Branding and Casting Stones at Glass Houses

A blond in a red dress can do without introductions – but not without a bodyguard. ~ Rona Jaffe

Instead of blogging Hair Fair, Berry’s Meme and L’Accessoires as planned today, something came up, that I can’t help but mention. Before reading further, please realize and make a note. I DO NOT CONDONE THE ACTIONS OF EITHER PARTY IN THIS ISSUE. That said, I was disheartened a great deal when I read one of my very good friends had a rant about what constitutes beauty in a model and another good friend took it personally. As well I would have too; though the speaker used no name of the model, the picture was a replication of the look of this model. But even though the one model questioned the others beauty, should the maligned fight back? Was either party wrong in their complaints? Perhaps a little karma-wise they both were, but for what each said? I think perhaps, not really. There are many types of beauty: abstract beauty, inner beauty, artistic beauty, natural beauty, physical beauty, moral beauty, and accidental beauty, so the first party does have the right to state an opinion. Why? Because the other person is one of the Second Life models who in her uniqueness has done the nearly impossible, she has created a branded self. If she hadn’t, how would we know the picture “was her”? Though in actuality she is a living breathing “self” whose feelings might have been hurt, her look is her business prototype and as such her look is also open to public scrutiny and opinion.

Swan Lake (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

When I started Second Life modeling I created a face I enjoyed and have kept it from the beginning. What was my reason for this? Quite simple, in a sea of sameness, a virtual (and real world) model needs to find a way to differentiate herself from the crowd. I mean think about it, there is no genetics to help create what our faces look like in SL, we all use the same menu and sliders to create our interpretation of beauty, in this sea I wanted to create something different, keep it permanently, and through branding make it a recognizable face. I have always adhered to the policy, Caoimhe is my logo and my face is my brand. In the same instance, both of these models are the spokesperson, the brand ambassador, if you will, of their own name. The best of the best models in the real world have been branding themselves for years, (Gisele, Iman, Cindy, Kate, Naomi, Tyra) should not Second Life models do the same? Marketing 101, “a successful brand can go a long way with self-promotion, conveying loyalty, and offering consistency in the quality of the services you provide.” How do you brand yourself? I thought you’d never ask! But to find out, you will have to read my blog tomorrow! ;D


Take from, you betcha! Like real world modeling, Second Life modeling comes with its own bit of “celebrity” built in. As such, a model should expect to be held up to public inspection, and not expect to always be found to everyone’s standards. In a perfect and private world, this wouldn’t unfold into a public spectacle of ridicule and harassment, but as in all things SL with its transparent microcosmic society, it has done so. The key is, the actions that unfolded were hateful bullying to the “person” of this avatar but in the context the rant was made was actually just ONE person’s opinion of this person’s BRAND as it relates to the commenter’s definition of beauty. That’s a big difference and it is one that should be noted. It would be like me saying “that actress so in so sure can’t act.” I am not bullying her, as a public figure she is open for inspection and opinion. Would I have made the original comment personally? No way, because another part of my brand recognition, and my personality, is “the Cao don’t act that way.” (and personally, I don’t agree with the comment that was made, this model is an impeccable stylist, bar none). This is just my thoughts and I thought I’d throw them out here. Take them for what they mean to you, I know, prolly not all that much. 😉 Don’t forget 2013 Hair Fair it’s only on until July 28, 2013!

14 thoughts on “Branding and Casting Stones at Glass Houses

  1. One of my biggest hurdles to overcome when I first began ‘working’ in Second Life vs. playing, which I had done a lot of, and role-playing, which I also knew well, was the difference between public persona and personal persona. I had to learn to separate the comments made with a professional approach. It wasn’t easy for me because I tend to take the matters of the heart very personally and thought every comment at first WAS a matter of the heart. I really screwed things up for a while when I first worked with a staff and as a model. I took some things personally and made a public spectacle of it. I was sure I was right. The thing is, I could have been right and yet still been wrong when I made it public. I had a right to my emotions. We all do. What compels me to behave in a certain manner, however, tends to be what’s the best thing to do, and sometimes that means swallowing pride, not commenting on something that hurts, or dealing with a situation in a very private way so no one’s name is maligned — INCLUDING my own. I ended up leaving my first employer, Carrie’s Lingerie, because I mixed up professional and personal and what should be shared and what should never be shared. I’m grateful that in the 20 or so months since that happened, I’ve been forgiven by those I ended up hurting in my little rampage and I think I’ve grown as a result of the negative experience, so there are silver linings everywhere. I can’t tell anyone what emotion to feel. Our emotions are our own. I can suggest, very privately, to friends and coworkers, that whatever happened should be handled professionally else you fall into the same trap and mess I set for myself once upon a time.

    You inspire a lot of people Cao. You offer insight on important topics, that range from A-Z. And each time you share, you display artistically the beautiful world around you and you share the beauty that is within you. What a special combination!


    1. Thank you Caryn, you are always so kind and supportive to me. I truly appreciate it. I think when it comes to criticism, especially in the silly little world of SL, is when you hear it give it the “smell test” as I like to call it. When someone says something hateful, relate it to the big picture of your life in full color and ask, “Will this bother the real me in a week?” “a month” “five years from now?” and most times you realize it’s really not worth your time to worry about. As an aside, I am so happy you were able to work out your differences, we all act impulsively at times, the trick is getting up, dusting off the big girl knickers, saying sorry, or saying thanks and forward ho with life. 😀 xo

  2. Oh those little tiny boxes we try to put others in…where our own insecurities lurk in the dark corners.
    Very well put most lovely Cao.
    For what it’s worth…I don’t know who the model, that came under such ungracious fire, is…but if it is the one I am thinking of…I have had the tremendous blessing to have interacted with her. The PERSON I interacted with was funny, charming, gracious and very energetic. WHAT she looks like is an amazingly well crafted, genius stroke of art…a canvas that brings style, color and a look that makes you keep coming back; isn’t that what a good “brand” does?

    1. Yes, I believe you have worked with her before hiatus from SL and all the adjectives you use for her are correct, she is all those plus more. She is one of those people who don’t have to learn style it is innately written in her character. Thank you Xiu! ❤

  3. In general, yes, we are entitled to our own opinions about someone or something, however in the SL virtual world of models, our circle is so tiny compared to the many other residents who log on each day, that we expect a bit more camaraderie amongst ourselves. We should be supportive and complimentary of each other’s accomplishments, desires, goals and uniqueness within our own circle. At the same time, we should also entertain a bit of competitiveness amongst ourselves
    to keep us sharp but that competitiveness shouldn’t include trashing a fellow model in any way.

    Unlike you, Cao, I am going to take sides on this matter because of what I expressed above. I am not especially close to either party so no one can accuse me of taking one side over the other because I happen to be friends with one of them. I would have hoped that, as an academy teacher and agency head, the offending model would have taken the higher road to deal with her jealousy instead of denigrating a fellow model.

    What she did is shameful and she owes an apology to the other model.

    1. I agree with you and have said, I would not have acted in this matter (ever). Nor did I agree with the opinion of the first model, having a deep respect for the second models abilities. I Do always believe we should be supportive and complimentary, you will have a hard time finding a model who doesn’t think I am so (at least I think I am). It is not that I am not taking sides, well, sorry I suppose I am not taking sides, but that said, I still stand by, as an icon of the profession there will be people who do not like things about a person at the top, is it right to express it, probably not, but is it more likely to happen if you are a public figure, well of course. It’s the nature of human nature.

  4. In my opinion I doubt that jealousy fueled the article we are talking about here. Could it have been done different, like not post the SL example picture? Yes it could have. But right now, the nasty attacks on the author are showing me a whole different side to some people also, and those are on purpose, which, I will say it again, I think was not the case when the text was written.

  5. Draakje, jealousy fuels most things in SL modeling. But for the sake of it, sure, let’s take jealousy out of the equation and just focus on everything else I spoke about.

    One more thing about this whole matter – I recall in December 2010 when Sabine Mortonwold used a picture of a BLVD model as an example of how modeling competitions were unfair. Frolic, Shae and the rest of the BOSL groupies ganged up on Sabine, bullied her and basically ruined her SL modeling career for having her own opinion and using a pic of a BLVD model. Granted, Sabine could have taken a few lessons in tact but it’s funny how the tables are now turned and how Ponchi and her friends are now defending her right to her opinion, and using a pic of another model, when they bashed Sabine for doing the exact same thing years ago!

    1. Well, as a person who isn’t a BOSL groupie, I am still in BLVD, just as I remained in OGlam for a long time, I have only once, years ago been in BOSL mag, so I have no allegiance to the affiliation other than as an occasional reader, just like every other mag. I think the subtle point here Linda, is it wasn’t right to do to Sabine, nor is it right to do to Ponchi either. I will leave it at this, this is another situation where this constant need for angst and drama totally nullify’s the things that make Second Life so uniquely fun and negate’s all the good works we do. When someone did the same to me a few years back, I wrote a letter on flickr so I would feel better and let it go. Again, more recently when I was attacked by an designer, I didn’t give a name, I wrote about it and let it go. When someone asked the name I didn’t give it. When we let things go we release another persons control over us and all they are left with is their own bad karma. But when you counter-attack with another attack, it just begins to feel like some tacky virtual reality show where one side tries to one up the other side in a never ending cycle or immaturity. ( I want to strongly insert here, I am not sure, but to ME it looks like the counter-attacks are from friends, not the model herself) but perhaps someone somewhere should stop the madness! If not, well, don’t forget to turn the lights out when the last person leaves. 😉 Tomorrow, I am back to good, blogging Hair Fair 2013 (for Wigs for Kids) and L’Accessories with some new pics.

  6. A lot of RL – or even SL – models don’t meet my standard of classic beauty. However, what they have is style and grace, which is a huge part of their brand. I’m not involved at all in the SL fashion world so I don’t know either of the people in your post, but what little I do know of modeling is that these people are NOT shrinking violets. It takes guts and determination to put themselves out there, literally, for all the world to see. Criticism is to be expected; I hope the model who was the object of criticism realises that, whatever the motivation, she is recognised enough to be singled out. That, in itself, shows how very unique she is.

  7. Profoundly great post.To throw stone at the others while living in a glass house is unwise.Thank you for liking my post (Null and Void ) Best wishes.jalal

I'm done inconveniencing electrons, any thoughts? Come on, you know you have 'em, post them up here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s