George Mason Law School

For uninhibited students, nudity pays

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September 14, 2007

4:04 AM

Some College students believe they have discovered what Peter O’Shanick ’08 describes as “probably the easiest way to make money on campus” — nude modeling for art classes.

“It’s kind of weird going in and sitting naked in front of a lot of strangers,” O’Shanick said.

For $10 an hour, some students feel they have plenty of incentive to model.

“I need the money … really badly,” Connie Oh ’07 said.

Even if the salary initially drew them to the job, their reasons for continuing to model are no longer so simple. “There’s a lot I wouldn’t do for money,” Oh said. “But I feel like this is legit.”

For Oh, nude modeling is a way to perpetuate a different standard of beauty.

“I’m proud of my body,” she said. “Most people are fixated on what they see in the media, and that’s not healthy.”

Another female model, who asked to remain anonymous, said she goes into nude modeling with a slightly different view of its cultural significance. “I’m very much against the sort of Puritanism that has shaped Americans’ views on sex, sensuality and the human form,” she said. “Our culture seems to equate nudity with sensuality, which just isn’t the case.”

Art classes are three hours long, and the models are often required to hold poses for an hour-and-a-half before taking a brief break.

Sometimes the models continue the same pose in the next class, in which case the instructor marks the floor with masking tape or chalk to maintain the exact position.

“It can be very meditative,” assistant art professor Elizabeth Mead, who coordinates the models, said.

Many of the models agree. “Modeling tends to be tedious, but also is a good time for thinking,” Jacob Dreyer ’08 said.

Last winter O’Shanick used his modeling sessions to learn his lines for a Shakespeare in the Dark production. “I was off-book a week before everybody else,” he said.

Each class, the model comes in a few minutes early to undress in a separate room. He or she waits in a robe or towel while the professor lectures. The professor then helps the model set the pose, and the model maintains the pose or series of poses for the duration of the class.

The classes range from drawing and painting classes to sculpture. According to Mead, there are generally between eight and 10 students who do nude modeling.

“You have to be fairly comfortable with yourself and other people,” O’Shanick said. “As a kid it was apparently difficult to keep clothes on me.”

According to Mead, many of the models have fairly similar body types. “It would be better to have a wide range [of body types],” she said. “They do tend to be young and fit.”

The models are generally happy with the art they pose for. Some of the models have even approached students about buying their artwork.

“The students are often very forgiving,” Oh said.

Those who do choose to model ultimately seem to enjoy their job. “I think modeling is a 100 percent hilarious job to have,” Dreyer said. “It’s always funny to meet people at parties who already ‘know’ me from modeling.”

“It would be better to have a wide range [of body types],” she said. “They do tend to be young and fit.”

The models are generally happy with the art they pose for. Some of the models have even approached students about buying their artwork.

“The students are often very forgiving,” Oh said.

Those who do choose to model ultimately seem to enjoy their job. “I think modeling is a 100 percent hilarious job to have,” Dreyer said. “It’s always funny to meet people at parties who already ‘know’ me from modeling.”

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