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You don’t want the life of a model. The lights, the catwalk, the glamour… they may seem luxurious from afar, but beauty can disguise any number of dark secrets, and behind its shimmering façade, you can bet modelling has more than a few secrets of its own. I would know. I saw it all, lived it all, before it happened.

To describe my career in four words, I was “middle of the road”. Painfully average, painfully mediocre. Life was a constant struggle, always battling to keep new, younger faces at bay and losing another piece of my sanity with each battle. But I persevered. Shoot by shoot, billboard by billboard and ad by ad, I dragged myself up the ladder through blood, sweat and tears. That was when she arrived. Valentina. I’d dealt with resistance before; girls that didn’t want to back off, girls who thought they could replace me, but she was different. She was the one that wouldn’t quit. I bit, and she bit back.

Her agent did, to be precise. Who would’ve guessed that the pretty, Eastern-European starlet had someone so ruthless behind her. He didn’t just punish me. He took everything. It’s amazing what battery acid can do to a face. One day I was in the game, the next I was in the Emergency Room. The doctors, they tried to save my face, but like broken glass, there was no going back. My name, my reputation, my “friends”: all gone within the week, and at last, for the first time in years, I found myself alone. Take it from me: solitude doesn’t bring peace. It brings pain. I felt like a stranger in my own, scarred body. I had nothing, and nothing was what I was worth.

I had almost managed to convince myself that. But before I could, I found my salvation. She called herself Bertha, and told me that once upon a time, she had been like me: a lost soul. Then, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was more than just an opportunity, it was a second chance. With it, I was reborn.

Let’s just say that Bertha had some powerful friends. And together, one by one, we took our revenge on the industry. It’s easy to make something look like an accident with the right knowledge. A slip here, an overdose there. Most of them went down so easily, like porcelain dolls. It was a game, and I was enjoying every moment of it. Ten, eleven, twelve… the numbers grew with my confidence, until eventually I stopped counting altogether. Most of those bitches I’d never even met, but Bertha gave me the strength to do what needed to be done. It was as if I’d found a higher calling, with the best yet to come. 

Sure enough, eventually Valentina’s turn came. Bertha and I, we had killed so many, but she was special. My own personal prize. Not only at the top of the modelling world, but at the centre of my mine. 

And she was mine to face alone. Bertha had transformed me into something else entirely, the person I had needed to be, but eventually every bird has to fly the nest. Valentina… she was too personal. Too close to home. Her death is something I have to prove to myself, a hurdle to overcome, a weight to at long last lift from my shoulders. So be sure to watch the news over the next few days, because you might just hear a familiar name. 

One more thing. If any of you are thinking about trying to talk me out of it, don’t bother. Because now, I finally realise who I truly am. Now that I’m free, free from the cameras and the struggle, I don’t need to lie to myself any more. I don’t have to maintain an outer shell of beauty to conceal my inner self. I can be myself, on the inside and out. 

It’s funny. After everything I’ve done, I feel more beautiful than ever.