CHAPTER TEST DRAFT : Confessions Of Asia’s Most Curvaceous Commercial Model : CURVES LIKE THESE – The Success Gap

My dear friend Miss B. had been encouraging me to continue writing about my experiences as a curvy model in the entertainment industry for a while now.
“Raven,” she recently cooed in a voice that flows like honey, “You really have to share this with people. People need to hear what you have to say about these things.” The conversation then somehow concluded with us likening me to a robot Yoda that accompanied people into outer space, which seemed to make sense at the time but now I’m not so sure.
However, with thumbs up and encouragement from a select few friends in the industry, I decided to start publishing my thoughts and experiences as a curvy commercial model and entertainment industry personality in Asia here on my blog under the category Curves Like These.

Firstly, let me clarify the definitions of ‘commercial model’ and ‘entertainment industry personality’, since I can understand that they may be somewhat unclear.

My fashion modelling work started in my teens in Melbourne, Australia and as soon as I landed in Hong Kong I was immediately noticed as having a talent for television commercial shooting, which meant that I could move well onscreen. This made my agents very, very happy because TV commercials are a good earner and my compulsive work habits left them grinning from ear to ear on a regular basis. And that’s how I became known in the industry as a good television commercial model or ‘commercial model’.

Commercial modelling = not glamorous
But modelling wasn’t quite enough for my creative spirit and voracious brain and whenever I had a free moment I was learning, writing or creating something. This led me to write articles for magazines, creatively direct fashion shoots, design clothes, host onstage music festivals, interview musicians, act in award winning short and feature films and eventually become a radio producer and DJ in Singapore and a television host on FOX… though that’s all a story for another page.

The point is that all my activities were entertainment industry related, and that’s how I became an entertainment industry person with a quirky personality known in a wider range of fields than just modelling – aka a personality in the entertainment industry or ‘entertainment industry personality’.

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Yup, I eat popcorn straight from the bucket.
I was lucky enough to find a level of success in a few areas and I still enjoy the thrill of work variety that I have been so blessed with, but there were a few (okay, many) things that I noticed on my journey that I found odd, humorous, unusual or interesting, which I will soon detail.
One of these was to do with the confusing conflict of emotions that can sometimes accompany achievement and success, which I will attempt to address to some small degree here.
So, returning to space robot Yoda’s thoughts on this topic.
One of the things that Miss B. mentioned to me when she was still settling into Los Angeles life after her first few films was how alone the industry could sometimes make people feel. I’ve had conversations with others who have achieved different levels of celebrity and the tales of losing friends and emotional solitude in the transition is a common one.
Some lucky folks are completely unaffected but others find that the journey can be harrowing, especially if unexpected. We’ve all seen sad stories of actors or actresses who turn to drugs or worse because of loneliness or feelings of isolation. It is a reminder of how powerful these emotions can be, and of our very real need to feel connected with other people, no matter how famous or glamorous a celebrity we may seem or desire to be.

But I know this is not an industry exclusive phenomena, because I have spoken to one or two other people about it as they have travelled along their own upward trajectories in their respective fields. It seems to affect some and not others, so this is not a universal thing. I have noticed that people who experience a sudden rapid rise seem to be in a position to notice it more clearly than those who track a gradual incline over the gap, but again, it can be a different experience for each individual.

It is, I believe, a success phenomena – one that I call the Success Gap.

This gap is not a small familiar one like on the subway, in which you could possibly catch your foot or drop your phone if you’re not paying attention.
Subway gaps are about the size that most people around us are comfortable with.

The success gap I’m speaking of is more like an ocean – or in the example I find most visually useful, it’s like the gap between our earth and the moon.

Story time! It may be helpful to think of the Success Gap in this story metaphor way :
(Once upon a time…)
Here we are on earth, with lots of people around us, always in a crowd or surrounded by people in some way. It’s comfortable here, we have food and familiarity and everything we could want. But some of us sit on our happy little planet and stare up into the stars, restless and hungry for more than what we can see around us. We gravitate towards cities and opportunities, where we are surrounded by even more people and noise and chaos.

We set our sights on a goal or ambition and start pushing our efforts towards it. We strive, we strain, we relentlessly press onwards. Often it’s frustrating. Often its not ideal. Often it’s just a flat out pain. But we keep going. Sometimes we don’t know why. But there is a need – a pressure and a fire that quietly burns for challenge and adventure and will not let us rest. We keep on fighting. Our friends cheer us on. Other people tell us to keep our chin up when we falter. The struggle is real.
Then suddenly, something gives… progress starts being made. You cheer! You celebrate! You have drinks and dinners and there is much rejoicing. Friends clap you on the back. People shake your hand. You feel good and you put your head down, encouraged by your newfound momentum. You’re fuelled by your passion and drive. You score another goal, and another. You start to rise in your industry – you start to be noticed.
But wait. You look around. Things are quiet. There is a sudden calm. You’ve worked hard, completed your training and are now sitting at the space centre before lift off. There are no friends here now. They fell away long ago, dwindling with each cancelled meet up or having to work late. Perhaps a few that are left sit in the outer viewing stands with the crowd, awaiting the launch from afar. Some will see it on social media later. There are a few people working around you but they pay you no attention unless to tend to some vital command or instruction. You are alone with your success. You’ve come this far.
Suddenly it feels like there is a circle around you that people don’t want to enter.
This is when you notice the success gap.
Sitting solo in that craft in your astronaut suit, facing up at the blanket of stars that you used to stare at so longingly, the numbers count backwards to lift off. You have accepted your choice to be different from the crowd, to be in the launch seat going into space instead of on a chair watching it happen. You know you’ve made the right choice for you.
It’s hard, and you’ve made sacrifices and grown apart from friends along the way, but you’ve decided to stick with it.
This decision is the first part of the journey of strength that you will gain from the success gap.

You roar through the atmosphere and leave the world behind. Anything unnecessary falls away from you and burns up in the acceleration as you touch outer space. Suddenly everything is quiet. More quiet than you have ever experienced. It’s deafening. This is the most difficult part of the success gap. This is where people suffer, fail and falter. Drugs, alcohol, numbing agents and loneliness inhabit this space. Your mind will try and trip you up. Doubts will ring in the silence. You’ll experience the illusion of making no progress, even though every excruciating moment here is taking you closer to your goals.

You sit, alone. There’s no escaping the emotions, thoughts, and little demons that skitter around in your head and heart when you’re here. But you’re not here to escape them – you’re here to be the master of yourself. And this is the space in which you learn how to do that. For some people the pressure becomes too much and they try to find ways to squirm away from it. But averting our eyes from inevitable things does not make them go away, it only changes our direction for a moment, and locks us in orbit around them.

Yet those who are fortunate enough to know what lays on the path ahead brace themselves, face their demons and slay their dragons no matter how their doubts may scream or their solitary discomfort grows. The difference is that the dragon slayers have the precious information that I am giving to you now – that the gap will close, the time will pass, the demons fall silent, and you will finally emerge from the darkness.

The only tip I can give is to focus on actions.  They are the sword.

The key to that precious information is this – that when you land there will be others like you, whom you will emerge to find. They may not be lining up to meet you – that will come later – but they will be around. You will discover them and this is where they will find you, because they have all had to go through the same path in order to get here. The isolation, the strength, the development of character and acceptance of self. The facing of weaknesses and determination to push on no matter what – to just keep going, because the time will pass. You will arrive.
And when you do, you will suddenly remember why you stared up at the stars in the first place.

It is an interesting truth that this success gap will occur each time we rise to a new height in our careers. Some people glide through this process more seamlessly than others. Some friends will have the strength to stand by us along the way. But many of us find that we go through this process alone. So I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. You’re never alone. There will always be someone, somewhere, who understands and relates and feels the same drive to create or take action as you do. And when you meet each other, you will have a wonderful ride for a while. Until the next success gap comes.

We never know where our paths lead – you may end up meeting them again once you both journey through the next gap. And little by little, gap after gap, we will end up finding our clan – working with the people who are truly compatible with our goals and ambitions and traversing multiple success gaps with them over rewarding careers in the future.

I know that looking at this right now, it may not make as much sense as it will some day. Actually, reading it over again I see that it might not make much sense at any point in time.
But as I agreed with my dear friend Miss B., sometimes in this labyrinth of life some of us are lucky enough to find words or friends that guide and encourage us when we need them most; delivering the information we need to strengthen our knowledge and experience, like a wise AI computer system on our solitary journey – whom we decided to call Space Robot Yoda, of course.

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Fabulously eccentric TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant and live with my Dearest Beloved and a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao  ❤

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Raven Tao

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