“How an insecure foodie modeled her way to just desserts”
Remember the movie Mean Girls? (Of course you do.) Do you remember how some girls reacted to Regina George’s bullying like this? Lisa Siva is not one of those girls. Siva, a Plan II and English junior, instead took revenge by becoming a model. AND a successful food blogger who enjoys nothing more than a spoonful of Nutella, French cuisine, and her mother’s pho.
“The modeling industry is famous for not liking conventional beauty, and they go for sort of the weird looks,” Siva said. “The successful model is always an ‘ugly duckling’ story. Everyone hates hearing it, but it’s true.”
The list is endless: braces, gap-teeth, big lips, too tall and skinny, too fat, no boobs, big boobs, and even race and sexuality. Countless famous supermodels who were once the butt of jokes now flaunt said butts on the runway, including black modeling pioneer Tyra Banks, plus-size bombshell Crystal Renn, gap-toothed Dutch beauty Lara Stone, plump-pouted Victoria’s Secret Angel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, biracial Baby Phat mastermind Kimora Lee Simmons, and the world’s first transgender model, Lea T.
Like for Cady Heron in Mean Girls, Siva’s insecurity crept in around the start of high school.
“I walked down the hallways, and people would yell, “nerd alert!” after me. And I was, like, so uncomfortable with myself. I just hated the way I looked. I remember waking up one day and thinking, “I would not mind if somehow my face became Keira Knightley’s face, because that would be wonderful.”
Turning to modeling as a solution to insecurity with her body image, Siva submitted photos to every agency under the sun: Page Parkes, Kim Dawson, Campbell, Leap, Ford, IMG, Red, Click, Metropolitan, Angels. However, one by one, she was rejected every time. Eventually, modeling was pushed onto the back-burner as Siva began her college career, where she got involved with Spark, a university fashion publication of which she is now editor-in-chief, Austin fashion magazine Tribeza, for whom she is an editorial assistant, and turning her first love, food, into a witty blog run from the kitchenettes in the Carothers dorm.
“I’ve had to learn, like, how do you lay out stories, how do you style a shoot, how do you arrange for the specifics of the photo shoot to take place?” Siva said of her experience with Spark, where she said she learned how the fashion industry works.