Saturday, October 14, 2006

Shoot me.

(I was interviewed by Los Angeles magazine for the December issue. Last time, we discussed what a hugely bad interview I am. Now, we shall discuss my modeling abilities)

The photographer came out and let me into his parking space. I grabbed my bag of shirts, and he looked over my shoulder into my car.

“You have any other clothing?” he asked.

“No” I said, puzzled. Oh, I thought, maybe he wanted to help me carry any bags. He clearly didn’t know that I had done my research on what kinds of pictures he took.

I walked into the photographer’s studio was introduced to his assistant, and the make-up/hair person and without further ado, dropped my psychic kimono.

“I split my head open. They’re closing it a week from today. You’re going to have to shoot around it.”

The photographer said, “Can I see it?”

I obligingly undid my hair. All three people stared at in silence for a second. One of them hissed through their teeth. Were they not being paid handsomely to work with me, I believe someone would have bolted for their car.

The photographer said to the hairstylist “You can…cover that, right?”

She said professionally, “Sure, it’s far enough back. And really,” she said sweetly, patting my arm, “it’s not that bad at all.”

The dressing room was in the back of the studio; I walked through what was to be the set for the shoot. It was a seamless white sheet of paper coming down from a roller attached to the ceiling, on to the floor, and rolled out about eight feet. There was a three-legged stool on the corner of the roll, and on the stool was the Polaroid which the photographer had taken of his assistant, to check the lighting for my shoot. I looked down at it, and did a double-take. The photo of the assistant was head to toe. I picked up the Polaroid and waved it nervously at the photographer.

“Are you shooting me head to toe?”


My stomach dropped down past my day-old jeans and into my ragged Chuck Taylor shoes. I had no change of clothing for the waist down.

“But,” I expostulated in horror, “I was told it was a portrait!”

The photographer shrugged.

“They told me they want head to toe.”

I nearly hyperventilated.

“You take close-up portraits!”

He shrugged.

“Usually. This time, they want head to toe.”

No wonder he looked so puzzled when I brought out a single bag of clothing from the car.

I started to do frantic math. If I made every single light, I could get home in fifteen minutes and grab…what? Those gray flannel pants? Which would mean grabbing every single sweater I had; the sweaters which were still in winter storage, because it’s still seventy degrees here and I had thought I needed a simple neckline because I thought when they said portrait, they meant portrait AND WHY IS GOD TOYING WITH ME?

The make-up and hair person, sensing she had one of those fragile models on her hands, started to gently steer me towards the make-up chair.

“It will be fine,” she crooned, patting my head while staying clear of the tremendous demonic lump erupting from my skull, “t-shirts and jeans will be very cute.”

Readers, let’s start adding up the problems. Problem one; even under the best of circumstances, I dislike getting my picture taken. Problem two; what with a freak-show head and a lack of attractive pants, we were nowhere near the best of circumstances. I tried to focus on the woman who was applying my make-up, who was talking about nothing in that soothing way make-up people have.

“…so I’m going to do a light foundation for you and a pretty eye, with a light lip. I can either curl your eyelashes for you or you can do it yourself.”

My heart rate started to slow a bit. The clothing might not be ideal, but I would look pretty. I would have curled eyelashes. Maybe every single person who read the article would accidentally spill coffee across the bottom half of the picture, negating my horrible shoes.

She applied foundation. I was reminded again that one of the reasons I had been happy to give up acting is that I find even light studio make-up to have all the dermal appeal of butter-cream frosting from a can. Having removed all the color from my skin with foundation, she then reapplied it with blush, thereby adding another layer of rosettes to the cake which was me.

The make-up woman pulled out her eye shadow box.

“Your eyes tilt down a bit.”

She was telling me? I’ve spent my entire life with a cast to my eyes which makes strange old men in the street say things like “Smile, girlie!” and “It can’t be that bad!”. My completely neutral expression leads people to believe I have just lost my purse. And gravity certainly isn’t helping this any. I nodded in agreement with her statement.

She said, “I’m just going to apply some shadow to correct that.”

Again, not a problem; I’ve had make-up people putting little eyeshadow wings on the outside of my eyes since puberty. A little gray here, a little brownish-black there, and I’m the proud owner of a cheerful expression. She commenced to coloring.




Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush. Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush. Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush. Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush.

New color.




Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush. Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush.
Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush. Brushbrushbrushbrushbrush.

New color.

Twenty-five minutes were spent contouring my eyes. At about minute fifteen, my fragile good mood was completely shot and I was ankle-deep in paranoia. Did I, in fact, resemble a basset hound? When my no-pants-carrying, horn-having self walked in, did the makeup woman look at the photographer and mouth “Oh my God, she’s a heroin addict”?

My eyelashes needed curling, which meant I was allowed to open my eyes and gaze at myself. I complimented her, as she clearly was an able make-up person, but I was instantaneously plunged into despair again. If someone spends the better part of an hour applying layers of goo to your face to the end of making you look good, shouldn’t you look great? I mean, had a special-effects person spent that much time making me look horrifying, I promise you that I would have turned your stomach. So why did an hour of improvement just leave me looking like me with little wings on the ends of my eyes?

I kept my thoughts to myself as I curled my lashes and she applied lip gloss to me. There was now not a single part of my from the collarbone up which didn’t have adhesive properties. She then combed my hair, moving it this way and that, finally deciding straight back and down was the best bet. I removed a strand which was plastered to my lower lip, and went into the changing room, where I changed into Shirt #1. It was less flattering than I remembered.

I walked out and started to walk on to the seamless. The photographer and his assistant yelled “STOP!”; I came to a Wyle E. Coyote running-in-place-over-the-cliff stop. They pointed downwards; in order to keep the seamless clean for the picture, I had to wipe my feet on a rag.

I wiped my feet on a rag. I then long-jumped on to my mark and stood very still, trying not to leave smudges.

The photographer said “Okay, give me some poses”, and what little resolve I had crumbled, and behind the resolve was a very loud and brassy voice in my head saying, “Quinn, you look like an ass.” In order not to just collapse in a heap, thereby both ruining my make-up and leaving marks on the seamless, I said through gritted teeth, “I don’t have poses. Just tell me exactly what you want me to do with my body, and I will do it.”

The next few minutes sounded like this:

“Chin up…not that far…back down…now back up. Look at me. Look at the light. Now, point your chin at the light and look at me. Chin up…not that far…back down. Now, back up. Lean on your hip…further….too far. Drop your shoulder…the other one. Turn your foot. Arm on your hip…too high…too low.”

It was solitaire Twister.

I changed into Shirt #2. I noticed a stain I hadn’t seen before. I started to walk back on to the seamless.


I wiped my shoes and leapt on to the seamless.

(The unspeakable glamour will continue…)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can so feel your pain - I can only imagine how you felt - I would have felt the same way! Do we get to see the pics when the magazine comes out? I hope you post!

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oy. My only time spent in the industry was as a contestant on To Tell The Truth, and i remember sitting in that makeup chair for what seemed like hours, too. And also thinking why the hell did it take so long for me to look "normal?!" i've no doubt your shoot will be faboo!!

9:59 PM  
Blogger OHN said...

Now I see why you decided to walk away from the glamour of celebrity. Personally I think the jeans and the chucks are going to be are a "real" person after all :)

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were probably expecting some sort of diva with an entourage!

7:44 AM  

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