I really like doing print work. Or, I should say, I really like doing print work in Austin.
Yesterday, I did a printshoot for an amazing non-profit organization, helpful especially to those in my profession, The Voice Foundation. The photographer was the wonderful Randal Ford, who I’d worked with previously on the Dell “I’m a PC” ad. When I got there, there was some controversy about my no longer having bangs. All the models were being shot from bare shoulders up, so the personality of each ‘type’ in the campaign had to be conveyed through the hair and makeup. For me, they wanted a really hipster look and its hard to achieve that with one length hair. They asked me to cut it. I resisted. I’ve been growing my bangs out for a year now. For you male readers out there, bangs are a bitch to grow out. So instead of cutting them, the makeup/hair guru, Lucy Santamassino, swooped my hair in front of my forehead, for a sweet little indie Parisian look. Instead of being stressful, the whole affair was very fun and collaborative and we worked together to come up with a solution. There wasn’t any tension or conflict over the ‘bangs situation’. And we all laughed and caught up and there was no visible ego anywhere on set at any point during the day. It was a fun shoot.
When I used to book print jobs in New York City, it was a completely different experience. If I walked into the shoot and said hello to the photo assistants or sat down near the art director or something, they would all look at me like “what the hell is she doing?” I didn’t understand that at all until one job where I wasn’t the only model. When the other woman showed up,obviously a working model super decked out and fashionista, she walked past everyone without saying hello or even pulling out the iPod earbuds from her waifish and perfectly shaped ears. She went directly to the farthest point in the room and sat facing away from everyone. She didn’t say two words to me or anyone else all day. And then the other jobs I worked with fashion models, it was much the same (although there were some exceptions). I didn’t have a frame of reference at first. I was sent out to go-sees and castings by the print division of my talent agency, CESD. But I wasn’t a ‘model,’ I was an actor. I usually booked a lot of more the commercial jobs that were less high fashion but required some sort of emoting. And then when I got to the location, I approached it like being on any other set and was friendly and talkative to everyone. But in New York fashion, that kind of approach will result in the aforementioned ‘what the hell’ looks and you’ll get treated like an amateur instead of like a human. Nothing could be further from that mentality than the print jobs I’ve had in Austin.
Another not-so-fun aspect about doing print work in NYC is that it works both ways with casting. Models also get sent by their agencies to compete with actors for commercials. Nothing better for the self-esteem than to walk in for your Diet Coke audition and find a room of NYC models, each one more exoticly beautiful than the next, lined up before you. So yeah, let me just say it. When it comes to print jobs, except for the smaller amount of them available, Austin wins. Think about the Inuit shiny-haired cheekbone goddess you could be sitting next to next time your in Beth Sepko’s office and give thanks.