FIRED AND SENT ‘HOME’

From my journal:

4 October 1987

“I’m getting sick.  My throat is infected.  I don’t feel too bad but not good either.  Maybe today will be busy and go kind of fast.  I hope anyway.

7:30p  This is just great.  I’ve basically been fired.  I’m being sent back to Hamburg tomorrow morning.  Supposedly, it was mainly my not understanding the language.  And the regular model is well now.  But Katharina (the bitch) made me believe that my not understanding German had nothing to do with it.  That girl is so in love with herself, it’s ridiculous.  She’s such a snot.  Enough said about her.

Anyway, once again I wonder what the fuck I am doing over here trying to model.  And for that matter, why am I in this business at all?  I really don’t like Germany.  I think the people (as a whole) are very rude.  I simply don’t like being away from what I know.  I wonder if I subconsciously wanted to lose my book?  I also wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow when I get back to the agency?  I think I should get paid for the whole time even though I didn’t stay.  I was booked for the 4 1/2 days and any other booking (ha) that I might have had, would’ve been turned down because I was already booked.  I wonder if they (Cosmo) are going to blame me for this?  I sure hope not.  This is just one more thing to add to their list of why I shouldn’t be here.  Just what I need.

Chipsey is just like Charlotte.  She is sleeping under her blanket.  She’s so cute.

I guess I should call Jan and let her know I’ll be back tomorrow morning.  She has that look-see at Otto.  I guess I’ll just have to hope that Siggi is there and can let me in to the apartment.  I should get back around 10a or so.

This whole deal just makes me want to go home.  I sure didn’t need this on top of losing/having my book stolen.  I am so tempted to just say fuck it and leave.

5 October 1987

I’m sitting on the steps outside the apartment door.  It is now 1p; I’ve been here since 11a.  Siggi is not home.  Neither is Jan.  I sure hope she has a break between appointments.  With my luck, she’s either testing or booked until tonight.  I’m tired and I want to sleep.  I don’t feel good.  I do have my blanket, but I don’t really want to sleep in the stairwell.  I feel like a derelict with no place to go.  I bought a book in the airport in Munich, but don’t feel much like reading.

I can’t stop thinking about L.  I sure don’t know why because I don’t even like him.  He’s really kind of a jerk.  I know he’s just out to get what he can, but that doesn’t seem to bother me.  I guess as long as the fantasies remain in my mind, there’s nothing wrong with it.  But every time I close my eyes, I imagine him kissing me.  I guess I’ll never have the pleasure.  Besides, he likes Jan and they are probably already engaged.  I couldn’t believe how envious and jealous I was of Jan the other night.  She has no strings on her.  She can do whatever  whenever with whomever she pleases.  I think I still love D and miss him (in a way) but…   I won’t do anything I shouldn’t though.  At least I don’t think I will.

8p    Finally go in the apt around 1:30.  The lady across the hall had an extra key and let me in.  Jan arrived about 10 minutes after that.  She had quite a weekend.  She tested on Saturday with L.  He ended up staying the night Saturday and Sunday.  She says she doesn’t like him, but I think she does.  She slept in my bed and he slept in hers.  I wish I could stop having lewd thoughts about him.  It would be foolish tho do anything with him though.  He seems to me to be the type who would blab to everyone.  Sure don’t need that.  Jan’s attitude about it amazes me, though.  We were talking about it and she said that it’s not like it would mean anything.  She also said L asked about my marriage.  He said I seemed to him to be in a weird situation, and wondered if I was happily married.  I wonder why I give that impression?  (Maybe because I’m not!) He’s not the first to think that.  Oh well.  I guess I’ll go on in my mind thinking about him, but I can’t see it going any further.  Besides, fantasy is always better than reality.

13 October 1987

How true that last line I wrote is.  So much has happened since I last wrote, but I’m not going to back track.  Suffice it to say that I’ve once again learned a lesson and that I’m over my ‘crush’ on L.

I have a lot of things on my mind that I should probably write down, but I am simply not up to dealing with them.  Maybe later.

I sure hope the test Jan and I did on Saturday comes out good.  The film will be ready this afternoon.  I certainly need the boost a good test will bring.  I also hope that my other photos from Chicago will be here this week.  They have to be.  I’m pissed that D didn’t make more of an effort.  And since he is going out-of-town today for business, there is no telling when they’ll be sent if it he didn’t already send the package.  Fuck.

Well, Jan, it’s 11 o’clock, so why the fuck haven’t you called me?  I guess you are just going to be locked out.  You should’ve called.  She’s probably off having sex with L.  I’m so glad that I didn’t.

15 October 1987

I’m getting dissatisfied with my life again.  That’s a dangerous thing for me.  I don’t want to go back to Chicago.  I want to wander Europe for a couple of years.  What I really need is to be a wealthy man’s kept woman.  With no strings attached, of course.  Fat chance!  I wonder if D’ll screw that bitch again.  I wouldn’t doubt it.  I guess I’ll never know, and, really, do I even care?

16 October 1987

It’s getting harder every day not to just give up and go back.  But it’s like Jan said, I don’t want to back or I would have 2 weeks ago when my book was stolen.  Another week of doing nothing.  My stuff from Chicago still hasn’t arrived.  That really pisses me off.

2:30a   I’ve decided/realized I am on a course of self-destruction, and I’ve got to get off.  I know that’s why I’ve been eating the way I have.  Trying to stuff my sadness…”

 

It has been years since I’ve read this particular journal and I am amazed at just how unhappy I truly was.  And what a potty mouth I used to have!  The saga continues in next Wednesday’s installment of ‘My West German Adventure.’

 

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A DEVASTATING LOSS

The following comes from my journal on 3 October 1987:

“Jan and I were waiting around the apartment to call into the agency at 1p.  The phone rang about 12:15.  It was the agency.  Doris said, “you are going to Munich tomorrow until Wednesday afternoon.”  She said I had to come to the agency to pick up my ticket and that I had an appointment to get my hair cut t 4p.  Needless to say, I was astonished.

Anyway, we went to the agency and my book was back but Jan’s wasn’t.  I got all the info for my trip.  We wet to the travel agent to pick up the ticket.  (I’m flying first class there and business class back.)  We then went to get our bus passes for the next week and to do other errands.  I got my hair cut and we decided to go back to the apartment and decide what to do about dinner.  Jan thought she should call the agency in case her book was back and we could stop on our way home.  The book wasn’t back but she has the booking for the topless ad on Sunday.  That cheered her up considerably.  After she hung up with the agency, we were walking through the terminal when all of a sudden I said, “My book!”  I had left it in the phone booth.  We ran all the way back (we hadn’t been gone even 5 minutes) to the phone and it was gone.  We looked and looked.  We went to the police and everywhere else we were told to go.  No one had turned it in and I doubt they will.  I left it where I shouldn’t have but someone stole it.  The thing that pisses me off so much is it’s no good to anyone but me.  And every last picture, slide and transparency I had was in it.  There were also 2 new prints of Jan’s that we had picked up earlier.  The slides of those pictures were also in there.  I’m royally screwed.  All I can hope is that someone turns it in.  I’m not holding my breath, though.  We finally gave up looking and went home.  I tried calling D but he was at lunch.  Jan and I had pizza for dinner, then I called agin.  He was there and I briefly told him what had happened and to call me back.  He did, and I gave the names of the photographers and exactly which prints I need replaced.  I told him to call Mary and have her get a hold of them ASAP>  I sure hope Mary comes through.  She is so cheap, though.  She told D to have me call her in 45 minutes or call her at home after 9p Chicago time.  No way was I calling her,  Anyway, if everyone (photographers) gets their butts in gear and does whatever it takes to replace my lost shots, then Jan thinks I’ll only lose a week or so.  At least I’ll be out-of-town working for most of next week.  When all the stuff is collected, it’s going to have to be Federal Expressed or whatever to get it here pronto.  I am so mad that it happened.  That dumb book was always connected to my arm and I can’t believe I didn’t realize I did not have it immediately.  Oh well, as Lance would say, I was being a fucking blonde.  I tried calling him to tell him about my good news (Munich) and ask advice for my bad, but his phone is messed up.  I also figured he’d laugh, though it’s not funny at all.

I am sitting in the Frankfort airport right now, waiting to board for Munich.  First Class is all right!  We were served breakfast on actual dishes.  It was even good.  I could learn to like this.

I’m a little nervous about this booking.  I guess I’ll know in a little while what to expect.  I sure hope I do well.  I know I will.

9:15p  I should be going to sleep now instead of writing, but I don’t want to get behind.  I got into Munich about 11:45a.  I got my luggage and found a taxi.  He took me to the Hilton.  I went to room 702 and they had never heard of Frau Hagen.  I had to lug everything back down to the lobby.  Doris made a mistake.  It was room 709, not 702.  I finally got there and was put immediately to work.  I’m not doing runway at all.  I’m basically doing showroom modeling.  When I first saw the line, I though — oh no, how ugly.  But the more I see of it, the more I like it.  In fact, there are several pieces I’m dying to have.  It’s too expensive though.   It’s all couture, so even at cost, I can’t afford it.It gives me ideas though.  I sure wish Jan were here.  I’m sure she would really like the line.  I found out the only reason I am here is the regular girl is sick and in the hospital.  Another job by default.  Who cares as long as they keep coming?  Anyway there were no clients to show anything to today.  Tomorrow should be a different story.  The designer’s name is Inke Von Hagen.  It should be kind of fun, but I know that by the time Wednesday afternoon comes around I’m going to be exhausted.  I’ll be working from 9-6 or sometimes later.  I sure hope they plan on feeding me.  I also hope I get to pick what I want to eat, not just nibble on what they get.

I’m staying at a friend of Katharina’s.  She has a little dog just like Charlotte except she is light brown.  Her name is Chipsey.  She’s so cute.  There is also a big boy dog whose name I forget.  And she has a baby boy named Adrian.  He’s 12 weeks old.  Tomorrow Katharina’s picking me up at 8:30a.  I guess I’ll take a cab each night back to the house.

I need to sleep, so I’ll stop here.  I’m afraid I’m getting sick and I sure don’t need that.  Staying up practically all night on Thursday was not so smart.  I’m paying for it now.  Oh well.  It was fun!”

 

Okay, clearly I used to write tons and even though this saga is not complete, I am choosing to save it for next week.

 

ADVENTURES IN HAMBURG

As I said, it only took me a week to adjust to living in Hamburg.  That first week, though, was pretty tough for me.  I had always thought I would like to be on a desert island, alone.  Ha!  It felt like I was on a desert island that because I felt completely isolated.  Although most Germans spoke English, they didn’t go around speaking it automatically, and since I was frequently mistakenly identified as being German (tall and blonde), I couldn’t understand what was being said to me.  And, of course, all the signs and such were in German.  Luckily, I did retain enough German vocabulary that I was able to work out what most signs, etc. said/meant.  And all I had to say was, “I don’t speak German” for them to switch to English. Still, I felt really isolated.

Going on castings was a whole other challenge.  I had to learn the city and the train and bus schedule, something I had never done much of in the USA.  Well, that’s not quite true…living in Chicago, without a car, had taught me how to use public transportation.  Of course, it was all in English and I wasn’t a foreign visitor to the city.  I found, to my delight, that in Germany the trains and buses all run on time.  I mean exactly on time.  And they were exceptionally clean.  There was one particular connection that I literally had to run to catch because it was never even one second late.  I got used to it, though, and really came to love the freedom that public transportation gave me.  I know it sounds kind of odd, but it was so easy to use.  All you needed was a bus/train pass and you were all set.

Soon after I arrived, my booker asked for my passport.  I thought, oh crap, hopefully she won’t notice the year I was born.  I had, after all, lied to them about my age.  Here I was 27 and they thought I was 21.  Well, they did notice.  I was called into meet with the owner of the agency, the man who had come to Chicago and who had picked me to go to Hamburg in the first place.  Let’s just say he was not happy.  He wanted to send me home.  This pissed me off because, really, if you thought I was 21, then why should it matter that I am really 27.  He said it wasn’t so much that I was 27, as it was that I was 27 and just starting modeling.  He said that most 27 year olds, if they were even still in the business, had been modeling at least 10 years.  As far as he was concerned, I was completely inexperienced.  This wasn’t true as I had been working in Chicago for the last 9 months or so.  Again, I found it so ridiculous that a number could be such a big deal.  I somehow convinced him to allow me to stay, though now I can’t remember how I did it.

So, I continued to go to castings.  One in particular was a commercial for chocolate.  Those of you who actually know me know that I do NOT like chocolate.  I did not want to tell the casting director this because I thought I could do it anyway.  As it turned out, not only did I have to speak in German, I also had to eat the stupid chocolate at the end.  After the first take, she said to me, “Your German is excellent, but you look like you don’t like chocolate.”  I tried again, 2 more times, but I could never take a bite of the chocolate bar without making a face.  Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

I did have various small jobs here and there, mostly catalog or commercials (where I didn’t have to eat chocolate.)  My booker called me one day to ask if I could do a split.  I said I used to be able to, but it had been years since I’d done one, that if I had time to practice, I probably could do it.  Turned out the casting was the next day.  So much for time to practice.  Luckily, when I did the casting, I had to do a split between 2 ottomans, so even though I really couldn’t do one, it looked like I could because of gravity.  The job was for a photographer who was known for thinking up concepts that no one could possibly do, and then finding models to do it.  I was one of those models.  This concept was about writing music on a computer.

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What you’ve got to remember here is, this was LONG before Photoshop even existed.   I am actually doing this, I am suspended between the two computers.  Getting me up there was quite tricky, though.  First they had to teach me how to hold the violin properly.  Luckily, I was allowed to keep my eyes closed for the picture.  I’m not sure I could have done it otherwise without grimacing.  Physically, I would say this was the hardest job I ever did.   Anyway, I would put my front leg up on the computer, get the violin situated properly, then my back leg would be put on the other computer with two people holding me up until the photographer was ready.  He would then say something to me like strength and I would tighten all my muscles, the holders would step out of the frame and the shot would be taken.  I would then throw the violin to the person whose job it was to catch it, and the holders would rush in to get me off the computers.  I would start to go ‘inside out’ because of gravity.  There was no way I could hold that position because of where my legs were on the computers.  Perhaps if they were a little closer together it would have been possible, but the distance was just too great to hold longer than about 2 seconds.  In all we did about 24 shots.  Afterwards, I had to take the train back to my apartment, with hair and makeup still on, but wearing regular clothes.  I wished it was closer to Halloween so I wouldn’t stand out so much.

To be continued…

TOO OLD…I DON’T THINK SO

When I was twelve years old, I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer, an interior designer and a model.  Over the years I have actually done all three.  My road to becoming a model, though, was the most challenging.  First and foremost, which I did not realize at the time, was I had to ‘grow’ into my own face.  If you look at pictures of me as a teenager you can see clearly that I was not ‘fully cooked’ at that point.  When I was 19 I dated, if not THE, than at least one of the top male models in the world.  He told me then that I could be a model.  It took me 8 years to really believe him.  I tried when I was 23, which is even considered old for a model.  I was living in Atlanta at the time and Elite/John Casablancas had an agency there.  I met with John and he told me that they would be happy to represent me after I got my nose fixed.  (I had broken it at a swim meet when I was 14.) What you have to keep in mind here was that at that time in the modeling business, perfection, or at least what was considered ‘perfect’ was the driving force, and a crooked nose wasn’t it.  I refused to fix my nose because I thought it was silly.  It wasn’t like it was sideways on my face.  This, however, did make me question myself and why I ever thought I could be a model.

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What you also must understand is I grew up being told by my brothers that I was fat and ugly.  Even my mother used to call me a big, fat walrus.  Years later when I asked my mother about this, she told me that she thought I knew she was kidding, that I was a skinny little girl, so why would I believe what she was saying?  Ah, the power of words…good and bad.  Why would I believe anything else?  So, I had that going for me, too.  After I had shot with a photographer, a real fashion photographer, and had these beautiful (I thought, anyway) pictures, I showed my brother Michael, and he said, “You are still ugly.”  I did not really think I was ugly, because outside of my family I definitely had a more positive experience.  Still, when you are told something every day of your life, doesn’t matter if it is true or not, you believe it to be true.  And it took me years to stop believing it.

Fast forward 3 years and we are now living in Chicago.  I am doing a lot of television and film work and cannot let go of the idea of being a model.  So I gather the photos I had from  years earlier and make the rounds of the agencies in Chicago.  Keep in mind, I am now 26 years old.  At one particular agency, the booker is looking through my portfolio, flipping the pages and making noises like she approves.  She then asks me how old I am.  I say, “26.” She slams my book shut, hands it across the desk to me, and says, “You’re too old.”  I thought she was wrong, and an idiot, but I took my book and left the agency.  The next one on my list did not take walk-ins, so I mailed my headshot and waited to hear.  In about a week, I received a call.  (Remember I was married and we were living with my in-laws as we were saving to buy a house.)  My mother-in-law answered the phone and proceeds to tell the caller that she isn’t sure how old I am, but that I am married to her son, and he’s 27.  Oh, great, I think.  But this agent thought I was about 14 from my picture and wanted me to come in to meet her in person.  From that point on, I mostly lied about my age.  So ridiculous, but so necessary in a business that loves really young girls.

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I sign with this agency and start shooting with lots of different photographers to build my portfolio.  About six months later, with a completely new book, and now 27 years old, I go back to the agency that told me I was too old.  (I knew she’d never remember me, and I was right.)  I was not what was called exclusive with my agency, so this wasn’t against the rules.  This agency, though, specialized in runway more than anything else, and I thought I might like to do runway.  So, the agent is looking through my new book, and as before is making noises like she likes what she is seeing.  She then looks up at me and says, “How old are you?”  I say, “21.”  And she says, “Here, fill this out.”

In the summer of 1987, an agency from Milan comes to town, looking for girls to take to Italy.  I am one of those chosen.  A couple of weeks later, a German agent arrives and when he asks me how old I am, I tell him 21, which is what my agent told me to tell him.  He likes me and my look and I am again one of the girls chosen to go to Europe.  In the end, we decide Germany is a better market for me.  My ticket is made for September and a week later another girl from my agency will be joining me, and we will live together.  Everything is set up through the agencies, both in Chicago and in Hamburg.  Here I am, 27 years old, never having been out of the country other than to Baja when I was 20, going off to Europe to model!  It was a very exciting time, and I was scared to death.  Although I had taken German in high school, you couldn’t really say that I spoke the language.  The first week I was there, I was on the phone every day with my husband, crying that I wanted to come home.  Luckily, he understood that I was just scared.  It took me a week to adjust, and by the time Jan Marie arrived, I was fine, loving it, in fact.

To be continued…