Some People Can Be So Mean

Yesterday I spent thirty-five minutes on the metro to reach a run-down apartment building in a very tony Parisian suburb, managed to open a security door whose buzzer probably last reliably worked during the Fourth Republic, took my life into my own hands inside a tiny wheezing coffin of a lift, and emerged to meet a petite overweight woman with dark roots, who took one look at my book, asked how long I had been modeling, then recoiled in horror and said, “Oh no, you’re new! We can’t have anybody new! This is too important a job. It’s in île Maurice and a new girl, that just isn’t possible.”

She closed my book and pushed it back across the table towards me, then took a phone call while I sat there looking at the other casting agent, who just smiled nervously. My hopes of going to Mauritius the first week of December were receding rapidly.

I took my time to collect my things after the casting, since the next girl hadn’t arrived and the casting agents were looking over the cards they’d collected from models so far that morning. The woman had chosen to ignore my French introduction and proceed in English, so I’m not sure she knew I could understand what she was saying, but I kind of reveled in a rare and perfect opportunity to witness fashion industry candidness. This self-important woman with the bad dye-job went through every single card on the table, catalogueing its bearer’s errors while her partner listened silently. She’s too fat, she’d be perfect if she were two inches taller — what is it with all these agencies sending me short girls? do they think they’re making some kind of a point? — and my God, she is just perfectly ugly. How they could even send her is beyond me. I don’t even know how she could get signed with a face like that. Look! Too old, too old. And barely been modeling two weeks! What do they think this is, some Paris show? I have no idea what to even do with this one…

It got to the point where I couldn’t linger any longer without it seeming weird. But she was still going strong when I left.

My next casting was for a French teen magazine owned by the Hachette group (which owns a tonne of other publishing houses worldwide, including Little, Brown) and held in Hachette’s impressive, mannered, steel-and-glass building complex in the Défense district. The casting agents were much nicer — my Emanuelle Seigner comparison score hit three — but that’s not necessarily an indication that the casting went well.

I had a lovely lunch with my booker today, and, astoundingly, the head booker came up to me in the office un-prompted and said my hips look “much better.” So for lunch I had spring rolls, crispy roast duck, and a flourless chocolate cake with spiced caramel sauce for dessert. Ha!

I exchanged numbers with a chatty, brassy Australian the other day at a casting — within minutes of meeting me, she was telling me about the creepy guy who followed her around her neighbourhood for two hours one afternoon while she tried to lose him (finally she went into a bar, pretended to order a drink so he would order one, then ran out — he got chased by the proprietor for not paying his tab, and she could go home), her diet (no dairy, lots of soy milk, “because the hormones give you boobs!”), and the job she’s on option for this December in Greenland. “You know, the aaar-tic!” She shared some choice words about designers who told her she was too big for their shows — something about woman-hating self-important gays who wish they could show their collections on the backs of pubescent boys — and I liked her immediately, all trans-Tasman brouhaha aside. We’re meeting for a drink in an hour and I have this warm-fuzzy feeling all like I hope I’ll make a friend.

3 responses to “Some People Can Be So Mean

  1. What’s a ‘tony’ neighborhood? Urbandictionary was no help on this one.

  2. It means exclusive, fancy, expensive. Apparently it comes from “high-toned,” a shade of russet that was the colour of the 1920s.

  3. She’s a model and she can eat her cake, too!

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