Another day in the life of…me.
10:44 AM – Arrive one minute early for my day at Carolina Herrera. Although I am technically sixteen minutes early but our agency always places a fifteen minute idiot buffer so models always arrive in a timely manner. No matter how many times a client looks at me, puzzled at my earliness, in the back of my mind I keep thinking that one time the client is actually the one operating in fifteen minute increments, not the agency. I am like a dog who knows that the spoon full of peanut butter always has arthritis medication tucked inside, but for a brief moment I thinks that maybe, just maybe this time there won’t be bitter blue pills that dissolve on my tongue as the peanut butter sticks to the roof of my mouth. But there always is…
11:00 AM – Lee from Carolina walks Chantalle and I over to Sally Hershberger to get our hair did. This is a salon started by the Chrissy Hynde of hair, although I believe that Sally is an actual lesbian and not just a butch lady with kick ass rocker style and a latent cocaine habit. On the walls there are pictures of big breasted models doing extreme yoga backbends in the nude.
11:13 AM – I am introduced to Paul who will be doing my hair for the “event” that has not been explained to me in detail and remains a vague reality in the near future. My comfortability with this fact stems from my “show up and get paid” mentality.
11:25 AM – After a decent hair scrub by a woman who leaves me wanting more, Paul begins to blow dry my hair. Two different people come to expedite the process. These are the times in which I feel like a car in the shop. I say this to Paul over the noise of the hairdryer but he laughs a laugh in which I can tell he has no idea what I mean. I look at at the women in the chairs next to me. They’re gabbing away and smiling and not smiling and looking at their own eyes in the mirror as they talk at the person doing their hair. The environment is simultaneously energizing and exhausting.
12:00 PM – I am still in the chair, now with fully dry hair, and Paul is whipping up something on my head that I cannot see. All I know is that he is on his 56th bobby pin. This is a lot.
12:15 PM – Paul finishes the last few touches on my up-do. He shows me his creation in the mirror. It looks like a doughnut that sat in coffee or a few hours, inflated and puffy. Not in a bad way, just in a puffy doughnut way. “On to makeup?” he asks. I tell him we are doing it on our own and he says he thinks that I will do a fine job on my own. What I don’t tell him is that I am already wearing the makeup I will have for the rest of the day and apparently I did not do a fine job.
12:17 PM – I take off the white robe that they had me change into when I arrived. These are common at expensive salons. They never had this at The Hair House when I was growing up.
12:19 PM – I ask the amiable receptionist if they have any coffee. Like the robes, this is something that places like this have and provide free for their clients. She returns with my nonfat latte. “A double, extra strong, ‘ she says with a wink in her voice. I drink it down while browsing through a hardcover book about Hollywood’s best plastic surgeons. I think I want a new nose.
12:24 PM – Chantalle and I start to walk back over to Carolina Herrera. I ask her questions about her summer plans as I shovel brown rice topped with sliced avocado and sauteed swiss chard into my mouth. There’s no reason why this should actually taste good.
12:32 PM – We’ve changed into beaded summer dresses and uncomfortable shoes and Lee drives us down the street to a furniture store on La Cienega. The event is called “Legends of La Cienega Design Walk Presented by Elle Decor.” As far as I can tell all we are going to be doing is walking from store to store taking pictures of us pretending to model for crowds. This hunch pretty much materializes as a reality throughout the day. A woman offers us to sit down and give our feet a rest. I have only been standing for maybe four minutes but I accept the offer. I am not this accostomed to be so comfortable at a job.
12:58 PM – There is now a group of eight models from different boutiques on Melrose Place that are now being shuttled by two raven haired women wearing orange scarves to the VIP Lounge. When we arrive there are only four other people sitting around drinking cocktails made with St. Germain. Telling the crowd what we are wearing takes a minute and then the rest of the twenty minutes we stand their awkwardly waiting for someone to tell us what to do I listen to Michelle tell me about ex-boyfriends and try the appetizers passed around by waiters. The cucumber under my crab salad is a little flaccid.
1:30 PM – We move to design showroom number two. We sit on chairs, they take some pictures, we stand around while other models sit on chairs and get pictures taken. Michelle and I talk some more.
1:55 PM – The third showroom we are supposed to go into for pictures is not ready for us. We stand on the sidewalk watching Sunday traffic go by on La Cienega. An antiques store opens its doors (and chairs to sit on) to us so we go inside. The woman who owns the place looks a little like Jocelyn Wildenstein but she is very friendly and offers us free reign over her buffet of grapes, salami, crackers and cheese. Her son works with her. She pushes him like a loving Jewish grandmother, although I am pretty sure she is an old school Catholic Italian. I feel bad that I am just standing here eating all of their food so I try to carry on a conversation with the son while I munch on green grapes. He used to play tennis professionally. Despite all of our refusals of her offer, the owner pours us each a glass of prosecco and demands that we drink. “You are young!” she says, “It all passes by so fast.”
2:32 PM – The showroom we’ve been waiting for while we eat this woman out of house and home opens up for us to take pictures and stand around some more. A graying man named Nigel asks me about modeling and what I thought about it. He has a fourteen year old daughter who is 5’10. My reviews of the business come out mixed. I feel like an asshole talking about modeling when I’m standing around a furniture showroom in Carolina Herrera, talking about this job as if this is what modeling actually is. It’s being the accountant for your family’s screwdriver business and telling someone what it’s like to be an investment banker.
2:40 PM – A man walks past Chantalle and exclaims that the light on her when she looks down in such a way is just gorgeous. “What a beautiful picture that would make!” he says. I tell him he should consult the professional photographer we have on set, which he does when she walks by. Another model asks him if he is a photographer himself. “No!” he scoffs, “I am a very rich man!” It is hard for me to tell if he is joking or employing any sense of irony. A few minutes later he corners a group of us sitting on a sofa and proceeds to recite some prose he learned at a party the week before. He is the highlight of my day.
2:48 PM – A shuttle drives us down to another showroom. It is light and bright and I want to buy all of the furniture inside of it but I don’t have a five thousand square foot house in the hills yet so I cannot.
3:04 PM – I am in a shuttle back to the boutique. My day is done and I don’t feel tired, used, abused or otherwise. This is amazing. I can’t believe I just got paid to do that.