Between the East and West coasts, there’s a vast glamour gap from gig to gig. In the advertising world, New York is known as the main market for fashion in the US, while Los Angeles is more of a commercial town.
Recently I shot a beauty campaign in New York, for Dior cosmetics…
…then returned to LA to promote chicken parts for El Pollo Loco.
Here’s a reel of some commercial spots, all shot in Los Angeles:
During my last trip to New York, I stayed for two weeks inside the man-cave known as my brother Frank’s former obscenely over-priced studio in Gramercy Park. Frank had just moved into a one-bedroom, yet was still paying rent on the studio, so I bought a ticket to the Big Apple, and told him to leave a blowup bed in his old flat.
I figured Frank’s empty place would give me an opportunity to land a few fashion jobs, and discover more of New York City (and myself) in the process. There would be no distractions – no TV, no husband, pets, iPod, or even Internet! Just me in a little space, in the big city.
Speaking of space (or lack thereof), for about what I pay for a mortgage in Malibu, here’s what ya get in Manhattan these days…
After my first night there, I realized the blowup bed was busted when I woke up sandwiched between two walls of rubber, with my shoulders squished together, and my personal space invaded -kind of like the subway ride a few hours before.
On the second night, I cried while eating a breakfast burrito for dinner. Not poor-me “I-wish-I-were-eating-enchiladas” kind of tears, but rather the realization that I hadn’t been so alone in YEARS, and this overdue reunion with myself was heartfelt.
The last time I went on a silent retreat, I met Choid, the bastard alien who lives inside my head and points out all things negative. This time, I was hoping for something more hopeful, and I’m happy to report that like me, Choid was also on pause. I felt free from the everyday crap that too often consumes my mind: fears about the future, concerns about what people think and worries about the sanity of humanity…
Fortunately I stayed busy, and didn’t have time to dwell inside Frank’s dwelling, on things negative or positive. On the first day I arrived, I booked Town & Country with Hugh Jackman.
The jobs to follow were as fashionable, and not once were my fingers required to fondle fried chicken.
On my way to a shoot for Numero magazine, I became lost (as usual) in Chelsea, so I asked the nearest approaching brunette babe for directions to the studio. As she came into focus, I recognized the lips that belong to Adriana Lima, Victoria Secret’s Angel incarnate.
We mortals might like to believe that most models require retouching and several surgeries to look gorgeous. Well, I hate to break it to ya’, some of these biatches are just born beautiful. I’ve spoken before about the fantasy-making part of the beauty biz, but every now and then, I’ve stared physical perfection in the face (literally), and this moment was one of those. Adriana was the most perfectly symmetrical human being I’ve ever examined. She ushered me into an elevator and presumptively pressed the 2nd floor button. I wanted to tell her she was the most stunning specimen I’d ever seen without makeup, and if I were a man or lesbian, I’d give anything to caress her curves and make mad sweet love to her RIGHT NOW…but I decided such an outburst might be a little much for someone wearing dark glasses at 8:00am.
After a few days in NYC, I felt as though I was having a love affair with the city itself. That is, until the weather shifted 50 degrees overnight, giving me a taste of early November in late May. I may LOVE New York City, but I’ll take the homogenous weather of LA any day over schlepping groceries under an inverted umbrella in wet cold clothes! No matter how much of a badass I felt while walking in rhythm to the ever-present sounds of Jay-Z, my stride would suddenly stumble as I wrestled with the wind trying to pop my umbrella back into place.
On another stormy mythic journey, looking for the Conde´Nast building in Times Square, I stepped momentarily inside a dry storefront. There I saw my parts on display in an aisle of cosmetics. While I stood there shivering and cursing, I appreciated the cosmos sending me a good sign…
Of course the differences between NYC and LA extend far beyond weather and work. In NY, people wear more black and less makeup. Most NY camera crews are highly tattooed, and look like they could kick some LA ass. Luncheon meat is catered on the East Coast, along with more gluten than I’ve seen in years. People not only eat white flour bagels, they apply cream cheese too! Then they smoke cigarettes without apology in the airspace of non-smokers, rather than on the sidewalk in shame. Despite a pile of dried-out baby carrots passing as a “veggie plate”, I can’t wait to return to work in NYC! While LA may offer a comfortable climate, New York City has a soul that rocks mine. By the end of the trip, I had a cold and felt physically taxed, yet more alive than I have in years.
With every part and all my heart,