AIN’T DEDD YET; JUST KIPPIN!! #16

Boy, have I missed you guys!! I had no clue when I posted the last blog about the Snow Monster, that it would be the last day with my laptop for almost three weeks. Yeah, that little cold the Teenage Morose One brought home morphed into bronchitis. Even that probably wouldn’t have been sooo bad, except for me clinging to my stubborn hippy-dippy ways of self-medication and healing. I believe modern medicine has its place, but am convinced that for every good a pharmaceutical provides, there is a little poison that comes along for the ride. One just needs to watch the myriad of TV commercials for confirmation. Got a headache? Take Excedrin and your headache will be gone, but so will your spleen and your liver. Got arthritis? Take just two Aleve and you will be pain free for 24 hours, oh, and by the way, your breasts will shrivel up like two raisins on a tight budget and your eyeballs will explode out of your head, but what the heck?

So Miss Stubborn, Anti-Medical Establishment decided to heal my own bronchitis. One entire HEAD of roasted garlic in a pot of homemade chicken soup, steaming over hot pots of water infused with Vicks, Airborne and Zicam every 4 hours, scalding hot Jacuzzis to steam out the toxins, neti pots, and seven days later I was so sick I could barely remember my doctor’s name, much less how to get dressed to get to the doctor. Sometime a little seasoning with a dose of humility isn’t a bad thing, because after nine days of steroids, antibiotics, and cough medicine, I am reluctantly able to admit that maybe all health care providers aren’t riding around in Satan’s pocket.

YeeHaw, I’m putting on clothes and leaving the house today for the first time since December 20. What is the first thing every female needs after two weeks on her deathbed? Well, a mannie and a peddie, of course. I’m going to see Mr. Le, who just happens to be my neighbor and a truly wonderful human being. We have had a strange relationship for six years. Every three weeks I spend one to two hours in his capable hands and in that time I have probably understood maybe 2% of the many exciting things he tells me; Le is Vietnamese you see. He is the most upbeat, jolly soul on the planet and always makes me laugh, even when I have no clue what he is saying. When he has repeated something five or six times and he sees I’m just not getting it, he will attempt the same words but with a different dialect, often Irish or German. When even that fails, he will resort to pulling out pen and paper and sketching out the story for me, which can make for some REALLY LONG manicure appointments! I’m sure we have had some thrilling chats about many fascinating subjects over the years; I wonder what we’ll talk/not talk about today??

Thanks for all of you who have inquired about what happened next with the Snow Monster. In the three weeks before that event, I had been going on “open calls” to an agency called Wilhelmina, named after arguably one of the most beautiful and successful models of all time. She had opened her own agency after she stepped away from the cameras and after months of consideration I had decided that this was the place I wanted to hang my career hat. For three weeks in a row I had not made it past “the Gatekeeper”. Every agency has one. Someone whose luckless task it is to shatter hopes of young girls from all across America. For three weeks there was always a new and different reason for rejection. “We already have two redheads in our stable, so we can’t use anymore; redheads are not easy to book.”  “You are too commercial for us” (translates to “you are too short and not high fashion enough”). “We already have other girls on our roster who are your type.” Each rejection just made me that much more determined, so, armed with the new Afro-do photos from Mr. Harper’s Bazaar, I had made up my mind to go back for the fourth week in a row; hopefully when the Gatekeeper saw I was working with a photographer of his caliber, she would reconsider. I had also just fired my agent and currently had no representation, therefore no work. Talk about being motivated!

It was this same week that Alberto called me about the possibility of doing a shoot in the Hamptons for the Montgomery Ward catalog. He had been tipped to the gig from one of his aging Crypt Keeper buddies; they understood they were looking for a redhead to round out their trio of blonde and brunette models. Faster than a speeding bullet I was at the corporate offices of Montgomery Ward and was told that they would love to book me for the week-long shoot if only I were “with a better agency than Eve Shelton; we simply don’t work with agencies of that rank” (meaning “We are a truly professional company who prefers not to do business with a vodka-swilling drunk has-been, whose boyfriend is a convicted rapist”!) A quick call was made to Wilhelmina herself, completely bypassing my good buddy the Gatekeeper, and moments later there I was, in the chamber of the great one herself. She was utterly awe-inspiring. The most sophisticated, classy, and drop-dead beautiful person on the planet, inside and outside, as I was later to learn. In less than half an hour, the deed was done and I was a signed, sealed, delivered, bonafide Wilhelmina model, with my first booking a week-long catalog shoot in the Hamptons, no less. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus, and sometimes he waits until March to make all your dreams come true!

First publicity still/head shot with Wilhelmina Models March 1975

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