Can’t anything be done just for fun?Posted: July 18, 2009
Subtitle: My professional career as a model, actress and olympic athlete.
Do I start at the end or at the beginning? Well, there are three stories involved and since they all end in the same place, I’ll start at the end because you’ll know what it is by the end of the first story anyways.
THE END – unless an activity was sure to make me rich or famous or both, my mom thought there was no point in persuing it.
It’s one of those things that was never outright said, but now as an adult, it’s apparent based on the way things worked out. These three stories all take place at around the same time in my life. I’d say grades 3 and 4.
My mom would read the classifieds and see ads for workshops for acting and modeling, promising a lucrative career (I also know that she was all into pyramid schemes too but those had nothing to do with me). I don’t know if she ever went to more of these workshops but I do remember her taking me to a couple. It was a big event. We took the subway downtown tot he Eaton Centre and went up into the office spaces.
The first one was for acting. I was the only kid there (my parents didn’t understand the concept of not bringing kids anywhere they went – except vacations – they NEVER brought me on their vacations) and we were in a dark room watching a big tv with different commercials and a man would explain the most salient points about becoming a financially successful commercial actor. One point I remember him saying is that a voice over actor gets paid more than an on-screen actor. At the end of the ‘workshop’ the man told my mom that they had a group just for kids that she should send me to. It wasn’t running just then but he gave her a script for me to memorize and told her to bring me back.
I was so nervous! I felt like I had to do a great job or else I wouldn’t make the cut (although I’m sure it was no audition or anything but I really felt like it was at the time) I was working very hard at practicing and being how I thought I would need to be for this commercial. My sister caught wind of this and was totally shocked. It was a tampon commercial. Remember when I said I was in grade 3 or 4 when this happened?
I don’t know what went on between my mother and my sister but I do know that I never went back to that workshop.
Not too long later, we took another special subway trip to the Eaton Centre. This time, it was to a ‘modeling agency’. We went in and my mom spoke to the lady at reception. I walked up and down an elevated catwalk a couple of times, making sure to make a nice turn and to show off my pockets. The woman reacted positively and then started talking to my mom about how much it would cost for head shots etc.
Never went back.
These two events don’t really bother me because I never really cared about either of them. The next one made me resentful for quite some time.
My parents signed me up for figure skating lessons at Seneca college. I really enjoyed it a lot. I wasn’t the best in my class but even at that young age I took a lot of pride in the progress I was making. The pinnacle for me was when the students of my class got to preform in a professional skating show starring Kurt Browning.
We were all just little kids so I’m sure it was for comic relief between other big important parts but we practiced what we had to do for what seemed like months (was probably two classes). We went to the arena one night and I was put into a black and gold costume and my face was painted white in a very stereotypical ancient chinese fashion. I think I was even wearing a wig but I don’t remember for sure. We were all scooted out on the ice where we quickly skated around our pre-determined route and felt like superstars. Then we went up into the stands to watch the rest of the show.
When my run of classes was over my mom came to me with some news. Apparently, my instructors thought I had lots of promise (probably all the kids in class had just as much really) and suggested that I change schools to a skate intensive school. I would skate before school, partway through the day and after school. I really wasn’t interested in leaving schools and all the people i knew for an unfamiliar situation (I hated change, I hated going places where I didn’t know what to expect).
I said no, and I never had another skating lesson again.
Why did it have to be all or nothing? Why couldn’t I just stay at my little French Catholic school and still go to skating lessons once a week? What is wrong with that? Why couldn’t I just ENJOY something without having to strive for Olympic gold?
On this day: