Who’s Calling The Shots?
Today I’m at Victor Demarchelier’s photography studio on West 21st street. I’ve got a top hair and makeup team on hand, one of my favorite wardrobe stylists, and Victor himself, son of Patrick and a super hot fashion photog in his own right. We’re waiting on Akosua, my latest find. From Benin, she’s twenty whole minutes late for her first photo shoot in the U. S. I’m trying to stay charged up about her and keep the team chilled. They’re all doing me a solid here. But she’s got lots to learn. Just one word from any of these guys can either make her career or slam the breaks on it, hard, before it even gets started.
Finally Akosua arrives, full of breathless apologies and big promises to make up for her tardiness once she’s on set. Attached to her left hand like Gorilla Glue is two-time Oscar winner Christopher Maier. He’s got the look of a thirsty man happy to drink her bathwater. Okay? He’s sixty, at least. She just turned nineteen. I’ve got to hand it to her. For someone who’s been in the States for ten days at best, Baby Girl doesn’t mess around.
And why should she? Just feast your eyes on this beauty. Totally gorge, with plump and perky c-cups, a twenty-three inch waist, beautiful round hips, and legs that go on and on. And on. She’s got that thing— that special thing—that can put her at the top of the model heap in just one or two seasons.
Victor and I are trading off directing Akosua. She’s doing great, nailing every shot. That is, until her boyfriend jumps in. Maier suggests she spread her legs and bend forward so that her breasts spill out from the demi-cup bra. Just flooding the room with elegance, right? I turn and give him the universal shut-the-hell-up look, but he can’t take his eyes off of her long enough to see it. He keeps on talking and she’s mortified, embarrassed by his foul suggestions.
While Akosua changes for the next shot, I stand beside Maier. I’m cool. Diplomatic.“You know, it’s encouraging for Akosua to have you here today. But it can get confusing for a model when so many people are directing her all at once. As an actor, surely you can appreciate how difficult that can be?” He shrugs and gives me that sly trademark grin of his. “But I know what they’re looking for, you see. I’ve seen her at her most desirable. I’m just trying to bring that out.” I tell him to leave that up to me and the photographer. Please. And although he doesn’t speak, I can feel his eyes behind those funky little glasses burning into me as I head for the dressing area to see about her.
The front bell rings. Victor’s assistant answers and soon returns with Lourdis and Belle in tow. I invite them to photo shoots often. They like to hang out and absorb the high energy, the headbanging music and most of all, the elaborate deli spreads. You know these girls can eat. Akosua’s eyes grow as round as tennis balls when she recognizes Lourdis, even with freshly dyed lavender hair. Reaching out to touch Akosua’s face, Lourdis says —“My God. You’re beautiful!” Akosua blushes. Maier crosses his arms and scowls.
We’re back on set and the actor has clearly blown off our little chat. His voice is even louder now. It’s booming. Okay? Five years ago I would have hurled my shoe at this mofo’s head. But he’s a lucky man. The anger management sessions are kicking in today. Counting to ten, I approach him. The studio is as silent as a graveyard. Even the music has stopped playing… “You’re interfering in my business here,” I say. “And I’ve asked you to stop verbally assaulting my model. But since you can’t or won’t, you should just go away. Get off of my set. Immediately.” And that’s when he notices the photographer’s assistant. In one hand he’s holding the light meter. In the other is a metal bat.
Once Maier realizes that this could turn ugly for him in a heartbeat, he stands and heads for the exit. Who knew it would be so easy? But there are way too many eyewitnesses on set. And everybody’s got camera phones and a friend on speed dial who works at Page Six. Publicity is the last thing he wants so just like that, he is outta here. But when Akosua steps off the platform and begins to run after him, Belle reaches out and grabs her arm. “Don’t chase after that old fart. You’re not stupid. Are you?”
Akosua’s hardly stupid. She’s going to climb her lovely ass back up on this platform and do what she came across the Atlantic Ocean to do. But right now she’s sobbing and I send her back to the dressing area to pull herself together. Once she’s out of sight, Belle slides across the studio floor like James Brown in his prime. She grabs her purse and makes a dash for the door. Lourdis looks at me. She shrugs. “You know where she’s going, right? She’s going after the old fart.” But of course she is. That’s our Belle.