Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?
There is an interesting central premise to this film. The big idea, as it were, is to wonder how to know who a model really is. A model, like an actor, is always playing a role. That’s their job, to be someone else all the time. It’s therefore a relevant question to wonder what wearing a mask at all times does to someone.
Models use their entire physical being to be this someone else. The way they stand changes depending on what the shoot needs. The way they walk changes, the way they pose changes. How they look can change dramatically. What emotions they are meant to be conveying. Models aren’t in charge of what these emotions, and poses, and walks, and looks are. They are at the whim of fashion designers, art directors, makeup artists, directors, whomever. They have precious little agency.
What does that sort of thing do to a person? When it’s over, and they are expected to be normal people again, how can they be? Can you turn it off and be authentic? Does everything become a shoot or a show? The film poses the question but provides almost nothing in the way of answers.
My own view is that I buy into the idea that if you wear a mask long enough it becomes your own face. Maybe there exists a person who can so perfectly compartmentalize things to the point that they can completely be a mannequin and then return to being themselves. Mostly I imagine that things become intertwined, and the boundaries between the role and the individual begin to blur.