Spin Cycle

 

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I am forced to sit in the unpleasant, unfamiliar silence and hear myself calling. “Lady, so pleased to meet you. Take a load off. You’ve been running so long. Have the patience and fortitude to be still and walk away from an outdated life. Have the courage to know better. It has been such a long while since you’ve been home.

Fashion is Fickle

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FASHION IS FICKLE

When did we become a society of images scrolling past on someone’s smartphone? It’s nonsensical, comical and yet. Modeling was my life for two decades. I never felt entitled, prettier, skinnier or better than the next girl. In fact, I always felt a little less than. Maybe if I was thinner, smarter, or a skilled marketer I’d be a smarter brand, book better caliber jobs even though at the height of my career I was working for Vogue. I never let myself enjoy modeling. I took the lifestyles of the rich and famous for granted. Wait, before you crucify or criticize me. I understood the privileges, perks, and dollars being thrown my way. I understand how truly lucky I was.

I come from everyday middle class parents, nothing more than average but oh so much more beautiful than any pretty face I’ve known. Love, honor and respect mean more than some fucking photograph that would eventually crinkle and fade. My BFF who was a model too, said to me the other day, “I wish we had made more money.” Yeah, me too sometimes. Although money won’t solve any of my problems today. It’s all such a cliché. Small town girl leaves for the big city and makes it big. Well, you tell me what the fuck is big? How about doing something that requires brains, or better yet compassion? You’re not supposed to regret the past, or even look back, but I have a trunk full of old images staring back at me. I was a child who had no idea how lucky she was, traveling the globe, working one day a week making the same money it took others months and months to earn. A young girl who got caught up in the fickle that is fashion. It’s funny, I never thought it would end, and like most things that end abruptly and ruthlessly, I would find myself job-less and less, going through my savings in lightning speed. When you live in New York, and have to pay hefty rent money goes fast and furious. I always find it sad and a bit curious, when I post a modeling picture from a hundred years ago and they get way more likes than my serious writing pieces.

Maybe the world wants and needs to be entertained by unavoidable celebrities and Reality TV, to see pretty things because it is in fact, so brutally unfair and fucked up. Maybe. I loved modeling for a couple reasons, despite the plastic ones. My BFFs are the same beautiful women and ex-models I met when I was 19. They are, like me, normal and no longer immersed in the world of fashion. I got to visit, and actually live in cities I only dreamed of seeing, or watched on The Travel Channel. That was cool; to immerse yourself in a culture that was completely different than anything you’d ever known or called home. To eat cuisines you could barely pronounce. To try and decipher languages that sounded like gobbly gook. I discovered something along the way; people are pretty much the same. There are cool cats, interesting characters and funny humans across the globe. There are also beautiful assholes all over the world. Maybe I was an asshole sometimes too, entitled for sure. Not these days, no not anymore. I sort of cringe when I post an old picture from my modeling years, and then watch in wonder as the likes come flooding in. Not exactly flooding, more like a slow dribble. Fashion is fleeting, one must adapt to the superficial world we live in and move on. It’s high tide time to embrace the past, and hope the insides match the perceived beauty on the outside.

 

 

Rocking the End-Cap with Anne Lamott – Downtown Books and Coffee

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Guess whose books are hanging with the fabulously, talented and sublime author, Anne Lamott (squeek), at her favorite ‪#‎indiebookstore‬! (moi). 🙂

Thank you, Downtown Books and Coffee, and the community for the love.

Shop ‪‎Indie‬, and support local bookstores kind readers.

I purchased ‪Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by ‪Anne Lamott

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Pick up a book at DowntownBooks and Coffee and a ticket for the upcoming lecture, book signing and Q & A. I did both. 

I am in awe, and inspired.

P.S. Best- Selling author, Anne Lamott is coming to Auburn, April 8th! Get your tickets through Auburn Public Theater, “An Evening with Anne Lamott.” 

Let’s celebrate women, the arts and lift each other up!

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AUBURN PUBLIC THEATER:

‘Sponsored by: The New York State Council on the Arts, M&T Bank, The Citizen, The Holiday Inn, The Allyn Foundation, Senator John A. DeFransisco

*If you are visiting from out of town, The Holiday Inn is offering a special room rate for Anne Lamott attendees. Use the block code ALE before March 11th, 2016 to reserve your room. Call 1-800-957-4654 or visit their website.*

This event will be ASL interpreted. Please contact the box office for seating in an advantageous vieweing location. info@auburnpublictheater.org

BUY TICKETS
Friday 4/8 at 7pm – Auburn High School

Anne Lamott
Best-selling Author of Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, and Plan B

“Reading Lamott is like having a chat with one of the angels, a smarter, wittier one.” – The Denver Post

***The evening will include book signing, lecture, and Q & A at Auburn Public High School***

Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh-out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was “a present to someone I loved who was going to die.” In all her novels, Anne Lamott writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. She says, “I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.” Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.

Anne Lamott is the author of seven novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, Blue Shoe, All New People, Crooked Little Heart, and Imperfect Birds. She has also written several bestselling books of nonfiction, including, Operating Instructions, an account of life as a single mother during her son’s first year followed by Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, and a writing guide; Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. She has also authored three collections of autobiographical essays on faith; Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. In her latest book of non-fiction, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Ms. Lamott gives us three prayers to assist us in trying times. Her most recent book is entitled Stitches; A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, an honest, funny book about how to make sense of life’s chaos (Oct 2013). She is currently working on a new book of essays to be called Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (November 2014).
Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott’s biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted The Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Academy Award –winning filmmaker Freida Mock has made a documentary on Lamott, entitled “Bird by Bird with Annie” (1999). Anne Lamott has also been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.
*If you are visiting from out of town, The Holiday Inn is offering a special room rate for Anne Lamott attendees. Use the block code ALE before March 11th, 2016 to reserve your room. Call 1-800-957-4654 or visit their website.*
This event will be ASL interpreted. Please contact the box office for seating in an advantageous vieweing location. info@auburnpublictheater.org
Tickets: $50 – Event will take place at Auburn Public High School.’

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AUTHOR BIO

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JACQUELINE CIOFFA was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthologies Brainstorms, Feminine Collective’s Raw and Unfiltered, Vol. 1, Stigma Fighters Anthology, Vol. 2, and numerous literary magazines. She writes the Bleeding Ink column at Feminine Collective.

Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.

Her poignant, literary fiction debut, THE VAST LANDSCAPE, gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.

Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put down the exciting sequel, GEORGIA PINE.

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. ~ GEORGIA PINE by Jacqueline Cioffa

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Happy International Women’s Day~ Here’s to strong women and girl power

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Happy International Women’s Day!!!

All day today, across my social platform, I’m going to share and celebrate #girlpower and #women.

Women who inspire me on a daily.

Of course, I can’t share them ALL…but here’s to true beauties living #authentic and #real.

Who inspires you?

 

#HappyInternationalWomensDay

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She believed she could, so she did. – R.S. Grey, Scoring Wilder

 

 

 

The Body Beautiful

The Body Beautiful

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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As a former model and makeup artist who worked with Ashley Graham I can assure you she is not ‘fat,’ she is perfectly portioned. The average dress size for a woman in U.S. is 12 – 14. The modeling industry, fashion, and celebrity promote unhealthy and unrealistic skinny body standards for all women. This disturbs me on so many levels having witnessed firsthand the detriment to low self-esteem, eating disorders and unattainable weight issues has on young models that starved themselves to fit into a size zero.

Please don’t ever body shame anyone. I blame our culture hungry for gossip, entertainment television, the media, and fashion magazines for feeding the beast and creating a world where negativity and bullying of every kind are acceptable behavior. Social media bombards unrealistic images of skinny models, actresses and actors because Hollywood glam sells magazines and fuels the vicious, negative news cycle for girls, and boys who grow up with unrealistic and unhealthy body ideals.

As for Ms. Cheryl Tiegs I’m certain she is a victim of the media spins, twisting her comments into negative comments for a profit. Her words misconstrued, chewed up and spit out to make a dollar.

Don’t believe everything you read in a magazine or see on the tube I promise you the pictures have been trimmed, tucked and photoshopped.

Let’s celebrate and lift women up, be positive role models for young persons of every size.

Size should be measured by moral character, self-confidence, support, authenticity and kindness.

They are beautiful traits in women. Malala is beautiful, Ashley Graham is beautiful, Cheryl Tiegs is beautiful.

So is every non-famous, nameless woman who wakes at 5:00 AM, applies gloss, hops on a bus, goes to work, fights for a cause with a smile, and returns home to fix dinner. The every woman who tucks her kids if she chooses to have them, or perhaps decides to run for President.

To the woman who stands tall and puts her best, prettiest, healthiest face forward every day and wakes up to do it all over again, for me she is most beautiful.

I’m older and wiser today with a few more pounds on my frame, life experience and measure my weight by a new and more accurate scale.

I’m human. I’m a girl. I’m healthy, and I’m doing my best to fit in the skin I live in.

Same as you, and same as me.

 

 

Never Judge a Book

Never Judge a Book

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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Here’s the thing about writing.

When someone risks pencil to paper and is fortunate enough to convey an emotion about the unique way they view the world well that’s art, magic and creative expression.
I am not a brand.

God, I hate that word.

Although, I have been.

Modeling, acting and all the various exhausting pretend faces I’ve worn just to fit in.

I have gifted away most of my words and that is life as it should be. The day I become calculated, contrived, or worried about how many books I’ve sold, or how filthy rich I am, or if the comma is misplaced, or if you like and hate the person more than the page will be the day the words no longer belong to me.

Funny, I was a rich model once and that means very little if next to nothing today.

Except for a whole bunch of potential storytelling catalogued in the brain.
Write because you love it, you can’t breathe without it, and because the words don’t require a two-way mirror.

Only contemplation, beautiful sunshine redemption, and bounce back reflection.

Never, ever judge a book by its cover.

Crack the spine and see for yourself.

Me?

I am writing

For the love of possibility behind the broken glass.

 

Take a Picture, or Not

Take a Picture, or Not

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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This face.

This face has been scrunched and smothered by new new talc scented infant kisses

This face has been covered in mud, dirt, blood, open-wounded, stitched, patched and put back together

This face has been brave, kind and stubborn pout five-year-old defiant

This face has been bullied and attacked by mean girl high school drama and self-important syndrome

This face has been pummeled, scarred and attacked vicious

This face has been glorified, mystified, beautified, and plastered on billboards

This face has worn one million types and varying hues of chalky sultry makeup

This face has known privilege, spoiled riches and possible envy

This face has rested her cheek against a sterile cement floor curled in fetal position lying beside the hospital bed where her father has died

This face has been on the receiving line of sweet, melodic nighttime sexy soft forehead kisses from momentary star-crossed lovers fleeting and delicious

This face has felt rejuvenated immersed in sea salt and sunshine encapsulating and inviting Miami oceans in wintertime

This face has burrowed deep under a pillow dark, terrified, tears and snot escaping all orifices

This face has been bronzed and sunny

Filled with Angel kisses and brown spotted freckles

This face has been the recipient of 450 V currents sent to an exploding brain through wires attached to her scalp, voltage dialed up to maximum

This face has been overly expressive, exuberant, surprised and giggly

This face has been grey, pallid, aged and wrinkled

This face has been acid burned to obliterate Squamous cell carcinoma riddled blotches

This face.

“The camera is a save button for the mind’s eye.” — Rodger Kingston

This face is tired, exhausted, despondent, devoid of Vitamin D and defeated

This face is not the who, how, or where

This face is not the who, how, where, or when

This face is not the who, how, where, when or why parts of me

It’s cellular skin alive, hazel eyes, pointy nose, scarred forehead, potty mouth lips and cheeky cheekbones

This face cannot carry the weight of a life nor mask the beauty

It’s just a face like all others

It’s mine though, this face

Raw and unfiltered

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Ansel Adams

 

Take a Picture, Or Not 2015 © Jacqueline Cioffa

Originally featured on Paperbacks and Wine