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!
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Eugh! Sounds horrendous. What a nightmare! Sounds like the set up was terribly unprofessional. I was once a extra on a DFS commercial, it was horrid. All the models sat in a room, in silence and ever so often a ‘stylist’ came in looked you up and down and selected the ‘best’ couple to be in shot. I was told I was too tall for the furniture. It turned out that the people that they had fussed about picking so much ended up being a mere blur on the horizon in the final cut. SO, so ridiculous.
Hope your shoot turns out better than it sounds! Can’t wait to see it.
what a nightmare, what an adventure, what a mess. what would have frustrated me the most is this business of you literally hauling a gazillion of polishes when they only want 10 or so. Why do people always always always go ‘it’s only 5 minutes’ when even when you know the place it’s 20 minutes. why why why. i hate smiling. i hate that my eyes disappearing to nothing when i smile, i hate that my nose goes funny when i smile. in fact i pretty much hate every photo which is taken of me, i think this is because i am so used to just take myself of myself, myself. you did well to finish the shoot. it must have been so hard to resist the temptation to say ‘ you know, this is not working anymore, this is not what i imagined in my head to be, i dont think i am enjoying this, i dont see why i am putting myself through what it now seems to be an ordeal, the last thing i want is to lie down on a sofa and pose on a sofa. i just want to be home, scoffing crisps, watching crap on telly, in my pjs and i couldnt care less being glamourous, i am sorry for the inconvenience it caused, i gotta go now, again sorry about everything’ then run.
but i would have chickened out as well and went ahead with it because upsetting them would have been too mortifying to live with.
@jayne ‘I was told I was too tall for the furniture’ <--- omg this is so offensive and hilarious at the same time. fancy saying that !! xx
You really would think that when they’re dealing with a blogger with the internet reach you have they’d be a touch nicer to you. That’s why they wanted you after all.. they knew you were going to tell a great deal of people about the shoot.. idiots!
Oh My God! I know exactly who you are talking about as they asked me if I wanted to do it! And to haul all my polishes over with me. They were all nice on email until they asked me to confirm my age – as you have to be over 30 to feature in the magazine and I told them I wasn’t they never bothered replying after that! Charming. By the sounds of it it would have been a miserable time dragging my polishes from Luton to only use a few anyway!
That is shocking how they treated you though, I hope they do a great write up about you and you get your times worth in the end! xx
Sounds like a Sisyphian effort to me, the nail polishes being the rock…
I don’t suppose you’ll tell us in advance which magazine it is? We can bombard them with complaints on your behalf. Oh yes we would!
OMG, you poor thing oO That sounds just horrible!! I think its just stupid of them to have you haul your polishes over and then just using a few!!!! Guess you won’t be jumping to any offers like this anytime soon huh?
Anyway, I’d still love to see the result…will you be posting it?