As a budding actress and writer I jump on anything that gets me experience in front of the camera. Ok I might draw the line at an Imodium ad. A friend works for la Parisienne and asked me if Id be interested in being in a beauty photo shoot. IF!!!!?!!!
It was for a September issue special. I nearly fainted. It sounded like a scene from the Anna Wintour film. Trying clothes and shoes on all day. Being made up by professional artists. And then posing and pouting for the camera. It was my dream day.
The photo shoot was of four Parisienne girls with four different styles for autumn. A red head, a brunette, a blonde and auburn(ish) - me - the BritChick. Obviously the pressure was on as I drew up to the studio. It felt like an episode of America's Next Top Model. Fortunately all the girls were lovely and everyone had a natural beauty.
We entered a studio filled with shoes, rails of Lanvin, Furstenberg and Dior, every kind of necklace and a glam squad - Maybelline make up artist, cool nail chick, a flamboyant hairdresser, the Parisienne stylists and of course the photographer. Morning of preparation then a full shoot.
Nails first. Apparently the look this year is clean and simple. Falsey and gels are well false. the nail artist revealed that many shoots are spoilt by grubby nails. I stared at my chipped mitts in
embarassment. Fortunately she - wearing a head torch for extra precision - transformed my nails into neat beauties. Then I was prepped for make up. I had slapped on some face cream in a hurry at home. The beautician peered over my face and explained how my cream - a top institute one at highest price - was too rich for me. She said I'd be better off with high street Vichy.
At that moment the uber cool make up artist, Max Delorme, whisked in, straight off a plane from Berlin. I swear he was a miracle maker. I was going to be championing the powerful structured British look. Hair up in a chignon with a long Beckham style fringe. A Twiggy A-line dress in an unusual mustard colour by Manoush. So make up was going to be strong. Thick 60s eyeliner full red lips and long lashes. Now I know how to put mascara on. Its all about being close to the root of the lash. I actually thought he was going to rip my eyelid off. But I kept telling myself that beauty has a price. Often a really painful one. The effect was astonishing - glam and rock. I asked the make up dude how it was to work with non models. He surprised me. He said it was even more rewarding in some ways - the transformation is greater and often the personality plays a bigger role. Bring on the real girl photo shoots I say!
All hyped up I was ready for the camera. Having had a couple of photoshoots already I did not hold back. I used my acting training to express - haughty, seductive, cold, hot. I posed and pouted. It was soooo much fun.I had an inkling at that moment of what it must feel like to be Naomi or Giselle. You are being photographed because you look great. Pure and simple. Ultimate confidence booster.
We then took a look at the pics live on the PC. Of course I could only see faults. Little lines. Droopy eyelids. It was so bizarre to hear people critiquing your appearance around you. But everyone was really positive. I guess they weren't bad for a 38 year old! I was hooked and wanted more camera time. Fortunately I had a second dress to try - black velvety number that shimmered under the lights.
Before then it was lunch. I had the thickest red lips and daren't ruin the effect so nibbled on a carrot. I asked one of the make up guys if models ever eat. Not much but often when they do they don't give a toss about smudging perfect lips.
It was time for shoot two. This time I was asked to convey sensuality - my beau the object of my imagination. The result was much softer - less posh girl and more temptress. The other 3 looks were amazing - a natural romantic one, a Mediterranean sultry one and a dynamic bouncy one.
It was almost time to wrap up the day. None of us really wanted to leave. We had only known each other for a day but after seeing each other at 9am no make up and in underwear through to full blown glamour in a few hours we had all bonded.
I left feeling fabulous. I was meeting friends in a posh hotel bar - maybe my red lipstick was a tad too rouge. But no matter.
I loved my look so much I have to admit I slept it and had a very bedraggled look the next day. Eyeliner smeared down my face and mascara encrusted lashes. Kate Moss would have been proud! Vive la rock chick I say!