I am a 43 Year Old Fashion Model – Deal with It

by Tony Shea on September 24, 2013


All photos via Melanie Shelton for Tieroom

These days, among other things, I am a catalog model on the side. I do slacks, shirts, hats, and ties as a customary rule. Occasionally suits are involved or umbrellas. Maybe a watch or a briefcase. My niche is middle age and for $650 dollars a day I’m all yours. I’ll wear your Colorado outdoor gear, or your trench coat, or your argyle socks. But why me you may wonder? I am, after all, just an ordinary looking middle-aged man. What separates me from the rest?

The answer is that I do 20 push ups a day – and I craft elaborate back stories. Long used by actors of every stripe, back stories are the secret to conveying character. When I show up for a gig, I come prepared, a complete psychological profile mapped out in my mind that I use to evidence subtle emotional shades that resonate with their internal logic. The fact that these back stories coincide perfectly with my own back story is just the luck of the draw. I am middle-aged, married to a woman for nearly fourteen years, if you count the time we lived together, since living together is the same as being married for a man in the 21st century, and we have a young son, approaching two years old. I am just like all the regular guys who do their shopping at Sears, or JC Penny, or any of the big box stores, and that’s why I’m in demand.

Of course, in my private life I wear only tight-fitting leather jock straps, rain ponchos, and Caesar sandals, per my custom, as I thunder along Sunset Blvd on my custom Harley to the tattoo parlor. But once the digital cameras start snapping, I’m a person just like you in a blue button-down shirt – a denizen of an office strung with white fluorescent lights, maybe a software company or health insurance company. I too have a boss who is a complete idiot, who thwarts my efforts to succeed. I too am saddled with the responsibilities of phone bills and car payments, rent, food, lodging. I am a mirror for you to project yourself upon, covering your bald head with a hat, and wearing an ugly, grayish sport coat and khakis to Sunday brunch.

View More: http://melaniesheltonphoto.pass.us/tieroom The thumb outside the pocket means fashion shoot.

Let me become your fantasy.

For a recent shoot for LA company Tieroom, I beat out more than a hundred other applicants for the job. As my agent explained to me, “They’re looking for 35 to 45, thick, you know someone with that middle-aged vibe.” I could do that, I thought. The fact that I am genetically predisposed to being bald was nature’s gift to me. Jealous? You should be.

View More: http://melaniesheltonphoto.pass.us/tieroom

Often for these rack clothing sessions, the manufacturers hedge their bets on the off-chance that some younger person might also be interested in a hound’s tooth vest or a pair of comfortable blue jeans. As a consequence, I am often surrounded by real models, as I think of them – young men and women with sultry eyes, and washboard abs brimming with youthful sexuality. They are extraordinary creatures with twirled mustaches and piercing scowls, bewitching smiles and taught bodies. They drink from the fountain of their perpetual youth. They often reek of alcohol that they are sweating through their smooth, small pores, having just returned from their all night clubbing sessions.

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Their photos are taken separately, apart from mine, so as not to confuse potential buyers, since no young person in their right mind wants to be reminded of how their care-free days of joy will slowly be stolen by the living death of middle age. Likewise, no middle-aged person can stand the sight of these young, hopeful souls, unformed as they are by the pain and tragedy of wasted time and dashed hopes and dreams. Like most middle-aged men, what fuels me is a kind of low-level animosity. Was life better when I was younger? Is it better now? I don’t know, and I guess I don’t care. I am here. Much of my life is set in stone. I am the tie around your neck. I am your wing-tip shoes. I am not your boundless hopes for the future. I am your day-to-day, middle-aged reality. I suck in my gut and flex, extending my chin at just the right angle to minimize my double chin.

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I am a 43-year-old fashion model. Deal with It.

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Tony Shea ( Editor-in-Chief, New York)

Tony Shea is based in New York, having recently moved from Los Angeles after more than a decade on the sunny coast. His short films have won numerous awards and screened at major festivals around the world including Comic-Con. As a musician, he is the lead singer for Los Angeles rock n’ roll band Candygram For Mongo (C4M) candygramformongo.com who has been a featured artist on Clear Channel Radio’s Discover New Music Program and whose songs have been heard on Battlestar Gallactica (Syfy Channel) and Unhitched (Fox) among other shows and films.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary Kay Holmes October 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

HA! Yes!

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