The craziest thing
The September issue of US Elle has a mini-interview with Anne Slowey and Joe Zee to introduce the Elle fash-mag reality show, Stylista to the world. One of the questions is ‘what’s the craziest thing you ever had to do as an assistant?’ Which got me thinking about my own experiences. In the early days of computers (the early ’90s to be precise), my fashion director was still welded to her typewriter, so would type out her copy then edit it by physically cutting, rearranging and Sellotaping the paragraphs – liberally peppered with crossings-out, Tipp-Ex splodges and corrections – before handing it to me to decipher and retype on the computer. I also had to answer readers’ queries like ‘where can I buy one-legged tights?’ and ‘I’m 5’0″ and size twenty, who makes fashionable clothes for my size at an affordable price?’ (Answer: no-one.) In those days, all readers’ letters were answered individually and I actually really enjoyed researching (this was pre-internet) and writing them. From doing that I learnt everything I know about dressing for non-standard bodyshapes, holiday packing to any destination and my specialities, Mother of The Bride Dressing and How Not To Look Like Mutton Dressed As Lamb.
The craziest thing I nearly had to do was dress up a ‘chicken crossing the road’ for a shoot snapped on location around London. My
bonkers genius fashion director wanted it to be a quirky shoot all about one girl going about her business and the funny things happening to her during the course of her day. So a chicken costume was hired and I had a lucky escape as our wacky hairstylist volunteered at the eleventh hour to dress up as the comedy chicken. Oh the fun we had.
If I asked my old assistant what the craziest thing she had to do was while working for me, I can guess what she’d say: ‘everything, from remembering your hospital appointments to splitting up fights between you and our editor. Not to mention the time we shared a hotel room in Miami and I had to sleep on the fold-out camp bed in the living room, complete with peeping Tom at the window.’ Ah yes, well let’s not get into that, it’s all part of the learning experience isn’t it?
So…what’s the craziest thing you’ve had to do in your journey up the career ladder?
4 September, 2008 @ 11:13 pm
Ha ha! Oh the things we do for a career we love… I had an acting gig earlier in the year where I played a German prostitute. I had to learn German and wear punk prostitute ‘outfit’ of underwear and fish net tights and hand out in the foyer of a a very fancy hotel. That was pretty weird.
5 September, 2008 @ 3:14 am
I worked for “Dear Abby” just a few years ago, and we didn’t have computers because she is a technophobe. Every day at her office was completely crazy. It was like being at a mad tea party.
One day, the Office Manager (an old redneck lady around 150 years old) told all the assistants that we weren’t allowed to talk. It was like being in pre-school!
Make Do and Mend
5 September, 2008 @ 9:39 am
Early on I was a willing foil for one fashion editor so thought nothing of going out for our christmas bash dressed as the sugar plum fairy.
I think making my children appear in commercial shoots being vacinated, social services types etc. is quite poor. Who wants to let their kids do such things, it comes down to the production team to fill the gaps! On the plus side they got to do fun things too!
5 September, 2008 @ 3:12 pm
Ack, any of my experiences pale in comparrison to these!
German prostitutes and chicken costumes? I think I have more experience to pack in before I have any “wiild” stories to tell.
By the way, sorry that I never replied you your email; I got so behind all of my emails while I was in London, have had to do lots of grovelling now that I’m back at home.. oops..
Hope you’re well, though!
5 September, 2008 @ 3:15 pm
Hmmm. Put up with the management at a New Age book publisher blaming business foul-ups on Mercury going retrograde.
5 September, 2008 @ 3:17 pm
Oh dear, Sal that is the kind of thing I would do. In fact, I think mercury is about to go retrograde quite soon!
14 September, 2008 @ 4:03 pm
Well working in television should come with a sexual harrassment disclosure. Sadly, I’ve put up with a lot of degrading bullshit to get to where I am today (which really isn’t an amazing spot).
Once I was the assistant to a well known director and when he wasn’t calling me every name in the book and throwing tantrums, he was putting his hands where it didn’t belong and making me “help him” get dressed. Nothing’s worse than staring at saggy old man ass. Barf.