Little A in the Big Apple

Posted · 33 Comments

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.

Adriana Lima

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,

33 Responses to "Little A in the Big Apple"
  1. Sarah T says:

    You are such a success, coast to coast! I’m so glad you blogged about this. Your fans and followers (like me!) always want to know what you’re up to. Keep shining your light and wowing them wherever you are. xo

  2. Michele says:

    Beautifully captured my home for 8 years. I did my stint in NYC and loved every minute of it but don’t miss it anymore especially the weather and crowds.

    • Adele says:

      Chele, I’m determined to get us together there one of these days, with the girls…and maybe the boy too 😉

  3. Julie says:

    I’m so glad you had a wonderful time in NY. I have to admit, i was there in 2008 for 2 days and it was the most exciting 2 days of my 2 week vacation. I loved the Hand Model Reel. Amazing work and now when i see those ads on TV i can proudly say to my family and friends, “hey, i know who those hands belong to, beautiful hands that belong to one of the most beautiful souls on this planet”. xxxx

  4. this is a brilliant posting adele. i haven’t spent near enough time in New York, but after reading about your experiences and descriptions, i feel like i know the city well. i certainly want to go there right now! i love your blogs they are so visual for me. i am able to picture where you’ve been and what you were doing! i also adore how you just fit yourself right into wherever you are. you do not stand on ceremonies! so descriptive and moving. i realize after reading this blog, that i have been missing you writing all the time. i will wait patiently for the next one. i can live vicariously through you and love it! nancy samuels

  5. Frank says:

    That is NYC living. Great read.

  6. Lizzie says:

    Great glimps into the life of the modeling industry along with the excitement of being a normal person. Your blogs are what my dad would call “classic”… In his dedinition “classic” was engaging- strking on every emotion, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but ultimately leaving you wanting more. Can’t wait for your next entry. Love hearing about the beautiful people you meet!

    • Adele says:

      Lizzie, in my book, your dad was a ‘CLASSIC’. Thanks so much for chiming in 🙂 Thank you ALL x

  7. Lynn says:

    I love this blog!! What joy what success and what excitement for adventure you bring. I gotta get to New York! So happy about your flourishing career Adele. Keep up the good work!!

  8. Lynn says:

    Btw: I think it’s hilarious about the bagels and the smokers:)

    • Adele says:

      Thanks Lynn 🙂 Yep, it’s a much more forgiving environment there for smokers. I’m not a big fan of second hand smoke, but kinda appreciated the casual, inclusive, screw-you attitude. Wonder if a non smoker can pull off that kind of air?

  9. Loved your Blog about New York, Adele. Go on with your fine self. I especially liked seeing the photo of Frank’s place. Much smaller then I had imagined, but what a Location.

    LA/NY, it could work, you have family there. Just beware of carb eating smokers.

    • Adele says:

      Hahaaa! Joanne, I love those carb-eating smokers -was raised by one. Thanks for all the kind comments everybody!

  10. Monika Eads says:

    Adele!!! High-Larious and full of soul, as always!! I soooo identify with the “alone” cry! Sometimes you forget just how long it’s been!!!! I laughed out loud t the return of Choid the bastard:-). Thank you for sharing and bringing us along for the ride!!! XO-Mon

  11. Jacqueline says:

    Great entry! Can’t wait to have you back in NYC more often!

  12. Sarah T says:

    Forgot to ask: what month does the cover of Town & Country come out?!

    • Adele says:

      I think the cover comes out in Oct. I’ve shot with celebs before, and occasionally the concept is changed entirely before print. So we’ll see.

  13. Christine Williams says:

    Adele, I love your blog! This is such a great article…totally engaging and entertaining! And soooo looking forward to spending some time with you in NYC:)

  14. Chris says:

    Can’t wait to spend some time with you in the Big Apple. Very proud of you!

  15. shannon says:

    awesome- I like NY- there is an energy there for sure, but I need good healthy food and great weather year round. I met Cindy Crawford once… OMG… talk about stunning and perfect, yes some people are just beautiful period!

  16. cami says:

    As always you hit one out of the park! I guess we can say you are officially a Bon Vivant, traveling our vast country on a regular basis. Its crazy to think that a girl raised by hippy, nudist, watermelon eaters would be drawn to the raw, rugged appeal of NYC – but not many of us can resist the excitement of it. You have attained the pinnacle of your profession and I am super proud if you! That’s a lot of hand jobs!!!! Haha

  17. Who knew I had a Jane Austin living right next door to me! You are one heck of a writer, girlfriend. I love how honest you are about what goes on in the head of a pretty woman battling her ego. The thing with our ego is that it has such a hold on us no matter which way we turn. If we spend all our efforts trying to convince it that each one of us is equally worthy of love and attention, despite what our shells look like, that doesn’t shut it up. Yet, if we massage it saying that (it)we are the greatest fleshly image that has ever graced the human race, it just sucks it up like a mad lunatic and demands more! And getting old? and watching our shell crinkle up, dry out and fade??? Oh, does our ego squirm! From my experience as an “aging attraction” it’s a miserable, never ending drama with a very real SEPERATE entity! So, we must come to terms with this inevitable appendage and somehow find some resemblence of peace with it. How? Well, let’s continue to listen to Adele’s words of wisdom until she finds the answers for us all, shall we?? Love you, sister:)

    • Adele says:

      Christiana, judging from your svelte physique, I’m unclear as to what ‘aging’ you’re referring to? Hope your ego isn’t telling stories 😉 Thanks for the great comment and insights lady!

  18. DD says:

    I’ve gone on lately about a silent retreat and it seems that’s what you’ve encountered in NY! Crazy how we can be in sync with others without realizing, yes? Ashley Judd stated during her retreat there were no connections to the outside world, no speaking allowed. I’m not so sure about the no speaking part, but I can certainly appreciate the need to recluse one’s self from technology, social media, and the like.

    I find it interesting how you could struggle with what others think or fears of the future because judging by your writings you seem incredibly confident. Your blog alone, your willingness to share, speaks volumes about the incredible person you are! I enjoy reading more than you know.

    Thank you for sharing once again 🙂 It’s such a joy to read about your adventures 🙂



    • Adele says:

      DD, there’s a great saying (I think it comes from Al-anon), and goes something like: “Don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides.” Personally, I’m guilty of continually assuming things about people, most of whom I know superficially. It’s always fascinating to me when others project upon me similarly, and reminds me of how much mystery lies underneath our exteriors. I LOVE that you see me as ‘confident’, etc.. Perhaps I’m more than my nagging insecurities give me credit for. Thank you for sharing what you see about me, from the inside/out. You’ve been reading the blog for a long time, and I’m relieved to know I don’t come across as the pathetic creature I occasionally convince myself I am 😉 Love your comment lady, thank you.

  19. My friend, how I have missed reading of your (mis)adventures. I will say it again, underneath all those potions and lotions and sunscreen, YOU are New York. You are MEAT…not tofu as that little ET fucker, Choid, tries to convince you…and you have the marbling it takes to make it THERE. Oh and, “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” Honey, we need to talk.

  20. Randi says:

    I admire that you slip off the comfortable cloak of LA and jump boldly towards the maybe, could be, what if, world of NYC. When you stop moving, you stop living and learning.

    But let’s get back to that secret of yours..Victoria’s secret..I agree with Mindschmootz..we need to talk…

    • Adele says:

      Mind and Randi, we’ll talk girls… 😉 I can’t think of two people I’d rather talk secrets and sex with, hopefully in the great city we all love.

  21. Sandra Pan says:

    Adele, you always crack me up darling…

  22. Kristina says:

    Hi Adele! It’s your super social medial fan, Kristina (hopefully one day it will be acquaintance or friend and fellow successful parts model ;)) I know this is a post you wrote awhile back but I stumbled on it because I was thinking that the last time I was in NY was 4-5 years ago–and it was my first time there. All the emotions you were feeling, I resonated with. Even though I was with my bf then (now hubby), I knew if I was there by myself that it would feel lonely even with all the bustling around. I definitely would have gotten lost there without him! I have no idea how he survived living there for two years. But happy to see that your initiation to explore NY opportunities has given you an even more successful career! Oh the black clothes and hardly no make-up—I wish LA was like that because that’s how I usually am 🙂

    • Adele Uddo says:

      Kristina, you’re already a friend mama! We’ve emailed more in the past few months than I have with my own mother. Well, that’s not a good example since my mom is barely ever online 😉 Yes, NYC is an awesome place!! It’s changed me in big ways and really helped me grow. I still prefer to have company in that city, but I also like the adventure of being there alone too. Hope to see you on a casting (or JOB) one of these days! x

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