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Kara Tasman

When I was eight, one of my friends had a birthday outing to Disney, which had a store called Studio 365 that does hair and heavy makeup for little girls to look like princesses. One of the people at the store made a big deal about how I looked and suggested that I should consider being in a beauty pageant.

When I got home, my parents were not supportive at all. My dad said I was too young and that all these pageants did was sexualize young girls. I thought he was crazy, but he put his foot down. I think he thought I would forget all about it. When I turned thirteen, I told him I wanted to be in the local Little Miss pageant for girls twelve to sixteen.

Looking back on it, it was both the worst and best decision I ever made. It was the worst because pageant contestants, their parents and the hangers-on were vile people, or at least that was my experience. I’m sure that there are nice people involved, but one of the older brothers molested two of the girls and tried to get me cornered on more than one occasion. I told my dad, and that caused serious problems. They all wanted to act like nothing had happened, and the two girls were scared to disappoint their parents and admit it he’d touched them.

It became a real mess when the police got involved. The press had a field day and pointed out how it was bad for young girls because it made them grow up too fast. I vowed I would never do another pageant again, even though I was second runner-up.

The good that came from it was I met Tony Grant who was the photographer for the event. He came to our home and had a long talk with my parents. Mr. Grant was just out of college and could already see he didn’t want to do portraits and weddings the rest of his life. He’d done a few pageants and he told my parents that I had a unique look. He suggested that I could actually make a living being a model.

My dad liked that idea even less. My dad had read about the wild parties, drugs and sex that young models had. His thirteen-year-old daughter was not getting involved in any of that. Mr. Grant said that we should find out if he was right before we worried about me jet setting around the globe and bad things happening.

He suggested that he take me to his studio and that I get my head shots done, and he would put out feelers to see if there was any interest. I’d just hit my growth spurt, so I was tall and skinny. I actually towered over most of the boys in my middle school.

Both my mom and dad went with me for my pictures. Mr. Grant had a friend of his do my makeup and he had some clothes brought in. To this day, I can point to him as one of the keys to making me a model. He was patient and explained everything he did and why. I was a little sponge and learned everything I could.

When my dad saw the pictures, he wasn’t happy. I looked like I was several years older. I don’t think he wanted to think I would ever grow up. What jumped off the page were my eyes. I’d somehow gotten steel blue-gray eyes that drew you in. Within a week, I’d booked my first job. Dad insisted that Mr. Grant had to take the pictures.

From there things somewhat slowly took off. By the time I turned fifteen, my dad had been convinced that I could make a living as a model. Then I was approached by Fashion Models and offered a one-year deal. Tony was now trusted by my dad and offered to go with me to make sure I was taken care of. My parents were finally convinced that I should go full-time and make money now while I could as a model.

Fashion Models had a worldwide reach and I was soon the beneficiary of that. My look was popular in the international market, so I was soon traveling to the Middle East and Europe. My career seemed to take off overnight from that point.

I’d also begun to develop, and I was mortified when my breasts began to grow. I should’ve known that I would eventually get them, because my mom and older sister had large breasts. The problem was most models seemed to be tall and slim with few curves. There were exceptions, of course, and they did very well. It was just that they tended to do sessions that are more revealing. If you did high fashion, you couldn’t be body shy, but it wasn’t Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition or Maxim.

I talked to Tony about it.

“I think it’s just a matter of experience. Sometimes you act like a little girl. I think you need to find someone you trust and lose your virginity,” was his suggestion.

At the time, I didn’t realize he was offering to be that someone. A month later, I found myself in his bed. I couldn’t put the blame on our relationship solely on him. I was a willing participant. It wasn’t like he was old, either, but eight years seemed like a lot even to me.

Because of my larger breasts, I started to have problems with my male models. There’s a reason for the rumors about models getting involved in wild parties, drugs and sex, so I couldn’t really blame the other models for thinking I was that way also. Few if any knew how old I really was. Dating Tony made them think I was much older than I was.

There was one instance where things really went bad on a location shoot. Things were going well until a gang of teenage boys showed up and started yelling things. We were in Turkey, so I couldn’t understand what they were saying. The next thing I knew they rushed us and I was being dragged off. Tony ran, leaving me to my fate. I was lucky the male model I was with rushed in and started to beat the heck out of the hooligans. I broke away and ran for it.

I knew two things for sure after that. I would never do a location shoot without security, and my days with Tony were over.

It wasn’t long after that when I decided I needed to come home for a while. My parents had moved to some backwater town in the Midwest. My younger sister, Gina, loved it. She’d met a nice guy who I figured would be her test boyfriend. From what my mom told me he was a little nerd who talked constantly. Alan, her boyfriend, had introduced her to his friends, which made the transition to the new school easier.

Emily, my older sister who’d started at State, told me that one of their friends was cute. She told me that I should meet this David guy. I figured he was just some hick pretty-boy whose greatest desire was to get a job at the local tire store and someday make it to management.

Gina told me that when I came home that her school was having a Halloween dance. She arranged for me to go with Jeff, one of Alan’s friends. He was a nice boy, with the emphasis on boy. Everyone seemed to be excited that I meet David. I went along with it until I saw him.

He was dressed up like Superman. I mean seriously, he must have paid extra to get them to sew in all the muscles. I knew right then he was a poser and didn’t want anything to do with him. When we talked he made it clear the feeling was mutual.

The next time I saw him he took his shirt off in the middle of a restaurant. All I can say is, damn. I work with models all the time, but damn. The thing was he was younger than I was. How did a freshman get a body like that?

The other thing was, people just seemed to be drawn to him. It wasn’t because he was so good looking, either. It was because people genuinely liked him. I think my brain left me, because I chased him.

Do you know how humiliating it is for a boy to reject you? David didn’t want to have anything to do with me. That made me want him even more. I’d never had a boy do that before. I soon found he was funny, and smarter than the average guy I’d been around lately.

All was fun and games until he kissed me. What did I say earlier? Damn! I knew exactly where things were headed when he began to cry. The poor boy was an emotional mess. I tried to force the issue, but he had more backbone than I expected.

I found myself in his bed, just cuddling. David had me off-balance. I knew I wanted us to do naughty things. He just had an animal magnetism that drew me to him. The problem was I would be leaving soon. I wasn’t completely sure I wouldn’t give up my career to be with him. That scared me.

I’d just gotten out of a relationship like ten minutes ago. Tony had been my first everything, and I was contemplating David. Deep down I knew it would never work. He was in high school, for god’s sake. How would we ever make that work? But damn!

I decided to just play it by ear. I was just worried that would get me into trouble, but with David, I expected that to be fun.