4 years ago

Diary of a Not-So-Super Model.

 Who poops her pants while she’s modeling for her prestigious design school’s Fashion students?
This girl.

My freshman year of college, circa 2004, I lived in a dormitory with tons of freshman girls.  If you want any idea of how that went down: The following year, I requested to live on the Quiet Floor, with only one roommate instead of the 4 roommate suite I mistook for “really fun” at the onset. I could dedicate a novella to that year. Oy.

Point aside…

It was a super ego booster to have been asked by one of the senior fashion designers in the DAAP program to model one of her pieces for her thesis. Unfortunately, some part of my common sense shorted when my roommate held her hand out, offering me a single, chocolate flavored, chewable laxative. THE. NIGHT. BEFORE. THE. CRITIQUE.

I, who knew nothing of eating disorders (the same girl would often ask the other girls to eat and then purge with her), and having no idea about the capabilities of laxatives, took the small, square tootsie roll out of a bizarre form of empathy, thinking, can’t hurt. Right?  Right.


9am the next morning, chocolate chewy forgotten: I was to be corset-ed into a  hand-made, lace, full-length with train, cream-colored, Victorian Era inspired dress.

With each cinch of the corset, a nauseous dread threatened me, and it translated on my face.
There were no smiles, no smizes, no Sasha Fierces present that morning.
I began to sweat, yet somehow I wasn’t connecting the heavy looming to the happy little piece of chocolate I ate the night before.
Models and designers dressed, hair done, and faces powdered, we made our way through the building and took our places,  awaiting our moment on the stage.
10 minutes to showtime.

Carolyn’s signature Face Poses to date:  BRFAwkward Don’t Know How To Pose Face, and then there’s “Consumed a Laxative Face”. Beat that, Zoolander.

The witch’s brew bubbling in my belly rose to a crescendo as I watched the models in front of me enter the stage.  My face paled green.


–I tore off, leaving my post, and the fashion student whose gown I wore.
Mere minutes before we were expected on stage, I was gallop-hobbling on 5 inch heels to the bathroom, brows distraught, and sweat beading on my powdered forehead.
I gathered the dress’s heavy train, tossing it over my shoulder as I abandoned any remaining semblance of elegance.
 Allowing my feet to break off of the heels, straps still attached to my ankles, the stilettos flapped and kicked willy-nilly, cutting and nearly tripping me– yet I knew my cupid shuffle could not woo the toilet any closer, any faster…

Now, kick,
now, kick,
now, kick,

Two steps outside of the hallowed sanctuary, hell broke loose. and loud.
I had one minute to finish business (and it was relentless), to hustle my bustle, and to appear right as rain.

Figuring out what to do with the designer’s hand-sewn and now soiled undies gave Ross Geller and his  leather pants a run for their money.
I had to wear them. I couldn’t not.
The lacy material and the color of the dress required wearing this undergarment for full coverage.
I didn’t have a spare second to do any rinsing in the sink.  All I could do was create a lining with toilet paper– and I was being frantically yelled at to get out.

I entered the stage, weakly teetering on my reassembled heels.
I worked my model turn à la Jack Sparrow, battling resurgences of the laxative’s effects, in front of an auditorium full of more people than I’d ever wished to be witness to such a spectacle.
My eyes met the judge’s table and I pleaded internally that they not notice me at all. WALLFLOWER. Be one with the wall, one with the wall.

Yet, my dress initiated a heated 15 minute critique in which one of the judges actually came up on stage to suggest arranging the bustle of the dress differently. As he bent down to gather the train of the dress, my anxiety spiked.

PLEASE don’t inhale right there. please. please. please–

SNIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Deep inhalation from Mr. Prestigious Judge from Macy’s.

I got to keep the hand made knickers, Miss Senior Designer never knew the true cause of the accident, and I spent the rest of the day in the bathroom.

Now you know ’bout me.

Rehearsal shot of the catwalk.

My rose –I gave you all the thorn, right?– however, is a small victory.
Over the next 4 years of college, I turned the embarrassing accident into an instrument, and continued to model for the student designers. To this day, I don’t know if word never got out about Carolyn The Crappy Model, or if I am just so charming, they HAD to have me again and again.

My senior year, I was paid FO REAL to work an in-real-life catwalk in one of the largest annual fashion shows in Ohio.

Fashion, catwalk, property of C. Svellinger
You bet your knickers I avoided any food or drink with laxative effects the night before.

Completely blew my first experience out of the water, of course.  As trivial as moseying down a narrow stage may be in the grand picture of la vie, it’s a small victory for Miss Craps Her Pants.

Photo with permission by Neil Weinberg


fashion show

Don’t allow your crappy moments to make you reek for the rest of your life, even if someone else caught a whiff.

And now, back to your knitting.


property of C. Svellinger
Post show with Craig, my dear friend and fashion grad, Amy and her other half, Bill.


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