From time to time I ask people to scoop nerdiness out of their own brains and slap it onto this site in the form of writing, a technology that dates back 6000 years to ancient Mesopotamia. THIS is one of those times.
Please welcome to your eyes the delightful and Canadian Kelly Oxford:
I was 14 years old when a group of A list modeling agencies were holding a cattle call for potential models.
I was totally unaware of my looks, but knew I wanted to be famous, so I walked into the casting call looking like this.
I was 5’6″ and 80 pounds. Up to this point I had gained fame in my middle school for my Steve Urkel and Kids in the Hall “Chicken Lady” impressions.
Logically, my next step would be modeling.
I wore my Mother’s Chanel knock-off blazer that came down to my knees. I was given a number and pinned it proudly to the jacket, feeling as though I’d already won something or perhaps had been accepted into Julliard.
Hundreds of girls walked in front of the agents, and as I’d hoped, all of them noticed me. Unfortunately it wasn’t because I was model potential.
Of course, in my deluded mind, their snickers and laughter came from a place of knowing I was hilarious and clever with all of those twirls and spins I was completing so effortlessly on the catwalk.
One by one, the agents stood up and called out the numbers of the girls they had chosen.
I was in complete shock that my number wasn’t called.
The agents thanked everyone and told us that if our number was called that we were to meet in the Manulife Tower in half an hour, 23rd floor.
I decided to regroup my thoughts and go to China Express where I pulled out my copy of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and ate lo mein.
Half an hour later I found myself running across the street to Manulife Tower and getting on an elevator full of tall girls and Mothers carrying overflowing modeling books.
The 23rd floor was wide open.
Around the periphery of the giant floor were desks and stations for all of the different agencies.
There were stacks of contracts, polaroid cameras, measuring tapes and more agents.
I headed for the only table with no girls waiting in line.
It was Wilhemina Models.
“Yes?” she said
“What do you want?”
“I’m here to sign up.”
“Your number wasn’t called.”
“I think it was”
“I chose only 3 girls out of 400. That is why there is no line here. I know what they look like darling.”
“Maybe you like me better now that you can see me close up?”
The woman whispered “I’m sorry” through a smile.
I walked over to FORD AGENCY.
The man didn’t look up, “Number?”
“1149, 1149, 1149…. no I” and then he looked up
“I’m sure you called my number.”
“Oh honey. I’m sorry but we didn’t”
“Really? Weird! I think you should take my picture with that camera.” I pointed to the polaroid camera.
“Is your mother with you?”
“Oh. Well, we don’t have you on this list.”
“I think you’d really like me. I work hard, I have since I was a small child. I can dance, I can act, but I can’t sing.”
A woman joined the man on the other side of the desk.
“Can you take off those glasses?”
I took off the glasses.
“Can you take off the jacket?”
“Right!” I said “You know I’m actually very very very photogenic, and my mother is small and has a great body so I will too one day.”
The woman took my photo and the man looked annoyed.
“I need to see your profile”
I stood sideways.
“Stop smiling” he said
“I’ll do whatever it takes you know. I don’t even need to get braces. My teeth are perfect.”
“What is your name?”
“Well Kelly, you are a little short, what are you 5’6”?”
“5’7” and I might still hit a growth spurt.”
“Do you have a book?”
“I have ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’”
“No, a book, book. A modeling portfolio.”
“No. But I can get my Mom to take a bunch of black and white and blow them up for you if you need them.”
The woman turned to the man “She is photogenic. Look at her face.”
The man looked at my face.
I remembered, soldier face.
“Here. Fill this out.” He slid and information sheet across the table.
“But promise me that you will only sign with us, and leave.”
Two weeks later the woman called me in to meet her. She plucked my unibrow down to nothing and told me what kind of clothing to buy. She showed me how to walk in high heels and she booked my first job for Levi’s the following year… right after I willed my vision back to 20/20.
Schwaaa? Who IS this Kelly Oxford person??? Does this tale have an ending? Ask her yourself and/or follow the glorious stream of her tweets: @kellyoxford