I dedicate this to Verb and Kings Pharmacy, may they rest in retail peace.
From all corners of the country, I’m getting e-mails from people I haven’t heard from in years. “I saw you on TV! You look great!”
I am not an actor by trade, and yet I wound up in a Match.com commercial that is currently airing on several major networks, including ESPN, Bravo, and the Food Network. My roommate is a professional actor and she would kill for an opportunity like this, but I just stumbled into it. I was scouted by a talent agency, randomly, while I was working at my retail job in Williamsburg (by a customer!). She took me outside for a 2-minute video interview. A few weeks later, I went to Madison Square Park for the shoot. I waited around for a few hours, chatting with the rest of the “talent”–many of whom turned out to be actual professional actors. I figured, if these “real” actors are here, I’m sure they won’t actually use my footage–it will just be market research. Finally, I was called, and my stomach started fluttering just like it would in high school right before I made a stage entrance. I’d forgotten how amazing that feeling is!
They filmed me talking to the guy in the shot with me about why I wasn’t on Match. At first, I was a little restrained; I wasn’t sure how honest they would want me to be, so I said that I felt deterred by the $60 membership fee (which is true). They cut the take and I thought we were finished. Then, someone whispered into my interviewer’s ear bud–perhaps sensing that I had not entirely fessed up–and we did another take. That’s when I gave a more honest explanation, and that’s what ended up in the ad.
So, there’s my acting debut! I got paid $250 total. Normally, actors receive payment each time a commercial airs. Here’s to being cheap labor. Oh, and my mother is truly embarrassed.
Lately I’ve been writing for the website Food Republic.
Some recent clips:
From Page Turner:
“SH: Well, if you’re working on a book, the book poses a bunch of questions. Maybe it’s (in the case of my second book, Ticknor) “What were the early birth control pioneers like?” or “What was Florence Nightingale all about?” Most of your curiosities don’t even make it into the book, but you think they will. Moments come where you have to find out about something or you can’t go on. So you start reading in that area (Havelock Ellis, Marie Stopes) and you take in the stuff at a really deep level because your need to know it is at once mysterious (why is Marie Stopes so important to you right now?) and really practical (it might help you finish a scene). I guess the main difference is that you are led down reading paths as you go, rather than coming up with a reading list at the start. And it’s always changing. Then, in terms of how your life is organized around a book, it’s a question of what kind of person you have to be in order to write that book. Do you need to be married, single, traveling, asking questions of other people, alone in your room? What kind of person does the book demand it be written by? You have to become that person.
What else do think you could get out of school that you can’t get out of your life now? When we last spoke, you mentioned friendships and mentoring. I like what Eileen Myles said about mentoring—that she prefers “parallel” to “hierarchical” mentoring; that is, learning from one’s friends and peers, rather than from more successful, established people. I agree.”
“My plan was to never get married. I was going to be
an art monster instead. Women almost never become
art monsters because art monsters only concern themselves
with art, never mundane things. Nabokov didn’t even fold his own
umbrella. Vera licked his stamps for him.”
-Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill (2014)
< A R T M O N S T E R >
- frequently moody
- generally irresponsible
- irrational in finances, i.e. buys books / lit mags with credit cards
- impulsive, i.e. might kiss a stranger or leave house without pre-determined destination
- values psychotherapy
- uses prescription or recreational drugs
- quotes people like Nietzsche, Proust; references Anne Sexton, Gertrude Stein, Nabokov
- easily distracted, easily b0red
- late, always late
- when in love, desperately in love; when lonely; desperately lonely
- always thinking, always creating
- highly judgmental of everything, including self
- needy, narcissistic
- unaware of social codes or unwilling / unable to follow them
- perpetually unstable, like an old building that could teeter over at any moment
- lives & breathes art; all else seems insufficient, intangible, lacking substance and taste, airy and forgettable