Mummy’s Got Talent, Too

Remember Mummy's Got Talent?

So Talent100 calls while we’re driving around the small towns outside Melbourne, I mention I’m out of the country to the assistant on the other line and figure that’s pretty much the end of my care-lair-fare career. Except one freezing cold night somewhere in Mount Martha Assistant’s Agent Boss calls. “Call me when you’re back in Hong Kong.”

Hello again, publicity posters that line the corridor entrance...

Yes Ma’am. At which meeting yesterday she worries about how serious I am. Which is when I start getting scared (WHY does she keep thinking I will back out, does she want me to do something that most people would back out of? WHAT is she going to ask me to do??)

Chivalrous Translator waiting with me in the talent office on his lunch hour...

It’s 90 minutes before we get down to:

1. Don’t wear white, grey or black when you show up for pics

2. Don’t wear dresses unless specifically told to do so

3. <she squints at me> Wear more lipstick please

(I don’t wear any. All I’ve got is tinted lip balm. In fact I only own 4 items – concealer, blush, eye pencil, gloss – and I don’t believe in brushes, because you have to wash them. Oh, I went for a makeup course in college btw, it’s just I only do a 5 minute face on any day. Ever.)

4. For each job you will have a “handler” who’ll mind your stuff, give you a document listing your job and payment on which you are supposed to sign, you’ll be paid in a lump sum each month, after 60 days because they have to collect payment from their clients first

5. “Handler” will probably call you an hour before each job to make sure you aren’t still sleeping or something

6. If “handler” is more than 10 minutes late, call the agency, don’t just leave

7. No ads involving sexual activities, alcohol, drugs, religion – unless… do you want to do religious ads? (I’d gladly do stuff for the church for free)

8. Can you make next Tuesday for a professional photographer? This costs HKD 5,160. Now I’m worried it’s a scam. The general public being skeptical around me, particularly when I started blogging (ok, very skeptical), has done this to me.

Colleagues in the banking industry aren’t nearly as skeptical as people in blogging that I’ve met, something that still surprises me. Maybe it’s because the market is small so it’s very easy to do a background check on bankers, whereas bloggers have relative anonymity. (Ah well, I’m not even using a pseudonym. I built my entire previous career on being exactly what I believed in and intend to do the same especially when my son will be reading some day.)

I glance at Kings. He doesn’t even blink, “you have to do it just the once, for the experience”.

(Later, I ask if I can come earlier for the photo shoot and she pulls out an excel spreadsheet - it's completely filled with photoshoot appointments and I feel much better - even lemmings enjoy company, don't they?)

Then I remember they chased me a few times for my own pictures and I gave them barely any pics (there aren't that many solo pics of me except for a few wedding ones because I erm, don't really like posing for pics)

9. Don’t cut your hair (good thing she said this because I have been known to chop everything off into a very short cut on a whim)

Agent's desk (didn't take a pic of the awards certificates though)

10. Are you:

a. The sort who's worried about being asked to do stunts/ any other thing they can think of that isn't illegal or dodgy simply because you don't think you can learn?

b. The sort who doesn't want to spend that much time on voice lessons etc because you have other commitments? (I have Rockstar)

c. The sort who doesn't want to spend money on lessons?

11. There are 3 sorts of assignments:

a. Photo shoots for ads - very quick and low commitment, little money and sometimes you will only have half a day's notice

b. TV or bigger ad campaigns - can take 12 hours or several days, you may have to travel, you have 4-5 days' notice

c. Performances (they send you for dance/ voice lessons)

(An image of myself dancing awkwardly on the street as my former banker colleagues look on comes to mind so I don't think so...)

12. Expect to make serious money only after the first year (don't worry, I assure her, I'm not in it for the money and won't be pressuring her for assignments to pay the bills)

I hope this makes up for the fact I'm picky around Rockstar's convenience, I add (she looks pleased)

13. "Oh, and I have another colleague who wants to ask you something"

She calls another guy in who says “Can you make 12 noon tomorrow to take some pictures promoting the iPhone 4 in Mong Kok for Face Magazine?” (This would fall under #11a.)

I already skipped town for 2 weeks so I immediately say yes (and vow to be on my best behavior tomorrow). I have no idea what Face Magazine is. (But at least I know what an iPhone is.) Google it later and realise it's a local magazine in chinese, which is probably why I didn't know what it was (since I can't read Chinese).

14. "Oh, and can another colleague take some pictures please?"

Her colleague pulls out a digital camera, sweeps all my hair off my face, and deftly takes some pics – full face, profile, with and without a smile, standing straight with hands by my sides, then a “favorite pose” (I lean back against the window sill, half- sitting on it, and grin.)

Belatedly I realise they told me to send in both studio pictures for a portfolio as well as the kind of pictures her colleague has just taken of me on her own camera. So I feel quite bad now. I somehow hadn't realised they really need this to book people, because I did send in like, 2 wedding pictures and they had the 60 second video of me, after which no one said anything.

OH. NO WONDER she was saying "you're just in this for the experience, but for me, this is my livelihood." Oh dear.

So I really have to be on my best behavior for them now!!

15. "Next time, it's not a must, but well, it would have been better if you told me you were leaving the country." (Oops. Honestly I hadn't thought she gave two hoots and that was why I didn't say anything)

Where the hell am I? Where's the cab queue?

In the cab on the way home I get a text message from the guy organizing the iPhone pictures telling me to expect a follow up call from an assistant before 9pm.

Ps: Can I just say I think how they conducted this is not because I’m hot, it’s because they’re hot.

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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