused to fit. The side zippers went as far as my ribs, which were then requested to be sucked in. As any good model I enthusiastically obliged. The zip miraculously closed, but unfortunately, a moment later decided it did not like this new position at all and burst open creating a large hole in the dress. The mechanism at the top of the zipper though remained intact, thereby preventing my escape.

    Two minutes prior to the show the stylist frantically attempted to slide it back down. It didn't budge. Foolishly believing I could do better, I tugged as hard as I could and pulled several arm muscles. The stylist then returned to the struggle and was joined by two others. Three people were now tugging and pulling on the broken zipper on my dress as I swayed from one side to another, yet nothing happened.

    With frenzied panic the dressers screamed for the choreographer and with bulging eyes he yelled for it to be cut off. Once again, I found myself dangerously close to opened scissors held by rather angry people.

    But no casualties resulted and within a second of the zip being cut off, my dress was whipped off by several people at once, a new one thrust over my head and I was pushed onto the runway.

    You'd expect this dramatic to story to end right here, but it struggled on, perhaps in tribute to the zipper. As I stumbled onto the runway, I realized that the dress I was now wrapped in was also somewhat small. Actually it was very, very small. My ribs began to protest their inability to expand for new oxygen and my eyes joined the cause through a marvelous display of black spots.

    Like a regular drunk on Queen St. W around 2:00 a.m., I stumbled down the runway attempting to breathe with the smallest of gasps and maintain my delirious feet on a straight line. It was a magnificent performance. I made it all the way down and back again without any mishap and someone later recalled that the dress looked just slightly tight.

    Now enough about work, my plane leaves in five hours and I must say my goodbyes. For any models heading here; pack light, shop in Chinatown and bring a generous selection of heels. Avoid chicken rice at all costs. I cannot stress this enough.

    Singapore is an amazing place and as a travel junkie I couldn't have asked for a better location to model. Though after two months, I am looking forward to good old Toronto! There are plenty of places to see and things to do in Singapore, most of which I have managed to experience. My highlights are as follows; mountain biking on a rainforest island on a $3 rented bike, walking through the Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Zoo, taking a water tour on a replica boat of the Imperial Cheng Ho fleet (15th century Chinese fleet that supposedly discovered America before Columbus) and exploring the countless temples of Singapore.

    And now for the last time...

    Adieu from Singapore,

    Anna

    Anna Okorokov is a Chantale Nadeau model, currently on a plane to Canada.
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