Modeling took the author to exotic locations. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Of TJ Butler)
Modeling took the author to exotic locations. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Of TJ Butler)

The author was modeling. The photo is courtesy of TJButler.

After turning 18 I did my first nude photo shoot. There was an ad in the back of a weekly paper. I made a phone call. I didn't think it was dangerous or tell anyone where I was going.

Do you want to undress in the bathroom? I don't remember the photographer's face. I don't recall the canvases on the walls of his house. There are nude women posing against the furniture.

I looked at the floor. Adults were authority figures when they left the foster care system. I didn't have any authority against them. The photographer was pointing.

The robe is on the door.

I undressed and walked out of the bathroom. I put it over the chair. I was asked to pose in the paintings. The couch was occupied by me. I was leaning against the wall. I wasn't scared. I wanted to do well. I was pretty according to him. I wanted to know if he liked me.

He put cash in my hand as I walked out the door. I waited to get into the car. I had never had so much money at once. Beneath my sternum, there was a bloom of elation. I could have made a noise. I was earning minimum wage at the dry cleaner I worked at. I gave notice the next week.

Foster care gave me an escape from domestic violence. When I was older, I wanted to become a writer and be loved, but I wasn't. I looked at the ads for new jobs. I would go to another person's house or hotel room. I would take my clothes off and leave with money.

I was able to see myself as a sexual being with power for the first time. Foster care didn't allow me to date. Men paid me less than they looked into their lens and said yes to me. There weren't many incidents ofcasting couch and fewer predator incidents. I knew which ads to ignore.

Another photographer said that he sent the photo to the magazine that featured babes with bikes. Monthly centerfold contest.

I wore a pair of sky-high heels in my 20s. He had a lounge in his basement. The shutter was pressed by him. When you say the word oh, you get an open-mouthed look.

He said you won. My only genuine smile of the afternoon was captured by him again.

What does this mean? I didn't allow him to reply. I didn't think a centerfold was that big.

My main source of income was amateur modelling. It was better than the jobs I was qualified for. The centerfold was a dream that a girl from the wrong side of the tracks could never have imagined. I didn't know what a statistic meant. I believed that a centerfold would change me.

The author enjoyed pinup modeling and all the fun costumes. (Photo: Marcus Ranum)

The author enjoyed modeling and dressing up.

Nude models wanted to be in adult magazines. For everything it could lead to, a centerfold was the top of our careers. I imagined myself in a magazine. I would like to see Playboy next.

The magazine photo editor has an email address. I practiced what I would say. I sent you an email about the centerfold you chose me for. I used the radio to speak the words. You chose the centerfold for me.

The models and strippers I posed with and the cocktail waitress I worked with took their clothes off for money. I confessed to myself more often. Spending time in foster care and posing nude separated me from people who had steady jobs and knew nothing about being nude in public.

The centerfold was going to make a difference. While the other women were climbing the mountain, I was on top.

I was flown across the country to pose with a bike. Two months before my summer issue was to be released, I had a shoot. I wore a thong that was similar to the motorcycle's. I was wearing a wig. I didn't know the makeup artist gave me pinkeye.

In the summer, modeling was slower. I chose to work as a waitress at a new restaurant rather than at a strip club. The position was temporarily held until shoots picked up again in the fall. I believed I could make money without taking my clothes off.

I lied on my application and was hired. The well-heeled do-gooders who would arrive in luxury cars and donate large sums of money to my last group home came to mind. My co-workers were always at ease with their tables. Everything I wasn't was embodied by them.

I mimicked the other waitresses with their makeup, ponytails, and earrings. It was too large and shiny for mine. It was a convincing masquerade that I struggled with the table settings and wine list.

The job was hard. When I got home, I felt like eating. At the end of each shift, my feet hurt, but not as much as standing in heels did. I liked being accepted by co-workers who had no reason to question how I had grown up or what other jobs I had done.

The Easyriders centerfold has come out. They have it at a bookstore. I was talking to a photographer on my phone while I was in the bathroom stall. The dinner rush was about to start. Red sauce was on the leg of my pants. Someone walked out of the stall.

I felt a drop in my stomach. I flushed the toilet and prayed that it was a customer. I walked out of the bathroom after I heard the door close. I shook my hand.

I whispered to the empty restroom that it was me.

A person leaned against a wall. I thought I was not her favorite. She didn't speak as I passed. I looked at the floor and forgot about the incident as I was in my section.

The shift was taking a long time. While most of the other server were gathered around a table in the empty party room I joined them. My ears perked up when the person said they wouldn't do that to themselves. I wanted to know the gossip andTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia,Trademarkia There was a diamond earring glinting in the dim lighting. I heard someone say, "You can tell she's a slut," when I was close enough to see what they were looking at.

I put my centerfold open on the white tablecloth. It wasn't possible until I remembered that Barnes & Noble was two doors down. I walked away from the group. There was laughter at my back I don't know if they saw me or if someone joked at my expense.

I put my apron on a hook near the manager's office to keep it out of harms way. I didn't know if I was feeling shame or rage. I went through the back door.

The centerfold didn't make me any better. I wasn't standing on top. It was a grand gesture of disrespect to be ridiculed while I was trying to blend in. I was working for my co-workers. We talked about getting stiffed or complaining about our tables. I thought I pulled it off but I wasn't one of them.

I wondered if they were aware of something I hadn't seen in myself. It was clear to me that I only fit into one of the worlds when I tried to straddle them.

I was riding the centerfold wave back in my world. There were video box covers. After my centerfold was released, it was easier to book shoots. I was still getting by.

Home has always been a cozy escape and a place for the author to relax. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Of TJ Butler)

Home has always been a place for authors to relax.

I smiled for the camera and got a tip. The men put my frame into their bodies. A bubble was formed so that I wouldn't be judged again.

I was 30 years old. The older you get, the harder it is to play nude modeling. I went back to school and graduated with a management degree, but I didn't keep in touch with the photographer who owned the studio where I used to shoot.

I felt like a model to my peers. I was aware that it was something to hide. I kept my head down and focused on the task at hand.

I bought earrings for myself because I was no longer able to scrounge up money. This is real.

I missed the freedom that modeling gave me. I didn't want to be back in front of the camera because I valued the steady paycheck and benefits so much.

I reached out to the studio owner when I needed to let go. We got married a few years into my career after we developed a friendship. He knows me as both the model and the office worker.

I knew what was at stake if someone found out about the centerfold incident, so I kept my mouth shut. I kept my face makeup-free and my wardrobe boring so that I could blend in, so I wasn't worried about being discovered. It was not possible for me to jeopardize my life on purpose.

I was demoted a few years ago. I didn't worry. I made a career out of what started as a newspaper ad. After getting a degree, I turned it into a career. I knew how to do it again.

It was an easy decision for me and my husband to take over the studio. admin and bookkeeping, client relationships, community outreach, teaching studio lighting, and managing our model program are all handled by me.

The author and her husband enjoy sailing in their free time. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Of TJ Butler)

The author and her husband like to sail.

I came full circle at this point in my life. I am accepted in this industry. I feel like I can be myself and my achievements are no longer hidden.

Many of the models are in my studio. I used internet forums and back-page newspaper ads to promote myself when I was younger. There are only a few places in the world where I can say, "I had a centerfold," and the other person will understand what it meant to me.

I was from foster care and tried to fit in. I have reinvented my life many times and my life today is no different. I don't want anyone to think I'm doing it right.

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The article was first published on HuffPost.