Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pride Goeth

Yesterday was the day I got to be the demonstration model web author for an online ad agency publishing project.

I knew there was a video camera involved and that I couldn't wear colorful stripes. No problem. I don't own any stripes.

In fact, I barely own anything worth being seen in, much less anything colorful or striped, I realized, as I surveyed my wardrobe on Friday morning. I pulled on a worn-out purple shirt that I bought at Oxford Street Selfridge's in 2002. I need new clothes, I thought for the thirtieth time this week.

I headed to the agency, where a sweet young woman met me at the front desk. She offered me strawberries and water, and then someone showed me where to go to get my makeup done.

Eh? Makeup? Before it registered completely, I was seated in front of a cool Italian woman who was smearing various powders and goos all over my face. She expertly applied lip liner and mascara.

"You plucked too close," she said of my thin eyebrows.

"They're just blond and thin, it's not me doing it!"

I had eyebrows a moment later, after she went to work with her brow pencil. Then she turned my blond lashes to brown.

"They're long, but you can't see them," she muttered.

It seemed so unfair. Hair on head not blond enough, eye hair too blond.

She told me I was beautiful, then whisked me into the studio, where a producer, director, question-asker, sound guy, camera man, and the makeup artist all worked to make me look damn good. I read a passage from the first chapter of Dik-Dik, answered questions, and then answered questions in front of a green screen (they'll key in photos). My flyaway hair was a problem, and people were fussing over me and flattening my hair constantly.

"You're doing great," they'd say. They were so nice. I felt like a star!

I was nervous, but I think it worked out fine even though we had to do four takes of me saying "My name is Marie Javins and I am the author of Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik, One Woman's Solo Misadventures Across Africa" because I couldn't remember the subtitle. The entire process took two-and-a-half hours and will be edited down to two minutes. I left feeling like a celebrity. I'm great! I'm a star! Earth to Marie! Someone was paid to powder my nose today!

Then I got home to my first negative Amazon review.

My moment in the sun was gone, and suddenly I had no eyebrows, old clothes, and a lot of boxes that needed unpacking. Diva Marie didn't last long. I was back to earth in a flash.


Amanda Castleman said...

But did you wear Nipless to the interview?

No, on second thought, that might be TMI.

Headed over to Amazon to settle the score, Ax.

Marie said...

I'm saving those Nippless for Anne-Marie.

Ed Ward said...

So does it help if (as I just did) I vote that review unhelpful?

evalinn said...

But u know, Diva Marie, every moment that has passed, still exist like a photograph in space. So somewhere out there, u are still a Star!

Marie said...

Still a star in my own head, sure, but in space? Anyway, it's better to not be a star because I had this gluey shiny stuff on my lips and it was kind of yucky-feeling. Plus it was nerve-wracking and I'm not sure how much longer I had before I sweated all over the purple shirt.

Not sure what the "Unhelpful" button does. But I click those all the time when I disagree with them, in hopes that it tells someone something.

Sara Kocher said...

I clicked "unhelpful" too, not just because I disagree (of course), but also because it was a supremely unhelpful review.

"I had expected an account of adventures in Africa, but instead it seemed more of an average tourist tale." What the hell is that? It's like saying "Pride and Prejudice was disappointing because I had expected an account of prejudice, but instead it seemed more of an average boy-meets-girl tale."

Not that Dik Dik is P&P, but you know what I mean.

Besides, how much more misadventurous can you get than being chased by a hippo or a car crash in the middle of the night in Ethiopia?

Harry Candelario said...

Negative reviews could mean jealousy, that could bring rivalry or even enemies and that could lead to other people talking trash about you and that's the beginning of fame. Face it Marie, you are a star, just learn to except it.

Marie said...

Sara, I kind of wondered about the "comfort tour" aspect of the review too, and the "major sights." But to each her own, right? It's so much better to be poorly reviewed by a review that's out of left field than by something that zeroes in on the real weaknesses. And gives me a taste of what to expect out of my own psyche when that finally DOES happen.

Marie said...

And Harry--look, ex-Marvel people, it's HARRY!--I guess if I'm going to be a star then I better hire someone to write this blog! Anyway, I suppose there is a direct correlation between number of sales and getting bad reviews. If I only sold 6 copies (5 to my mother), I'd never get a bad review. The price of, um, well, not-quite-fame.

Amanda Castleman said...

Hey, my parents are on your side too, Ms Marie!

I've recently had the first bad reviews of four years of teaching travel writing. Made me want to crawl in a fox hole like some dud...

My totally great boss dusted off my ego and sent me back into the breach. "Price of admission," he explained. "Ninety percent of them love you. That's still amazing."

Back when I staffed on newspapers and wasn't such a delicate blossom, I welcomed nasty notes. ANY feedback was proof positive we did our jobs right...

Corraggio, bellissima. You're the best, Ax.