Sunday, November 16, 2008

Omahyra Moto Garcia: Beauty is a Boy Carl Hancock Rux

“Beauty is a boy forever.”
Oscar Wilde

Listen up all ye connoisseurs of image, image makers, icons and iconoclastic fanatics—you avid seekers waiting for new definitions of beauty, you trendsetters and trend followers waiting for the authorities on image to send down freshly anointed representatives of beauty... the newly anointed archetype of type and trope--la belle boheme noveau—fresh symbol of beauty, and accurate sign of our reciprocal times is a seventeen year old Dominican born, Bronx bound, 21st century international runway model with the sex appeal of a boy juvenile delinquent… Omyrah: rugged pre-pubescent face, lips slightly swollen, drooping eyelids canopying dark pupils sharply pointed, black hair tousled and closely cropped. The face is painfully nostalgic; conjuring romantic images of turn of the century newspaper boys trudging up and down Broadway in applejack hats and dirty tweed knickers. Or, if you study her face from another angle, you may be introduced to some protean character from the romantic pages of a 19th century novel by one of the French Surrealists. In this way, she becomes the savage muse of Byron’s Greece, with the allure of some merchant gypsy in Alexander Dumas’ Spain.
Breakdown: There are types and tropes, symbols and signs, and there is a subtle difference between them all. A type is a variety, a sort, or in more headier terms, a “way of perceiving the eternal plan of the contingencies of time.” But tropes are creations of the human will, products of fiction—no transcendental dimension or registrations to the infinite “I am”…an allegory and metaphor dependant upon meaning according to the ingenuity of the creative mind. A symbol is an expression of an intuitive perception, produced from the unconscious as a revelation or intuition. If Omahyra’s rise to stardom as the new “it girl” is due to an overwhelming and unanimous desire for new images of beauty--perhaps the flipped script on aesthetic can best be explained by Jung, who spoke of the existence of a collective unconscious; an inborn disposition to produce parallel images or rather identical psychic structures common to all men. Archetypes of oursleves. Or perhaps, Omahyra’s explanations of her own archetype are simpler...
“They say I’m a male looking girl because I’m a very strong girl—I can be bad fighter sexy--like a boy, or I can be kind of feminine but I can never be like the typical model.”
Possessing a unique quality, typified in those who long to respond to their hearts, not their heads—seekers of beauty who objectify and romanticize a visionary alternative to European femininity, Omahyra—like many of us—looked to the Godhead of image makers to see if she could find reflections of her self. “ I used to look at magazines of pretty girls with blonde hair and very feminine looks and I wasn’t sure if I could ever be a model because I don’t look like that. Nobody who looks like me were in any of the magazines I was reading.”
Her poetic rise to high Glam superstar uber model status is somewhat fantastical—long from the beautiful shores of her native Dominican Republic, Omyrah shared a crowded Astoria Queens working class apartment with her mother, step-father (who sells party decorations from a local storefront), grandmother (a home attendant), older sister and two younger brothers. She’d recently dropped out of John Brown High School in Queens when her mother and then boyfriend (an amateur photographer) suggested she try her hand at modeling. ‘My mom and step-father wanted me to be a model…I was like—it’s not gonna happen—I didn’t have any confidence that I could get into the modeling business but we went on the internet to research modeling agencies and we printed out a list.” Using his Pentex 90 MC, her boyfriend took several photos of Omyrah and sent them to the agencies on the list that “seemed appropriate.” Only one agency responded, The Boss agency—and within one week of Boss agent, George Spiros contacting Omahyra she was a working full time fashion model. Now, less than one year into her career, she travels regularly to Milan, Sweden, Paris, and London.
“It all feels a little weird. I get along with the other girls—the ones with nice attitudes, in fact—I guess now I have more model friends than regular friends. The first time I was photographed (professionally) I was a little scared, but now I see that it’s just a job—everybody is there to do a job and to do their best—the photographer, the stylist, everybody.”
Recognized as one of the “new faces of beauty”, Omahyra is widely sought after for runway shows and print ads, and with this new found lucrative career ahead of her—she and her boyfriend were able to return to the Dominican Republic and get married. “We were married in a green green forest near rivers in a city called Jarabacoa—the city of eternal springs. I wore a blue graduation dress.” The newlyweds now live in a spacious apartment overlooking the beach in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. She has plans to finish high school, to have children one day, and perhaps—she’d like to try her hand at acting next-- but for now—Omahyra plans to enjoy her new found career and her new life with her husband…and oh yes…the new archetype of beauty laughs at the ever changing definitions of beauty and the fascination the fashion world has with her. “To me—it’s funny. I look like my family—I get my height from my father and grandmother—they’re very tall and skinny—I just see myself as regular—you know—I’m just me…”, she says, then continues, “My mother always thought I would be a Hollywood movie star or a singer—but I never thought it could happen. When I was in high school, when we looked at magazines of super models, everybody always talked about Cindy Crawford.”
Now everybody’s talking about Omahyra.

Originally published in Manhattan File magazine, 2001
©Carl Hancock Rux, all rights reserved

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