Nothing can prepare you for the special kind of trauma that comes from entering a modelling contest, only to have your sister win it.
The day that happened to me is the day I realised I had better stop relying on my looks. Because it’s important to have a back-up plan, and be an independent woman who relies on her brain… and also because my looks were pretty average.
I was six. Rhiannon, my sister, was nine. She had gorgeous olive skin and those wide-set alien eyes that were becoming popular in the early 90’s thanks to the likes of Kate Moss. I inherited my dad’s Irish skin, was covered in dark freckles and my eyes were small and grey. I wasn’t unfortunate looking by any means, in fact I was quite pretty, but nobody was stopping me in the street asking me to do Kmart commercials.
Rhiannon was constantly stopped in the street and asked to do Kmart commercials.
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Despite the fact Rhiannon’s looks were something adults constantly felt the need to point out (She’s just so beautiful! She’s going places! She’s going to be famous! She and Rosie look nothing alike!) I don’t think I really noticed any difference between us until the contest. It was the exact moment I realised I was the Doug Pitt to my sister’s Brad.
It happened at the ‘Some Kids Are Beautiful And Some Kids Are Not’ modelling competition at Macquarie Shopping Centre. (Okay, so I can’t actually remember what it was called but I think that title pretty much captures the essence of it.)
I desperately wanted to enter. There was a temporary studio set up in the middle of the mall and you got to bring two outfits and pretend to be famous for half an hour while a casting agent pretended to know how to use a camera. Then they forced your mum to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the photos.
I had always assumed I would win an Oscar by the time I was 10 (obviously for playing Atreyu’s girlfriend in the sequel to The Never Ending Story), so this kind of star treatment was right up my alley.