Friday, 29 January 2010

On Being Gok'd


Yesterday I was "made over". Sadly, despite the post heading, I wasn't made over by the wonderful Gok - my stylist was a beautiful, elfin child called Simona. However, the experience was - um - well, an experience...

I was made-over for the Daily Express. My made-over-image is to illustrate a feature I've written, which in turn is to promo Moonshine. I was chuffed to bits that the Express liked the feature, and assumed (always bad to assume) that when they asked for a pic, it would be the publicity photo I've used everywhere for the last couple of years, and I'd just have to email it. But, no - they wanted to take their own. Gulp...

So, yesterday, Elle and I trekked to London(a journey not without its disasters but we got there - eventually) and found ourselves in the amazingly space-age Northern & Shell Building's (honestly - it's like a set from Star Wars!) photographic studio.

Simona had phoned me and said I'd be wearing a frock (erk!) but it would be a long one and were there any parts of my body I didn't want to show. That was an easy one - all of them.

Sadly, Simona's idea of a long frock was obviously one that didn't show your knickers. I stared at the rail of thigh-high, jewel-bright, tiny, shift dresses with mounting horror. They looked like they'd been nicked from the wardrobe department of Mad Men. Gorgeous, stylish, and definitely not for someone built like me...

Before I had time to panic too much, I was whisked off by the lovely Debbie who dealt manfully with my hair and make-up. I'd arrived with my usual smudgy eyes and pale lips and curly hair. I emerged with minimal eyes and huge red glossy lips. And my hair had sort of gone BIG and had a side-parting... It was a fabulous glam job but it wasn't me... I thought I looked a touch like Margaret Thatcher: the early years. Elle thought it looked lovely. And said so. A lot. Treacherous child.

Then it was back to wardrobe to be shoe-horned into the frocks. Simona said they'd be doing two shoots in two different outfits and which ones did I prefer. I clutched the purple one first because I liked the colour and it was the only one with sleeves... Off, it looked sensational. On, it looked like a sack tied up with string... I'm a lumpen girl and the purple clung to every one of them. I didn't just have VPL - I had V Damn Everything.

Simona manfully gummed me together with double-sided tape, then produced a pair of flesh-coloured tights (aaargh!) and some DDG purple shoes with 5" heels. I staggered (my feet were already numb) out into the studio. Elle laughed. Shara, the photographer, kindly didn't and asked me to pose "in a sort of cute and kooky way". Fine, if you were Twiggy in the 60s - but cute and kooky I'm not. But I tried. Dear God, I tried.

Half an hour and three million photographs later, it was time for the second outfit. After failing to get either the electric blue or scarlet frocks to meet anywhere round me, Simona and I settled on the lime green. I've never been a lime green person, but it sort of went on (eventually) over my bulgy bits and the colour was the least of my problems. It did involve Simona getting up close and personal to make it fit, but if I held my breath it stayed done up. Sadly, being sleeveless, it displayed my bingo wings to their very best advantage. This time the beautiful shoes were pearlised beige with 6" heels. I had to be carried out to the studio.

Shara was very, very brave and kept a straight face. Elle didn't. She had to go outside. Again, I was cute and kooky and laughed a lot because I felt the whole thing was mad. Completely mad. But Simona, Debbie and Shara were wonderfully professional and another twenty million photographs later, it was all over.

I staggered back to the changing rooms, struggled out of the lime green and the tights and the killer heels, and threw on my black jeans and big grey sweater and black and purple boots with total delight.

The delight was short-lived. Shara then let me see the pics. Now, she'd done a stonking job - she's brilliant, and they were Proper Photographs. But they were of someone else. I know I'm currently a good 2 stone overweight and have lots of lumps and jowly bits - but I suddenly realised I looked like my mother... Elle said it was a good look. Well, maybe it was - for my mum about fifty years ago...

Debbie, Shara and Simona seemed to agree that the Express will use one of the lime green frock pics - because they were "lovely and funny and colourful" - oh joy! And luckily, as I don't know when any of this will be published, that's the way it will stay. DO NOT expect to see any excited announcements about my Express appearance on this blog. Not until that particular edition - lime green frock, dead-slug sausage legs, Jagger lips, and more rolls of fat than a Crufts champion pug - has become a wrapper for fish and chips...

24 comments:

alzamina said...

OMG - have just been howling with laughter in the middle of the office. Sounds like when we went for a fitting for posh frocks for a mess dinner ages ago - other peoples idea of what looks good on you is sooooo different to yours!

Oh well, back to chasing mice around a care home (which reminded me of Twilights!)and trying not to jump when they appear infront of your nose as you peer through a hole in the skirting!

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - hmmm, well I'm glad someone found it funny... It was seriously awful - and yep, you're right - you *know* when you look a right fright, don't you? And you know when someone else (especially a size 4 someone else) says "it looks gorgeous - truly" that you must look really, really bloody awful...

Now I've laughed at the mice and the care home! You've got to write that book! C xxx

Debs said...

Oh poor you! That was so funny to read, but I can imagine it was hellish to go through. That said, I'm sure you'll look lovely in the photos.

Christina Jones said...

Debs - you're lovely but honestly, truthfully, I look gross!!! It was fun, though, and nice to have lovely make-up done by someone else (I kept most of it on when I went home, just wiped off the red lips on Elle's coat - the least she deserved for laughing so much! - as soon as we got outside...) and my hair still smells gorgeous today (it was all Dior and Toni and Guy stuff) - so not all bad...

Karen said...

Oh dear Lord, you poor thing!! I'm sure you didn't look that bad. My mum buys the Express so I'll ask her to look out for the photo ;o)

Nell Dixon said...

Oh poor you. I can just imagine. I have the local press coming Monday to phoyograph me. At least I can wear my own things but they're coming to the house so I have to tidy up!

Christina Jones said...

Karen - yes I did - and how truly *lovely* of you to ask your mum to keep an eye out... Ha-ha-ha!!!!

Christina Jones said...

Nell - good luck with your photo session. I know what you mean about having to tidy up - it usually takes me two days if "someone's coming" - at least I was spared that one! Grateful for small mercies etc etc!!!!

Jilly said...

Christina - it must have been hell to go through but it made me laugh so, thank you for that. My paperback 'Moonshine' sell many, many thousands of copies.

Colette McCormick said...

I had to be photographed for work recently and that was horric. It was nothing compared to what you went through though which sounds like torture. Very funny though.

Julie P said...

What you have just described would be my worst nightmare, Christina!

Well done for getting through it. Did you have to lie in a darkened room for an hour when you got home!

I'd like to see them try and shoe horn me into a dress. I haven't worn one for 13 years! Apart from my nurses uniform - but that doesn't count. I had to wear that! Tom boy through and though me!

Julie xx

Christina Jones said...

Jilly - thank you, as always, for all of it and for laughing - and yes, it was hellish for someone like me who's shy, fully aware of my physical shortcomings, and HATES being photographed but I'll do (almost) anything to sell the books...

Christina Jones said...

Colette - there must be girls out there who LOVE being photgraphed - but I've actually yet to find one. You have all my sympathy re yours - but so glad you found mine funny - because it was, afterwards...

Christina Jones said...

Julie - oooh, me too. Jeans and boots and I'm happy - frocks, much as I love the idea of them and they always look fab on other people, just turn me into a fat drag queen as far as I'm concerned. Actually, yes, I just collapsed on the sofa when we got home and couldn't speak for HOURS...

Martin H. said...

Years ago, my editor (at the time) decided I should have a photo for my column. Nothing as plush as your studio though. Instead, hastily whisked outside on a bleak and blowy day, snap,snap,snap. I remember, the prints were hideous. I looked like a man that police might be interested in questioning.

I'm sure yours will be great though. I'll be keeping an eye open for the Express feature.

Christina Jones said...

Martin - thanks for making me laugh! Can imagine your "identikit" photo only too well!!! Why, oh, why can't they just let you send snap of yourself looking okay-ish and normal-ish and not scary???? Oh, and please don't put yourself out by looking for this edition of the Express - pretty please!!!!!!

ptasia said...

I laughed when reading, but I do realize you must have felt *very* uncomfortable. On the plus side, it's over - and you've got some good writing material for another book ;).
I wonder though, why it's always like this, ie. why they always want to make you into this glossy, glam alien. I've had only 1 photo shoot, for an article about food bloggers. The clothes were quite normal (our own jeans + t-shirts/tops provided by the stylist), but the slap was way, way more than I had ever used in my life. We (me & 2nd fellow blogger) had foundation put on our HANDS! Not to mention loads on face & neck, batwing eyelashes and weird, transvestite lips.
The highlight came when I was asked to stand with a heavy jar of pickles in one hand and computer mouse in other, and 'casually swing the mouse while laughing naturally'. Naturally, I almost hit myself on the head with the thing and that was the closest we got to 'natural' behaviour. They used one of the 'mouse swinging' shots in the magazine, and as my brother in law put it: if smb knows me well, they'll know that's a really hysterical laugh.
As for the slap, when I came home, my DH shrieked in horror and begged me to take it off, NOW.

Christina Jones said...

ptasia - thanks so much for making me laugh!!! Your description was so vivid I could see it all - oh, and how I sympathise!!!! It was a great experience/opportunity for me and I'm very grateful for it, but I just looked and felt so very wrong. I'm me for heaven's sake - scruffy and casual and well, ordinary - I am NOT glamorous!!!

womagwriter said...

Oh Christina, I do sympathise! There's nothing I hate more than being made to wear more makeup than I feel comfortable in. Years ago I worked in the perfumery department in a large store, and one day the manager decided I should be made up by the Estee Lauder consultants. It was horrible. I spent that evening digging the gunk out from under my fingernails, where I'd scratched my face during the day.

If the photos really look nothing like you, you can always tell people it must be the other Christina Jones in the Express.

Christina Jones said...

womag - thank you! "The other CJ" sounds like a great idea! Will nick that! Laughed at you being Estee Laudered (sorry!) - and I did so want to be a "frock" girl - but know now that it just isn't for me...

alzamina said...

OMG - I have just been onto Amazon and you can already pre-order TWTAWH with a publication date of Sept 2010!! LOL

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - oh, shush!!! I've just done a bloody word count and burst into tears!!!!

alzamina said...

Awwwwww - *hugs*

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - ta!