the shoes look good, but oh god my feet

Just got back from my first honest-to-God casting call a couple of hours ago. I've never been to an open call before. There were open calls in Arizona -- they happened once in a blue moon, and they were all in Phoenix, where I would not set foot unless someone I sincerely cared about was about to die there. Some of the other models there lamented that Boston was a small market. Ha ha, I say. You think this is a small market because you live a train ride from New York City. Try Flagstaff for a couple of years, and tell me what you think of Boston.

[The call was for a company called VienneMilano, and I encourage you to check their stuff out. They import European stockings. I am happy to recommend them, partly because Vienne was there and was a very friendly, professional lady who seems to know what she's doing, but mostly because one of the models from their previous catalog was there helping to run things, and she was wearing a pair of their thigh-highs. Nobody knew this until she flipped up her skirt hem to show them off, because she hadn't touched them once the entire evening. If you've ever tried to wear thigh-highs and do anything more strenuous than exist -- assuming you found any that fit in the first place -- you know what a miracle this is.]

It was not nearly as nerve-wracking as I expected. I've done auditions before, back in the Cretaceous Era when I was a teenager. They were not fun. About half the people there are normal but absorbed in reading the script pieces they give you, or rehearsing their song, too lost in their own little world to interact with you much; another third are so terrified that you wonder if maybe someone if someone has forced them to come by holding their beloved pet hostage. The remainder are horrible narcissistic divas who would rip your face off with their bare hands if not for the possibility that it might damage their nails. The Bitch Brigade seems to be like that all the time, inasmuch as they did it to me even though I was singing alto/tenor rather than soprano and therefore wasn't even in the running for the parts they wanted. I honestly don't know if theater encourages that in people, or if teenage girls are just one failed algebra test away from public cannibalism, but it was by far the worst part of the process. I have basically no fear of doing things in front of an audience, but I always managed to run into at least one person that, while I wouldn't really be happy to hear that they died in a fire, I wouldn't be able to muster many tears over, either.

The casting call was nothing at all like that. By the end of it, we had thirty beautiful women loitering around a hotel suite in their underwear, not curling up into a shameful tummy-concealing ball or grumbling about how disgusting and fat they felt. One of them sat down and stuck her nose into a copy of Good Omens. I didn't hear anybody say anything mean, even while we were all kind of flinging clothes around and changing -- clearly, B-grade cheerleader movies have lied to me. There was a lot of 'that is gorgeous, where did you buy it?' and 'will you please zip me up?' and 'oh god, I just spent fifteen minutes wandering blindly around the hotel in my lingerie, will someone please tell me, where is the bathroom?' I did hear a few things like 'too busy, lose the earrings' and 'you should probably wear your hair up', but in a friendly tone, from people who were genuinely being helpful. One girl spoke up solely to tell another girl she had lovely breasts, which is just about the only time you could possibly say that to a perfect stranger and not be immediately branded a creepy pervert.

I lent out lipstick and a hairbrush and some safety pins, and got it all back afterwards, with thanks. That doesn't even happen when I let people borrow pens, f'r chrissakes.

Also: Ask people about their tattoos. Believe me, if they've had it inked onto their skin, they are happy to tell you about it. I was surprised to see that a few of the girls had some beautiful but very large and intricate pieces, in very obvious places. Tattoo coverup must work better than I assumed.

I also came away with several phone numbers. A lot of models do things that aren't modeling, in between letting strangers take test photos of them in their underpants -- there were several business students, the vocalist for a local pop-punk band, and the model helping run the shoot works in a neurolinguistics lab at BU. One of the ones I met is a charming madwoman named Ivy who was down from Maine -- possibly for this call, possibly for no apparent reason -- who does handmade jewelry on commission. She's a metalworker and was wearing several of her own (very nice, rather sort of industrial Deco) pieces to the call, so if anyone is interested in that sort of thing I will happily put you in touch.


  1. I'm glad you had a good time! Do you think you're going to get a call-back?

    1. I don't have the foggiest idea. I think I have a greater than 0% chance, since the casting call specifically said "all shapes and sizes" and the Italian fellow who was the other half of the business made a point of saying "Photoshop is for fixing stretch marks, we want personality", but honestly they were so professional and respectful of all the girls I couldn't read if they were really dazzled by anyone in particular.

      It was fun, I met people I'd actually enjoy talking to again, and Vienne offered to send out free samples to anyone who gave her a mailing address (and a lifetime discount solely for turning up in the first place!), so it was worth going even if I don't.


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