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From time to time I ask people to scoop nerdiness out of their own brains and slap it onto this site in the form of writing, a technology that dates back 6000 years to ancient Mesopotamia. THIS is one of those times.

Please welcome to your eyes the delightful and Canadian Kelly Oxford:

I was 14 years old when a group of A list modeling agencies were holding a cattle call for potential models.

I was totally unaware of my looks, but knew I wanted to be famous, so I walked into the casting call looking like this.


I was 5’6″ and 80 pounds. Up to this point I had gained fame in my middle school for my Steve Urkel and Kids in the Hall “Chicken Lady” impressions.
Logically, my next step would be modeling.

I wore my Mother’s Chanel knock-off blazer that came down to my knees. I was given a number and pinned it proudly to the jacket, feeling as though I’d already won something or perhaps had been accepted into Julliard.
Hundreds of girls walked in front of the agents, and as I’d hoped, all of them noticed me. Unfortunately it wasn’t because I was model potential.
Of course, in my deluded mind, their snickers and laughter came from a place of knowing I was hilarious and clever with all of those twirls and spins I was completing so effortlessly on the catwalk.

One by one, the agents stood up and called out the numbers of the girls they had chosen.
I was in complete shock that my number wasn’t called.
The agents thanked everyone and told us that if our number was called that we were to meet in the Manulife Tower in half an hour, 23rd floor.

I decided to regroup my thoughts and go to China Express where I pulled out my copy of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and ate lo mein.
Half an hour later I found myself running across the street to Manulife Tower and getting on an elevator full of tall girls and Mothers carrying overflowing modeling books.

The 23rd floor was wide open.
Around the periphery of the giant floor were desks and stations for all of the different agencies.
There were stacks of contracts, polaroid cameras, measuring tapes and more agents.
I headed for the only table with no girls waiting in line.
It was Wilhemina Models.

“Yes?” she said
“What do you want?”
“I’m here to sign up.”
“Your number wasn’t called.”
“I think it was”
“I chose only 3 girls out of 400. That is why there is no line here. I know what they look like darling.”
“Maybe you like me better now that you can see me close up?”
The woman whispered “I’m sorry” through a smile.

I walked over to FORD AGENCY.

The man didn’t look up, “Number?”
“1149, 1149, 1149…. no I” and then he looked up
“I’m sure you called my number.”
“Oh honey. I’m sorry but we didn’t”
“Really? Weird! I think you should take my picture with that camera.” I pointed to the polaroid camera.
“Is your mother with you?”
“Oh. Well, we don’t have you on this list.”
“I think you’d really like me. I work hard, I have since I was a small child. I can dance, I can act, but I can’t sing.”
A woman joined the man on the other side of the desk.
“Can you take off those glasses?”
I took off the glasses.
“Can you take off the jacket?”
I did.
“Right!” I said “You know I’m actually very very very photogenic, and my mother is small and has a great body so I will too one day.”
The woman took my photo and the man looked annoyed.
“I need to see your profile”
I stood sideways.
“Stop smiling” he said
Soldier face.
“I’ll do whatever it takes you know. I don’t even need to get braces. My teeth are perfect.”
“What is your name?”
“Well Kelly, you are a little short, what are you 5’6”?”
“5’7” and I might still hit a growth spurt.”
“Do you have a book?”
“I have ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’”
“No, a book, book. A modeling portfolio.”
“No. But I can get my Mom to take a bunch of black and white and blow them up for you if you need them.”
The woman turned to the man “She is photogenic. Look at her face.”
The man looked at my face.
I remembered, soldier face.
“Here. Fill this out.” He slid and information sheet across the table.
“But promise me that you will only sign with us, and leave.”


Two weeks later the woman called me in to meet her. She plucked my unibrow down to nothing and told me what kind of clothing to buy. She showed me how to walk in high heels and she booked my first job for Levi’s the following year… right after I willed my vision back to 20/20.

Schwaaa? Who IS this Kelly Oxford person??? Does this tale have an ending? Ask her yourself and/or follow the glorious stream of her tweets: @kellyoxford

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  1. Matt says:

    I enjoyed it but I’m confused, so she was a model after all? I don’t get how someone goes from nerdy looking little girl to model to mom to twitter legend. It seems like an unlikely path. Like for one, models are almost uniformly stupid, Kelly clearly isn’t.

    -Conductor of the Dumb Train

  2. Anna says:

    Kelly, I really like your tweets, and this is a cute and quirky little piece you’ve come up with. However, the point that I’m getting from this is “I’m smart AND attractive”. Maybe all those Twitter followers (myself included) are getting to that pretty little head of yours just a bit?

  3. Kat says:

    I just discovered Kelly and am so happy that I did because I found myself laughing my hind off from her blog and tweets. My first thought was “it can’t be a real person!” What a great relief that she is! Fantastic. Love it!

  4. love it! love the story about a young girl’s plucky tenacity, and love the fact that this young girl has grown up to be a big girl with the same kind of plucky tenacity.

    i do however find it interesting that kelly has qualified her detractors to be “female writers.” GULP! please say it isn’t so. i wasn’t aware that negativity had a gender and for that i am disappointed. i know that ‘girls’ do indeed give other ‘girls’ a hard time, but i’d like to think that some people just view the world differently and as much as we hate it, we kind of have to accept it.

    there will always be critics [smart, indifferent or otherwise] and people who don’t like us based on whatever ‘superficial’ reason they find us objectionable. i think that if i had to generalize and pinpoint one reason why ‘female writers’ are more emotionally attached to their feelings than men, it might be because we somehow feel connected to the ‘invisible sisterhood.’ [haha, i made that up]. meaning that girls seem to feel the need to talk sh*t abt one another to, i don’t know, elevate their own sense of self-worth?! men go and beat their chests, bond and ogle women. girls go and drink cosmos, paint their toes, gossip and join mommy blogger groups. is it any wonder that kelly stands out? she tells it like it is sister.

    oh, and PS. we’ve all come across “bad writing,” hers isn’t. so there.

  5. Kelly Oxford says:

    Thanks for all of the great comments everyone, and thanks for inviting me to write here Chris.

    I’m fine with people not liking my writing, the world would be boring if everyone liked the same things.
    Miranda, don’t worry, you didn’t hurt my feelings and it doesn’t shock me at all to hear that you are a female writer. I didn’t see your initial comment and just came here this morning to get the link to this blog.
    The few negative drive-by notes I do get on Twitter and my blog, are from female writers and bloggers with marginal readership. I’m accustomed to this. I’ve been writing online for 8 years.
    The support I received from this piece came from emmy award winners, a pulitzer prize winner, an oscar winner, housewives, procrastinators etc….
    So yes, Miranda – while I absolutely will not discount your comment, I will qualify it.

  6. Whitney says:

    Thank you, Chris! Your response to Miranda was perfect. I couldn’t have said it better myself, but I guess that’s why you have a blog and I just read it.

    Kelly- I really enjoyed your story. I hope you post more like it in the future.

  7. Miranda says:

    I came back to check because I read your website. This is the first time I felt negatively about an “article” to actually comment on something.

    Usually the content is terrific.

    I apologize if I hurt Kelly’s feelings, but she had better get used to it if she’s planning on writing anything else, which is what I have learned writing for a magazine.

  8. Chris Hardwick says:


    Yes, I deleted your comment. Mainly because my blog isn’t a democracy, nor do I have any real obligation to let people say and old horrible thing they feel like. I felt that your comment went beyond just an opinion. It was needlessly mean and the Internet has enough of that shit. I want the blog to be a positive place, or at the very least constructive. There’s a difference between saying you don’t like something and why, and making a universal statement like “This is just terrible, etc…” I didn’t want Kelly to experience that on a site I invited her to write on.

    I hope you can understand, though I can’t help but think your intentions were willfully negative. Otherwise, why would have come back to this post to check on the aftermath of your comment?

    By the way, dear, “cencored” is spelled “cenSored,” so that’s what smells bad about YOUR writing.

  9. Miranda says:

    Nice being cencored for an opinion. Kelly Oxford is an amateur, and her writing smells. Bad.

  10. Dustin Martian says:


  11. Frescani says:

    Omfg, did I miss something???

  12. Erin says:

    Sweet! 😉

  13. RED says:

    Sometimes, it seems that determination can be more of a turn on than the way a person looks..Kelly is awesome!

  14. Preston says:

    That was great. You know why? Because it made think you are great. A song blasted out of my heart when I read this a little. C YA.

  15. Frescani says:

    Sarcasm, guys. Sweet, sweet sarcasm.

  16. Deltus says:

    Amazing that it worked. Kudos!

  17. John Gundich says:

    That was a very entertaining read. What a strong willed little girl. I only hope my daughter has the same gumption. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Ludovicaa says:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all! I guess she’s always been a firebrand at heart! (and stubborn)