10 August 2009

An blanket apology to all the good-looking people of the world...

New temp assignment is working the reception desk at Kitten Advertising. It's a very slick company that does heaps of fashion and luxury product (chocolates, jewelery, hotels, etc.) ads. I sit in a large white room behind a little gray desk that has a massive orchid perched on top of it. My job is the usual answering phones, ordering messengers ('couriers' in Australian talk), and greeting clients. What is unique to this job is the amount of baby-sitting 'high-profile' clients I do.

Obviously the ad industry is all about appearances. Clients are always 'high-profile'. They always need ice water, coffee, cupcakes, cheek-kisses, and spotless conference rooms. High-profile clients are also babies that aren't allowed to think for themselves, and when they are made to they go, 'WAHHHHHH!'

Yesterday Mr. High Profile client came to reception for a meeting with Mr. Poobar upstairs. Mr. Poobar was on the phone at the time so I asked Mr. High Profile to wait a minute. Mr. High Profile didn't want to wait, he wanted Mr. Poobar now! I was in the middle of trying to calm Mr. High Profile down ("Coffee? Water? We have yummy cupcakes in the kitchen if you'd like one!") when the reception phone rang. I then got tangled up in some issue with another high-profile client on the phone and while I was distracted Mr. High Profile sneaked out of reception and got himself into the stairwell. He thought he'd find Mr. Poobar for himself!

I instantly messaged upstairs to warn them Mr. High Profile was on his way up. This sent the upstairs staff into a complete panic, "Why did you make him take the stairs!?!"
"I didn't make him, he snuck away when I wasn't watching!"
"Well, where is he!!!"
"I don't know, going up the stairs I suppose..."
"Oh my god!"

Two interns were quickly dispatched into the stair well to search for Mr. High Profile. One went up, the other went down. Both came back two minutes later to report they couldn't find Mr. High Profile. They were dispatched again with the directive, "Find him!"

Five minutes later it was noticed Mr. High Profile was already in Mr. Poobar's office, chatting happily with him.

The funny thing is, high-profile clients are just regular people. They are the man on the street with pants that are too short and the woman on the train who has a run in her stockings. They come into reception sweaty and red, making obvious comments about the humidity outside. Superficially, they are not impressive people.

A lot of models also come into Kitten Advertising for castings. It interests me how badly, compared to the high-profiles, they are treated. These beautiful perfect people are kept waiting in reception for ages. Then eventually the art buyer's assistant's assistant will come out and say in a rush, "Let me see your book! What's your jean size? How tall are you? Is your hair naturally straight? Okay, take these jeans into the bathroom and put them on. Then meet me in the conference room and I'll take your photo."

The new face of something
(the model is too young to have her identity revealed in such a low-brow forum as this blog)

As I type this two other-worldly models are sitting in front of me. They are 17 year old twins with red hair. They are from that place in Eastern Europe where 5 foot 10 inches tall with size 26 jeans is normal. They've been waiting 15 minutes for their casting.

If I saw these models on the street I'd think, 'Wow, you look amazing!' But when I see these models trot off to the toilet to try on jeans that twenty girls before them have tried on, then the word 'amazing' does not come to mind.

Models are an easy target. I've made plenty of dumb-model comments that were born from a mix of jealously and the fact models really are immature kids. However, sitting at reception all week I've really began to understand the reality of how unglamorous modeling is. These people are treated so badly. They have no (little) control over their success/failure. They just bounce around the city from one cold judgment to the next.

To witness the behind-the-scenes life of modeling makes me really sympathize for the real babies of the ad industry.

And I just want to offer these poor good-looking freaks a cupcake.

No comments: