Melissa Stetten's Bratwalk

Hands Up Who Wants to Talk to the Model?

By Melissa Stetten

Every time my phone rings and I see it’s my agent or manager, I automatically think they are calling to reprimand me about some kind of un-PC tweet I might have thrown at the world – like the time I tweeted about how I wanted to kill myself after an audition, for instance. Apparently not everyone thinks suicide is funny.

Anyway. It's that time of my life again, when my agent calls me and I almost screen her because I've just tweeted something about Kim Kardashian's taste in dicks. But I don't, and so I find out I booked a national commercial. Finally, all those endless weeks of holding hands with guys who look like Orlando Bloom with a head injury and dancing around in bikinis have finally paid off.
 
The reason these commercial bookings are so sought after is because they pay a shit ton of money. Every time the commercial airs you get a residual, and these add up to thousands of dollars. I am excited because this is my first. My face is about to be on TV.
 
My call time is 8AM at Sony Studios. That place is huge but somehow, I make my way to wherever my commercial is being shot, where I am greeted by a cute wardrobe girl and asked to help myself to some coffee. As I’m pouring the coffee into a cup someone calls my name. I turn around and spill the scalding hot coffee on my hand, and my hand turns red. That someone wants to drive me to hair and makeup in his golf cart. I'm never one to turn down a ride by a stranger.

The makeup girl slathers my face in foundation and I mentally try to calculate how many zits will have popped on my face by tomorrow. My hair is done to look like that of a 60s floozy and I get squeezed into a dress. I’m all ready to go, but apparently no one else is, so I wait. I fiddle with my phone and take pictures of myself for about an hour. Another hour passes and finally I’m walked to where we’re shooting.

The set is a massive stage, with a super-shiny, white floor, a car at its centre and a roof holding a million lights. I'm told, it's also the same stage where The Wizard of Oz was shot, which I think is fascinating because I’m easily fascinated by history. The wardrobe chick tells me to stand by the car. I walk up a step, contemplate having a panic attack and overhear the assistant director tell off the wardrobe chick for letting me walk on the floor with my shoes on. “I told her to take them off before she went up there,” she says. Fuck you too, bitch, you never said anything.
 
There is no dialogue in the script so the job is quite easy. I just have to smile in front of a bunch of cars; it's not like I have to analyse herpes outbreaks, like some people. Before getting here this morning, I had been slightly worried about all this, but I keep my composure. This job confirmed that I love being the centre of attention.
 
I spend a few more hours smiling around and then I'm asked to take a break because they have to adjust some lights or something. Everyone seems so fucking busy, so I wander around like a lost puppy. I grab some snacks and smile at people walking by. I go back to wardrobe and put on my hoodie. I sit in there for a while looking around aimlessly and then decide to go for a walk. People zoom past me on golf carts and I pretended to have some kind of purpose.
 
I find a bench and sit on it for an hour. I text friends and stare at my phone. Eventually I walk back to the studio and to the snack table, grab some cookies and eat them while I sit on a chair and stare into space. Then someone comes to herald me back to the set.
 
I'm asked to do the same thing as before, but now I'm supposed to look sexy and flirty. I also spend a few minutes opening and closing a car door. Then I'm thanked and asked to hang around. A few more groundhog hours and I am finally told I can leave.
 
I'm not going to complain; I'm ecstatic I booked this job. It's just that the whole experience was quite lonely and made me feel like a model. I was actually treated like a model. Which is strange, right? Next time I’ll remember to bring a book.

Follow Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaStetten

Illustrations by Sam Taylor. Follow him on Twitter @sptsam or visit his website at samtaylorillustrator.com.

Previously: Getting Judged by Frat Boys Is the Worst

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