One of the castings is over 15 minutes early, so I kiss the locked door. I have dragged myself there for nothing. In front of the door, beside the sign that says the casting is over, I meet an infuriated mob of models, so I just turn around and run to the metro. We all have almost the same casting schedule. It is better to hurry, so I can get to the next one before them.
I think I will get this show. Veronique Leroy, the little woman inside the casting room, showed real affinity when she saw me. She opened my book and looked at it with strong interest. That has woken up a strong confidence in me. A little more experience and I will know right away if I am going to get the job. Or I am just too confident now? But anyway, she likes me, it feels good.
She asks me to try a dress on. I have to change in the closet; there is no space for a hanger, but I have to deal with it. It is not easy for me to pull the zipper all the way up. Goddamn it- it takes time and practice. Otherwise it fits me perfectly. Please universe, make her book me.
I give her my best walk. She likes it.
On the way out she says see you soon, Ines. I want to jump with joy, I can tell she is not just being civil. She really means it.
I am in front of the door of her atelier, and for the first time I can feel that a client in Paris likes me. Oh my God, it feels so good. Let’s see if I am right about it.
I got to 12 castings today. I managed to organize my schedule wisely, so I made it to every casting but two. My organizational skills might be perfect after this week. Maybe my bright future after modeling is in some kind of job where I can use them.
Tonight I am hungry, thirsty and have three new calluses. Tired to the edge of endurance. I do a sloppy bath routine, eat in a half awake state, and after the last bite I am in my kingdom of dreams.
Tomorrow is a new day, and everything will start all over again. No time for slacking off.
I overslept. Jesus! I don’t know why and how, but I do know that I missed the first casting. And there is a question about whether I’ll make the second one. I have breakfast running to the metro. I forgot my reading book. Every night I place a book next to the bed thinking I will read a few pages before sleep. And every night I fall asleep on the way to bed. And now, the book is in the apartment, and the bag is still heavy. On top of that today I have to go to the agency to get an advance. I am so stupid.
So this third casting is my first of the day. The line is a mile long. It’s strange. I understand why the castings for the big names are so busy, but I never heard of this designer before. Sit down and look at the ceiling. You are late; you forgot your book; now you have hours of boring time.
The phone is ringing. Nobody is answering it, it just rings and rings. Why isn’t anybody answering? I look around and realize that everybody is staring at me. Ooops. It is my phone. It is not ringing, it is squawking. Sorry!
It is the agency. Quickly, I come up with an excuse for my late appearance. How did they find out so fast? For the casting without an apartment number or intercom pass, they were not so quick responding!
While the booker’s assistant is explaining who wants to talk to me, I am lecturing him for their mistakes, but only in my mind. I have enough time to invent a lie. It’s painless. It’s not a sin.
But the booker is calling about something else.
I GOT MY FIRST SHOW!!
Yes. I heard it right. My first show. My very first show in Haute-Couture in Paris. The center of high fashion. I would scream loudly, but this is not the time for it, I am at a casting.
I have a great reason to celebrate, but I have no time, no friends and I don’t remember what money looks like. But I will find an alternative way to celebrate. At least to spend the day differently. I will finish all my obligations for today, then I will call Mama and I might buy a book for myself. I don’t have a big choice of books, but it is better than nothing. I have to remember that I am a stranger in Paris. The day after tomorrow is my first show. Tomorrow I have the fitting. I can’t wait.
The rest of the day I finish like a machine. Everything is foggy in my memory. I just keep repeating my conversation with the booker about my first show. I remember telling, almost screaming actually, to Mammy that I got a show booked. I am sure she didn’t understand a word. I will write a letter when Fashion week is over, and I will explain everything in detail.
I am looking for a book to read. It takes a while. It has to be the most interesting of all not interesting books. But it is what it is. I care more about my first show in Paris.
I fall asleep straight away. From excitement, tiredness, whatever, I am knocked down.
The day of my fitting is overbooked. I just found out I have 3 new fittings after the one I already knew about. That means I have four shows! I am so happy. I hope they pay well, so I can cover my debt. I cannot go home with debt.
Fitting number one is fast. Great organization, and I feel important and happy, even though they sting me with pins a few times. My mood is still great.
Now I have two castings, then a fitting number two. Fitting number two is a bit of torture. I try on over 20 combinations. They are not even sure what to put in the collection out of a ton of clothes. They have no shoes yet, so I have to walk bare foot on the floor full of pins. After the first outfit I put my sneakers on; I don’t want to sacrifice my already tortured tools for work (feet) for them. Like I say, I try over 20 combinations, walk in them, and have a photo taken, but they are not letting me go. Now I don’t know what to do. My next fitting is starting soon. Should I call the agency? But how? My phone is in my bag in the hallway. Or should I keep quiet and wait? Well, I will use my method again: wait five minutes and after that do something!
I have to make the statement loud that I am late and I have to go. They don’t want me to leave. They are ready to keep dressing and undressing me with the same tempo for the rest of the day. But I don’t think so. Yes, I can stay and do this for the rest of the day but you have to pay me for a fitting job.
But they let me go, not happily but who cares. I am running to fitting number 3.
Fitting number 3 is for the Gypsy Queen’s job. My intuition is telling me this won’t go well.
The fitting is over. It was so fast. I was standing, the team was dressing me. They took a photo and that was it. Running to the next casting, I am thinking how complicated the casting was but the fitting was easy and quick. Something is wrong.
One, two, three more castings now, then a fitting. After that three more castings. Then I have to go to the agency for money. After all that- home. Finally. I don’t feel my legs.
While preparing for bed, I am calling sleep to take me over. But because of the first show tomorrow my adrenalin is shaking me even though I am dog tired. My brain refuses to stop and rest.