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A Day in the Life of a Holister Model
Brian ran through the halls of the studio, his bare feet hitting the cold linoleum floor with every step he took. He passed an endless stream of closed doors that sealed dark rooms filled to the brim with an unimaginable array of items. Last year’s rejected styles and trends, the extra props that hadn’t made the cut and all the new stuff that had yet to be freed from triple sealed first class mail boxes. With Arms pumping at his sides furiously and lungs threatening to explode from the tension, Brian wheeled around the corner of one particularly dim room and stopped short, panting.
Hands clutching his knees as he bent over to draw breath, he looked up to see the delicate figure of Marcella Marwoosh’s assistant standing before him. The famed photographer’s second in command was standing barefoot on a soft Persian rug. In one hand she held a pair of five inch stiletto heels while the other sat pointedly on her hip. Her long blond hair was pulled into a messy knot above her head, stabilized by a thin pencil. The sunglasses that hid her gloomy eyes from the world made the shadowy room appear even darker. The woman’s heavily lipsticked mouth was working in a piece of gum-a habit she only practiced when she was under stress. Although she would say otherwise, Brian knew that the photographer’s assistant owned many packages of gum.
Brian looked up at her, terrified. “Where have you been?” She asked, her valley girl voice thin and high. Brian shivered as the twenty year old grabbed his arm and pulled him to the heavily lit set.
“Stand here.” She said, pointing at a small black “x” made of tape on the ground. The backdrop was of a beach scene, tall blue waves rolling onto a perfectly airbrushed beach.
“Come on people move it! This is the last shoot of the day!” The assistant clapped her hands and glared at all the bustling people running around her. She sighed exasperatedly and stomped away mumbling something about a vitamin water shortage and the incompetence of the human race. Brian smirked; his terror had been replaced by a twinge of amusement.
“Alright-Bbbbrriann.” The wardrobe intern stuttered, turning away from him as she wheeled over the latest clothing selections. Her short ruby hair was pulled up into a spiky ponytail and she was barely wearing any makeup. D&G glasses askew she riffled through the clothes, looking for the tag that would indicate which outfit to take out. Her triple mocha latté was dripping down her pretty pink American Eagle blouse and her blackberry was hanging out of its holster. She looked like a cross between Scooby Doo’s Velma and the sinking Titanic. A human shipwreck.
“Are you alright Marie?” The young woman stood up and looked at him with her large, doe-like eyes. “Welll y-you know How-w-w hard it is to-to-to prepare the n-next seasons l-line f-for for the shoot.” Marie Gamblen was always stuttering around him. Brian knew that she had had a huge crush on him ever since he had taken the job a year ago. As a junior at his private school, St.Louise School for the Gifted, Brian had a rather large tuition fee to pay each semester. Because money had been slow in coming at his household ever since his dad had lost his job in car sales a year before, a job was necessary. He went to the gifted school for the piano. He had been playing since the age of two. Brian loved the way his fingers could drift effortlessly among the black and white keys and belt out a Beethoven. He loved the sharps and flats, and every bell and whistle attached. It amazed him how much music notes and pieces were like people in his life. Some notes wove into distinct patterns, clearly showing what they meant without any hidden implications or intentions. Other pieces were made of nonsense, notes drifting high C and then low F. Different and contrasting.
Marie smiled and wheeled her rack away, letting the makeup artists take over. “Bye, Marie!” Now that he thought about it, Marie was always stressed the day a new line of clothing came out. The seventeen year old was working through a school to work program. If she messed up just one tiny detail-she would be done for.
“Time to go Mr. Model!” Someone called. Brian whirled around in his makeup swivel-chair to see Mrs. Ashby-his best friend’s mother. As one of the studio’s managers it was her job-much like it was Marie’s, to get every little thing correct. She smiled at him over her clipboard as she signed some forms.
She winked. “You ready to model the latest in fashion?” She laughed and turned her back to him to talk to some lighting employees.
Brian hated modeling. He hated the thought of hundreds of people everywhere taking turns looking at his body. Sure, being cool with ladies was fun-but not on a worldwide scale! His abs had appeared on billboards-his arms in magazines. His smile, his eyes, his hair-all were constantly being capitalized on!
Before the job he’d never showed his six pack to anyone. The buff muscles were the result of years of weightlifting. Brian hadn’t liked weightlifting either. He had only gone through with it since his father had urged him to do so. His father had been a weightlifter throughout his own high school career, and had wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. When his father had found out that he preferred brown mahogany benches to the plastic of a weightlifting one, he had been furious. Eventually he came around, as parents always do, wanting what all parents wanted: What was best for their kid.
After his father had lost his job and could not find a new one, the weight of paying for an education feel upon Brian’s shoulders. His buddy Jake’s mom had been a photographer at Hollister, and upon “accidently” seeing his build as he was changing his shirt one day. She had urged him to look into a job in modeling. At first, Brian was opposed to the idea. That was until he saw the paycheck numbers.
After Jake’s mom had created a model portfolio for him (free of charge, since she still felt bad about his not having a mother) and had submitted it to the company, Brian was signed on. The contract said photo shoots every month, twice a month. Jake’s mom, Mrs. Ashby, had since become a studio manager who occasionally dawned the black camera.
And that was where he was now. He whipped off his shirt in the middle of the studio and pulled on the polo Marie handed to him. He planted his feet firmly on the “x” and waited. Ten uneventful minutes later, Madame Marwoosh breezed in, followed by her grumpy assistant.
“Darrrling!” She called to him, sweeping her hands in an “Oh how nice to see you!” gesture. Her arms flew up in a delicate gesture, her lips forming a neutral smile.The lighting was adjusted and the cameras were preened.
“Now this shoot will be for the spring collections promotion of polo shirts. I want sand, three surfboards in bright fall colors and the two girls wearing the young women’s “Endless Summer Polo.” Almost immediately, sand was poured onto the set, surfboards were leaned against walls, and two skinny girls had flounced over to where Brian was standing. Each tossed her perfect hair and giggled through a heavily makeuped face.
“I’m Lana,” said the blond on his right, “and this is Debbie.” Debbie had dark brown hair hanging in loose curls over her baby blue polo shirt. Her denim cutoff pants hung comfortably around her waist. She smiled up at him and batted her mascara-covered eyelashes with glee.
The Madame’s assistant positioned Lana and Debbie so that they were clutching his arms like clingy freshman girlfriends. Brian blushed as their fingers pressed into his arms. The blush ended quickly, though. He was used to this.
“Now! Girls-Smile! Brian-do ze half-smile thing I taught you and turn your ‘ead towards ze blond.” The Madame’s heavily accented voice said as the models repositioned themselves to fit her wishes. The first camera flashed.
“Perrrfect. Except-get ze blond out of ze picture. Is too….bold.” Lana pouted and slumped out of the shot, causing interns to scatter and reposition the sand that she had been standing on. Madame had Debbie lean in closer. Brian could smell the fruity perfume swirling off her skin, enticing him to look at her. But he knew he couldn’t. He kept his concentration steady. Stare forward out into space. Feet planted firmly, one arm around the girl and muscles flexing he waited for the flash and click of the camera.
The photo was taken. Well, after about 50 test shots. “Okay-good! Now we move on to swim wear.” Marie tossed Brian a swimsuit and he ran into the dressing rooms to change.
Five minutes later, Brian ran out of the bathroom, perfectly tanned abs glinting. If only the kids back at school knew what he did twice a month. But no one knew. No one besides Jake. He had a piano nerd status among a school of nerds-but that was who he was. If people wanted to call him a nerd, they could. He didn’t care. He thought of himself simply as a pianist. A pianist who knew exactly who he was. He didn’t care that he was a Hollister model-that was just a job. A job that payed for his piano rights. No, he knew who he was. And that wasn’t a hot dude with a tan. He wasn’t just a face on a poster-he was a somebody who could play the piano. And that thought made him glow with pride.