I stared at the email in horror. This was not what I signed up for. Who would voluntarily subject themselves to such torture for the price of $30/hr? I got the job off craigslist, I should have known there was something they weren’t telling me. I looked at the e-mail again, hoping I’d miss-read.
YOUR SCHEDULE FOR TOMORROW’S EVENT:
10:30: Everyone arrives at the office, change into Jones New York provided outfits
10:40am: You will be split into teams of 5 (4 models and 1 brand ambassador) and put in cabs to head to your location
Nope, there was no mistaking it. I agreed to the job a week previously, to work as a brand ambassador for a Fashion Week promotion. $30 an hour? Great. No one told me I’d be the one, single brand ambassador surrounded by professional models. No one signs up to be the fat kid on the playground. The one hippopotamus in a herd of antelope.
I was never the fat kid on the playground. Quite the opposite, I was made fun of for my skinny legs. Fortunately the name “Chicken Legs” never stuck. Even saddling the Freshman 15 no one would ever describe me as fat. Presently I might be described as “tall, thin, blonde.” Sounds like a modelesque description but trust me, I ain’t got the bone structure nor the ability to walk in 5 inch heels.
I arrived at 10:30 and the office was amass of incredibly skinny, beautiful women in their underwear. I closed my eyes and thought off all the straight men who would give anything to be in my shoes at that moment. Then I stripped, hoping no one would notice that my ribs don’t show, and slipped on my black pumps and the provided Jones New York ensemble.
10:40 AM I am in a cab with four other girls. Everything about them is making me believe every stereotype and cliché I’ve ever heard about models. They are The Alpha Bitch, The Closet Bitch, The Nice One, and The Newbie. I would have called them these names regardless, but I should note that I introduced myself within seconds of getting in the cab, no one followed suit. Thus I never learned their actual names. Self absorbed much?
Alpha Bitch, Closet Bitch, and Nice One were all friends. Newbie was barely 18 and had been in New York for just under a month. She was by far the most striking and tallest but you could tell she was intimidated by the more experienced other three. She kept quiet.
10:43 AM “Yeah, that designer is only casting anorexics.” said Alpha Bitch.
10:45 AM “Michael C. put me in this see-through dress, you can totally see my tits but whatever.” said Alpha, “And OMG they put so much product in my hair yesterday, I had to shower before I could do anything. Nice One, you are so lucky Valerie put you in a wig.”
“You guys are both lucky,” said Closet Bitch, “I’m stuck with Casanova and the outfit totally makes me look fat.” No one denied this.
“I can’t believe Casanova made it to fashion week.” said Nice One. ”
“Yeah, there are so many decoys this year,” said Alpha, “but it’s not like their stuff is that different from the finalists.”
They’ve ignored me this whole time which is fine because I enjoyed eavesdropping and was putting pieces together.
“Are you guys talking about Project Runway?” I ask. I watched the beginning of the season and then got bored but still read the blog Project Rungay (because the boys who write it are hilarious) so I recognized names. Besides, how many people are named “Casanova”?
Alpha Bitch gave me a look that said “Please, as if you don’t recognize us” while Nice One said “Yes, the three of us are walking in the finale show tomorrow.”
I was in a cab with Project Runway models, I stifled a giggle, this is hilarious!
11:00 PM We arrive at Bryant Park, the sight of the promotion. “So what are we supposed to do?” asked Alpha. They all looked at me. I’m the “brand ambassador” here, not the manager.
“All I was told is that you guys will be walking about Bryant Park like it’s a runway and that I’m passing out fliers as you do that. So uh, I guess, start walking?”
I know my job, why the hell don’t you know yours? The four of them needed me to tell them what to do. I realized later, models only ever do what others tell them. It’s an incredibly passive job.
They started walking casually, all four in a line, chatting with each other. It didn’t look like a promotion at all, just like four models chatting in the park. It was not a runway walk, not what the client was looking for. That was obvious to me. But what was I supposed to do? It’s awkward they are not doing the job they’re supposed to but you don’t tell Regina George she’s a lazy slacker.
12:00PM Our boss called me and told me to get the models to walk properly.
1:00 PM We were kicked out of Bryant Park. My least favorite security guard in the world, a fat man in his mid-thirties waddled up to me, “I hate to kick 4 beautiful women out of the park, but I gotta follow the rules- no soliciting in the park” FIVE beautiful women, you asshole. I’m here too! Just cause I’m not a model doesn’t mean I don’t exist! Fuck you!
1:15 PM We all ended up standing on a corner in front of Europan Cafe, passing out fliers. I could see our reflection in the store front windows and was struck by how I didn’t look like a hippopotamus. I was just as tall as half these bitches, the reflection blurred my inferior make up skills, and I didn’t even feel fat. Bonus: I’m not a bitch!
1:20 PM A man says to Nice One “You have a beautiful nose. Most men would comment on your body but I’m noticing your nose.” This was funny, I laughed, but Nice One thought it was the funniest thing she ever heard and couldn’t stop laughing for about 10 minutes.
1:40 PM The models were all in a tissy about getting back to the office by 2. Our boss strictly said to not leave until 2PM, that she spoke to the models’ reps and that was agreed on. I inform everyone of this. The Closet Bitch had been (fake) nice up until now, but with this discussion her claws came out. She yells at me, “I need to get back to the fucking office by 2PM so I don’t give a shit what you say, I’m leaving.” She yelled at me, while we were both in the exact same boat with this disorganized event. I couldn’t believe it.
2:00 PM The mix up with the time was sorted out when the girls spoke to their agents and were told that it had indeed be agreed on that they would stay until 2PM. Bitch did not apologize for yelling at me. The event is over and we are all trying to catch a cab back to the office. We need a van one to fit all 5 of us and it’s taking forever to find one.
Both Bitches are in full form- “This is bullshit! I need to get back now! I have shit to do!”
By this time I was absolutely fed up with listening to them complain. “Well than just go! I need to get back too but if you need to get back so badly you can’t wait 3 minutes for a van cab than just take a regular cab!
For fucks stop acting like it’s my fault!”
And they did.
All four of them piled in a regular cab and left me standing on the corner of 5th Avenue all by myself. Not one stayed. The first cab that pulled up to me not 2 minutes later was, ironically, a van. I sat in the back and took a deep breath to calm my anger.
No one I have ever worked with before or since would ever have done something like that, stranded someone alone. It may be the bitchiest thing girls have ever done to me. Maybe it’s karma for stealing that Valentine in middle school.
I hope I never work with models again. I wish I was the hippo- I would have roared and scared the shit out of those four annoying, selfish antelope.