Tyra Banks has signed up to write – or at the very least, review the CV of a ghostwriter or two for – a set novels based on the modelling world. She will write three books, Delacorte Press said, the first to be called Modelland and published in 2011.
The story revolves around a teen girl at an academy for exceptional models called Intoxibellas. Banks said the book was “for all the girls and guys who want a lot more FANTASY in their lives and some fierceness and magic, romance and mystery, crazy and wild adventures, and yeah, some danger too.”
I have to admit, I am hugely disappointed by this. The headline actually read “Tyra Banks tries hand at fantasy novels” and I had visions of old-style Dungeons and Dragons fantasy epics perpetuated entirely by rogue supermodels and their team of stylists.
Angular young women, emaciated yet busty, battling dragons and demons and Gods for such arcane and mystical artefacts as the Rod of Hair Straightening, the Sceptre of Waterproof Mascara and a Low Calorie Potion of Might (all the strength, none of the fat!). Displays of stomach-revealing diamante armour, held together by safety pins and attitude and not designed to be used it actual battle by real warriors. (Would they wear in it the Woods of Woe?)
Thrills, spills and more low-blood-sugar-related hissy fits than you can throw a Navi inspired outfit (that tribal blue skin look is so last season, sweetie) at.
But no, it appears Ms Banks has not put on her horned helm and charged off into the realms of fantasy but is writing a book about fashion and the many wacky adventures you can have in the industry.
(I am confused by the fact that the media insist on referring to the fashion industry as “fantasy” constantly. Surely no one has ever mistaken the stuff that the average designer sends down the catwalk as anything else? This year Romance Was Born graced the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week with what appeared to be good and evil candyfloss and a woman who would like to be wearing something fashionable but can’t get out of her volcano.)
So, is it really a work of fiction when the author is effectively writing their own “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, or is it more a re-telling of their life as they and their readers would like it lived? A certain Ms Myers, whose one-size-fits-all-narrator lives the high school and vampiric popularity dream depsite having no discernable personality, has been accused of blatant wish-fulfillment in her books.
Lest you think I am picking on the good Ms Myers, the basic concept of “write what you know” or rather “write what you want to know” has worked for many authors. Stieg Larsson, writer of the Millenium trilogy and a rebellious political journalist, wrote about a rebellious political journalist who travels to small towns and discovers mayhem and murder and lots of young women who find him inexplicably attractive. To be fair, I am only on book one, perhaps in book two or three he meets a lady who doesn’t pack in the prudery at the first hint of Pulitzer prose.
Stephen King writes, near constantly, about a writer who arrives in small towns to discover weird stuff is happening, usually when his hot new girlfriend goes missing.
Helen Fielding was a thirty-something singleton journalist and researcher when she was to write a column about single life in London. She created the exaggerated and comic self-parody that was Bridget Jones and the rest is history. (And two movies, with a third in the works.)
Perhaps the writers least likely to accidentally write a book starring themselves are fantasy and sci-fi writers who are, by virtue of the genre, expected to make at least a token attempt to hop out of their own head for a few moments when coming up with a premise. Dragons, star ships, aliens and elves, fantasy and science-fiction writers are expected to step bravely into the unknown.
Or perhaps their wishes are just that bit harder to fulfil than Tyra Banks? Perhaps dreaming of a world where genetically-enhanced and aesthetically perfect people abound is more outlandish when you’re not attending a fashion show every day of the week. For Tyra, tales of freakishly flawless people, celebrity parties and designer goods may be more writing about day-to-day monotony than glamour. Perhaps she should write some fantasy after all, all dour dwarves and grotesque goblins, if only to step outside the fantasy world she lives in every day.