“It just wasn’t meant to happen…”
My wise mother has always consoled me with those technically not so consoling words. But I’ve always fought the little guy inside my head saying, does it really make me happy that something didn’t happen, just because fate decided it shouldn’t? I would love to believe that God has it all planned out. That one door closes, only for many more to open. But on the day you don’t get what you want, the doors that are open don’t seem to lead you to anything but disappointment.
Well, now I can’t help but feel like a product of my mother’s wise words.
Monday morning, 11 a.m., on the phone with…oh you know just a model recruiter from Seventeen Magazine. “Good news, we’ll be expecting you at 8:30 a.m. in New York.” Somehow DO NOT PANIC got translated, to “Sounds perfect!” and I was on my way to New York by 12:30 pm that very day. Why did you go to New York you might be asking? Well you know, just to go to a photo shoot for a spread in Seventeen Magazine. Am I a model? Absolutely not. Was I expecting that phone call? Last thing on my mind! But, you just never know what fate has planned out for you and what random opportunity will come knocking on your very own door.
So I’m sitting on a bus to New York next to a stranger who happens to be less of a stranger then expected. After both exchanging stories about our exciting trips to New York, I’m sitting there, cramming studying for an upcoming exam and I overhear my bus buddy on the phone with a friend. “Dude, I’m on my way to New York sitting next to a…Model!” Me…a model? Let’s all get real, if there is anything about me, the last thing I am is a self-absorbed diva, but for the first time in my life I was a little proud of the little celeb I felt like at that moment I mean, I was on my way to New York to do a photo shoot. But little did I know exactly what a photo shoot entails.
8:30 Tuesday Morning my day begins. I walk into one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen, and I am surrounded by black attire. Men, woman, old, young, every single person apparently woke up thinking black was the fashion statement that needed to happen. I already felt like a star with my sister and her fiancé as my entourage by my side, both more excited and supportive than any person could ask for. I mean who am I to deserve all this attention, I kept thinking. And then I learned what the heck it means to have all the attention in the world. “Just go in the other room where there is a hot breakfast” the secretary told me…“along with your hairstylist, make-up artist, wardrobe stylist, and art director. “ I’ve never really understood what “speechless” really means until that moment.
I walk into a room of amazingly bright lights. Spread on the table is make-up galore, ranging from YSL to Dior to things I didn’t even recognize. Next to that set up was every hair product and tool that you could find on the shelf of a beauty store. This is all for…me? I kept thinking. And then it began. I simultaneously had someone blow-drying, straightening, and curling my hair, while make-up was put on and taken off my face for 7 different looks. How hard can it be to take a picture? Try 12 whole hours, just to get 5 looks for a magazine. Pictures would be taken; one would be selected and sent to the ominous decision makers upstairs. “We don’t like the earrings,” would be the verdict, and before you knew it new earrings would appear. “I’d rather her hair be in a braid,” and just like magic…I would have a braid. But wait nope they now wanted it curly and again, tadaa, my hair was magically transformed. I was a true princess, diva queen for a day. And I gloated with happiness all day long as I was pampered like a superstar. But superstardom doesn’t come as easy as I thought as after 5 hours of “smiling with my eyes,” and putting on a “big smile,” my lip muscles began to quiver and how could I forget the random frigid temperature.
I should’ve known a New Yorker saying it was cold out meant, it was pretty freakin’ cold out. The cold first took me by surprise in Central Park for the first outside portion of the photo shoot. What you see on Top Model about modeling through harsh conditions is definitely not an exaggeration, as I tried to “effortlessly pose” while my knees were literally knocking each other from trembling. So, the solution to the problem? I got to wear a huge fuzzy orange jacket from the Seventeen closet, with purple pants to cover my legs, as me and my “crew” walked around New York looking for the best spot to shoot. I felt like the definition of glamorous. We would take a few test shots, and as soon as the lighting was perfect, jacket was off and it was posing galore. “Look here, look there, smile, don’t smile, right, left,” is what my ears were hearing but in my mind all I could process was Tyra’s voice on top model telling girls to “smeyze” there eyes off. Is there really me? Is how I felt the whole day, as I would see the pictures I just took projected on a laptop to be sent away to the editors.
That night as I was back home in DC washing out pounds of hairspray, mousse, make-up and every beauty product off my body, it hit me that this was something I hadn’t planned out. This was an opportunity that came to me, one that as a little gangly, tall girl I had always dreamed of. I always laughed when someone would say, “wow you’re so tall, have you ever modeled?” because the thought of me hogging a camera and looking “glam” seemed like a dream far out of my reach. But this week my dream came true, and in a month’s time my face will be sold across the country in a special college edition of Seventeen Magazine. So ladies, feel free to use my face to entertain you while waiting in the grocery store. And maybe you’ll get a chance to say you know a celebrity….just kidding.