Sunday, February 13, 2011

Professional Model

A couple of weeks ago a friend emailed me asking if I'd like to participate in a photoshoot for a massage therapy textbook. She was in need of a pregnant model for the maternity chapter.

I agreed and we went back and forth a little bit. I was thinking: I like this friend, I want to help out, I like to maintain connections with my former employer (the textbook publisher), photoshoots are fun and it would be neat to be on the other side of one (rather than as the organizer), I like being pregnant, and, hey, cool, someone wants to take pictures of me! Plus, it was a paid gig.

Then I got a follow-up email that included information for all the models, including instructions on attire. "Female: Dark colored sports tank or bra and fitted shorts, or Tankini, without huge logos." Hah hah hah, she obviously didn't mean me; that's for the other (non-maternity) models. I emailed to verify, then packed an assortment of clothes. I figured I'd be in yoga pants or leggings with a tank top.

All those seasons I've watched of America's Next Top Model really came in handy. I knew what to expect and was prepared. I was on time, I had a variety of clothing options in various colors, I had a ponytail holder and comb in case those were needed (and they were). I enjoyed hanging out in the back of the room chatting with the other models, editors, massage therapists, and the author's son. I enjoyed the craft table. I liked the green room just fine. And I certainly didn't mind watching the model ahead of me as he worked (he was a very very fit young man).

The photoshoot was in a professional studio. We were set up in a large, concrete room, dimly lit with tables and cords stretched out all over the place, people clustered around the outside edges (mostly at the back near the door). One corner of the room contained a raised wooden floor with a massage table, a folding screen, and lots of bright lights. The photographer stood nearby, perched on a ladder overlooking the set.

All too soon, it was my turn to model. The author (and massage therapist) scanned through my clothing and then selected a plain black sports bra and maternity swim suit bottoms (basically, large shiny underpants). !!!


I changed in the green room, wrapped myself in a tablecloth, and headed out to the stage, still thinking that I'd mainly be on the table, "draped modestly."

Not so much. The author wanted a series of shots of the massage therapist greeting the pregnant lady then helping her up onto the massage table. Without the wrap. Are you imagining this scene?!


I had a moment to decide. I could walk out and leave them without a model. I could be a prima donna and argue for more clothing. Or I could just go with it and be a good sport. Again America's Next Top Model came to my rescue and that's exactly what I did. I dropped my drape, apologized for my cellulite, and cracked wise as I posed in front of friends and strangers in little more than my underwear.

The shoot went well, I think. I hope. And then . . .

"OK, we're ready for the husband, now."

Say what?

My "husband" came out of the green room, took off his boots, and climbed up onto the massage table behind me. The author placed a pillow between us to support my back (loved her a little bit right then) and asked me to lean back against him, relaxing. He reached around to rest his hands on my belly and both of our shiny silver "wedding bands" shone in the floodlights. The baby kicked at him and probably freaked the guy out.

We practiced relaxing and he "learned" how to position his hands to help me with backache in labor. Very soon, it was all over.

I never did catch his name.


RobMonroe said...

I had not heard about the photo-hubby! How funny, and a bit awkward if you were not expecting that. Hmm.

Hope you get a copy of the book to show off for life! :o)

Sarahlynn said...

I don't know if I want to see the shots! (I try not to imagine seeing all of my skin at once like that.)

I'm imagining water cooler conversations at work. "Hey, whatever happened to that girl who used to work here, Sarahlynn?"

"Let me go grab the new edition of Fritz and I'll show you!"

keribrary said...

Glad to know that there was a real-life usage for all those years of watching ANTM! New season starts on the 23rd...

Sarahlynn said...

The model is never late. The model is always prepared. The model is NEVER uncomfortable. The model's job is to make the client look good . . .

grace said...

I am dying absolutely dying. I love this post!!!!

Sarahlynn said...

It was pretty funny!