Walking home this evening, AAH is surprised when a passing taxi suddenly comes to a grinding halt and a door opens. A woman’s head and shoulders appear.
WOMAN IN TAXI: Hello! Hello! Aren’t you [AAH]?
AAH: Er, yes.
WIT: Aren’t you on the roster at Eskimo Casting?
AAH: I think so …
WIT: I was just looking at your photo. Can you come audition for a NIKE commercial between 3 and 6 on Sunday?
AAH: I …
WIT: Great. Wear shorts and a sports bra.
I swear, all of AAH’s modelling career – such as it is – has been equally serendipidous. When she was around ten, she was at her friend’s house after school one day when her friend’s mother decided to take her friend up to Eskimo Casting to be photographed for their roster. AAH decided to tag along, and the mother called me up and asked if I wanted her to have her photo taken while she was there. “Sure,” I said, “why not?” – Then promptly forgot all about it.
I remembered about four weeks later when there was a call from Eskimo Casting, requesting AAH come in for an audition. The cable TV station Showtime was intending to shoot their branding spots in Iceland. So I took her down there, and she was hired. She spent two days on location; I went with her on one of those days and it was both fascinating and incredibly frustrating. Not least watching my child swarmed by people [hair, makeup, cameraman, stills photographer, producer, etc.] for an entire day while I, her mother, had to adopt a strict hands-off policy. The worst thing was observing the ruthlessness of the industry up close [Director: TELL THE LITTLE GIRL NOT TO LOOK SO COLD!!!! – when AAH was wearing little more than a gauze dress in temps of around 4°C / 40°F] – and the most amazing/surprising thing was watching my little girl completely rise to the challenge and display a star quality that I never knew she possessed. But I digress.
Just over a year later, she got another call. This time the spot was for a US charity – can’t remember the name of it just now – and again AAH was hired. That, too, she pulled off with panache.
Then last year, a Dutch stylist and photographer staying at a hotel where EPI’s daughter was working approached her [i.e. EPI’s daughter] and asked if she would do a photo shoot – they were bowled over by her looks [she’s extremely fair and blonde and routinely gets followed around by tourists who want to take her picture] and wanted to make use of the amazing light and landscape while they were here. She wasn’t in a position to do it, but referred them to AAH. They completely hit it off, AAH did the shoot, the people turned out to be lovely, paid her well for her time, and said they would send her prints, regardless of whether or not the pictures sold. They didn’t sell – but true to their word they sent the prints, so AAH has some amazing shots to put in a portfolio, if she so wishes.
Anyway. While all of this is good and fine – AAH earns a bit of money and has some fun – securing a commercial that goes into nationwide US distribution does not mean the same megabucks here as it does in North America. In fact, I’m pretty sure that many of those US ads are shot here because costs for ‘talent’ are a whole lot lower than they would be in America [read: a fraction thereof] – where securing a role in a TV commercial is akin to winning the lottery. Here they can get away with using non-unionized talent that they can pay peanuts … at least most of the time. A few years ago a woman in my hiking group – a seasoned, highly-regarded actress here in Iceland – secured a role in a US commercial being shot here. She was paid the same wage as unionized actors in the US, and in her own words, “Never have I been paid so much for doing so little.”
IT WAS ANOTHER LEISURELY AFTERNOON BY THE POOL
And quite hot it was in the sun, too. EPI joined me and we baked until we could bake no more, then went to the Kringlan Mall on the pretext of going to the wine store and wound up buying EPI a snazzy new shirt and two ties. EPI is of the species of male who will spend his last dime on ‘toys’ [in his case guitars and stuff] while wearing hopelessly passé clothing circa anno. 1970 and/or shoes so hopelessly worn that the sole has split open and his socks get wet when it rains. So when we passed that menswear store today YT did some subtle prompting [oh! look! a sale!] with the aforementioned results. Score. Temps currently 10°C [50F] but went up to around 17 today. Sunrise 3:02 am, sunset 11:59 pm. Oh, and if you’re in London and reading this, would you please refrain from getting blown up. Why anyone would plant bombs in delightful London is absolutely beyond me. Awful.