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The Portfolio

Issue Date: Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005

I was surveying my nephew run screaming through my parents’ home on Sunday afternoon carrying a plastic golf club. He would make laser beam and shooting noises and then hurl himself in the opposite direction all the while keeping up a 40 mph conversation with anyone within earshot about Billy Blazes. I got an education on Billy Blazes this weekend, I’ll tell you what. And as he ran through the living room where I had (my constant companion) the television on, my nephew stopped dead still… to watch a commercial and my mother turned to me and said, “He’s definitely related to you.”

I have always loved the television. Everything about it. From the way our old (197?) model used to smell like ozone after being on for more than an hour and a half in the winter to the way you could either entertain yourself or educate yourself in its many facets. My mother would limit me to two hours of TV on the weekends just to get me to go outside and play. I was always watching PBS or cartoons, and the commercials would delight me with their creative ways of trying to manipulate you to buy their materials, services, food items or toys.

When I was in elementary school my mother did some side work for a market research company and ended up getting a commercial for Chef Boyardee Pizza Mix. I can remember my mother calling us from New York, telling us all about the limousine ride and the hotel she was staying in. I thought it was all so glamorous. It was so exciting to see her face on national television during daytime soap operas hawking pizza sauce as if she were Julia Childs.

My sister and I went to college on the royalties from that commercial.

Before she went to New York, the agency sent her to get her head shot done. My father was out of town and was not too keen on his bride being sent to a motel to get her “picture taken by a professional”. If you know what I mean, and I am sure you do. But my mother took a friend with her and it turned out that everything was totally legit. The pictures are still lovely, if not for the 197? over-sweep, suburban housewife hair do my mother was sporting.

So when I showed interest in modeling/acting/dancing (triple treat yanno… I can NOT sing for the life of me) my mother knew all the steps because she continued on her little journey into the forays of being an extra and whatnot. The whatnot includes being on the MRI videotape the doctors show you before you have the test. Glamorous No?

It all started when we moved to Texas.

I was anxious and I could only take so many dance classes, go to church so many times a week or have so many extracurricular activities. I wanted to work. So, my mother helped me and we applied for my labor license. I received it when I was twelve. Hello, over achiever. How you doin? (Don’t worry, that burned hot and fast… then burned out when I was in college.)

My mother and I researched children’s talent agencies in the Dallas area and found one that routinely sent kids on a bunch of auditions, print work jobs and extra jobs. I did not just want one area. I wanted to work in the modeling arena, the print arena, the television-movie-stage arena and apparently filmstrips*.

*Shut up.

My only problem was that I had no clue until I unearthed this little gem this weekend that I was being billed as a 12 to 13 year old Lolita.

Check it.
(Click to make all of these pictures bigger. And really… please click on them… it is so worth it.)

Little Lolita

Make a little list of thirteen year old-isms, gold ball earrings… check… frizzy hair… check… Cosby sweater, NAY, make that a VEST. (What the fuck?) … check… Oddly applied Cover Girl (with Noxema®) makeup…. Checkity check check bitches.

Um, who picked this photo? Was it the best one? What did they do? “Ok honey, make like you are going to sneeze… now pull your chin in and… LOOK SEXY!”

I found my portfolio this weekend while I was at my parents’ house. And that little slice of heaven up there isn’t the last of them.

I also found some old scripts and my resume of experience. Experience. At 13-15 that term is laughable. But apparently the photo above, and this one…

The A Side

And alternately this one…

The B Side

They got me a few jobs. It doesn’t say on my resume if any of those jobs were for jumping rope, or being Marianne from Gilligan’s Island or for having the WORST HAIR AND HEAD SHOT THIS SIDE OF THE MISSISSIPPI… but. ::sigh:: That is what “they” wanted. And ya’ll know I cried when they picked that honky-afro shot for the A-side of my head shot right? RIGHT?

Because … Oh My GAH.

But the jobs I do remember were for stuff like catalogs. Sunday mailer type stuff, and no, we didn’t get to keep the clothes… and we had to bring our own accessories. I was an extra for Dallas and again for the movie Dallas the Early Years. I did the 1950’s scene out by the pool.

And the most glamorous of all jobs… I hoped and I prayed…. And it finally came true.

I was cast to be in a film………….strip.

I weep for my dignity.

I remember it was me and three other morons. We were to shoot a Science Fair Film Strip. As in “*dong* Please turn to the next slide” film strip. We went to this school out in the middle of nowhere. It was summer, so the building was empty, and HOT. We were all supposed to wear fall clothes. Again. HOT.

So, we had me… another girl and two geeky guys.

Lord.

I was handed a cat skeleton was tried to act alluring.

Camera? Easy Peasy…

Hire Me Kodak!

See? Easy.

Cat Skeleton. No. Hot, dead, cat… bad scene. “*Dong!* Please remove this memory from my cerebrum!”

So, if you run across (refers to “experience sheet”) a science fair filmstrip made by Northwestern Telecom, Show Works out of Dallas, TX with a geeky ass chick gingerly handling a cat skeleton. I’d love to see that piece of filming genius.

The last headshot I did was not that awful... Major pun with the denim and pearls, thanks Brooks and Dunn… shut UP.

Neon Moon

I left my little bit of the bright lights behind when I stepped off my high school stage and put up my cat skeleton. It was great practice for interviewing when I got older having already been through about a frillion auditions by the age of sixteen. But I don’t ever think I will give up the little bit of drama that will always lurk inside of me.

I think I will always like to loose myself in movies, and even tiny little commercials.

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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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