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The Flavor Cometh (New York Chronicles Vol. 1) . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Sunday, February 25, 2007

{Editor's Note: This is the first in a 5-part series chronicling my time spent in New York living the life of a model and waging a battle against food, geography and a plethora of people who all had opinions on how I should/did look. The names have been changed for obvious reasons.}

I remember thinking that maybe this whole modeling endeavor was a mistake as my plane was circling Newark airport for half an hour Sunday night, a holding pattern necessitated by high winds and a back-log of jets looking for a safe landing.

What was the point? And what had I gotten myself into? That line from "Top Gun" also kept ringing in my brain as I internally debated whether "my ego was writing checks my body couldn't cash."

Surely not, but then again, stranger things have happened.

We eventually made our landing, and in a burst of good luck, so did my luggage and so I soon found myself standing outside with the temperature in the teens, waiting for a man I'd never met to pick me up.

It sounded like something that might be featured on "To Catch A Predator." But Chris Hansen never appeared and soon enough, I was sitting in a car traveling towards the "Model House," which strangely enough, was in New Jersey.

The driver, Mr. X, was also co-owner of the modeling agency and had enjoyed a long career as a set decorator for shows including "Saturday Night Live," "Oz," "Sex and the City" and many others.

He was nice and informative and quickly gave me a lay of the land, a helpful guidebook concerning the Model House we were driving towards.

The house was constantly changing occupants, but the majority were staying for the long-term, because if you had potential and there was a vacancy, then you could live there rent-free for at least a year while you were getting your footing in the industry.

The lay-out of the house was a follows:

First Floor - This is where the agent and his wife slept and also boasted a dining room, 2 game rooms, a sitting room, a bathroom, 1 refridge for the models and 1 for the rest of the house.

Second Floor - Model Floor - There were 6 bedrooms upstairs and 2 bathrooms. 4 of the bedrooms were used by models staying at the house, who had decided to move out for the duration and sometimes more than 1 shared a room as there were bunkbeds in some rooms straight out of "Zoolander."

My room was the "Flavor Room." This is what I was called for most of my time there as they call it a "Flavor Week" as a new person would constantly rotate into the room (which had 2 beds as sometimes people overlapped) and I only occasionally wondered what I would taste like if I had to choose my own personal flavor?

I settled on a complex mixture of cinnamon, butter-cream icing and black pepper - an unsettling trifecta that enticed you with sweetness, but underneath yielded something entirely different. But that could never be proven one way or another.

The occupant for the remaining bedroom was none other than Mr. X himself, a fact he told me after I asked him if "he lived close to the agent?"

"I live in the house too," he replied.

"That's pretty damn close then," I said and laughed.

When we pulled into the driveway and entered, I immediatlely felt unprepared. I quickly met three of the models, who were lounging around shirtless (despite the frigid weather) watching "The Shawshank Redemption" on TV and sporting either skull-caps or tobogans or some kind of stocking headgear for which the actual names escaped me.

I felt shame.

I was wearing two shirts, a jacket and had brought nothing to put on my head. What kind of baboon had packed my suitcase?

This was not a good beginning I thought as I unpacked quietly in the flavor room. I was beaten down from traveling, but not wanting to appear anti-social, I went back down to watch the movie which is damn good if you've never seen it.

Of the 3 models, there was one model from Texas who was actually a really cool, laid-back guy. He was in his mid-20s and had recently moved into the house full-time after driving his truck cross-country from Dallas.

He was mellow with a sense of humor about the whole thing, which I immediately appreciated - especially because the other house inhabitants were the kinds of people I anticipated meeting.

One was in his early-20s and I never caught where he hailed from, but I really didn't care as he was basically a vapid, moronic sloth who couldn't pass a mirror without checking himself out roughly 27 times before moving back onto the couch or deciding to field another cell phone call.

The other model was a giant Asian, who seemed reasonable enough, just reticient and very much into his own trip.

It was a very odd situation, and the agent wasn't due for several hours as he was arriving from a speaking engagement at a modeling convention in Dallas.

So, I eased my way around the house and was having a protein shake before bed when I met the last model who had taken up permanent residence. This guy was akin to the other guy in his early 20s, and was from Miami, where he had been working at Red Lobster and likely beguiling patrons with his shit-eating grin that he flashed constantly and definitely felt that everyone deserved to notice.

We made small talk as he chopped grilled chicken onto a spinach salad. He told me all about what he was doing, what he wanted to do and his future plans and then he got around to asking me my age, which he guessed to be around 25 or 26.

When I told him that I just turned 30 last month, his eyes recoiled a bit and with a small amount of wonder asked, "DUDE, what took you so long to get out here and do this?"

"I don't know MAN," I replied with a grin. "Life got in the way."



  1. JLee Says:
  2. "...then we all went out in the Jeep for orange Frapuccinos.."
    tee hee

    Gotta have your headgear, man.

    Being introverted, that situation would make me very anxious, at least at first. That makes me chuckle that they were all laying around shirtless, like they were "showing their wares".

    I wouldn't sweat the age thing, it's all about how old you LOOK, not how old you are. When I worked for JCPenney, I had one model tell me she lied all the time about her age! She would say 22 and she was 28 or something.

    That's funny about the "flavor" thing...I did a post one time about what spice you would be! haha I think I said Nutmeg, I don't remember.

  3. Wendy Says:
  4. Fascinating. And surreal. I always wondered what it was like to be model-beautiful. (By coincidence, that's what my next column is about!) Can't wait to hear more so I can find out what I'm missing.

  5. drëâmè® Says:
  6. whoaaaa more more more more!!! =D This is like a cool novel. Except cooler because it's real.

  7. Jlee - I could go for an orange frapuccinos right now. Ha. And next time I'll bring enough headgear to choke a camel. Finally, I am not sweating the age thing, it was just funny because I was easily the oldest person that I was running around with during the week.

    Wendy - I'm glad it's interesting to other people too because it was surreal to me and I plan to use at least some of it in a future screenplay/novel/something.

    Dr - More is on the way as I'm writing the second installment today with a day-by-day account of the madness of NYC. Ha. We'll see if the interest continues.

  8. What an interesting place. It sounds like it is one of those of places you sometimes wish you could be a fly on the wall just to know what was going on.

  9. Miss Ash Says:
  10. Perhaps i understand now why one would not want to live in such a place.

    It's too bad the stereotype is true...the majority are in love with themeselves and shallow as hell.

  11. Sarcastic - It was definitely an interesting experience and I am glad I was able to be a part of it. But some things you might not want to witness. Ha.

    Miss Ash - I think it's the nature of the beast in that industry as it's nearly 100% about how you look and act and almost forces it on you. That being said, there were some models who didn't fit the mold with me leading the parade. Ha.

  12. Sherry Says:
  13. Looking forward to more of this.

  14. you should have tried to one-up those boys by coming down from your room shirtless and wearing a tophat.

    I have yet to see a white guy wear a skull cap and look cool.

    looking forward to more.

  15. ohh that was fun, sorta male model reality blogging... only I am gonna need more pictures... ones of shirtless boys lounging about... ya know stuff like that....

  16. Melissa Says:
  17. I'm just glad the other guy from Texas wasn't an asshole.

    And I've yet to take a trip to NYC where I wasn't "waiting for a man I'd never met to pick me up."

  18. Sherry - Good. I'm enjoying recalling it & writing it & part 2 will be up around noon today.

    Idig - Agreed on the skull-cap, although it wasn't the tight-ones it was more wooly, but still . . . Like the top-hat idea. Next time.

    Shroommonkey - I only took 1 picture the entire time I was there, but there should be one shirtless pic with 3 of us floating around somewhere that I will detail soon.

    Melissa - You and me both. He was easily the coolest guy I met there, and was glad that we were representing well and that he didn't have a giant accent or 6 guns strapped to his side. Ha.


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