This is the fourth part of Ali’s story, courtesy of her mother Patty (tFS user modelmom). Ali’s journal chronicles the beginning of her modeling career in Paris at 15 years old (which was in 2002). Patty’s comments are italicized and the format has been edited.

We were lost again today. Who would imagine that there are two streets with the same name? Well, almost – the one we were supposed to be on was Rue Victor Hugo, but instead we were on Blvd. Victor Hugo. We called the agency but it was too late to make the casting. I have another test tomorrow. My mom does the 24-question thing every time I have a shoot. We discussed what I would do if I ran into a situation I was not comfortable with, but so far so good.

I went for the dreaded doctor’s appointment today to get a health certificate. I was so relieved to see that the doctor was a woman. She was very nice and the exam wasn’t so bad. She took me into her office afterwards to have a little talk about how I was handling all the stress of modeling, but I knew better than to let on how I was really feeling.

Happy and healthy, that’s me…

We rode the RER to St. Dennis today to see a photographer. His assistant met us at the station. I was so glad for this, and I could see how relieved my mom was to see him too.

Parts of Paris are not the best place to be on your own, and this was one of them by the looks of things. We walked to the studio, which wasn’t a studio after all. The photographer lived in one large room with his wife and family. The loft upstairs was where the test would take place. My mom visited with the family while I tried on clothes that were thrown around on the floor. A mattress leaning against the wall was my backdrop. I just went with it and it was over in no time and the assistant walked us back to the station.

The name of the photographer was Sebran and the pictures he took that day were some of the best in Ali’s book when she went to New York. They were amazing.

We watch a little old lady on the same street corner every day. She chases people and begs for cigarettes and money for wine or beer, She sits in front of this café and when she’s had too much to drink, she kicks people in their backside and pulls ladies’ hair.

We noticed that she is partial to blondes. She lets lose with what I think is a string of profanities and I am scared to death of her, but my mom seems to sympathize with her. She gives her some change on our way to the metro every morning. Maybe it’s a bribe so that she will leave us alone. The owner of the café keeps chasing her off but she keeps coming back. He must sympathize with her too because late one night we saw him put a jacket around her as she was sleeping on the ground outside.

Castings today for Oui magazine and a Bali Baret advertising campaign, then back to Madame Figaro and the final casting for Nikon advertising. I think several of them liked me, but who knows? With no feedback from the agency, it’s hard to tell. My mom walks all over the city. She went to the Jardin des Tueleries today but it was chilly and cold so she didn’t stay long.

We are not far from the beautiful church on the hill. My mom is always trying to get me to go with her but I would rather stay here at the apartment, so she went by herself. She came back and told me she had found a restaurant called the “Buffalo Grill”. Sounds like my kind of place! They had American food. On the video screens hanging around they were showing Rodeo shows with real cowboys. Yee Haw!

My mom was so glad to see me eating that we even had a banana split for dessert. I have been living on cereal, scrambled eggs and spaghetti because those are the foods that remind me of home. I know I am driving her crazy with my moping around but this routine is starting to get a little old.

There is a nightclub across the street from where we live and a group of young people hang out there. I watch them at night and wonder how long it will be before I will have a chance to hang out with my friends again.

I have two tests tomorrow; the photographers are Pierre Satin and Wayne Plant. I also have a casting for a runway show for Louis Rouchard.

My friend Karlin was in the agency today and she was so upset. She was crying and my mom sat down to talk with her. She finally told us about a photo shoot she had with a photographer today that didn’t go so well. I guess my mom was right about certain “situations”.

We have a washing machine in the apartment that we use to wash our clothes. We have to hang them on drying racks because there isn’t a dryer. It’s driving my mom crazy because she insists on ironing everything after it’s dry. I tried to help her but after a few items were scorched, she took over again.

At about this time I talked to Ali’s dad and he told me that Ali’s horse, Cheyenne, had West Nile Virus and that there was a good chance that she was going to die. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I decided not to tell Ali. She was already not in the best shape and I knew this would be the final straw. I know how wrong it was now, because that horse meant the world to her, but all I did about it at the time was pray that Cheyenne would recover.


Today was a bad day. I have had it up to here with going to castings, getting lost, missing my boyfriend and I want to go home to see my horse and my friends.

SCREW PARIS! It’s raining and cold and miserable. I went to three castings today. Can anyone tell me why the clients are so positive towards me? They act like I have the job and then I hear nothing from the agency. Am I just imagining it all? My mom thinks that I have been offered jobs by some clients but the agency doesn’t seem to think they are the right type of work for my image. All my pictures should be back soon. Maybe when I have them all in my book I can go home.

Part 5 coming soon!…