Being a professional model is something to be proud of, right? Not in my case, it’s actually something I hide. I was always taught the woman’s body should be covered up. I grew up believing that it was something special, to be saved for intimate times or possibly even marriage. So when I first started modeling it was very hard for me to be okay with the revealing clothes and the millions of people looking at my body.

While I worked through my issues, (mostly, because I’m still uncomfortable with going topless), my family definitely has not. It was a fascination I always hid. Growing up, I used to sneak fashion magazines into my bedroom and study the poses of the models. My mom found one of them when I was 13 and began lecturing me on the virtues of modesty.

I told her I was merely doing research and that I wouldn’t bring stuff like that into her house again. Little does she know I am in some of those same magazines right now.

I moved out when I was 18 for college. After a year of college, I dropped out to work full-time. I told my family I got a job in marketing. Most of them accepted it. When some of them started asking specifics, I told them I actually worked in fashion merchandising (it helps explain why I am so well-dressed).

I never intend to tell them what I actually do, because it will cause such an uproar that I’d probably be uninvited from family events.

You’re probably wondering what the big deal is, right? Well, the way my family thinks, modeling is the same as prostitution. It doesn’t matter if we are having sex, we are getting paid to show skin and that is the same as being a hooker.

One time I tried to explain to my dad, who owns a business, that businesses in the fashion industry need models to sell their clothes.

“Why do they need to sell such sexy clothes? They do not. Women are already beautiful; they do not need to wear revealing clothes to attract a good mate,” and then he kisses me on my forehead and walks away.

There is no winning with them.

I mean, I love my culture and my family, but I really wish they would catch up with today’s world. Even if we choose not to dress in the latest fashions, most people do. I am merely providing a service for those who are trying to sell those clothes. If I take a picture in a short dress with sheer fabrics, that doesn’t mean I’m going to suddenly have no morals. It doesn’t mean I’m promiscuous and out looking for trouble.

I know this, and I believe that if my family would just listen they’d understand. However, they’re not known for being very open-minded and I’m not taking the chance of hoping that today is the day they change.

I’ll just continue telling them I work in marketing, fashion merchandising or makeup. What they don’t know won’t kill them.