POSH POVERTY (01)
Sybil Prentice

THIS IS THE FIRST entry of an ongoing series penned by SYBIL PRENTICE (aka @nightcoregirl) started in 2018. It's a personal account of life on the big stack and of the material places, products, and bodies optimized to intersect it. These essays are part diary, part science fiction—or hyperstition—about a future entirely subsumed by “sharing” economies and platforms, and where all paid labor has been reduced to the service-industry's mise-en-abyme. With themes of wealth, social signaling, and individual aesthetic choice, Prentice narrates via detached soliloquy as a protagonist for the pay to play age: the body is material to be altered and arranged, the codes are deployed just so, but the penthouse shared flat ends tomorrow and the driver rates you. Welcome to fully automated luxury whatever. – NM

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A NEW MODEL

Sometimes I just need to breath spa air. I’m posh poverty, not to be confused with faux bourgeoisie because… I was raised in wealth, albeit fluctuating wealth, but wealth nonetheless. Peak posh was father as Vice Chairman for a bank I will not disclose. Faux bourgeoisie is Michael Kors or like a Hilton downgraded to three stars because it hasn’t renovated since 1996 or wearing red-bottomed heels that aren’t Louboutins. Ghetto fabulous is a better existence. I’m assembling paperwork to acquire mental disability cheques from the government so I can pay for my Holmes Place gym membership. Fucked up? Yes, but what can I say? The doc diagnosed me as manic depressive and, more importantly, I need to sustain this lifestyle. Luxurious by nurture, cut throat by nature. I’ll eat a diet of spinach and yogurt for an entire month so I can afford Sisley’s line of skincare. It’s botanical

I’m about to tell you the tales of my notorious princess lifestyle so that you, too, can be royally fucked.

Female: age 29, 5'7, a 30D and 110 pounds. Examining myself in the mirror for you, it’s perfect timing: I have that pre-breakfast flat tummy; a full turn and profile glance, I pull the strings of my black g-string higher on the hips. On numerous occasions I’ve been told I have a “perfect ass.” Lately, I’ve been strategically gaining and losing weight so that I can both lose and keep fat in concentrated zones. The butt keeps the fat (obvi) and, unlike my breasts, it’s not something I would ever fuck with surgically.

On my daily route, I pass a street-corner of loitering junkies who yell out to me, “Angelina Jolie.” I do like my lips ultra pillowy and, in my top lip, have 0.5mL of Restylane dermal filler. Born with a mouth that naturally curls up at the corner (some call the shape a cupid’s bow), I am incapable of a frown. This makes me look like an offspring of the Joker. I’ve been told the sound of my laughter is “Country Club Evil.” “Diabla” is tattooed on my left ribcage in gothic font.

A natural athlete, I was born for peak “athleisure.” Black sports bra and black leggings under a black Alpha Industries bomber jacket: that’s my uniform. My brunette hair is slicked back into a tight ballet bun with ultra glossy Balmain Shine Wax. I’ve got large 14K gold hoops in my ears. It’s a look that’s svelte and utilitarian, works equally well with Nikes or YSL heel boots. You can cop the bra and leggings for less than €20 (as long as its roughly 75%/25% nylon/spandex, it will look sleek). Let your card take the heavy hit on La Prairie’s Skin Caviar night cream or a vintage Alaïa fall coat. To be truly athleisure, one must always appear pre- or post-gym; as though you dipped out of boxing class at 10:00 AM and have ballet at 6:30 PM. Never properly employed, I actually do abide by this schedule. I am athleisure.

Between training sessions, I have irregular 60 minute phone conversations with my psychotherapist. Mainly I call her to confess criminal impulses. She’s like litmus paper for assessing the general public’s reaction to such behavioral tendencies. She is also the exclusive recipient of everything to do with men in my life. Certain information is not meant to circulate among friends; friends are messy. A private and professional confidant is chic.  I’ve romanticized what it would be like saying all these things to a priest in a proper confessional booth. I’ve got relatives in Milan. But Catholicism has such a track record for corruption; I’d be wary of the priest stealing my ideas, not even kidding. Still, I do love Catholicism’s sinister, material decadence. I plan to convert.

COMMUNICATION  

Valley girl is a socio-economic stereotype depicting a class of women characterized by the colloquial California English dialect Valleyspeak and materialism. Originally referring to upper-middle class girls from the Los Angeles commuter towns of San Fernando Valley during the 1980s, the term in later years became more broadly applied to any English speaking female — primarily in the United States and Canada — who engendered the associated effects of ditziness, airheadedness, and/or greater interest in conspicuous consumption than intellectual or personal accomplishment.  — “Valley Girl," Wikipedia, 2018

Having extremely high vocal fry is one of my signature traits. And people find my voice authentically hypnotic; it’s remixed a lot. I’ll take ownership of having the linguistic tendencies of a valley girl, but in 2018, we upgrade: it’s “Valspeak” now. If you catch me on the phone, I’m exclusively communicating via WhatsApp, sending mini audio clips to friends. This involves more engagement than texting but less commitment than a regular phone conversation. When everything is mediated via voice memos, I’m in boss mode. 

I picked up the habit from a girlfriend in the porn industry, Heather. We used to hang in her in New York hotel rooms playing with $2,000 USD stacks of cash she’d earned escorting. Sitting on the bed arranging the bills in patterns, like solitaire on acid, I’d listen to Heather assertively speaking at her phone in response to playback audio messages from her manager. “Derek, NO. You told me the shoot was on Wednesday. I can’t fly back to Los Angeles Monday. You knew this. Cancel.” etc. Anyway, WhatsApp audio messaging can be dramatic; it's great. Despite our slight fallout — Heather kept referring to me as “Poodle” and I found this highly disturbing — I did learn from her. During the entirety of that disgraceful 45 minute period I was on Tinder, I had men PayPal-ing me €20 per audio message, generally me recording variations of: You’re such a fucking loser

"…the new face of Dior beauty, Bella Hadid can coax her complexion back to supermodel status in seconds…"

I CALL THAT SHIT DESIGNER    

I’ve always been a feral child, despite being raised by a succession of strict nannies. In the face of authoritative direction, deviance just comes more naturally to me than compliance. Unlike the Basic Bitch who breezes by preprogrammed to appease societal standards, I negotiate my relationship to adult etiquette. There’s levels to the Basic Bitch though. At the top of the pyramid you have your Designer Basic Bitch, a status mainly occupied by models. This is the kind featured on Vogue’s YouTube channel telling you what’s in their morning smoothie, their purse, their workout regiment, etc., or maybe giving you a 360° tour of their walk-in closet in Calabasas. It may not be apparent to you, but that smoothie is just as designer as the Hermès purse she’s unloading for the cam. Bella Hadid giving you a jet lag combat makeup tutorial is an act of brand sponsorship. It’s soft flexing, an essential skill of the successful model.

Laroche-Posay (buy)

My primary skin product is micellar water. Designed by French chemists, it’s a water formula — not just water, but water infused with other molecules that absorb oil and bacteria. At about €13 per 400ml, it is the least expensive of my beauty products. Not that I use much makeup though: Sisley tinted moisturizer and mascara, and Tom Ford eye-gloss are the maximum I choose to wear. I don’t fuck with eye shadow or blush; I have no interest in looking like a fucking peacock. My demeanor, anyway, has always been more tomboy. I’m high-key convinced I was put in this female body as a game; or maybe I just have a virtual reality complex. Still, I embrace my female form. I’m pleased with it. I got implants to feel more hentai, cyber; more perfect. La Perla lingerie ’n gold chain under a Champion sweatsuit with some Timberlands is a day’s outfit for me. Told I look like an “off-duty stripper” and been mistaken for a Romanian escort on, yes, multiple occasions. I know.

Next month I can afford a spray tan. I can’t wait. It’s a relief, honestly. Get that faux Armenian Jenner glow. I didn’t know Ariana Grande was actually a white girl until I saw pre- and post-spray tan pics. Yes, Google that shit right now. Got’ Damn; so surreal to be 24/7 airbrush. I’ll never forget this moment in Keeping Up With The Kardashians — season 13, episode 7 — when Khloe, rapid pace typing with her long acrylic nails tapping on an iPhone 7 Plus, looks up and announces, “I don’t know what to do next, should I get my mole darkened?” Like what? Wilding, that’s some 21st century Marie Antoinette speak. Because, what does one do, after ass and lips have been plumped, facial muscles strategically numbed, and pore diameter is shrunken to null. You change the shade of ombre on your mole, obviously. Yes, pop that beauty mark. I totally get it, the composition is never complete.

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"Posh Poverty" is a running series by Sybil Prentice for New Models.
Chapter 01 was penned in 2018 and an excerpt was featured in the New Models spread for Novembre magazine No. 14 (Winter 2019).
 


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