Loving Twenty Percent


She stands there twirling a ring with her blonde fine hair through the Barbie pink tipped fingernails as she giggles. “Um … Ok … So … If I could meet anyone on earth, dead or alive, I would meet … Meryl Streep.” I look down and bite my lip, hoping the camera isn’t pointed at our reactions. (But what if it is? Maybe this is the audition? To watch the reactions of the other actors?)

I’m standing in a row of stiletto wearing, lip-glossed blondes at a “same-day” commercial audition where I was asked to look “going out ready.” (I hope unwashed hair, teased a little bit, and a blazer borrowed from my kid cousin will work?) What else can they expect from a same day audition? But these girls look good. My blazer itches. I can’t help but wonder if they were in fact, make-up ready, and waiting by the phone?

I got the call an hour ago while helping my aunt organize her office. I’ve borrowed this blazer from my cousin in hopes of looking “going out ready,” but now see they meant “going out to a night-club ready.” I started early today, so a shower was out of the question. I just want to get out of here. I look like some kind of idiot. I was laughing at a note — before I got the call — my cousin left my aunt in a box overflowing in black sharpies: “MOM: Hoarding is not the answer!”

I try not to roll my eyes, no offense to Meryl Streep, who remains one of my most treasured and favorite actresses, but I mean come on. What about God? Ghandi? Elvis even? The casting director seems to love her answer. He bites into an apple and asks her more. I can’t even look up. I glance over to check the other girls’ reactions — nervous, terrified, and shaking. These girls aren’t listening. We’re being asked a series of questions one by one. That’s the audition.

I get mine.

“What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?” The casting director asks me as he crosses his legs, tosses the apple in one gentle toss, and making it straight into the bin without looking.

“Oh, that’s easy: waiting tables (a very distant memory … wink wink). This provokes a few acknowledged giggles from the platinum blondes.

“What don’t you like about waiting tables?” the bearded casting director asks while placing a pencil behind his ear and glancing at a clipboard. I look right into the camera.

“Where do I start? Let’s see. OK. Here it is: tipping. Please tip 20 percent. I must say the biggest problem servers have is getting bad tips for the hard work they’re doing. So to everyone watching this, and I’m sure you already do, just a friendly reminder to leave twenty percent!” I say smiling, trying to have an ironic sense of humor.

A few blondes boo me. A few say “Uh-oh.” And the last blonde in the line, the one twirling rings in her hair … has stopped. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I think perhaps I’ll leave waitress stories aside next time. Too close to home, I guess. But isn’t it better to be honest?

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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