Andy Warhol had a theory that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes.
Which, considering he said it in the 60s, before the advent of the internet, reality TV or blogging, was pretty prescient of him.
But, it begs the question – does that include makeup and wardrobe time?
My tiny brush with the furthest reaches of fame came this week, when the Daily Mail decided to run an article about me because of my soon-to-be-launched book. That was extraordinarily exciting news. For me, if not for the readers of the Daily Mail.
Unfortunately, they wanted to send someone over the next morning to take photos.
Now, I may have mentioned this before, but I don’t do photos. The difference between what I see in a photograph and what I see in my head is just too wide, too distressing, and too difficult to ignore. It’s better not to put myself in that position because, in this circumstance at least, ignorance really is bliss.
But, even I understood that since newspapers frequently carry photographs of people, it was probably going to be hard to get out of this. Worse yet, they hadn’t given me enough time to prepare – no trip to the hairdresser, or the clothes shop, or the place where you can hire body doubles.
And so, with a sinking heart and a shaking voice I said ‘Tomorrow morning? Of course. No problem’, while trying to figure out whether books on cognitive behaviour therapy had a chapter on how to cope with this.
Until, that is, the very nice Pictures Editor added…’The makeup and wardrobe people will be with you at 9′.
What? Makeup and wardrobe people?
Yes, that’s what he said. And at 9 on the dot a lovely young woman arrived at my front door wheeling in a bag that would have been hard to get into the hold on Easy Jet, much less the overhead locker. She proceeded to lay the contents out on my dining room table and, before she was a tenth of the way through, displayed more cosmetic products in that one place than I have ever owned in my entire life. Put together.
She rolled out her creams, rolled up her sleeves and started to work. And, to her credit, didn’t sigh. Not one single time. She was, after all, a pro.
Meanwhile, the photographer turned up, with a bag of equipment that made the makeup artist look like a rank amateur, and wandered around the house looking for ‘light’. She found it in the front room, which she proceeded to completely empty so she could start ‘setting up’.
And, then the van arrived. The wardrobe van. I know, how amazing is that?
An hour later, wearing so much makeup it was hard to keep my head up straight, a maroon and black lacy cocktail dress, and six-inch heels, I was casually standing in front of my bookcase, with dogs at my feet. As one does.
Quite some time after that, and dressed in very posh ‘outdoor wear’, the dogs and I were up on the Common. Wandering around. Casually. With the photographer leaping about for shots, and the makeup artist on hand for ‘touch ups’.
At least that made sense, if it weren’t for the posh outfit, of course. And, I suppose, the photographer and makeup artist.
All in all, it took hours. Hours. And, was a very strange experience. But, I have to admit, it was enormous fun. Who could have seen that coming?
I suppose it was so enjoyable for a photophobe such as myself because it wasn’t really me. After all, it wasn’t my makeup, clothes, poses, or even dogs. Total responsibility taken off my shoulders and put on to those of people who knew what they were doing. And, if it turns out that the image between what they see in the photo and what they imagined in their head is too large…there’s always airbrushing. What a wonderful world we live in.
I wonder what Andy Warhol would make of it?
Not Leo Tolstoy (aka Eileen Riley)