In college I decided that modeling nude for the art department would help me get over being shy (something about taking my clothes off in front of a room full of strangers).
It didn't work.
I continued working for the art department for more than a year, but talking to people didn't get any easier. I think this can be explained by the way students in an art class perceive the model. In many ways, the person in question is not really a living, breathing being, but rather is a collection of interconnected shapes and colors to be analyzed and recreated to the best of the artist's ability in charcoal or paint or clay. This is the true meaning of objectification--the model often is no more important to the artist than a basket of fruit in a still life.
Modeling was one of the best jobs I ever had. It matters very little to the artist whether you are fat or skinny, pretty or ugly, or absolutely ordinary. The class is much less concerned with the turn of the hipbone and the girth of the thigh than the way light falls across said body parts to make them look three dimensional. After the first time you take your clothes off in front of a group of artists, you stop being concerned about making sure to stand so they can't see your butt, or sucking in your stomach. Although sitting/standing still for long periods can be remarkably uncomfortable, during the time you are on the pedestal you have only yourself to interact with. Given that, for most people, nudity in front of strangers is a rather unusual situation, it gives you a chance to explore new areas of your personality. If you are interested in art, you can learn a great deal while modeling. Also, nude models often have the highest-paying jobs available on a college campus, and if a student does anything to make you uncomfortable, you can have them thrown out of class, sometimes permanently.