I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet. Well…it was pretty fucking awful so maybe I blocked it out and put it off. But a few years ago, in PC terms, I was taken off the second and third days of a shoot…but actually I was asked to not come back because I was “too thick”.
And away we go….
The year was 2014. I had struggled with my body for[ever] a while at this point. I couldn’t decide if my routines were making me strong and fit or dumpy-looking on camera. I also didn’t know who I was yet. Am I an Ingénue? Am I a best friend? Am I in the wrong job? Yea, still struggling with some of these sometimes. But the battle of “who am I?” also informs “what do I work on?” so the mixed bag of feelings also led to a lot of body confusion. If you read about my love/hate relationship with CrossFit, you know part of this already. I stopped lifting weights over head, stopped doing pull ups and push ups. I eventually ditched the whole system and moved onto Kickboxing and HIIT classes.
During this latter period of heavy kickboxing and cardio, I was booked on a job that involved being in a swimsuit. I don’t care who you are, this is always immediately intimidating, especially when you were booked straight off photos (and had no bikini photos at this time). I talked myself down from my concern by working out, drinking tons of water, and eating really well over the next 3 days. I specifically remember parking for the shoot and telling myself how strong, fit, and healthy I was. I was so proud of my direct booking (3 days of pay, yassss) and healthy out look on life.
Upon arriving and checking in I was sent to wardrobe, handed a black bikini, and asked to change. I was then placed in the actor/model holding area and felt instantly out of place. Every single girl in that room was a solid model..not model/actor. Resisting all the negative thoughts that flooded my brain, I sat down with these ladies and joined in on the conversation, which did make me way more comfortable (I can talk to a wall and probably sell it something too if we’re being honest).
The client came to the room to sign off on the wardrobe (all our black bikini’s) and then I was quietly asked to change suits to a one piece. I’m getting embarrassed writing this, but I will push on. We were placed in product shots that followed on and off for about 5 hours. Myself and another model/model were asked to stay and finish late actually. I went home feeling like my issues were only in my head, that maybe my dysmorphic view of my body was my own, and that I was much more model-worthy than I thought. I enjoyed the night at home with my dog and slept in before my 3pm call time the next day.
Upon waking in the morning I had 3 texts, 2 missed calls, 1 voicemail, and 3 emails from my agent (if you haven’t picked up on it yet, this is the part where the shit hits the fan). Without reading or listening at all, I called my agents office. I was put through directly to her and we had a very brief phone call that consisted of “Honey, you were removed from the shoot. They said you were ‘too thick’ for the job. Is everything ok?”
I of course handled this like the professional that I am…I broke down balling on the phone to my agent begging that she didn’t drop me and that I am so sorry I’m fat. #pro
The rest of that day was spent in a weird haze. I had the day off already for the shoot so I had nothing to do. I obviously ate nothing but air for as long as possible. I called my (new at the time) boyfriend to commiserate. I day dreamed about what the other girls on the shoot were saying about me not being there, about what my replacement looked like, about how much money I had lost. And mostly I googled diets. Diet after diet. Clearly there was something everyone knew except me. The other girls on set were eating candy on our lunch break for god’s sake! What was my salad-eating self missing??
There is a lot more that goes along with this story. I went on the Zone diet for a few months. I changed gyms a few times. My best friends got me flowers. And I cried a lot. No, my agent didn’t drop me. But my confidence level sure did. I was bottom of the barrel for a long time. Clearly there are a lot bigger things in life, but being told blatantly you don’t meet a standard is pretty harsh.
I wish I could put a pretty bow on this and tell you, “cutting carbs and increasing cardio saved my life and my job!” but that would be a huge fucking lie. I hit some disordered eating levels I had yet to experience. I lost some weight but was really sad.
It took me a long time to release myself from this idea of fitting that one damn commercial’s standards. But with a lot of patience and work on my mindset I can finally share this story without feeling like I am not enough. I can tell you for a fact that I was not right for that job at that time. And that is not my fault.
We are who we are and where we are at different parts of our lives. I can value this experience only now, from a distance, and I am so glad I can share it. I hope that if anyone of my fellow actors has experienced anything like this, you will be emboldened to share them with us. Trust me…it helps.