It’s the spring of ’92. I’m in the 7th grade, and I look something like this:
I get a call from Church Lady: would I be interested in being a model for the upcoming Mother-Daughter Tea? Me, a supermodel? I mean, I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shan’t – okay, fine, I’ll do it. Mom takes me to get a stylin’ new outfit from J.C. Penney, and I get a free perm from one of the sponsors. I’ve got a spring in my step, and more than a spiral bounce in my hair; I borrow Madonna’s I’m Breathless from my friend, Kristin, and I turn the volume on my boom box up when “Vogue” finally hits the speakers. I create a path in my bedroom and I walk from one corner of the room to the other, head down and slightly tilted to the right, lips pouted the best way my pubescent face knows how. I’m gonna rock this joint, I think to myself.
And then the big day comes, and I show up early to the church basement; the Mary Kay lady does my make-up, and she even tells me my colors, although it’s not going to make that much of a difference because all I wear is pale Wet N Wild frosted pink, just like my friend Sarah. We don’t even have to do that much to my locks, because The Permanent took quite well – and then, hair done, make-up ready, outfit in place, it’s time to strut what Madonna’s been helping me practice. I check my lip gloss, and then I walk through the curtains, to the front of the room and back again, just like I practiced in my bedroom. Even though Amy Grant’s Heart in Motion blasts through the sound system speakers, I strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.
Vogue, vogue, vogue!
I worked it. I strutted the church basement runway, and God said that it was good. But friends lest you be dismayed that modeling was just a 7th-grade one hit wonder, it happened again today. I became a supermodel, just for a couple of hours.
Because, as you may recall, this happened a couple months’ ago:
Soon thereafter, I then started receiving emails from Public Bikes, and saw the following headline: Bike Models Needed. I listed all the reasons in my head why I shouldn’t send back a head shot, including but not limited to the following: I still, (I always) need to lose 15 pounds, along with the baby gut I’ve affectionately named Little Buddha. I’m not certainly not cool and hipster enough for a San Francisco-based company, and what if I get all sweaty and they use me to feature a pit-stained, out-of-breath, “this won’t be you if you ride our bikes picture” of me?
Then I realized that if they’re looking for models through their own email marketing campaign, then maybe regular ol’ me is what they’re looking for – so I submitted a picture of Baby and me, and braced myself for rejection.
But then an acceptance email arrived, eliciting a response something like this: bwahahahahahahaha, which in Cara-speak is laughter of the deepest, gut-level sort.
In other words, What the hell was I thinking?!
Regardless, I hired a sitter for the two hours I’d be Being a Supermodel, and I picked out my non-stripey, non-graphic tee, non-black and white outfit, as instructed. And although I didn’t bust out “Vogue” on Pandora, I did practice a couple of these faces in the mirror:
Public Bikes wanted to film a commercial and photo shoot highlighting their new line of e-bikes, so today a crew of employees and photographers and filmmakers descended upon Haight and Buena Vista, and invited us to be a part of it. So there we were, piles of bicycles and camera equipment and personal bags crowding a corner of the park’s sidewalk. A nearby homeless-friendly drum circle with a hovering cloud of, uh, Mary Jane provided us with the necessary background music, along with the occasional Homeless Man cat call of, “Come on, girl, work it!”
Had they been drumming “Vogue” and I not realized it?
Regardless, round one of filming began, and they paired me with a bearded gentlemen my age dressed in suit coat and bow tie, “…normal everyday 4th grade teacher attire,” he’d said. “Fancy!” I replied, while really Yeah right, Overachiever, ran through my head. We were instructed to pedal our electric bikes up the hill, laughing and making conversation and generally having a good time as we magically navigated normal San Francisco terrain. The camera guy sat in the trunk of the SUV in front of us, filming as I asked my partner question after question, take after take. It was generally seamless, and we each received a high-five of as a reward for following instructions and catching a couple great shots.
Model Mission Accomplished.
And then it was time for round two: “You know what would be a GREAT idea,” the producer said, “would be to have a couple people ride regular bikes up the hill, and then have the electric bikes pass them up and cut them off!”
I nod my head: that is a brilliant idea! After all, I’ve mastered the electric bike, and it will only look natural for me to continue in this realm.
I’m picked to ride a regular, non-electric bike up a SAN FRANCISCO-SIZED HILL, in 80 degree heat with mustard jeans and green clogs on. I mean, now it’s just plain mean – because my hopes and dreams of looking something like this…
Now look something like this…
I start pedaling up the hill. The transients are now yelling, “Come on, girl – step on it! Come on, come on!” because I can’t seem to get it out of eighth gear to even begin to get the pedals moving forward. The wanderer dogs have joined in the chorus as well, howling and barking and growling, and meanwhile, I’m wondering if the wafts of smoke are really a good thing for my upward ascension. I finally make it up to the top, but there is no high-five from the camera guy this time.
“Yeah, you went to the left side of the street, but our car wasn’t able to go around you. You needed to go to the left of the right of the street.”
I didn’t follow directions.
So we did the take again.
By this point, I’ve gotten my work out in for the week, and I’ve also realized that my dreams of being America’s Next Top Model have been thrown out the window. Because are they going to use the picture of the merry, laughing couple joyfully climbing the hills on their easy, breezy electric bikes?
No. My red-faced and sweaty, what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is going on? face will instead certainly be gracing the billboards of our grand city.
And I can’t wait. I’ll keep you posted.
Now signing autographs,
Cara I wanna be a supermodel Meredith.
So, your thoughts? Otherwise, how have you been living life LARGE this week? Do share!