Apartment 53

Apartment 53 was my first apartment in NYC where I lived on my own, and thus, where I really think of my life as a Manhattan woman beginning. I've always been fascinated by NYC apartments. Giant buildings filled with people, each with their own story. Windows everywhere. And I always wonder: what's behind them? What do people see when they look in from the outside? What is the real story of the person who lives behind that glass? This is my blog. A real story from a Manhattan apartment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Daydream Believer

For those of you who know me, you know that it was always my dream to become an accomplished actress. I grew up reading “Bop” and “Tiger Beat,” so by “accomplished actress” I mean the blonde equivalent of Alyssa Milano or Tracy Gold. The talents of Meryl Streep or Glenn Close were far too unattainable for me to relate. I just wanted a little sitcom with a cute, male costar, a terrific 80’s wardrobe consisting of hats, leggings, and ornate belts; and a house in San Fernando Valley, which is where I believe “Big Bopper” told me Mackenzie Astin lived. Is that too much for a girl from the suburbs of New York City to ask?

I demanded that my mother (along with her master’s degree,) move with me to LA so that I could make us all rich. As you can imagine, she refused, and as usual, I slammed my door. I still don’t understand why she didn’t give in.

As I grew older, my once ballsy performances grew timid. While at one point in my life I would embrace the stage, as I aged the very idea of it made my knees quiver. I lost confidence. I lost talent. I FROZE. I wasn’t an actress. I was a phony. And the worst kind: the kind that just wanted to be able to say that I was an actress, that I was living the dream, that my house in the Valley and my belt collection were f’ing killer. Not actually the kind that wanted to work hard to get there, get over my stage fright, and show my tits to millions of people because the character would actually be showing her tits.

I am now in my thirties, (early thirties). I’ve been told time and time again by casting agents that I’m “commercial,” so I finally decided to do something about it. And now, I go to castings. This afternoon I sat in a waiting room where my agent sent me that was filled with fifty other girls who looked like me. Some were a lot prettier, some, notsomuch. We were all there vying for a print ad for a pharmaceutical company. The ad called for us to be riding a bicycle. When my name was called and I entered the casting room, there was no bike. Instead, I had to perch myself up on a stool, lift my ass and position my wrists on a metal easel posing as handlebars that would have easily given way had I been three and a half pounds heavier. I tried to channel Diana Morales from “A Chorus Line” (“Every day for a week we would try to feel the motion, feeee-eeel the motion.. DOWN the hill…”) But I pretty much think I just looked like a fool with her ass in the air and her scrawny arms leaning on a goddamned easel. I mean, I tried to feel the pedals under my feet, the wind in my hair, the desire to run someone over on the street or beat Lance Armstrong's record, but Method has never really been my thing…

I left the go-see giggling. I couldn’t help it. I had just sat in a waiting room filled with fifty people who were dressed like they should be at the start line for the IronMan and instead we were all just… you know… sitting. And I realized: there’s something sorta silly about acting, isn’t there? I mean, why pretend to be riding a bike when you can, in this great, free country, actually ride a bike? So, I left the call in my workout clothes and I headed for the gym which is where my workout clothes actually belong. (And since I live in Manhattan, I don’t have room for an actual bike in my apartment – let’s not get crazy, here).

In hindsight, I’m glad that my mother didn’t condone my mission to become a child star (though I know I would have avoided drugs and sleazy directors and instead would have just made an absolute fortune and obtained a degree from Harvard along with an Oscar before I even had my first period). I look at people like Britney, Lindsay, and Macauley, and I just want to give each of them a big hug. Poor things were just commodities to their parents – feeding their families before they could even spell. I wait for people like Dakota to fuck up royally and I just want to call up her parents and tell them to take her out of Oprah productions and put her back in the sixth grade where she should be feeling anxiety about boys, grades, and her looks where she belongs. Why should this child have to worry instead about winding up at the set on time just because a movie studio is shelling out millions to use her name at the box office? That’s no childhood.

Instead, I think they all should have waited like the rest of us dreamers so that dreaming is just that: something that while we can actually taste it, isn’t something that's actually real. That usually the fantasy of what we think we want, is really a helluva lot better than what we actually get.

3 Comments:

Blogger Amy said...

Most importantly - how did I never know that you ALSO loved Mackenzie Astin?

3:18 PM  
Anonymous gila said...

yes, but were his pics neatly placed in the springs of the bunkbed above you, so that you could gaze into his eyes every night before bed?? don't even...

11:33 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I still believe in you Jilly :-)

8:53 PM  

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