Just Shoot Me in the Head

18 Jun

I will never be a model.

I say this not because I’m overweight (which I am) or because I’m too unattractive (which is also likely) but because today I endured a two-hour photo shoot and I enjoyed no part of it.

Let’s back up.  Today, I was at a photo shoot because I needed some updated headshots.  For anyone who doesn’t know what they are, think of them as business cards for actors.  It’s a way for the director to remember your face once you’ve left the audition and it’s time to cast.  Or sometimes, it’s a way for folks to give you a call when they’ve never met you just because someone showed them your headshot and you look like the person they might want to use.

It’s complicated.

Anyhow, it’s been a while since I’ve had any professional ones done and today was the day.  I refuse to run another fall audition circuit with a headshot that I know isn’t up to par.  So today I moseyed across town to hook myself up with the city’s best headshot photographer.    Let’s call her CheeChee.

Man, did CheeChee hit me with a nice dose of reality.

The very first thing she said when I sat down in the makeup chair was “what are we going to do about that eye?”

For those of you who may not have read my post on my problems with my eye, feel free to catch up here.  But if you want to skip all that, suffice it to say that I have an eye that is noticeably smaller than the other.  It’s somewhat noticeable day-to-day, very noticeable when I smile, and downright glaring in photographs.

Cartoon: Quasimodo (medium) by Roberto Mangosi tagged portrait

"Quasimodo" by Roberto Mangosi - Click the image to check him out at Toonpool.

I didn’t have an answer for her.  Naturally.  Given that I was born with an asymmetrical eye, it didn’t really occur to me that I had any options. Thank heaven I had already written a post to make peace with said eye problem or by golly her just blurting it out like that would have given me a hard time.  CheeChee spent the rest of the makeup session working to camouflage it.  Deep shadow on one, light on the other.  Curl the lashes on one, don’t on the other.  Line the bottom of one, don’t the other.  The light the living bejeezus out of my right side and pray to God I don’t look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame in the prints.

At one point she said “well – soon they’ll have some sort of surgery to correct it, I’m sure.”

Very comforting, CheeChee.

It was a rough day.  I didn’t realize how exhausting it can be to just have someone take pictures of you.  But then again – I’ve never been given such specific directions.  In each photo, I was attempting to accomplish a variety of tasks, mandated to me by the Cheester.  Straighten my back leg, bend my front leg, flex one arm and put it on my hip, bring the other arm softly to the front.  Turn head toward window, look at camera, chin up, cock head, and throw out a pleasant smile.

A pleasant smile is pretty difficult to muster with all that other business going on behind the scenes.

But that wasn’t enough for CheeChee.  Unhappy with how my eye was turning out under pressure, she decided to ask me to correct it.  As in – close one eye slightly so that it matches the mutation of the other.  All while keeping the other completely wide, one arm stiff, one arm soft, one leg straight one leg bent, my face toward the window, chin up, and with a cocked head.

And of course, I had to smile.

But not too much.  When I smiled too much, the eye became very evident and my horse teeth started to show.  At least they must look like horse teeth because when I smiled “with teeth” per CheeChee’s command, she instantly grimaced and asked me to show less teeth.

There’s nothing like faking a fake smile.

So I’ve decided – I can’t possibly be a model.  I left the place with a raging headache and only a modicum of hope for my future.  If anyone ever did want to use me for print work, I’d have to let them know that it takes about 200 shots to get one where I can squint with one eye while keeping the other perfectly open and achieving whatever they want me to do with my body will be entirely secondary from stopping my face from falling back to its natural Quasimodo state.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom mirror and begin my daily affirmation.

“I am not a monster.  I am not a monster.  I am not a monster.” 



27 Responses to “Just Shoot Me in the Head”

  1. misswhiplash June 18, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    NO. Jackie you are not a monster. You are a loving, caring, generous beautiful lady.
    Being a bit overweight is not a sin, it is part of who you are, a lovely cuddly lady.
    Don’t let ANYONE make you feel inferior or bad, you are as you were made and I for one love you just as you are, even if you do have a funny eye!
    Back up straight, chin up and chest out ( well not too much) be proud of who you are and what you have achieved.
    I admire all that you have done on your own..a very brave and courageous person


    • Jackie June 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      haha “cuddly” 🙂 Thanks, P 😀


  2. wordsweneversaid June 18, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Chee Chee sounds like a bitch – one who is so used to taking pictures of plastic people all day that she looses her perspective when a live person walks through the door.

    If I had a choice between waking up beside a plastic surgery induced blow-up doll or a naturally sweet, charming, real person – it would be no contest – I’d want the real deal.

    If a body has altered what it looks like on the outside – I would be concerned with what has been altered on the inside to match…



    • Jackie June 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      Well in her defense, I’m sure that after a wildly successful career in photography, she is incredibly adept at noticing asymmetry.

      Love that last line – thank you so much for sharing 🙂


  3. pegoleg June 18, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    My nephew lost an eye, and most of the vision in the other eye, to cancer when he less than 1 year old. Radiation caused one eye socket not to grow. The difference is glaringly obvious. But he is alive, 15 today, in high school, a good student who loves to sing and act, has lots of friends and is a great dancer.

    I’m as self-critical as the next woman, but for God’s sake, we have to tune out modern culture and remind ourselves sometimes that sort of thing is NOTHING in the grand scheme of things.

    By the way, subjecting yourself to such soul-destroying torture qualifies as a lollypop project, don’t you think?


    • Jackie June 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      I thought about making it my Tuesday post, but since I’ve sat for photos before, I didn’t think it was nearly scary or new enough to be worthy.

      Thank you so much for everything you said here – helps put things in perspective for sure and shrinks everything I felt about it when I wrote this post.

      And grats again for getting Freshly Pressed…again!!!


  4. thesinglecell June 18, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Two words: Ana Gasteyer. Even her name draws attention to the fact that her eyes don’t match. This is a trait in my family as well. We all have one eye (some on the right, some on the left) that’s smaller than the other, or a little “droopy” in the lid. I kid you not, I can look at a photo of all the grandkids on my dad’s side and pick out the Eye on every one of us jokers. If you inherited your trait from a family member, think of it is a way to honor your lineage. I’m not going to hate on a photographer whose job is to take headshots… she’s thoughtless, but she’s typical. But if you have a friend who’s also a good photographer, you might want to use that person next time. 🙂


    • Jackie June 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      This is a great way to think about it – thanks, Single!


  5. sheshe June 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I, for one, have never noticed that your stunning blue eyes don’t match!


  6. Jules June 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    So that’s why those “happy families” in advertisement pictures look so fake and awkward. Their smile isn’t genuine because they’re probably being directed by a similar CheeChee behind the scenes.


    • Jules June 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

      Okay, I wasn’t sure where to finish the cat story, so apologies now because I’m doing it right here.

      After parking myself in the guest bed, I was still listening for the muffled meow’ing of Tommy the tomcat. The sound was difficult to track because it would come in & out, but never enough time for me to turn my head in its general direction. (we hear sound best when facing it, derp) Sitting there for what feels like five minutes, silently debating on the location and the method of wall destruction,
      I decided to place my head down on a pillow and rest. Who knew indoor animal tracking was so exhausting? 😀
      That’s when Tommy cried out again, but this time, it came from underneath me. What?! He couldn’t be….well… it’s possible. I lifted the box mattress with the limited upper body strength that I possessed and quickly propped it on top of my knee. Lo and behold, there he was, sitting inside the wood frame of the mattress.

      You see, originally, this bed was vertically resting on the wall. It seems that he was hiding in the darn thing when the bed was prepared. Since it wasn’t raised on top of a proper bed frame, the box mattress was flush to the floor, hence the case for the missing cat.

      I was really looking forward to breaking something. The walls are safe for today.


      • Jackie June 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

        lol awwwwww 🙂 Thank you so much for finishing this story. I have to admit I enjoyed the comment suspense.


  7. Momma June 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…..You are perfect in my eyes. God made you perfect as He sees you and He makes no mistakes. I’ll gladly take his perfect creation for a daughter over any fake made image Chee Chee can muster up for the public to see. I love you!! You are first rate in my book.


    • Jackie June 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      Thank you mommyyyyyyyy.


      • pegoleg June 21, 2011 at 10:13 am #

        Awww. Your mom is great!


        • Jackie June 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

          She deserves kudos for fielding my terrible case of the crazies all these years. I was incredibly loud and how-do-you-say… INYOURFACE as a child. 🙂

          I’d take the time to thank her here but she has no idea how to view comment follow ups. It’s part of her charm.


  8. The_Observationalist_NYC June 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I hope you came up for air when she said those comments. If that’s her approach with the people who come to her for business, I can’t believe she’s still working. Especially if she takes headshots for a living. Seriously, as someone who deals with people in costume/clothing fittings all the time, you never say things like this because… a) you don’t know how it’s going to affect the working relationship, and b) we’re all human.

    I won’t say I hate this Chee Chee person, but I’m sending her mean thoughts right now.


    • Jackie June 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

      Well maybe she was trying to see if I had some sort of trick for it. After all, it’s expected that actors do some print work as well and maybe she thought I had some sort of “be pretty” trick in my pocket. Or maybe she just needs to buy herself some tact. 😉


  9. Ro June 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    My eyes don’t always match, either (also mostly obvious in pictures where I’m smiling). I used to be self conscious about it until I realized that a LOT of people get the weird one eye smaller than the other thing. Seriously. Look closely.


  10. Robin Waller June 19, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Are you kidding me!!!??!!! You are gorgeous!! And chee chEE is a bitch for sure!! Our imperfection are what make us unique and special and just because she can’t figure out how to capture that in film, makes her a failure not you!! Holy crap….this person needs a beating!! Let me at her!!!


    • Jackie June 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      Well, maybe she took some super awesome photos. We’ll see 🙂


  11. sanetes June 19, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    After all the frustration with the insensitive photographer, how about getting your portrait painted by someone nice for your birthday? Pastels or watercolour maybe.


    • Jackie June 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      Someone who doesn’t have good eyesight. LOL What if they painted a portrait and when they turned it around for the big reveal, one of my eyes was 5 times bigger than the other?


  12. Marylou June 20, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    hahahaha I’m so sorry. I have this problem too, actually. I only ever notice it in photographs, and Sean keeps trying to convince me that it’s not noticeable and that everyone has a dominant eye. At least now I know I’m not alone. <3!!


    • Jackie June 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

      Really?! I’ve definitely never noticed it about you. I’m so glad to have someone to share it with as well. Apparently, there are a lot of folks with the issue, but I find it hard to believe that they get questioned as adamantly as I do. I’m genuinely surprised at how many people have pointed it out in the past year.

      Maybe it just gets droopier.

      And droopier.

      When I’m 80, I’ll have an enormous nose, huge ears, and only one good eye.


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