Here’s an excerpt from my manuscript STRUT about an hyper egotistical male model that eventually learns there are more important things than having ab definition and being in fashion magazines.
When I get to my reciprocity casting, I immediately conclude reciprocity sucks.
“You can do this?” The photographer’s assistant says pointing at a picture of what has to be a professional dancer doing the splits in mid air. A giant grin is stretched across the dancer’s face, like nothing would excite him more than to tear his scrotal sac. This photo makes me acutely aware of the throbbing ache in my own groin.
“I can’t do that,” I say and glance off set at the couch covered in models. They’re waiting and watching me. Each one wears the same shit eating grin, anticipating me having to perform some act of foolishness for the casting. Models are short sighted; soon they’ll be up here killing a little piece of their own dignity while a new batch of models stifles laughter. They shouldn’t be so smug.
“Ok, not exactly this. Just jump as high as you can and make lots of big bendy movements,” The assistant says. I’m wearing my black Top Shop skinny jeans pulled neatly over my Vivienne Westwood brown leather boots, I‘m not really dressed for calisthenics, but he doesn’t care. “On three.”
“One…two…” I glance at the photographer sitting with his legs crossed while he studies my portfolio. “Three!”
I give a little jump straight up and land hard on my unforgiving Vivienne Westwood’s. These boots may look a little like combat boots but they aren’t actually made for anything resembling combat, and a jump over two-inches in the air is fucking World War 3 as far as I’m concerned.
“Jump higher. Kick your heels up. That will make it look like you’re higher in the air.” The assistant says. “Oh, and put your hands up in the air. Like it’s a celebration.”
A celebration of idiocy; I hate this kind of casting.
“Where was this shot?” The photographer holds up my portfolio turned to a black and white Burberry campaign where I’m dressed in a double breasted Burberry trench coat. The girl in the photo next to me is wearing a red dress and carrying a Burberry purse that probably costs more than the entire budget of the shitty job I’m casting for right now.
“Hamburg,” I say as I jump and throw my hands in the air and kick my heels back so hard they pound my own ass. The flash goes off recording this momentous occasion for eternity.
“Better,” The assistant says. But when he walks over to me I know I’m not looking quite as moronic as he would like. He holds out the photo of the groin tearing dancer and points at the huge grin. “Like this. More this feeling.”
“A feeling of obliviously happy compliance?” I say, glaring at the idiotically large grin on the dancer’s face. No one leaps in the air, spreads their legs at a 90-degree angle, and is this fucking delighted about it. The assistant shakes his head and smiles at my comment clearly not understanding or caring what I’ve said.
“No. More happy feeling. Same jump but feel happier,” He does his own mini jump clearing a whopping three millimetres, smiles, and says: “See. It’s a happy jump.”
“Where’s this Men’s Health cover from?” The photographer holds up another page from my portfolio.
“That one’s from Greece,” I say as I leap and hammer my ass with my heels again, but this time I do it happily. My leather boots offer zero support as I hit the ground. “I’ve got two more Men’s Health covers, one from Cape Town and another from Singapore later in my book.”
“Nice,” The photographer nods and flips to the back of my portfolio. “You’ve got a strong, versatile book. Lots of good fashion, lots of nice commercial.”
“Thanks,” I say and leap in the air clenching my teeth in a forced smile. It’s taken me years to build my book to this level. Clients won’t book you for anything that gives you decent tear sheets unless you’ve already got good tear sheets in your book. It’s the fashion model catch-22. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now—which is apparently kicking my own ass in front of an audience.
I have to go back to Milano, I have to go somewhere that respects the craft of modeling. Somewhere that appreciates the dedication and the work I’ve put in.
“Better feeling,” The assistant says. “Keep this feeling and give me some variations.”
Fuck. I jump and lift my legs on either side and put my arms straight down so I look like a designer fashion wearing frog. I jump and freeze my legs and arms in a mid-air running position. I jump and kick my limbs straight out looking like a Frisbee tossed starfish. I do every painful variation with a giant smile on my face and every time I leap into the air and the flashes go off, it carves a little slice out of my soul.
I jump until I can’t think of anything else to do with my limbs and sweat has started to drip off my face onto my white round-collar Polo top by Paul Smith. All the models are giggling except for one guy who looks like his Bran Flakes just kicked in. Obviously, he’s next. He’s the only one who’s realized my shame will soon be every one of theirs.
I don’t feel sorry for any of them.
Check out my article in the weeks Star…
The answer to this tweet, which was too enticing to answer in only 140 characters.
What superhero would I be is a tough question that goes to the heart of personal identity and how you see yourself.
Obviously for cool, sheer anti-hero appeal I’d want to be Wolverine, though for thrills Wolverine’s powers—healing factor and retractable admantium claws—are sort of lacking.
Sorry bub, but as neato as Wolvie is, I don’t think I’d want to be him. I also don’t have the angst to pull that off.
It’d be cool to be a superhero who could fly! So how about one of Ironman or Batman? Ok, Bats doesn’t fly but he glides real good.
Nah, the truth is if I was either of these incredibly wealthy guys I’d spend more time lounging on my yacht than running around in a costume stopping crime.
If I could be one hero for the day, I’d have to pick…
Not so much because he’s the most powerful hero ever (he was the only one who could stop the Hulk when the green guy went Hulk-Shit and started trashing the earth in World War Hulk!), but because I’d like to experience what it’s like to be agoraphobic.
That’s right! The most powerful being in the universe gets anxiety attacks from crowds, public spaces, and open areas. That’s a modern hero’s Kryptonite. Complex.
And not only that but he has one of the most convoluted origin stories even in a universe populated by origin stories where toxic waste gives you super abilities instead of just giving you nut cancer and killing you slowly.
Though he first appeared in 2000 the Sentry has been around forever, working with great super heroes all the way, but his memory was completely erased from everyone’s mind—including his own!! (which explains his dumpy appearance in above picture)
But wow, seriously? Even Stan Lee was conned into saying he created The Sentry back in the 40’s but forgot. Yep, if I created an infinitely powerful hero and the character flaw I gave him was crippling agoraphobia, I’d forget him too.
The Sentry, a hero with the power to roast chickens with his breath, but too scared to use any of his powers.
That’s the hero I want to be.