HOW (NOT) TO BE PHOTOGENIC | Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium | Your Friend, Jess

If in 1996, brand marketing had existed on social networks, I would have my name ready for monetization. At 3 years old, I knew what I wanted to be (first woman president who lives in outer space), where I wanted to live (Disney World), and most importantly, my signature pose that would be in every photo ever taken. With a camera always in tow, my dad at any moment would say, “Picture! Picture!” and I would look at the camera, prop my right foot on its toes, lean my head, and say “Cheese.” Unfortunately 18 years later, I have lost the ability to find a signature pose, and let’s not even get started with brand marketing.

Why do we travel? For the Instagram. This might as well be the motto for Gen Y. While on my trip to Northern Europe was as picturesque as a Pinterest page, taking my picture was the most important part. Striking a pose, however, is where it’s time to get creative. At least Lena Dunham had advice from Hamish Bowles for her February VOGUE cover. 

So while reviewing my photos from Bruges, Belgium, I couldn’t help but question what my face was thinking. For the split second that the camera snaps a shot, my face either digs deep into subconscious emotions, or sometimes nervously pretends that people are not watching me take a selfie.

As a person who is least qualified to give anyone advice at being photogenic, I can only tell you what NOT to do in front of the camera. Anyway, Instagram’s got enough filters to hide that pimple you forgot to put concealer on. 

Here is what NOT to do in front of a camera:

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Where I Went: City Center of Brugge

What I Ate: Waffles & Hot Chocolate at Venice Corn

What I Wore: Mid-December with 50F means an open peacoat with Doc’s

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FASHION WEEK GUIDE FOR THE REGULAR GIRL

Fashion Week 2013

Being a Brooklyn resident and going to school in New York City are things that I can take for granted. For the past week, however, I would trade that special quality of mine for anything else. It’s the first week of September which means it’s time to head back to the bland hallways and classrooms of college, which already look exhausted to be there. What makes this process of readjustment even more difficult is seeing the sartorially dressed “weirdos” walking the cobblestoned streets of Brooklyn making their way into an Uber or 1 Train. Welcome to Fashion Week— when the morning commute looks like the title sequence to The Devil Wears Prada. All the girls dressed in Isabel Marant or carrying her grandmother’s old Louis– no one will know because together, they’re all giving you a brutal death stare ready to be photographed for your blog or whatever.

When I was a little girl, I would pass and stare with disdain at the white tents in Bryant Park, for always getting in my way when all I wanted to do was enjoy the park before school started. Now, all I want to do is get in. Years later, photographers are competing to merely get a shot of the girls who aren’t inside, but rocking a killer outfit outside. Who knows if she’s got an invite to Lincoln Center? Meanwhile if you take the G Train back to Brooklyn, yours truly is constantly refreshing Twitter and Instagram with anything containing #NYFW. I won’t say I’m obsessed, but I do have a fascination with fashion.

Maybe my current predilection for what comes down the runway has a connection with spending my entire life in private school, when I wore uniforms. Up until I graduated high school, D-Day stood for Dress Down Day. In 7th grade, I remember wearing a Beatles-yellow-submarine-type yellow coat from GAP for an entire school day because I hated the clothes I was wearing. And now all I want to do is leave my coat open to show off my graphic T. (Hello, Alexander Wang’s shirts marked Parental Advisory!)

Us (Band of) outsiders may or may not understand what goes on in keeping up with Fashion Week. It’s an enigma to some and Holy Week to others. How must we deal with this time of peril?  Here are some lessons for the regular girl when it comes to Fashion Week:

  • It’s important not to end up crying in fetal position, but do as those ladies with death stares do. Use the sidewalks and your school’s hallways as the runway. Rock that Jansport backpack like you just got on Dean’s List.
  • Pretend you’ve got Coco Rocha’s cheekbones and eat the onion bagel on your morning commute.
  • Grab your picnic blanket you used this summer, throw it on, and BOOM, you like you just walked out of Derek Lam’s collection!
  • Keep your iPhone camera on standby because you never know when another fashion blogger is going to want to take a snap of your sweatpants messy bun as you head to school in the morning.
  • Did you see David and Harper Beckham front row at Victoria Beckham’s show? O.M.G. This isn’t really a tip, but if you can find yourself a supportive hot dad, then he’ll be your ultimate accessory.

And so, I’ll wear my Ferragamo’s to school to compensate for my absence at Lincoln Center. People will stare, but isn’t that the point of fashion?

signout

Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com