On the first day at every new agency, each model must fill out a form describing her skills. There's a row of boxes, and she checks "yes" or "no." Is she willing to model lingerie? Fur? Cigarettes? Can she dance? Windsurf? Ride bicycles, motorbikes, horses? Swim? Waterski?
Every shrewd model knows that the answer to each of these questions, regardless of the skills she actually possesses, is "yes." It's vanishingly unlikely that she'll ever be called upon to really motorbike, only to fashion motorbike. Nobody's ever going to strap a Valentino on her back and waterskis on her feet and drag her off the pier. The real question being asked is, "Are you game to pretend like you're doing all this stuff for the sake of getting the shot?"
Yes, I am. Yes. Yes. Yes. Why, yes, I can surf and sing and ballet dance! All at once, while smoking a cigarette, in fur lingerie, if you so desire.
So my agent called today: "Elyse, a client has requested to see you tomorrow morning at the Megabox Ice Rink. Please wear thick socks; she would like to see your ice skating."
Shit, I can kinda ice skate. I mean, I've done it before. But, as every true Albuquerquean knows, it was always way cooler to visit Roller King with its cholos and churros and stabbings and DJ playing Lighter Shade of Brown than it was to go to Outpost Ice Arena with its prissy figure skaters and parking lot shared with the County Line Steakhouse. In my soul, I'm an eight wheeler.
This afternoon I went to an ice rink in a Kowloon mall to pronate on blades for an hour and decide whether I would go to the casting tomorrow or call my agent, own up and beg out.
The ice rink was excellent: it cost HK$.60 per minute. Payment was via Octopus card and turnstiles, just like on the subway and buses!
And little kids were proppin' themselves up on these penguin-shaped skate crutches.
I made it through the hour without wiping out, but was unable to perform advanced moves such as stopping without grabbing someone's hair for balance. No way am I going to be the ice-skatin'est model bitch in the rink tomorrow; I mean, there'll be Canadians there! If ever there was a race of models born to Fashion Skate, it's them.
Tangentially, ex-roomie The Canuck has been on my mind: she went home to Canada this week, having completed tours of duty in Tokyo and Bangkok since we parted ways in Korea. In Seoul, we were having a conversation about breakfast, and I mentioned that my parents used to give me and my brother Aunt Jemima while drizzling expensive glass-bottle maple syrup on their own pancakes.
"Gross," said The Canuck.
"What? We were kids, we didn't know the difference."
"No, maple syrup in bottles. Ugh."
"Where do you get your syrup then, smarty pants?"
With withering contempt for my ignorance, "From a tree."
I finished the casting. Turns out it's for a fashion show, not a shoot. Live models on ice! Omg! A recipe for a fashion cataclysm!
The dude who plays Peter Pan at HK Disneyland's Disney on Ice show was there; apparently he's going to be part of the show somehow, perhaps driving the zamboni or darting out on the ice to retrieve fallen models (not if but when, people, not if but when!), as in tennis ball shagging. As I clopped around rinkside, skates already on in anticipation of the client's arrival, he sidled up to me with a grim set to his lips.
"OK, just be honest with me. Have you ever skated before?"
"Yesterday! And, ten years ago."
"You're gonna be fine. The secret to skating is in the core. Just keep your knees loose, shoulders down, bend over a little to keep your center of gravity low, and just keep your core tight. It's all in the core."
A Canadian model, that pernicious threat to the security of my position in the Ice Show, looked on. "Yeah," she deadpanned,"And try to keep your core tight."
In addition to the Canadian. there were two Russian girls and a male model of unknown provenance. When the client arrived, she asked the male model to go first; he was awkward but capable. I was next; I didn't look down as I swanned on to the ice, attempting to give the illusion of nonchalance, but ended up digging the tip of my skate into either the ice or the side of the rink, and started my demonstration off with a perilously ill-balanced, ice-gouging stutter step on skate-tip, then a few seconds of pitching and yawing before I righted myself. By the first quarter lap, I may or may not have been flailing my arms (hard to remember), but at least I was balanced.
Halfway through my two-lap demo, one of the Russians whizzed past me, and as I rounded the bend, I saw a splintery arc of ice chips fly up behind her skate toe as she stopped herself, nodded to the client, and neatly exited the rink. I'm going to need an alibi when she winds up in the hospital with a broken knee; would anyone be willing to testify that I was blogging at the time the crime was committed?
The other Russian sucked and I didn't get to see the Canadian because I was removing my skates. Before I left, I went up to the client and screeched, "If you want to use me, I can practice more!" I'll find out by the end of the week whether or not I got the job. Fingers crossed!
I finished the rest of my castings; now I'm done for the day and it's not even noon. Life rules!