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Rants and Raves

I am a new mom and an actor. Recently my baby and I went to a commercial audition for a baby wash product. They were seeing moms with their real babies, so we got to go together, which sounded pleasant. I was told to wear a tank top and a "short skirt," so they could see my body and skin. Well, suffice to say, I do not have a "body wash commercial" body. I mean, I'm thin and all of that, but I am not a model. I am very, very pale and have really chalky white legs, to boot. In point of fact, I do not even own a miniskirt, and the only pair of shorts I have has been relegated to "around-the-house-only" wear long ago. Oh, did I mention that I have a baby? Most new moms I know aren't parading around in miniskirts. Additionally this whole baby thing is a costly little affair. It's not feasible for me to run out to the Gap and pick up a sassy mini-dress just for one audition.

OK, so I make do. I show up to the audition in Capri pants that end just below my knees and a sleeveless T-shirt. After all, these are commercials. I often wear just a suggestion of what the audition calls for. When I am called to audition for a bride and told to wear a white dress, I sometimes have to make do with a white shirt and a floral skirt. Use your imagination, guys! So, there I am in my Capris with my baby, who has just spent 45 minutes crying all the way from the Valley to Santa Monica as I struggled through the 405 Freeway to get to this appointment, when the harried and rather bewildered looking casting assistant approaches. "I can't take you in those clothes," he says. "You have to be wearing a miniskirt." I apologize. I say it's fine if they can't see me, but at least they can still see the baby. "No," he says, "You have to go in with the baby, and you have to be wearing a miniskirt before you can go in."

OK, this might be fine if they were going to cast moms with their real babies, but this obviously was not the case. We all know they were going to cast the best-looking moms and the best-looking babies; who are we kidding? This was evidenced by the fact that there were women (young, lithe women) without babies waiting to be seen. And don't imagine they were waiting to be seen for another role. Nope, I saw the storyboards. The "mom" characters were never even in the same shot as the babies. There was no on-screen interaction; it was all close-up, single shots.

So I ask the assistant if they are really planning to cast only a biologically connected mom and baby duo, and he is stumped. He wanders back to "ask the casting director." Now by this time the other "moms" are looking me over and rolling their eyes at me. When the assistant finally comes back out, he tells me that they can see my son only if I change my clothes. Perhaps I could just "run home and change?" he suggests. Any of you who have babies probably realize how funny that suggestion is, bearing in mind the distance and the baby, who, as I just explained, cried all the way there. Not to mention that, as I said, I do not own these clothes.

The assistant then turns to the woman next to me and tells her to go on into the room. I notice as she does so that she is wearing a knee-length skirt. "Should I just roll these up?" I ask, referring to my knee-length Capris. "I'm going to say no," he responds skeptically, looking me over. So perhaps the length wasn't the real issue here. Maybe he just objected to my lack of fashion sense?

So, angry and embarrassed, I left. I didn't even call my agent because I knew he—anxious to get his commission—would have just told me to go buy a miniskirt and get back in there, which, at this point, I was absolutely not going to do. If this was a callback and not just a first call (which for commercials, as you know, usually means a couple hundred people), I might have understood. If they had gone ahead and seen my baby (hey, maybe one of the baby-less models could have taken him in with them), I would have been fine with it. As it was, this was just about the stupidest waste of a day I have had in a long time.

A Miniskirt-Challenged Mom

Van Nuys, Calif.

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