"Call before leaving home, if the weather forecast isn't right we'll reschedule." That's happened several times already, I get spoiled by the speed at which these things move, I usually get a call/ text back within 2 minutes (or sometimes before I even think to check) if they don't want me to leave home and waste time for a shoot that's not gonna happen.
I was texted to show up in a suit, white shirt, black heels, nude hose... I don't own nude hose. Nude hose be against my principles. Only the sheer black french stuff with the line running down the back of my legs ever. Otherwise no hose, just Johnsons' baby oil.
<Looking up> Ah Prince Building. Wolford's. And then on the morning of the shoot discover I can't keep my summer Ferragamo mules on with the hose (knee-high boots with skirtsuits in cooler weather). I have no other black heels. Fingers crossed, I slip on dark green snakeskin peep-toe pumps. And a white Hugo Boss shirt with pin-tucking detail. (The shoes would get me compliments at the shoot thank goodness)
I arrive a good half hour early and wander about, surprised at the housewives, uncles and aunties reading newspapers or just sitting quietly. Work rarely took me to this part of Sheung Wan. My sheepish booker is late with apologies (just glad it wasn't me) and we make our way to the media company's office where I'm handed a grey G2000 suit and seriously fierce black plastic frames (after the shoot I enquire where to buy them and the photog explains he got them on location in New York.) While my hair is blown out and eyebrows touched up (I have glasses! No need for eye makeup! Yay!), my partner arrives.
"Hi, I'm Nigel," and he offers me his hand. Canadian, he arrived in HK just 2 weeks ago; his agency has him on a 6 month tour of HK and Shanghai. In navy tank top, jeans and fashionably distressed black boots he changes out of into black-and-white patterned trousers, hot pink sheer shirt and sparkly red bowtie right where he's standing without batting an eyelid and I quickly think Model! As in, Professional!When I balk, our photographer who is also the one deciding what we wear blinks, then not unkindly indicates the bathroom. On the way, I pass shelves and shelves of portfolio shots of erm, real models. <Hang head in shame>
I'm with our hair stylist for the shoot (who is exhausted from a previous late night assignment I think he said in Cantonese), and makeup artist (who is guffawing loudly at the giant turd image on hair stylist's cellphone, something about how he drew inspiration from "all the young gals with the cutesy Facebook cupcake pictures".. Uh, is this code?)
It's boiling and I'm in a full suit complete with nude auntie hose... (Btw I wouldn't normally have put up that many shoot pics but I don't expect to be able to find the pics when they come out, this was for a media company and frankly I don't really know what they're for other than there's a magic taxi in the script... They even commissioned the taxi driver whose cab you see in some of the pics to park there and occasionally sit inside and "drive")
We have to occasionally stop for passing traffic to ease past... Nigel had to pose directly under the scorching sun... And he generated a lot of attention - passersby snuck cellphone pics... Some - mostly uncles expat and local hang around for a bit to watch... Several aunties surprisingly don't linger - they must have better things to do, like queueing at Fortress outlets for iPhones (as mentioned by Apple Daily sometime ago - HK aunties made a killing reselling them...)
As we cool off in the shade, I discover Nigel is just 18 and has only been doing this maybe 3 months. I forget to ask which agency (just in case someone might want to book him for a job I thought I could put it here), and my booker who was talking with mild awe to me about his modelling agency earlier later claims she's forgotten, when I ask her to repeat the name. (I'm peevy about the fake, how am I supposed to trust her when she says "don't worry I am not booking you on dodgy psycho assignments" after this? Sigh but to be fair she helped me take those action shots with me in them, which I do appreciate...)
Talking to Nigel, I learn something.... He's just 18 and here more or less on his own (maybe an uncle here), which I find interesting... When I mention how determined I am not to Tiger Mother because of my own experiences, he tells me his grandparents were from Hong Kong and Shanghai and when they moved to Canada and had his dad, he'd grown up with similar. It was why his dad had now decided he could do what interested him (as long as he "didn't, like, get himself killed"): "The second generation always gets it."And proof of the fact gives me a hug, before changing back into his own clothes in the street and disappearing down it. I can't quite put my finger on our photographer's not-unpleasant expression as he points me to the nearest public toilet. Mild amusement? Our parents for the most part believed in their day they were doing the best job they knew how to. Then their offspring grew up determined to do better. Wonder what Rockstar's parenting style will be.......