Chapter I – THE BEGINNING
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
~ Marcus Aurelius
I still remember my first day in Second Life: There I was like an idiot trying to figure it all out. I think I was able to move and even wore an ugly brown sweater I had somewhere in my inventory. A giant, green, intimidating avatar started to push me around and he made me so nervous I logged out.
I was shy beyond words and everything scared me a lot. I don’t know why, but it all seemed too real to me at the beginning — I could not deal with the concept of someone being rude. Feeling unwelcome, it was easier to just leave. Little did I know I would have to learn to be tough; that would take some time… I recall going to a shop and a robot attacking me as it threw me to the floor and pushed me on the ground for many meters … I logged off!
People always wonder why Second Life hasn’t gone further, and I always tell them it is because it is so damn hard to begin. Apparently, the new Linden Labs CEO understands this and has made Second Life friendlier and more a gamers style – good for him! But none of this newly discovered understanding, takes away the anguish I felt at the beginning. My first avatar’s name was Frolic Priestman, my second avatar was Frolic Fellini, and finally I became Frolic Mills, since I couldn’t remember any of the information on the first two avatars. I am glad I stayed…
I remember watching “Forrest Gump” with a friend many years ago, and right after the movie ended, he commented: “Must be horrible to live your life without your own permission.” I agreed. To this day, I regret agreeing with him, because little did I know I would be pushed like the wind in Second Life.
A disco was looking to hire DJs and I applied. I met Kirk of the Mad Agency, and he told me I could be a model, and that appealed to me. A friend suggested I should sell land and I did that. After selling all the land, I was fired even though I had been promised a piece of land for my own if I sold it all. I was offered a different DJ job and I took it. Another friend told me about a male model of the year competition and I entered. I won the competition, but that had not been my intention – I just entered it for fun! I went wherever the wind took me. Yes, life was like a box of chocolates!
I suppose winning something in Second Life means more than just a prize or a title: Winning gives one confidence that one can do something right in a world where one cannot distinguish right from wrong at the beginning. I started to make better decisions; I started to observe; and eventually I learned and began to admire the beautiful things in Second Life. I would compare and contrast creations and began to understand texturing, prim work, originality. THE BEST OF SL Magazine was born.
Chapter II – LITTLE DID I KNOW
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
– Colin Powell
I vividly recall the opening of THE BEST OF SL Magazine. I was living on my 4096 plot trying to coordinate a fashion show for RFYRE at the same time Giela Delpaso and I were coordinating the GRAND OPENING of the magazine. Giela and I were in awe and laughing nervously at the fact that we had invited every major content creator (that we knew at the time) and that they all came! We were so nervous and humbled we just couldn’t believe it.
I still ask myself today why these successful designers took a chance on a newbie like me. I have no answer after all these years, but I believe it was because no one was properly documenting their work. This is why BOSL became a success. Many have followed, of course, but we were definitely the first!
Opening the magazine had a domino effect, the likes of which I had never seen in my entire life. In my real life I am an accomplished economist and banker, but in Second Life. suddenly people were asking me for more. They wanted land for all great designers to come together; they wanted shows; they wanted the best models on the grid — and they all wanted to be on the cover of my magazine. We had to grow and grow quickly to meet the increasing demands we were experiencing and for which I am still so very grateful.
We became a marketing company and we opened BLVD Agency to meet the demands. The bar continued to rise and we launched the MISS VIRTUAL WORLD Pageant. Some people resented that and I have been in trouble ever since …
Before you judge me too harshly, I must say in my defense that I did NOT raise the bar for modeling; it was the models themselves competing against each other. Did I give guidance? Yes I did! Did I advise models to learn the art of posing? Yes I did! Was I harsh in my criticism about styling? Yup, guilty as charged! But it was THE MODELS who became more competent and started to be noticed by designers who finally realized a model’s work was valuable. Models were completely ignored before MVW. This certainly is not the case today. And before you crucify me because you think I am blowing my own horn, rest assured I am not. The MODELS did the work all by themselves, and I am damn proud of that! They tried harder, they became aware of what was right from wrong, they started to feel confident, and they earned the trust of many designers. You can blame Mimmi Boa for that. She was the first TOP Model in SL and she opened the door for everyone else!
Is my organization responsible for what has transpired? Perhaps a little bit, but we couldn’t have done it without the talents that came to us. We just raised a few eyebrows, we questioned some choices, we were critical of some stylings, but ultimately it was the designers and models who delivered!
Chapter III – GROWING BIG
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
~ David Brinkley
I often say that the only power that will ever exist in this world, is the power to help others. There is really no other power, and BOSL was and continues to be ready to deliver. We have discovered unknown talents. We have catapulted known and newly emerging designers. We have unveiled RL celebrities that play SL. We have influenced the grid with our experience like no other media has ever done. We opened BOSL Radio and we have created television shows and websites to manage and bring to the forefront all these magnificent accomplishments, and I would like to believe we have done it well.
I still remember interviewing Philip Linden, DURAN DURAN, and most recently Cari Lekebusch, all of whom were excited about appearing on our cover. Perhaps this is a foolish game or perhaps just a trivial accomplishment, but it has meant the world to all of us that every single content creator in SL has opened the door and welcomed us. From the bottom of my heart – thank you!
Chapter IV – MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
~ Henry Ford
What is Frolic Mills without my BOSL family? What is BOSL without the great content creators? Absolutely nothing! I really needed to take the time to clarify my image and my company’s image not because I think it’s mystical at all, but because of what others say about us. We are simply a group of people who believed this virtual world could be a great place and we love to celebrate it. There has never been any other intention and there has never been any other purpose. We do what we do because we love it. People came to us because they loved our vision and many have stayed for years because we have respect for and take great pride in the work we do. It has never been about money, power, or anything else.
Those things are a rather feeble illusion in virtual worlds and grow old quickly. Passion never does.
My most sincere thanks to all of those people who have contributed to BOSL Magazine in one way or another: My staff, my clients, and especially our readers who keep all of us here and excited about the next issue. My heartfelt apology to each of you if we have ever let you down, did not deliver what you expected from us, or did not take notice. Experience has taught me that these are the only reasons why some people get upset with us. I understand them but again, we can only do so much. We are not perfect, but we have tried damn hard to deliver the Best of SL with integrity, honesty, and to the best of our ability.
Chapter V – WHAT IT ALL MEANS TO ME
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
~ Dalai Lama
Five years, wow … I don’t know what the future holds, but I can only be thankful for what I have lived. It has been a great ride. I have loved, I have cried, I have seen this world from many perspectives. I have been ignored, I have been praised, I have been unknown, I have been famous, I have been up, and I have been down in the most spectacular roller coaster ride ever built. I have learned so much about human emotions and how our work affects others. I have learned humility with both praise and criticism and I have carried on with my work despite all good reasons to stop doing it. I take with me the most beautiful memories slightly spattered with moments of anguish; I will cherish the first and learn from the latter. My real life has been influenced by all of you forever and I will not forget.