“Dress is corporate casual.” If anyone has ever worked as a temp, you know this line well, and you thank your lucky stars that your temp agent added that “casual” to “corporate”.
For me, “corporate casual” means wear whatever you want, with black slacks. If you aren’t lucky enough to have that “casual” in your dress code, then you probably have to slap on a black blazer to match your black slacks. I don’t usually shop at Express, but I made an exception a few years ago when I became a temp and had to buy some “corporate casual” clothes. To me, this just meant that I wore black slacks instead of jeans. At Express, I found a pair of black slacks a few years ago that have seen me through every temp job I’ve ever had. They are my temp pants, and they are temptastic. I think they called them “The Publicist Pant,” they have slim black legs with an awesome bell-bottom flare. I have been temping for years, and so have these pants. Together, we’ve sat at many a desk, at many a hedge fund. We’ve secretly done yoga in the back of the file room, we’ve stolen snacks from the corporate kitchens, we’ve been uptown, downtown and certainly midtown. They have stood the test of time. I still wear them to this day. Sure the seat has worn thinner and there are a couple of tears in the leg caused by letter openers, but these temptastic pants are the key to turning a girl like me into corporate city gal, ready to commute at rush hour and join the workforce the 9 to 5 workforce.
These pants don’t make me feel like a secretary, they make me feel like an administrative assistant.
When I first moved to NYC after college, I was still clueless enough to think that I could go to casting calls from Craigslist. Don’t get me wrong, some can be legit, but not usually. I was eagerly looking for anything that said “Casting Feature Film.” I found many. I opened one written by a director who described himself as the next Quentin Tarantino. I submitted my headshot and resume. He responded almost right away saying that I was what he was looking for, but that he would have to meet me in person. He also asked if I was willing to show my bare feet on camera, I said that would be fine.
The audition, much like the shady scene in the movie Fame, was at this guy’s apartment. I was lucky that I brought my boyfriend, but only because we were going to Indian food afterwards. We walked up a shabby stairwell to the guy’s front door and rang the buzzer. A voice yelled, “I’ll be there in a minute!” and then he made us wait in the hallway. We heard him open the peep hole to look at us, but he did not open the door. Finally, this creepy-looking guy opened the door. He had the purple-ringed eyes of a junkie. He invited us inside. We crossed the threshold into the pit of hell. Then he pulled me aside and said “you brought your boyfriend??” I was confused, and suddenly nervous. The apartment was atrocious. It was a filthy shoebox that seemed covered in cat feces. I looked around and finally noticed a dirty white cat sitting on top of its own shit in the litter box. Being a cat person, I was instantly pissed. My only thoughts were about saving the cat. I already had the number for the ASPCA saved on my phone (I tried to rescue a dying squirrel once) so I would call them once we left. The director sat us down and nervously proceeded to tell us about the film, but the information was quite vague. He talked forever about his favorite films and his previous experience. He asked me a few general questions about my resume, but all I could focus on was the cat that I was going to save. I wanted to leave. Then the guy started talking about Quentin Tarantino. Apparently Tarantino has a foot fetish. My boyfriend and I were both creeped out at this point, so we explained that we were late and had to go dinner.
Once we left, we laughed in relief and went across the street for Indian food. I hadn’t yet started on my naan when my phone rang. It was faux Quentin. He said I was silly to have brought my boyfriend because he couldn’t really audition me properly. Then, after a pause, he asked “are you free to stop by alone tomorrow so I can look at your feet?” I said no, hung up immediately and ate my chicken tikka masala. Then I called the ASPCA.
I am a failed actress and I’m not afraid to say it. In fact, I think more of us should embrace this truth and just approach it with a sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some astounding accomplishments that many actors have never achieved. I joined AEA, SAG and AFTRA. I worked regularly in film, theater, television, and modeling. I even had a billboard in Times Square! I became a playwright with two produced shows, and the Artistic Director of a New York City theater company. But somehow all of this hard work, progress, and thick skin were not enough to “make it” in show business. My sunny disposition soured into cynicism, but ended up evolving into humor.
I was born in Washington DC and grew up in Vienna, Austria. Now I am an official Brooklynite in New York City.
I have since left the acting world to pursue other passions. Now I happily work in the music industry, while also teaching yoga and writing in my free time.