Thursday, December 2, 2010

Me? A Model Mom?

“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” –Derek Zoolander

When my daughter was nine or ten, she did some local modeling. Since I took her to weekly classes, I got to know her manager pretty well. One day he called, saying he needed a big favor. He had gotten a call from a company looking for adult models, and he only managed children. Would I be willing to meet with them? I tried to make excuses, but finally relented.

The day of the “meeting” I tried on every item of clothing I owned, and settled on a tweed suit with wide black belt and simple black pumps. I was ready to go. My husband agreed to drive me. As I arrived and stood at the office door, I looked down at my outfit and felt confident. I entered the receptionist area, and looked at the two women already seated. I can only describe them as head-to-toe chic. In a matter of seconds I went from being Audrey Hepburn to Tammy Faye Bakker. I grabbed a magazine and pretended to read as I scoped them out. I was guessing they were old enough to vote, but not old enough to drink. I was thirty six years old. I was screwed. The other thing I noticed was that they both had black leather books, no doubt their fabulous portfolios. If they asked me for photos, all I had was my driver’s license and my Sam’s card. I was so screwed.

When they finally called me in, I was unprepared for the amount of people who would be witnessing my humiliation. Four men and two women were seated at a long table. No, I have no photos. No, I have no experience. You want to see my WHAT? My runway walk? Good Lord, I had to walk from one end of the room to the other without tripping. I tried to remember how models turned. My feet tangled. I looked at them sheepishly, and in unison the group said “That’s enough, thank you.” I practically ran out of there, and once I was back in the car, I looked at my husband. Before he had a chance to ask, I said “THIS…NEVER…HAPPENED. We are NEVER to speak of this. EVER.”

Life returned to normal, and I continued my not-so-glamorous real role as a mom. I put the whole modeling fiasco out of my mind…until I got a call. “They loved you!” my daughter’s manager told me. My first reaction was “What is wrong with those people?” “They did suggest you get some runway training, so someone on my staff will help you.”

It turned out that the job was a video for a line of women’s clothing. They hired two other women, and we sat together as the director explained the concept. We would model the clothes on a runway, complete with fog machine and “fake” audience and photographers. As each of us came down the runway, the video would cut to scenes of us wearing the same outfits, but in our “regular” lives. The director told the redhead that she would be in a board room, giving a presentation to a group of men. He told the brunette that she would be a traveling business woman, briefcase in hand, checking into a hotel. Of course, my mind wandered and I imagined myself as a lawyer, or a politician, or possibly a college professor. He turned to me. “You will be a mom.”

The day we taped the fashion show was a lot of fun. I sat and drank coffee (we started very early in the morning) as I waited for my turn with the hair stylist and the makeup artist. An hour later, I had huge hair and more makeup than I had ever worn, complete with brown lipstick. I had to trust that they were trying to make me look good. Finally, the clothes arrived. The redhead was to wear burgundy separates, and the outfit for the brunette was a black knit dress with a matching jacket. My outfit? A purple and turquoise jumpsuit. Apparently, I was a circus mom.

The second day of shooting took place at a furniture store. They had taken a living room display and decorated it for Christmas. I was to sit on the sofa, and my two “daughters” would bring me presents from under the tree. We would hug and I would open the gifts and laugh delightedly. I was told to keep the boxes tilted away from the camera since they were empty. The two little girls were adorable in their holiday outfits. The sofa where I sat was plush and gorgeous. And, then there was me. Nothing says Christmas like brown lipstick and a purple and turquoise jumpsuit.

A few weeks later, a copy of the video arrived in the mail. Just as I was slipping it into the VCR, the kids got home from school. Perfect. I really wanted their opinion because I knew they would be honest. When the video was over, I waited anxiously. My daughter said “You look pretty, Mom. Who were those girls?” I guess it was strange for her to see me with other daughters. Now, the real test. My son. “I liked it. It looked like a real fashion show.” I was so relieved. I just didn’t want to look like a fool. My son was still looking at me. “What?” “You’re not going to show this to anyone else, are you?”


Susan Mangigian said...

Elaine, I love you. Just saying. Great post!

Leslie Causey said...

I'm certain that you enjoyed the experience and the way you tell the story is absolutely hilarious!

Elaine said...

LOL! Thanks, Susan! I love you, too!

Elaine said...

Leslie, it's always funnier after the initial humiliation subsides!