Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Avon calling!

I’m going to return, today, to my “learning to be a model mom” series.  Thank you to all the people who contributed to the discussion about how children appear in photographs.  I got a lot of great feedback and I know the discussion will not end anytime soon.

The story of our first go-see makes me laugh a little…in a comedy-of-errors sort of way.  While I had begun my investigation of the industry in October of 2011, we didn’t really dive in until June of 2012.  I wanted to be fully ready for the commitment and be able to say “how high?” when asked to jump – because that’s basically how it works.  And on that day of the first go-see, that was what I did. 

My wife and I are teachers, and it was the last day of school – a half day.  We picked up our daughter around 11:30 and started driving to Six Flags.  It was that great parental quest for the perfect start to summer.  Water park, spinny rides, and crap food.  (Hi, I’m American!)  Not too far on our way, I got a call from a 212 number (I hadn’t programmed any contacts into my phone yet, but I knew it would be something modeling related).

“Avon wants to see your daughter before 3:30.  Here’s the address.  Ask for so-and-so.”

Um, ok.  Great!  A go-see.  But…and here’s where a lot of moms can relate…that fun day at the amusement park just gets thrown out the window…which is going to cause disappointment for all involved.  Consternation ensues.  And we were already on the way.  In the opposite direction of the city.  (We were driving through Simsbury, CT, at the time, for a point of reference.)

So we turned around.  Back home, I put my daughter into a solid-colored shirt and pants and tamed her hair.  I grabbed a bag of snacks, pull-ups (so glad to be done with all that), pictures, spare clothes, wipes…you get the picture.  And off we went to the city.

Being an intrepid city girl, I followed my ALWAYS PARK ON THE STREET ethos, got a spot in my old neighborhood, and hopped on the subway.  So far so good.  Now, here’s the issue.  My old neighborhood is on the west side…#1 train.  Avon is located on Third Avenue around 48th Street.  Those of you who know the city know that there are very few ways to get from the west side to the east side without taking three trains.  And, I had a young, small three year old and no stroller – since strollers are a GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS ON THE SUBWAY.  I opted for the #1 to the shuttle and decided to walk from there.

Wow, that was brutal.  Managing my daughter and a bag…for several REALLY BUSY MIDTOWN BLOCKS on a very very hot June day…epic fail.

Now, if you’re not a city person and this is all jibberish to you – beware.  I include it because if you are going to join this industry, you really need to go through my thought process.  Street or garage?  Stroller or walking?  Taxi, bus, or subway?  Fastest route?  Cocktail or pharmaceutical?

We made it to Avon alive (significant feat considering a 36” tall person walking on shoulder-to-shoulder midtown sidewalks is a recipe for disaster – think briefcases and roll-y bags).  What I learned later was that go-sees, especially big ones for major companies’ Christmas catalogs, typically happen in a photo studio.  This one, however, was at Avon’s headquarters because they had their big casting already but apparently did not find what they were looking for.  We found the spot we were looking for, waited a few minutes, and were met by a couple of women who scrutinized my daughter for a few minutes.  Then, they asked me to put a dress on her (my daughter was already hot and tired so this was not exactly a thrilling experience for her).  Finally buttoned into the shiny red dress, they had her stand against a white wall and took out an iphone to snap some pictures.  Upon being asked to smile, my daughter stuck out her tongue.  And kept doing it.  One of the women was like, “Um, does she always do this?” and of course I said something to the tune of, “Oh no, never!  She’s a pro at this!”  Good thing I was not attached to a lie detector.

Maybe I cajoled a smile or at least a non-distorted face from her, we changed her back to her neutral outfit, and went on our way.  I’m fairly certain we took the M4 bus back to our car unless the grueling walk back to the subway has been thankfully erased from my mind.  We probably stopped at Starbucks or grabbed some food from Ollie’s on 116th (yummmmm) and took our time going home.

My words to my wife when I got home?  Something like, “Well, that was fun while it lasted!” ç sarcasm.  “She is definitely not cut out for this business.”  My game plan?  None.  Game over.

Until she got a hold.

Next time: the first photo shoot. 

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