Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Scrubs and Lingerie

I have to go on a little tangent on the randomness of my career....I am digressing from chronological order, once again. But I think you can forgive me, right? ;)

I've been modeling for about 12 years now and have worn everything from couture to maternity wear, bathing suits to business suits. I've dressed like a 12 year old and like a matronly lady who lunches...always a little bit of everything. To be honest, I'm surprised that I've yet to book a job modeling for a catalog dedicated to medical scrubs or something along those lines. I haven't ever had the pleasure of getting booked for one of those, um, ahem....glorious Halloween costume gigs either. You know, the kind that has grown women dressed up as Hermione from Harry Potter or a naughty Alice in Wonderland? Yeah. That kind of catalog...What I have been booking lately, instead of cotton scrubs is lingerie. Crazy? Yeah, I think so! Am I not supposed to be 17 and skin & bones to do that? Ha!

Now that I'm the mother of two, and living in a town not known for it's fashion scene, I am getting a little teensy taste of what is must be like to an a VS Angel....well, kinda. At least as close to that as Portland will allow. LOL! In the past month I've booked two fashion shows for NY lingerie Designers (Feng Feng and Teo) and I have to say that I am super flattered. While I love what I do and truly don't think I am above posing in scrub sets or surgical gowns for a decent day rate, it makes me smile that I still can get up there with the young uns and feel all girly and stuff in some luxurious skivvies.

Maybe I don't quite need to retire just yet....not just yet. ;)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

R.I.P. Jason Sanvido

I'm not sure how to even start this post.....My blood is still running cold, my stomach feels punched, and I just cannot wrap my brain around the news that I just came upon. I want to share some fond memories first....

For those of you who have followed this blog from it's inception, you may remember my mentioning my band of brothers from Milan. A group of guys that became some of my closest friends and who I made some of my best memories with. From partying in the clubs du jour to just hanging out at the park, or commuting to castings....these guys were my boys, true blue and blood.

One of those friends was a young Canadian named Jason Sanvido. He was 18 years old when I met him and his twinkling eyes and infectious smile made him an instant friend to all who met him. I remember being in awe of how incredibly smart he was. He had a photographic memory and could spout off facts about everything from history to technology like a walking set of Encyclopedias. He was kind, humble, caring, and always willing to listen. Wise and mature beyond his years. After our first season in Milan he was the first friend to call me on my phone to see how I was and make sure I had made it home well....that was Jason. Amazing kid.

Jason was one of an even smaller and closer group of friends from my original Milan crew...he was one part of the Dolce Crew. The Dolce Crew is the name we somehow ended with after that fated 24 hours in Venice, Italy when we were on the train back to Milan (I posted about this momentous occasion under The Naked Venice Bridge Jump). The 24 hours in which everyone except for little old me ended up naked and jumping off of the Rialto Bridge into the Grand Canal. I can't remember in which order Jason jumped...but he did. And along with everyone besides Jean-Paul, Ned and myself he ended up getting chased down, arrested and spending the night in jail for "desecrating" this Italian monument. Total rockstar!

Jason also happened to have his birthday the week following mine. He was my Gemini baby bro. For the two seasons we had in Milan together I threw parties at my apartment for our b-day celebrations. We made this horrible concoction of wine, limoncello and random fruit chunks inspired by Paul's sangria and then we'd all end up walking to Louisiana.

My 2nd season in Milan....(I posted about this night too) when Jeremy, Kari and I walked into the VIP of Gasoline, there was Jason hanging out at the bar with Geoff. This is one memory that I keep having run through my mind.......when I called out his name and he turned around and saw us standing there, he got the hugest grin on his face and literally dropped his drink from the surprise of seeing us. It was like that. So great.

Now...the news that has me reeling is that Jason, who I remember so very much alive, is no longer with us. After a random thread on Facebook that another one of our mutual friends and Dolce Crew members wrote, I decided to look for Jason on Facebook. He wasn't listed. I had tried at random to find him in the past to no avail. I thought that he just fell out of touch, as has happened with a few others. Then I Googled his name and an obituary posting came up with his name and date of death. I was in denial...had to be another Jason Sanvido, not the one I knew. Well, it was the one I knew.

After emailing the local newspaper in his town in Ontario, Canada, the editor sent me the original article about Jason's untimely death. He was only 22. He passed away in March of 2003....about 2 years after most of us had lost touch with him. He was hit by a semi truck one morning in dense fog and killed instantly. This happened 7 years ago and I cannot believe that only now I am finding out about it. I have seen him in pictures from my albums and wondered how he was doing....what he was doing...where life had taken him. He would be 29 now....maybe married...maybe with kids. I can't believe it. I have always thought of my friends from those days as being somewhat untouchable....maybe we all feel that way about our friends, I don't know. What I know is that a life that young, kind and promising was extinguished so unfairly and so tragically.

May you rest in peace, Jason. Those of us who knew you are better for it. You are remembered with a lot of love and happy memories. We are blessed that you were part of our crew. You had adventures during those times that few people could ever dream of. You got to be a rockstar. Ciao amico bello. Ciao.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Models are Not Real...LOL!

I have to jump away from my timeline on here for a minute because I just cannot get over the amount of modeling "reality" shows and competitions on TV nowadays! When I was traveling, I don't think there was a single one of these on...and thank God for that.

Had any of this crap (which, I have to admit, I am sadly addicted to) been on then, I may have ended up being scared to death every time I made good use of my Direct TV hook-up and turned on the tube. I may have decided that after watching one too many, vapid, spoiled, insipid, underaged brat whining about getting a haircut or trying to sabotage another model that this was not what I wanted to do with my life. Luckily, I was untainted by modeling "reality" and had the adventure of a lifetime with some of the coolest people ever. Sure, I ran into handfuls of models that would make perfect TV fodder for these shows, but I never had to be friends with them..and like I've already described in the annals of this blog, I did have some CRAZY roommates...but it wasn't like I had to live with TWELVE of them in one apartment. Just one crazy at a time.

So now, when I turn on my LocalTV-Satellite to fulfill my guilty pleasure of watching ANTM or She's Got the Look...oh God, and let's not forget Make Me a Supermodel...I laugh inside thinking about what a terrible view of models TV viewers are getting. Those models are NOT real! LOL! They are little walking parodies strutting their "fierce" wanna-be stuff by way of your Out of every ten models I met, I can honestly say only two would fit that profile....and more likely then not, those were the girls (and boys) not every really working in the first place! ;)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tram, Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I know somewhere that I have a collection of pictures that will need to be posted at soime point in time of several of us fab young things taking trams around Milan, cabs in Taipei, planes to the Bahamas....sometimes the random automobile would be thrown in the the mix, but rarely.

Packing cars sardine style was really more of a college thing. Since most cities that I traveled too for work had excellent public transportation, I left the car worries to the locals and made sure to always carry some form of train pass, etc to get me from here to everywhere. Los Angeles, of course, was the one exception to that rule, which I think I mentioned before....but even working in other California cities I had the pleasure of being able to use great mass in San Francisco.

The handful of times I was up there I found myself either being picked up and driven from the airport to my booking or I'd be privy to the joys of BART as opposed to worrying about my Honda Accord and where I was going to park it in that labyrinth of a city, or if my timing belt was going to go out as I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge. Knowing the number of my booker's cell phone and where the client's location was going to be was about all I wanted to have to worry about, some San Francisco auto repair company was definitely not something I wanted to care about.

Now that I live in the burbs and have to drive to get to anything, and I mean anything except for the Krispie Kreme down the street, I really miss those awesome public transportation days....oh yeah, and those plane rides to the Bahamas....good God I had it good....sigh....

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Chronology is a Bitch.

So after that wild night that truly signaled the start to a new season in Milan, I can't quite accurately tell you what exactly ensued. Maybe I just don't want to realize that, (GASP), all of this took place almost a decade ago...while I really want to believe that it was all just yesterday. I cannot possibly admit that I am that much closer to Depends and Dentucreme now then I was then....sigh....oh the anguish of it all! ;)

I do know that we maintained our busy casting schedule. Sat in cattle calls for hours, tried our best to decipher what the clients were thinking or saying while looking at our books. We convened at Parco Sempione in the warm afternoons of Italian spring and summer....drank wine, smoked cigs (but only to keep the sadistic mosquitos away, right?) and talked for hours on end about everything and nothing at all....We partied at night like the insouciant youth that we were....leaving clubs as the sun was making its way back out to greet the world. We ran around on blackened feet to castings, ever trying to fold and refold those tarpaulin sized maps of La Citta de Milano....we stopped to eat gelato, panini, antipasti, drink caffe lattes and cappuccinos and espremutas di arancia. We stopped to smell the roses back then too.

I look back on those days with the utmost joy, fondness and melancholy. Those truly were the best days of my life. I traveled and got paid to do so...and most importantly....I had the BEST friends on earth to do it with. We were actually there for each other...not in a Facebook kind of way...but in an actual IN YOUR FACE kind of way. Nothing compares to that now...never will.

I didn't end up working as much as I had wanted to this particular season in Milan...but that didn't matter. I booked a few catalogs, a small editorial, a couple of hair advertisements, and worked showroom for Byblos. It was enough to keep my account clear at the agency. I knew Asia was around the corner for me again where I could repad the old checking account. What mattered was that deep down inside of me I knew that this season in Milan was going to be one of the last seasons that all of us...the C-9 Killahs and the Dolce Crew....would be together. My best bud, my little brother love, Ned, even came out from Paris to spend a few weeks with the old crew in our madness and moments of joyful indiscretion. For just a moment we are all back together and it felt like something that good could never end. But, alas, all good things do come to and end.

A few new good compadres were even added to the if a group that great could get any did. Ryan, Josh, Daryl, Daniel, Casey....all of us total addicts to the gods of gelati. God, I miss all of those cats. Badly.

And now we are all grown up and off and around the world....some married with kids. Some newlyweds (CONGRATS MIKEY!!), some heading corporations, some still living the dream, some have just fallen off the map.....but never forgotten. ;)

This post just got WAY more emotional then I intended it! I just truly miss those moments in a lifetime that seems completely like fiction to me now. I miss knowing that in a month or two I would be back on a plane, my life in a midsized black suitcase, and off to see my friends again in some distant land.....too good to be true? It wasn't then....just is now.

And with that I'll sign off. No point in weeping into my laptop. ;) I'll be back again shortly with some proper anecdotes and pictorials. After all, I did make it back to Venice with some of the newer members of my crew...only this time no one ended up getting arrested.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

As Promised...A Collage of our Moments of Greatness

Well...just of the night I just blogged about! ;) There are more photographic gems of this night, I just need to find them....this last move has left me in a quandry as to where most of my stuff is!


Tomorrow I dedicate myself to finding all lost records of that night and the others that followed. ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Texting and Transpo

I'm in the middle of a big house move, so my promised pics of the infamous Night of Wine in the Bushes will have to wait another week or two....but in the meantime, let me entertain you with some stories of texting and transportation in Milan.

Like I've said before, in most markets outside of Asia and Los Angeles, models find themselves walking out of their agencies on their first day there with a map the size of a tarpaulin and a list of go-sees. This is survival of the fittest. There is no big black Escalade on twenty-two's waiting to take you anywhere....not even a tore-up Toyota Corolla with your name on it. You get to Milan, Paris, London, Hamburg, Barcelona, Miami or wherever else you may land and it is up to you and only you to get your pretty little model arse to where you are supposed to be. None of this America's Next Top Model girls-getting-driven-around shite. Nope.

Yet, somehow, we all seem to hit the ground running just fine. So fine, that our little network of friends was in contact with each other on the trams, subways, and busses of Milan at all times via our Omnitel Savvy cell phones. We'd be sending each other texts about who was hot and who had a crush on who. We'd message each other random song lyrics with words substituted in that only we would find I won't bother boring or twisting your minds with that....;) If a casting was too full or just sucked in general, there we were warning our buddies about it. When we were hankering for gelato or happy hour the texts would get sent out and within an hour we'd all be practicing mad gluttony together. It was great.

Had we been driving our own cars, this would've never been possible. We'd have been too busy worrying about traffic and if the car's water pump needed to be replaced. Texting on public transpo was AWESOME......and that was back then....on our archaic little plastic phones. I can't even imagine how great it would be with all the gadgetry the baby models have now!

Our cellys were used for nothing more than pleasure. It was all about the gossip and plannification of great times together. We didn't need our phones to figure out the weather forecast for the next millenia or whether we could find reliable Chicago auto repair or check our Facebook pages. Facebook? Love it now, but back then...did it even exist? We were actually all together...just a text message need for the social networking...we were living it.

Oh yeah...the good old days of public transpo in Milan. Good times. No worries about anything....oh man, take me back to that, even just for a minute!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back on Course In Milan....(Wine in Bushes and Other Moments of Greatness)

Ok, so let me get back on course with the happenings....last thing I wrote about my last season in Milan was that I had issues with my crazy agency owner and that I had moved on to Names and into a great new apartment. In the interim, when I was staying for a few days at the hotel that my friend, Marcus, had so generously paid for is when I first was reunited with members of my old posse.

Kari had flown into town and moved in with Derek (who by the way is now a regular on the new season of the Real Housewives of New York City!!!! He's as fab as ever and I am so proud of him!!) but was spending some nights with me at the Hotel Serena where we would stay up into the wee hours catching up on life, drinking wine and just being happy. A few days into Kari being in Milan, Jeremy (remember my Canadians?) arrived. We met up for a little prefunk in my hotel room his first night back which we prepped for by going to the local supermarket and buying ludicrous amounts of cheap vino and lugging it all back to my room.

At some point in the night we decided that we would WALK to Gasoline to see if any of our other friends were in town yet. Keep in mind, that we all had cells and texting was a new thing for we really were all playing it by ear as to when we would run into the rest of our crew. The walk from Hotel Serena to Gasoline must've been something like 30 minutes long...we're talking opposite ends of Milan....but we had bottles of wine in hand and my trusty camera to keep us company. God, the pictures from that night...THE PICTURES! I'll be scanning those in this week and posting them. They are BEAUTIES.

Once we got to Gasoline we figured it would be an amazing idea to hide our wine bottles in the bushes outside of the club. Since we were there early on in the season we weren't sure that there would be table service provided for us and we had to make very sure that our sweet buzz would continue unaltered throughout the night. After stashing our bottles, we got in line, were escorted to the front (love being a model...heh heh) and into the VIP section at the back of the club. I was drunkish at the time but remember clear as day getting pinched by random hands almost the entire walk to the back. Not cute.

Once there we met up with Derek who was also in the throes of Bacchus and somehow ended up on the floor in the VIP with all of us laying there with him. Lovefest, what can I say? LOL! A little after that I looked up to see Jason, one of my other Canadians standing with another boy model and his de rigeur Jack & Coke in hand. I called out his name and when he looked over (and this is one my best friend/reuniting moments ever) he stared with this look of joy on his face over at us and literally dropped his glass out of surprise. It was beautiful. He ran over to us and there were hugs and kisses all around. Seriously the best thing ever. Imagine being in a foreign country for just a few days and all of a sudden seeing a close friend out of the blue. Like good.

We all drank and danced and loved each other (and not in any way please....minds out of gutters, stat.) and took breaks to run out to the bushes to gulp down more wine (even though Derek made sure that we had endless champagne...) but we were kids and high on life and so, why not drink that wine in the foliage? We also made damned sure to do pole dances od the random metal tube stuck in a block of cement that was outside of the club too....again, why the hell wouldn't we?

Milan, Milan, Milan....Kari, Jeremy, Jason and Derek......I miss the hell out of you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Left Off....

Ha! Wow....I just realized that I need to pick back up from my last season in Milan. Life always seems to get in the way...bad blogger excuse, but so be it. I now have written down in my planner on what days I need to update and scan in ancient don't give up hope on me yet. ;)

Back SOON! =)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Of Cars and Feet

I have really small feet for a small that clients have joked with me about how I can possibly stand up without tipping over because my feet are so miniscule for a girl my height. It's genetic..what can I say? All the women in my family have feet small enough to make a Geisha cry with envy. At 5'8" I wear a size 6 shoe. Yep 6. So while clients would think that was funny or cute, I always got to work on shoe catalogs the world over because my hoofs were just right for sample sizes. No complaints here!

The only market I ever had trouble booking foot jobs (wow that sounds slightly naughty) was Miami. In Europe and Asia I had public transportation to take, and In Los Angeles I always drove my car. However, in Miami models walk to all of the castings and since it's hot we'd all wear flip-flops. This is great until you get to a casting, without having been told it was specifically for a shoe catalog, and you realize that your feet are black from street grime that somehow manages to creep over the soles of your sandals and right onto your toes. Sexy. Castings like those would find me wishing I had arrived in the comfort of a Ford Explorer or at least a scooter.

During one particular casting, I found out that the client was asking the models to remove their shoes in order to look at our feet from every angle and 9 out of 10 girls were walking out of the casting room with red faces....I started sweating bullets wondering if I should skip the casting and make my bookers blow a head gasket or have the clients see my tan and black feet and utter some words of disgust in French, Italian or German....I saw the little fountain in front of the hotel the casting was being held in and wanted so badly to dip my feet in it...but the concierge was hovering. Ugh. I went in and apologized, handed them my card and made a quick retreat...without any shoe removal. Shoe casting FAIL!

I loved being able to drive my own car to castings in LA. I had my trusty Honday Civic, a Triple A card and knew where I needed to go for some good ol' Los Angeles auto repair should I have needed it. Traffic and parking aside, there was something so nice about the freedom of having your own set of wheels...listening to music to amp me for whatever casting I was having, the ability to have some personal time and was golden. Needless to say, in Los Angeles, my feet were ALWAYS camera ready!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My Crazy Model TV Addiction

I just have to cut in here and talk a little about what it was like for me the first few hours I would move into any models' apartment in any part of the globe. For some reason, I would more often than not, move in and have the entire place be empty. Not empty as in I got the apartment to myself for the entire season...more like, empty because everyone was working or on castings. So, what does a girl do in a foreign country, in a new apartment, and all on her lonesome? TURN ON THE TV.

It didn't matter if I was in Italy, Japan or Taiwan...the first thing I would do upon entering a new home and setting my luggage down, was to turn on the television. It's not like I expected the experience to be anything like turning on my TV at home and having my shows pop up as if my cable services had magically followed me abroad.....but I did want to hear and see something.

That eerie quiet that comes from being alone in a strange new hovel was always disheartening to me. Despite my travel addiction, for those first few seconds in a new and empty place, I would have a flash of homesickness...I would want to grab the phone and pay unreal sums of money just to "connect" with someone. So, instead of a phone call, I would turn on the tube and watch really loud and bright Japanese game shows, or Italian music videos which were often (as in the case of Piero Pelu) too unbelievably bad to look away from....or the VTV music videos in Taipei that played anything from Brittney Spears terribleness to some really cool Korean hip hop. Once in a while, I scored and would find a show in English...some ancient Fresh Prince or Little House on the Prairie episode that was somehow bouncing through space off of a satellite....and that was good. Real good. And then there were the apartments were the TV's sat there covered in a relic from the Eastern Bloc...some random looking contraption that would not work no matter how much I cursed at it and tried every knob (mind you most never had a remote)...and those were always the creepiest nights. Sitting there in silence until a roomate would finally appear and save me from the quiet.....

This model TV addiction never lasted long. Once in and integrated into my new life and home I barely had time to sit and watch anything on TV. And when I did it was to watch DVD's with friends....When I would return home to the States though I would always make sure that my cable would always be set up and working.....and it always was to my great relief....because after being gone for 3-6 months at a time, coming home to the States and my apartments there was always strange and oddly disheartening as well. I would want to have the company of whatever news anchor or sitcom actor was on at the moment I would walk in the door....

And it's funny for me to even think about all of this now....since at this point in my life I crave nothing more than silence and solitude...and a large chunk of chocolate....but back then, the silence of an empty apartment after being on planes full of people, photoshoots surrounded by crew, and parties embraced by friends...was just not comfortable.....So, yes....I guess in that way I was a typical American, needing my TV and finding it a source of comfort. No wonder some of my Eastern Euro and Brazilian roomies would roll their eyes at me when they first met me...."aha! look at the American! always with the TV on even if she isn't watching it!".