Sunday, August 16, 2009

I just flew in from LA, and boy are my arms tired!

If it seems like it's been all quiet on the western front, it's because I've been in L.A. all week for my 30th birthday. I wanted to celebrate this milestone by doing something really cool and fun, and what better way to feel thirty, flirty and thriving than to do a photo shoot with make-up artist to the stars Alexis Vogel?

My L.A. adventure got off to a rocky start when I got to the airport and was told that I had scheduled my flight for the next day (I decided to stay in L.A. for an extra day at the last minute but forgot to update my flight plans). Luckily the nice ladies at the ticket counter helped me get on a noon flight and I was able to get to Los Angeles with no problem. After I arrived in SoCal however I learned that the hotel I was staying at had NO air conditioning and NO room service. Worse, the room was small and the furniture ugly; not fit for a photo shoot at all. So, after a guilt-tinged and exhausting conversation with the manager I cancelled my reservation and walked my bags down the street to the uber-posh Fairmont hotel. This was not only a better place to shoot pictures but I was MUCH happier (yay for room service!)

While waiting for my room I celebrated my new environment by drinking a rum & Coke and watching koi and turtles splash around a waterfall-laced pond in the hotel's outside cafe. I then called the shoot's photographer Isaiah to thank him for helping me find a room at the Fairmont at the last possible minute. Once my room was ready I dropped my things off and wandered down to the beach to watch the sunset. After that I had dinner, ate gummy bears in the bath and fell asleep watching Entertainment Tonight and Family Guy.

Me chilling on my balcony at the Fairmont.

At around noon the next day Alexis, Isaiah and their assistant Brie came up to my room and set up camp. Camp gear included lights, camera, make-up and accessories. Figuring they would shoot me in whatever clothes I had with me I only brought one suitcase of outfits and shoes. Unfortunately that's not how it works. There was much clucking of tongue over not bringing enough clothes and jewelry and a LOT of grumbling over not having my eyebrows properly done and having too blunt of a hair cut(I rock the Egyptian look with straight bangs and long, straight hair). I admit the complaints weren't making me very happy, especially since they was repeated over and over (and over) again, but I at least got some suggestions on what kind of hair and look I should get ( indeed I will have my hair done in layers and let my bangs grow out as suggested).

On the positive side, I was told I was better looking in my natural state than some stars (a wonderful plus), I had good skin, good cheekbones and good teeth--I was even asked if they were really my teeth or caps! I've NEVER had anyone ask me that so I was flattered.

After two hours of hair and make-up I then did a lot of countoured poses (like you see in high-fashion ads) and learned that being a model--even for a day--is not easy. People are tugging at your clothes, making you hold uncomfortable poses for a long time and trying to get you to turn your face in every direction. The hard work was worth it however as the pictures are fantastic (I swear I look like I could be in a Dolce & Gabbana ad in some of these pics!)

At one point we stopped for lunch, and I learned how to eat food without ruining my make-up (a good thing to know). What I wasn't prepared for however was being stuck with both the food and the valet bill for their car(supposedly this was in the "cheat sheet" they sent me but I informed them it wasn't in MINE--and I didn't expect to pay for it either as it was VERY expensive). Obviously there was an assumption I would know the rules. I didn't, but I do now.

At any rate, the shoot went very well. We even did an extra set of photos since it was moving along at such a smooth pace and I have to say the pictures are amazing. Alexis did an wonderful job with my make-up and hair, and Isaiah took great pictures and was fun to work with. Brie was helpful and gave me a sample of lip gloss to help with touch-ups after eating (another lesson learned: just because I'm getting a make-over doesn't mean NOT to bring my own make-up).

All-in-all a fun and memorable birthday, albeit somewhat of a roller coaster ride. I can't wait to get my DVD with the photos on it so I can show them to you.

Oh, and yes. I am still working on my Themistocles novel. Being away for a week has allowed me to look at the story with fresh eyes and editing is going really well. Can't wait to start looking for an agent and hopefully putting up some tidbits for everyone to read. :D