Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Pricing Beauty

I suspect Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model by Ashley Mears started as the author's master's thesis. I haven't (knowingly) read many master's thesis, but if they were all as interesting as I'd seek them out. And just so you know, this book, like so much of the non-fiction I read, is research for a story I want to write.

I love my job.

Sociologist Ashley Mears takes us behind the brightly lit runways and glossy advertisements of the fashion industry in this insider’s study of the world of modeling. Mears, who worked as a model in New York and London, draws on observations as well as extensive interviews with male and female models, agents, clients, photographers, stylists, and others, to explore the economics and politics—and the arbitrariness— behind the business of glamour. Exploring a largely hidden arena of cultural production, she shows how the right "look" is discovered, developed, and packaged to become a prized commodity. She examines how models sell themselves, how agents promote them, and how clients decide to hire them. An original contribution to the sociology of work in the new cultural economy, Pricing Beauty offers rich, accessible analysis of the invisible ways in which gender, race, and class shape worth in the marketplace.

  You've got a great look.
  That was what he told me as I sat in a Starbucks in downtown Manhattan. I had come in search of a quiet table at which to crack open a social theory book, one of a number of texts I was assigned as a new graduate student in sociology at New York University. Instead I found myself seated across from a model scout who was handing me his card and telling me that I could be making a fortune as a fashion model.

Edgy* is not commercially pretty but is code for a look that departs from conventional norms of attractiveness. It is the uncanny, sitting on the border between beautiful and ugly, familiar and strange, at once attracting and repulsing its viewer.

*Edgy is the quality agencies look for in an editorial (aka runway) model. 

Would read this?

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  1. I love the cover and would keep reading -- curious about this one.

    I've read some Master Theses as well but mostly sports and health related...boring.

  2. Good opener. I'd be very skeptical of anyone telling me I could be a model.

  3. I might read this one. I don't do a lot of non-fiction. I probably should read more of that genre.

  4. Oh, I love this kind of story! Thanks for sharing...and enjoy. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. I rarely read nonfiction, but this subject fascinates me. I'm looking forward to reading the story that results from your research.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

  6. My master thesis would bore anyone to tears. I wouldn't recommend it.

    I am not sure about this one. The fashion and modeling industry do not really interest me, but I might be curious about the last bit of the blurb: "Pricing Beauty offers rich, accessible analysis of the invisible ways in which gender, race, and class shape worth in the marketplace."

  7. It sounds like a niche sort of read.

  8. I'm not sure I'd read this but I'm sure it is eye-opening for those who want to get into the industry and it is such a huge industry that impacts us all to a certain extent.

  9. From Sociology to modeling?? What a leap! She'll make good money for school.