I am many things from mommy, consultant, wellness guru, blogger and sometimes artist’s model…but among my list of things you will NOT find the word actress. This may be surprising to some as I live in Los Angeles, am married to a TV and film producer and admittedly like to dress up and have my picture taken. Countless numbers of my beloved friends are actors and I am definitely a patron of ALL the arts, but no, je ne suis pas une actrice/ I am not an actress. Rewind to a couple of weeks ago.
Please note: I am an exhausted mommy of a 4.5 year old so this is a dramatic reenactment based on semi-recollection- don’t judge – I am also NOT a script writer:
[Phone rings... it's my actor/director friend N]
N: “Hey C, It’s N, how ARE you babe??”
Me: ” I’m good N, just left brunch at Comme ça, we are heading to the park for 20 and then we have another thing, can I call you later? What’s up?”
N: “I need to talk to you and your honey, I start shooting my web series in a week and a half – need to set some stuff up and I want you to be in it. You get to be a sexy secretary and have one line.”
Me: “Um, N, I don’t have time, and remember I’m not really an actress” (Just a star, I think to myself jokingly…)
N: “No, C – babe – it’s gonna be fun, you are perfect for it!!” (Read: good cleavage for button downs my inner witty me surmises)
Me: “Well, hmmm, let me think about it, I’m freaked out just contemplating it….but for you, I guess….ok. Gotta go”
Two days later I am on the hunt for “wardrobe options.” It’s been a long time since I worked in any sort of actual office and I need a new pencil skirt. My trusty gal friday “V” lends me some button downs – she has to do the office thing a lot. The final choice is the Banana Republic no iron stretch button down in pale blue. The patent leather Coach heels come out of shoe storage, this is going to have to work. I really wanted these new Coach heels here but I was going for height AND comfort since the idea of a FULL DAY in heels is scaring me more than anything.
In the Marciano dressing room, if you need a pencil skirt in YOUR life, definitely check out Guess by Marciano for a full range of styles. My favorite (not pictured) was too satin and vampy for my needs but I may need it for REAL life. See it here.
I arrive on set in the Valley after thinking that road work on Laurel Canyon is going to ruin my acting debut. The San Fernando Valley in case you did not know, it very hot. This does not bode well for my frayed nerves. I want to be calm, cool and collected. I am pretty much NONE of these and it’s not even started yet. I have my “trailer” AKA 3 bags full of stuff that might “help.” I am a nervous wreck. I change bras outside of the room where they are shooting the scenes before mine. I have two different rarely worn push-up bras and I need “feedback.” In the end I go with the racer back as it gives the most oomph and people around me agree. Sets are hilarious in this way. FYI, I go with the aptly named “Push ‘em Up Bra” from Gilly Hicks. This store may be for 19 year olds – which I admittedly am not – but they are dedicated to cleavage which is an occupational necessity on this day. In one bag I have two wigs “Sophia” and “Chloe” I think that either of these ladies in waiting could be a hair “option.” When the producer said “options” I took it seriously. I may be an actress after all…
Serious cleavage courtesy of Gilly Hicks Push ‘em Up Bra
My “Trailer” aka everything I need to be an actress at work, including new issues of Vogue and In Style to read while I wait around that I DO NOT crack open.
The infamous and lovely Laurel Canyon – I come to this gaggle of workers thinking I may need to use everyone’s favorite “Do you know who I am?” line. Sadly, I get by just fine.
In the make up chair:
I show up in my version of “camera ready.” I honestly felt like I had applied enough BOLD everything in my own mind. This is where I add [insert roaring laughter].Well, FYI, apparently even this makeup obsessed maven is at about 35% when it comes to “camera ready.” The sweet makeup artists get to work, I think “this is not going to work for my planned post-wrap dinner with Mr. TGFRL and friends tonight” as I have never witnessed “coverage” on this level- my darkened eyebrows could have their own documentary. I feel like a Rembrandt canvas, this young woman with a palette is focussed with razor eyes at my face. I try to breathe. No wonder actresses look freakishly flawless, I hadn’t been paying attention all the days I came to drag my husband off set to eat dinner all these years.
Ok, so it turns out that someone snapping a black and white object and ordering you to become someone else is a tricky business. I will save the rest of the details for an “after” post but suffice it to say acting is hard work!! Lights are hot, the pace is fast, improv is brutal and if you are like me you are deathly afraid to eat lunch while sauntering around in heels and a tight skirt. Scarlett Johansson in a black skin-tight bodysuit as Black Widow? Jennifer Lawrence as that full blue body paint Mystique character? These people are WORKING my friends. This is not the easy paycheck gig all we non-actors imagine and raise our eyebrows at. The teamwork, communication, crazy environmental stress and the need to create and recreate is not for the faint of heart.
It’s a Wrap!:
So my “part” expanded by a few lines, my character’s quasi-tawdry “backstory” revealed itself and my “mini-moment” dragged into hours. But oddly, about 60% into the experience it was fun! In fact, I got mercilessly teased for wanting to come back to set the very next day and try harder to do better! There was nothing more fabulous than the very last take of my very last scene when they said my character’s name and “it’s a wrap” for the day for me followed by every single cast and crew member clapping loudly. It was surreal, stressful, amusing and once in a lifetime-work day.
At day’s end I lugged my “trailer” off set and wandered to my parked car in a haze. I was glad to see the sun setting as I careened over the Canyon to go eat much needed steak and lobster mashed potatoes at Mastro’s with my real life leading man and I exhaled deeply. If it took me as long to get my few mini-lines and simple moves right in my own life, I would have given up long ago. But being an accidental actress in a webseries full of great actors and directed by an amazing friend was an experience I am glad I melted under lights for.
And maybe, just maybe you will get to see the hilarious, cheeky, fabulous thing for yourself some day soon.
TGFRL, her brilliant director and two fun and funny castmates taking a much needed couch break.