Kathleen Rooney's new book is Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object.
She is also the author of Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America, now in its second edition, as well as the poetry collections Oneiromance (An Epithalamion), Something Really Wonderful, and That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness, the latter two written collaboratively with Elisa Gabbert. Her essay “Live Nude Girl” was selected for Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers.
From a Q & A at her publisher's website:
How did you begin to work as an artists' model? Do you still do it?The Page 99 Test: Live Nude Girl.
The really detailed answer to this question is in the book, but briefly: I was living in DC at the time, finishing up my last year of undergrad, and I had had a decent part time job in an art gallery that abruptly came to an end. I needed to find another job quickly. A friend of mine who had been working with me at the gallery, and who had also learned that her job would be disappearing, came over for lunch and we sat there eating peanut butter sandwiches and paging through the classifieds of the City Paper. (Isn’t that strange? Looking for a job in the newspaper? This was just slightly before such sites as Craigslist became a Big Deal.) I saw this ad that said “BE A PART OF ART” calling for nude models at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Georgetown, and dared my friend to call and then she double-dared me back so I called them up right then and within just a few days I was standing in a studio taking my clothes off in front of 20 complete strangers.
At the moment, since I a now have a “real job” in the traditional 9-to-5 sense, I do not have a lot of time to work as an artists’ model anymore. It’s been a little over a year since the last time I posed, and I have to say that I really miss it.
When people find out that you work as an artists' model, how do they react? How do your friends and family feel about it?
I try not to make a big deal over that part of my life (I mean, aside from writing a book about it), particularly at...[read on]