Tuesday, January 24, 2012
For the last few years (in between having babies) I’ve moonlighted as a commercial model. This isn’t something I’ve every really liked talking about – not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I always feel like it will come across arrogant or boastful. I feel like if someone asks me what I do and I say I’m a model, then it sounds like I think I’m thin, tall and beautiful.
Well, this is where the word commercial comes into play. Being a high fashion or runway model means you’re deemed thin, tall and beautiful. Being a commercial model means you’re average, average and average. Obviously, I understand that companies don’t usually want trolls to sell products (although it’s working pretty well for Capital One); but my claim to fame was a Roto-Rooter billboard along I-71 with a larger-than-life version of myself pushing a baby stroller with a toilet strapped to my back. That’s right, a toilet. The tag line was, “We take plumbing problems off your back!” Sexy, huh?
I’m not complaining. The job was actually fun. I worked a total of two hours with a great photographer and crew, and I got paid really well. But it was a little embarrassing seeing myself with plumbing problems – especially when my sister would go out of her way to point out her sister the ‘model’ to her co-workers.
Well, as embarrassing as that was…it doesn’t hold a candle to the day I had today.
I was so excited for my first shoot back with Joann Fabrics. They have a great advertising agency in Columbus that handles their photography, and I’ve done quite a bit of work for them. I obviously hadn’t worked since I got pregnant with my twins though, and I was much, much, much smaller then.
When I got pregnant with my twins I was the smallest I’d been since high school (maybe even middle school.) I was tiny, probably too small. I’d just trained for a half-marathon and was burning more calories than I could put in my system.
Now that I’ve had twins, I obviously don’t fall into that category anymore so I made sure to update my stats with my agency.
Well, obviously there was a failure to communicate somewhere because when I showed up at my shoot they had be down as my original, pre-pregnancy size. Yikes!
Fortunately, I was slated to be in a dress so I thought there might be a chance it was a flattering style that would hide my post-pregnancy problem areas.
The stylist handed me the floral frock, and I said a little prayer as I walked into the bathroom. “Please let this dress fit!”
As soon as I opened the dress up at the neck to step in, I knew I was in trouble. Has anyone ever noticed that sensation before? Where you know as soon as you put one foot into a garment that the equation isn’t going to add up.
I don’t know what came over me, but I was bound and determined that I was not walking out of that bathroom without that dress on. I didn’t drive all this way to not get the job done. I decided to try putting the dress on over my head instead of stepping in.
The dress had a lining, so I began by grabbing a hold of the lining and pulling down over my hips with all my might while shimming my legs back and forth. After the lining was snuggly in place it was easier to get the dress pulled down. ‘Okay the hard parts over,’ I thought. But then I had to fasten the zipper.
The poor zipper knew this wasn’t a good idea. It didn’t want to budge and for a brief moment I envisioned the stylist having to cut me out of the dress. I finally got myself in just the right position, held my breath just right and forced the zipper up.
I looked in the mirror and saw the fourth, long-lost Kardashian sister looking back at me. (A much paler, less glamorous, more matronly version.) My derrière looked huge, and this poor dress was clinging to my body for dear life.
I worried I might split the dress up the back when I bent over to collect my clothes, so I slowly bent down from the knees instead of the waist.
I took a shallow breath, tried to force my shoulders back and held my head high as I shuffled out of the bathroom in horror.
I tried to casually walk by the stylist while saying, “It’s a little snug.” But the sound of horror was apparent in her voice when she replied, “Yeah, that won’t work.”
“Please don’t think you’re fat,” she said trying to Band-Aid my feelings. “These patterns just sometimes don’t come out the way they’re suppose to.”
“No,” I wanted to say. “This dress just didn’t bargain for my hips and back-side.”
The stylist was quick on her feet and swapped my dress with one scheduled for later in the day. While this second option fit, to say it was flattering would be a vast overstatement. It was too big through the chest, too tight in the hips and about four inches too long.
I was completely deflated as I stepped on set – and now I was suppose to put a smile on my face and perform. So that’s what I did. I smiled, brushed all of the problems of the day off, and just prayed for the whole experience to end as quickly as possible.
It didn’t. The client, who was watching over this train-wreck via web cam, kept asking the photographer to have me try different poses, different angles…anything to make me look less whalish in this dress.
It was lunchtime. The crew was starving, and I was pretty sure I was never going to eat again. Finally, I think they all pretended something had worked out, just to end the torture.
I packed my stuff up and made the fastest exit I could.
On my way out, a woman began walking beside me. She hadn’t been in our shoot, but must have seen it from another set because she said, “Don’t worry, that dress was hideous!”
I just smiled.
She then said, “But hey, money’s money, right?”
And right she was. No matter what happens in our lives, sometimes we just have to suck it up and get the job done. And besides, I can quite comfortably assume that Kim Kardashian, in all her glamour and beauty, has shown up on set for a photo shoot to find a dress that was too small.