In the world of hand modeling, there’s a chasm of coolness between the Fashion and Commercial hand jobs. Since my versatile hands are able to swing both ways, I work in both markets.
Recently, I shot with Colin Farrell for Esquire Magazine, and the next day I was wiping up a mess of meatballs for a Bounty commercial. Hum, what’s cooler? Fondling a hot Hollywood hunk as he kindly refers to you as “love” in a gentle Irish accent…?
…or sopping up Tang spills to demonstrate paper towel absorbency with the quicker-picker-upper?
When I was young, I wanted so badly to be cool, which to me meant: living a straight life.
The straight life was just so…appropriate. Remember, I lived in an environment some parents wouldn’t allow their kids to visit. I don’t know why? Except for the naked people on drugs dancing around, massaging each other and eating bark – we were perfectly normal!
I was so envious of the straight Izod-shirt-wearing kids, eating their ‘cadavers’ and other hot-ticket item at lunch: Yoplait, fruit rolls ups, string cheese…sandwiches. (we were on a no-grain diet way before gluten-free was the rage).
Day after day, I watched my peers eat, drooling as I bit into yet another homegrown Graventstein apple (I quickly realized spirulina balls and scrambled tempeh were cause for ridicule). Hoping to convince them I too was cool, I’d open my basket (I didn’t have a lunch box), roll my eyes in frustration, and exclaim, “Mom forgot to put the bologna and Fritos in there AGAIN!”
Oddly however, as un-cool as I was, and jealous of other kids, there was a small part of me that felt strangely better-than, like I was one of the enlightened ones.
Sometimes I’d think quietly to myself, “I bet they can’t keep their balance in Warrior-3 – especially after a hit of Maui Wowie. And I bet their liver could use a psyllium purge.”
But most of the time, I felt left out and longed to belong to a group of people. I always had camaraderie with the outcasts: the chubby kids, the Mexicans…the boys who loved musical theater.
Yet, even the outcasts seemed to fit in somewhere. There was no category for me, other than “odd”.
For years, I sought to find my tribe…
I hoped being Black would become The New Black.
One night, while strolling down Santa Monica Boulevard with some friends…
I tried to convince a straight couple ( “straight” as in conventional sexual orientation), that my name was Ernesto, and I had “the operation” in Seattle.
After the confused couple stared blankly, the man moved in closer, caressed my shoulder and whispered, “Well, you look grrreat.”
The older I got, the less obsessed I was with fitting in and being “normal”, and the more I wanted to stand out and be “special”.
So I turned into a poser…
At last, I became the straight mom I always wanted!
Only to realize I’d rather be a childless hot mama with a gay lover named Bruno…
Soon I began to hang out at the Playboy Mansion with the “cool” crowd. But after a few conversations with Tammy, Bambi, Cindy and Barbie, I could’ve put a bullet in my head to stop the insipid noise.
According to most norms and my previous definition of a cool person, I’m still NOT cutting the cake…
I belch like a pirate; I have a cat psychic; I talk in gibberish; I’m on a ton of supplements; I can be terribly moody (or as some say, “too intense”); I like kale; I still believe in fairies; I still believe in the basic goodness in people (while I also assume the worst); there are days I’m convinced I need a brow-lift; I’m un-present; extremely sensitive; self obsessed; beating myself up one moment, and thinking I’m brilliant the next; I’m a neurotic mess of contradicting parts: one weird bitch with a big heart, hoping to find some peace on Saturn, and bring my small part to the world…
The times I feel the coolest are the times I’m simply being me…without apology.
I guess we’re all abnormal to someone.
My current favorite anthem is from the great yet never normal, Lady Gaga. So I leave you today with fists pumping, while jumping and singing aloud: “I’m beautiful in my way, Cause God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby, I was born this waaay!”