East Asian markets are rife with opportunities to make quick cash by performing questionable acts at night clubs. Most models will avoid these clubs and their promoters, but some will take the opportunity to make some under-the-table money without the agency taking commission.
But this week at the Whitney Museum’s annual gala and studio party, nude models were front-and-centre.
A quartet of handsome bellboys, à la Vuitton fall 2012, received guests at the entry of Skylight at Moynihan Station. Inside, purple streaks of crisscrossing strobe lights beamed. “There are shirtless men in there,” one guest gasped while winding down the long corridor into the semismoky space. Upon closer inspection, partygoers discovered a trio of fully nude models splayed across a pile of vintage Vuitton trunks and train cases at the center of the room. Artists’ stations — easels, paper and charcoal included — skirted the display, coaxing attendees to try their hand at figure drawing.
The room was teeming with art-party-types — Bob Colacello, Yvonne Force Villareal, Vito Schnabel, Salman Rushdie, Lisa Perry, Jeff and Justine Koons, Chuck Close and Dustin Yellin among them. “I’m so mesmerized. There’s so much sensory…” Lily Kwong said, fading off. “I walked in and I was like, ‘Oh, s--t! Naked people.’”
Judging by one photograph, the women don't appear to have the physicality of a regular model - but neither do a lot of the women trying to work as models in Asia. What makes us assume that working for high-profile clients in a major market like New York is any different than a similar job in Tokyo, Shanghai, or Hong Kong?
Would you have taken this job? Where would you draw the line with nudity, especially at a job that wasn't contained within a studio environment?