When I was a young girl, still in high school, I used to dream of becoming a fashion model. I imagined myself in a Manhattan apartment with a high class lifestyle. I fantasized me being a real New York girl seen in all the right places with all the right people. I’d have a yearly income of a-million-plus; do bathing suit shoots in the Caribbean; have a starring role in a babe movie with no plot; marry a rock star, divorce him and then marry a rich shipping magnet from Greece; and have my own exercise video. I’d own a house in London, one in Hollywood, and (naturally) a villa in the South of France. I knew, just knew, I was meant to be a model so I grew up and became a receptionist.
I had the good fortune to work for a market research and retail consulting company. At the time, it was a fairly young company, started by a couple of Ohio State University professors, and only about 50 people worked there. I was the company receptionist, answering incoming calls on a multi-line switchboard. I absolutely loved the job and can confidentially say I was good at it. I received compliments from coworkers and clients alike, quite regular. I was a natural with my pleasing and personable personality and pleasant phone voice and an acute ability to make tongue twisters. I might not have been in Manhattan dancing with rock stars, but at least I got to talk to people in New York.
One day while I was sitting pretty at the reception desk wishing the phone to ring, our public relations lady came in the lobby. Her name was Terri. She was a very friendly and outgoing person. I guess that’s why she was in public relations. She told me she was working on a marketing brochure and that she was expecting professional photographers to be there at any moment to take pictures for the brochure. They soon arrived, dressed casually, wearing Hush Puppies and toting their cameras. Terri gathered them all in the corporate board room, because you always had to have a meeting in the board room first. Soon they came out flashing their cameras. They took pictures all around: the CEO’s office, the beautiful lobby with all the fake plants, our infamous Audio-Visual Center, our research library showing all 450 retail trade press periodicals glowing neatly from every shelf, and even the Mail Room with action-packed pictures of mail actually being sorted. But they needed pictures of retail success stories in action! They wanted photos of focus groups, glorious retail store fronts of clients, beautiful POS displays inside stores, and pictures of products on retailer’s shelves! What a marketing brochure it would be! Prospective new clients would not only see our lovely and spacious office but pictures of things happening in the “field” to prove how wonderful we were at consulting! Wow!
That was when I got my big break. One of the photographers “discovered” me. He said I had pretty hands. Yeah. I had pretty hands. Soon the buzz around the office was that I would be going on location! Wow! Me! I would be going to the local hardware store with the photographers. There, they would take pictures of me posing as a shopper holding a plastic container!
However, when I arrived, the photographers told me not to bother to take off my coat. Only my hands would be in the picture with the bowl, not my smiling face. But, I learned a lot about hand modeling that day. For example, I learned how to hold the container so my hand did not cover it up. My hand had to look like it was comfortable holding the plastic bowl. It was tricky, but I caught on real fast. I hadn’t realized my fingers were so double jointed. They said I was a natural.
After the photographers were certain they’d taken a good shot, I went back to work as the company receptionist and I called my mom. I even got to give my autograph to the UPS man later that day. And so was the beginning and end of my modeling