I’ve gained most of my impressions of the modeling industry from Zoolander; however after watching Chasing Beauty by Brent Huff, I realized everything I learned about modeling as a center for ants was wrong and I was grossly jaded. The documentary has the tagline of “ the ugly side of being pretty”, and with a collection of casting agents, veteran models, and inexperienced models, Chasing Beauty portrays the frustrating truths accompanying being a model in the industry.
It is a widely known fact that the modeling industry is subjective and difficult to work in. For models, they are only as hot as their last gig, and even after achieving a Vogue cover, there is an overwhelming pressure for acceptance of their beauty and body. Chasing Beauty confronts the audience’s prefigured conceptions of the industry and illustrates the differences between knowing the truth and having to experience it. It may seem vapid for a person to want pave a lifestyle from his or her beauty. However, through intimate interviews, Huff challenges the “emptiness” of the industry and shows that modeling is similar to a person’s dreams of entering any profession—Instead of having to take an entrance exam to achieve their dreams, models must dedicate their entire lives in hopes of fulfilling dreams, which some have had since childhood.
The documentary balances the personal pressure and desire of novice models with the faded bedazzlement of experienced ones. Veteran models such as Beverly Peele, a high-fashion model from the late 80s and 90s, reflect on their past careers with a mixture of fathom and disenchant. Peele’s career, like numerous former models, ended with a steady fizzle—a slow decline in high fashion shows and magazines wanting to feature her. Though faced with the truth of no longer being the page turning supermodel, Peele still has a slight spark in her eyes, and it is a spark that reads to the audience that she wouldn’t have her life any other way.
Behind the beautiful faces and the muted LA setting, Chasing Beauty reminds the audience of a somber truth: not everyone’s dreams can come true, and before the fate of a person’s dream is decided, he or she has the right to chase after it.
If you are interested in learning more about Chasing Beauty, below is a link to documentary’s website.