Last week, I agreed to do a shoot for a magazine that was compiling a feature about things that people collect. Someone from the mag contacted me out of the blue because she saw on my blog that I liked nail varnish and wondered if I had a collection. Well, I do.. I have hundreds of bottles and I adore doing my nails. It’s a pleasure every single time and actually I find it soothing and relaxing to just stop everything for ten minutes and focus on colours and painting. It’s lovely!
Also, because I thought my mum would like to see me in a magazine that she actually reads, I just thought, okay, I’ll do it. There was also a curiosity about what it is like to be on the ‘other side’ for a change. It’s interesting because I’ve been on plenty of shoots but it isn’t usually me being photographed. And I’m not so good at that!
It all went a bit wrong from the get-go really, when the freelancer who contacted me wanted to ‘skim over’ the fact that I don’t actually buy very many polishes but am sent them for my job (I do hoard them like a maniac, mind!). Then there was a massive confusion over call-time which gave me two choices.. either I could haul about a billion polishes weighing the same as several bricks to a meeting in Hammersmith and then haul them along to the shoot on the other side of London, or leave them at home and go all the way home to collect them and set straight out again. Because actually on the day, I hadn’t been given a confirmation or a call-time (well, in total I’d had 3 call times but not one confirmation of any of them!) I thought it wasn’t happening and emailed a couple of times to say that I can’t just run at the drop of a hat.. I’m working and have a really busy day. In fact, I stressed that I had to be super-fast come what may.
So, I end up back at home and get a very stressed email saying, where are you? So I phoned to explain I hadn’t had an email etc.. but they still wanted me to go at no notice at all. And go on the train, because it ‘would take too long in a taxi.’ So, off I went.
No possible question it could have been a mix up at their end. Must be my email that failed. All the way back into London to a location ‘two minutes from the tube’. My a*se! Twenty minutes later, dragging a brick weight of polishes, I arrive. No confusion or the fact that they hadn’t checked their own emails all day mentioned at all.
Would I like a cup of tea? I am GASPING for a cup of tea so I say, yes please I really would. Oh, no milk. Okay, would you like a glass of water? Yes, I would. So I get given a glass of luke warm tap water in a wet glass that dribbles all the way down my top – that I’m supposed to be wearing for the shoot..as agreed with the stylist (absolutely lovely by the way) a few days before. So, make up starts and that’s fine.. I don’t have any requirements, they can do pretty well what they want. I don’t want my hair messed with too much though so that gets a quick straighten. Then, upstairs to the stylist (three flights) to get a new top which is silk, so I can’t sit down at all in case I crease it.
Hours pass. I am on such a tight schedule that I get a bit stressed, because nothing about the fact I have so little time (especially after being called to cross London again at no notice) seems to be filtering through at all. Nobody talks to me really or is even remotely interested. I’m pretty well getting the picture that they don’t really even know what a blog is. In fairness, I’m not talking either.. I just want to go home! So, eventually I get on the sofa where they want me to ‘recline’. I don’t want to recline thanks, I’d like to be sitting up and not putting over the image of a lounging housewife with nothing to do all day but paint nails. So I say I don’t want to lie down. It’s then explained to me that ‘lying down is much more flattering’ and this is explained as in the manner of primary school teacher to small child. So, I agree to lean into the arm of the sofa and that is all fine.
The next thing is that I’m not smiling enough, but I don’t really want to do a great big yacking grin at my nail polish wealth. Which I might add, they don’t need the full quota of bottles that I’d been asked to take originally… they use about ten of mine and loads of their own. They’re stressed that I’m not showing my teeth enough in the said yacking grin..I know how that could go. I’m equally determined that a nice, ordinary smile is fine. We go over this again and again with me being told “I look much nicer when I smile, my chin looks stiff if I don’t show my teeth, I’ve got nice teeth, my face looks tense, and on and on.” And in reality, I looked fine. I have never felt less like smiling in my life. I get it.. the photographer has a standard pic to take and I’m not playing.. no wonder she is getting fed up with me…she’s got to deliver a particular style of photo and she can’t get it. But, I genuinely can’t raise a proper smile.
Once there was a picture everyone was moderately happy with, there was a huge fluster about how late everyone was, calling cabs so they could all get home, while I get turfed out on the street to haul my tonne of polishes back to the tube, then on to a mainline train and then the walk home.
So glamorous. Not. So my mum better bl**dy well like it!