Models, They’re Just Like Us

One writer comes bathroom stall to stall with a mannequin of Fashion Week


Written by Esther Levy-Chehebar

I know virtually nothing about Fashion Week, save for the fact that several Manhattan neighborhoods — most of which are on the west side — become densely populated by really, really well dressed women, who get photographed like they’re Kim Kardashian, (even though they’re not Kim Kardashian), purportedly because they carry their clothes better than the rest of us do. See, I could never pull off that Blk Dnm leather jacket as insouciantly as one particular million foot tall blonde model does.

In any case, though, I was gallivanting through Soho for the better part of an hour last Saturday, biding my time, fruitlessly hoping I might be stopped for a street style shot while practicing demure objection — Please, no photos — when hunger pains hit. My gallivant quickly morphed into a frantic sprint, hopping and halting to avoid ice, finding myself cast as a Charlie Chaplin impersonator lampooning slapstick by all who saw me.

I took my usual route, starting at Jacks Wife Freda on Lafayette to Gitane on Mott and finally to Butchers Daughter on Kenmare; I was met with 90-minute waits and cramped quarters, tables abuzz with disheveled glamour and perfectly imperfect bedhead. Sigh. As I stood outside with the tutelage of others too lazy to smear avocado on their own multi-grain bread, my memory was jogged by the painful recollection of my 17-year-old self, bare legs quivering under the disapproving gaze of an unrelenting Kiss & Fly bouncer.

I vowed for the tenth time this year never to wait in line again, and shimmied next door to the neglected cousin promising massaged kale. To my surprise, I was seated immediately and greeted with the happy hour promise of $2 wine; I was peeved to be reminded that I was beginning my night at 4:30 pm, but $2 wine is $2 wine, am I right?

I was $6 in once I found myself in the restroom, squatting and cussing at my inadequate calves, when I looked to my left and saw the most enviable pair of Loeffler Randall oxfords peeking out beneath the stall beside mine. Said shoes seemingly became uncomfortable under my gaze and they inverted inwards, a bit squeamishly.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Randall’s suitor was going through something, and I myself was hard pressed to believe that the oxford owner could produce a stench as foul as her stall suggested. As Girl Code’s Jessimae Peluso rightly put it, bathroom doors should be floor to ceiling. Oxford girl and I were now engaged in a game of cat and mouse. She flushed but was presumably embarrassed to exit her stall, knowing that she could be identified by the gems on her feet. And I? I didn’t want to embarrass her — and that embarrassed me! You see?

Eventually my nose gave out, and I made a mad dash to the sink. Air dryers don’t accommodate an efficient bathroom experience, and so I lowered my head. I saw the monochromatic vixen step, right then left, right then left, tentatively, towards me. I lifted my head and then my eyes in order to fully capture the million foot tall Blk Dnm leather sporting blonde before me. She smiled, I smiled, but while my grin probably mimicked that of a gawky teenager’s, hers seemed to confidently say, “See? Models poop too.”

Photograph shot by Mario Testino

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  • Rebecca

    This article had me secretly smiling in my cubicle…someone give this girl a microphone

  • Round of applause. Because basically, instead of models, I end up encountering professors. Not cool.

  • Yash

    excellently written!

  • Nataly

    Love it!

  • amazing.

  • Ray, L

    How Long before a cutting edge design house does a Restroom Runway Show? And when they do this writer should be the one to write about it……

  • Sonja Maria

    OMG. Hilarious.

  • Katie S.

    Why didn’t you go to Osteria Morini? You were right there!

  • Really love your writing; you have a great sense of humor!

  • Viktor Man

    Cool article:)

  • zhanna

    This is hilarious, that bit describing the stall experience made me say: oh, please, for goodness sake! but it did get me to the point in author’s mind. Totally agree, stalls MUST be floor to ceiling to avoid any sort of embarrassment straight after you release your natural calls. Great post!

  • labellefemmemagnifique.blogger

    Excellent! Testino’s picture: glamorous #sochiproblem shot

  • Sylvia

    love this bit of reality during the fantasy of fashion week! btw, did you ask her if she can spare a square?

  • Gloria

    This is amazing!

  • Peak 25

    Hahaha! Hilarious, thanks for the post.

  • ooohhh do they poop cigarettes and toilet paper?

  • Double D

    Holy cow that was funny

  • In front of our most naked selves, we are all equals. Smile 😉

  • Haha … reminds me of the Sochi double toilets …

  • This is hilarious! You are a fabulous writer!
    The Macadame. xx

  • Raquel levy

    This brightened up my otherwise snowy day

  • Rachel Lauren

    love it 🙂 sometimes we forget they are just people

  • Merce Cobian

    wooow loved it

  • Qchop

    this is not the least bit funny or insightful. the MR crowd has a tendency to want to break down ridiculous social norms, in this case “women (or models) don’t poop” but often lack the edge to attack head on, so they take a softer, jokey, non-judgmental or even hesitant tone when dealing with it – fair enough, this is not jezebel afterall. but this is too much. “I myself was hard pressed to believe that the oxford owner could produce a stench as foul as her stall suggested.” are you kidding? this is total nonsense. and actually it works against the very concept this guest author thinks she is advocating for – which is a sense of equality that all people, beautiful and ugly, chic and homey, male and female we all poop and fart and smell. because we are people and that is what all people do, all the time, everywhere. i like when MR takes on more widely conceived “social issues” but feel so frustrated when it’s so off the mark and, worst of all, lacking self awareness. this piece is a total throwaway.

    • Kelly

      Qchop, I think you’ve missed the point — by saying “I myself was hard pressed to believe that the oxford owner could produce a stench as foul as her stall suggested,” the author is laying bare the idea that we idolize where we should not and need not idolize: underneath it all, as you’re saying, we are all people who “poop and fart and smell.” To me, it seems you and the author are in agreement… But maybe I’m incorrect and lacking some of that self-awareness you’re preaching.

      • Qchop

        Kelly, you are missing the nuance of my argument. And nuance is what my critique hinges on. Yes, on the surface, the author wants to argue that ‘hey everybody goes poop,’ but that does not match up with the substance of the story. To say that you can not believe that another human can produce certain smells means that you are both disassociating yourself from your own human-ness (since everyone’s body at some time or another produces awful smells) and alienating another individual. I understand that the author WANTS to argue for not doing that, but consider how she has this “revelation.” This revelation is only produced because the person pooping has really cool shoes and is beautiful and stylish or whatever. That doesn’t prove anything. What if this person where wearing scuffed up tennis shoes, an ordinary outfit and ugly. I am left to believe that no such revelation would have been produced. The author would have just alienated this other woman for producing a foul stench because she cannot connect on the fundamental level that we are all human, we are all disgusting, regardless of our external trappings. Basically, it boils down to the fact that I think the author is incredibly shallow and that shallowness betrays her argument. It’s like saying that you didn’t realize a person of another race was the same as a person of your race until you both reached for the same cashmere sweater at Neimans. I don’t believe that represents any kind of breakthrough or new understanding or ability to get to a deeper level of connection to other individuals. It’s so shallow that we might as well be back at square one hypocritically believing that other people are gross and weird when we are equally gross and weird.

        • Ray, L

          While your screed regarding exposing real social Issues that arise due to the Idolization and reverence shown to Models and other “Beautiful creatures” you do realize you are commenting on a website called “Manrepeller”? The whole point of the site is to showcase and glamorize the fashion world, as for the “Nuance” of your argument” it is nothing more then the screed of a frustrated person who wants nothing more then to tear down what so many have (wrongly? Rightly”) chosen to Idolize and emulate, your insults hurled at the Author “Shallow, “Guest Writer” also exposes your resentment (perhaps she received too many rave compliments and you felt it was your duty as a contrarian to knock her?) the Humanity and shared community that you long for is surely lacking in your 2 venomous posts, this article was witty (self) depreciating topical and timely,
          I venture to say that if this (article) was a scene in “Girls” (with the Author being Lena Dunham) you would on your way to Stockholm to petition for Lena’s Nobel Prize! Insteas you are a simple stereotype of a “Mean Girl” (albeit one with minor in sociology at a middling state university)
          And 1 more thing you have absolutely no sense of Humor,
          Your what’s called a buzzkill

          • Qchop

            Yeah I guess because this site is named “man repeller” there is no room for criticism or differences of opinion. Right. This site does have larger social goals beyond commentary on fashion, but even commentary on fashion has social implications. While this is not the NYTimes op-ed, I think all of the writers (guest or otherwise) take their work seriously, at least in so far as they think it is worth doing. Even if it is supposed to be “lighthearted” there is a reason why this author and the whole MR team wanted to share this. so why not encourage it to be better? You are in fact correct in guessing one reason why I wanted to voice my critique. I AM surprised that no one else posted anything remotely critical of it (I not only thought the “argument” was unsound but the story itself was ridiculous and boring). In general, I’m curious why so few people have very critical things to say about MR articles. And to be clear being critical is not by definition being mean. Being critical can be a sign of deep respect because you are taking the other party seriously, because it is worthwhile to raise contrasting viewpoints for the purpose of improving everyone’s understanding of an issue. In fact, I criticized this article because I love MR, I love the way the site is continuing to evolve, and I think it represents a really valuable set of viewpoints – and I want it to be the best that it can be (whether I agree with everyone’s opinions or not)! You seem to think that because I don’t like this article I am hateful and spiteful of the author. I can think her ideas as presented here are bad or shallow or whatever – and that means nothing about what I think about her. It is possible to find someone’s work of poor quality, to not be insightful, or to not be funny without launching a personal attack on the writer or being a “mean girl/guy.” Having a different opinion than the others voiced here also doesn’t mean that I am just missing something (such as a sense of humor), failing to understand what the purpose of this site or article is, or, I guess, low class because you think I minored in sociology at a “middling state university.” (In fact, I am a PhD student at an Ivy League university, but I’m sure you will find a way to manipulate that fact in order to further attack my character/intelligence/class/pedigree/sense of humor/etc in some way or another). If participants in a conversation are not comfortable with the very idea of someone not liking their opinion, it’s pointless to even attempt to have an exchange. Should we ask MR to shut down the comments so you can keep your buzz going at all times? What will you do when you read an article here that doesn’t sit right with you? I know that not everyone loves *everything* they see posted here, and there’s no reason why those feelings of “not loving” something = being spiteful and *by definition* should be withheld. Maybe in some instances they are not worth sharing because the issue isn’t of importance, but if you do find it important, I think it should be shared. And as long as it is respectful and not destructive, it should have a place in the comments section.

          • Ray, L

            Excuse me “Dr, Qchop

            Again your specious arguments are breathtaking so i’ll take the time (more slowly perhaps?)

            Of course true criticism is a long respected art form and necessary to posit ideas and theory, yours of course simply rises to the “layman’s” understanding of criticism, you deign to school me that just because you don’t like the article or think it’s shallow doesn’t mean your attacking the writer, but (and let me quote you) “Basically,it boils down to the fact that I think the author is incredibly shallow” so calling the author shallow because she wrote an article that you find shallow is not insulting? and worse yet (for a doctoral candidate at an Ivy no less) defines her! you are not only displaying incredibly bad form but your a hypocrite, mixing in calls for social justice ” humanity et al is a weak attempt to hide this,

            As to your patronizing manner of explaining yourself I would perhaps point out what seems most everyone here knows but you, The article is clearly under the Tab of humor so the majority of your criticism is foolish, (doesn’t make you a fool though!) you can’t criticize the writer for being shallow and superficial when that was exactly her goal! and judging by the comments she hit a bullseye.. Maybe what really is at work here is that this writer in her intelligent way actually brought up all your points and wishes and seamlessly embedded it in her audience in a non patronizing way with humor.

            Another thing is that this Writer is at least “in the ring” i’m not a mindless cheerleader for the superficial but she did what she set out to do, i look forward to you posting your thesis for the peanut gallery on the site to “criticize” as well, and to foreshadow your reply that the commentators here are hardly qualified to review your thesis, It didn’t stop you (who so sorely lacks a sense of humor) from reviewing hers,

            I won’t be replying again to you and wish you genuine luck in your studies,

          • qxm

            And I wish you genuine luck to you in keeping your buzz going!

          • Ray, L

            apologies for some reason i didn’t notice i was typing qchop instead of qxm, but it makes me wonder what a doctoral candidate (at an Ivy!!!) is doing when they seem to have time to obsess-ably reply to comments made to their posts? Are you sure your “not” being studied by a PhD Candidate at an ivy league school? and do they know that you have access to the outside world?

          • Sylvia

            Qchop, no need to be surprised or curious…no one posted anything remotely critical of this post because it is an intelligent and witty post that is fun and enjoyable to read! You and your criticisms are in the sad minority!

          • T

            You’re very intelligent, thank you for your comments, and I completely agree.

  • Grabie

    Wow! What an article. You share the voice of our generation with Hanna..

  • Emma

    the sad true is the model in question was most likely on laxatives

  • Tyson Chak

    Yes, this is true. If you are looking for bridal wear and party wear, you are welcome to my page: