My First and Last Guest Role – Grumpy
It was my best friend Tina who convinced me to go with her to the movie set, where they still needed some actors and actresses for some background work in a couple of scenes. I was quite nervous, never having set foot on a set, let alone play in a movie. When we got to the studio, we first registered, and then some assistant handed out cards with numbers and a short description of the role. Tina and I got very different numbers, so after the numbers were called in ascending order, she disappeared, and I ended up between some other girls I never met before. Luckily they seemed friendly, and at least as nervous as I was. My card, with number 123, said: “natural blonde, hair to mid back, wears light summer dress, walks along the beach with boyfriend 76.” That didn’t seem to be too difficult to handle. Boyfriend 76 was nowhere near, but I guessed he would show up at that beach whenever he was supposed to. The natural blonde would have been fine for Tina. My very dark brown hair wouldn’t qualify, so I assumed I would be getting a wig, or else my hair would have to be bleached, which I didn’t really mind. I had wanted to try blonde for several years, but never quite got the courage to take the plunge. Maybe I was afraid bleaching my hair would somehow damage it. It took too long to grow to risk that. My hair had grown to about mid back, so at least the length was right for the part.
While waiting in line for hair and makeup, I said hello to Eve, who was number 122. Here role was equally simple: “girl standing in doorway, leaning against left post. dark brown hair in a bob, shirt and blue jeans.” Eve’s hair was the right color, and about shoulder length. She wondered whether she would have her hair cut. From what I heard from Tina I told her that she probably would, but we would soon find out.
The girl before Eve got a long red wig and went off to get her makeup done and to change into whatever she was supposed to wear. Eve was summoned into the barber’s chair. Our hair was to be done by a young woman, around thirty I would guess. At least not by a man. I don’t know why, but I never liked having my hair cut by a man. The hairdresser said “Hi, I’m Tricia” and then took the card from Eve while she pulled a cape around her. She brushed out Eve’s hair for a few moments, and then quickly started cutting. Soon Eve had the required bob; not a perfect one, but fairly good for a dry cut. Eve had a lot of hair, so the bob stood out a bit wide. Tricia, who had not said a word while cutting, noticed this too.
“Your hair is much to thick for a bob. We have to fix that or else the director will send you back right away.”
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She quickly pinned up Eve’s hair, leaving only the back undone, up to about the top of her ears. A loud click and then a serious hum drew my attention to a heavy duty set of clippers she had turned on. In less than ten seconds she got rid of all that hair hanging loose. The back of Eve’s head was now practically bald. It all went too fast for Eve to react. Before she even could move her hand to the back of her head to realize what had happened Tricia had undone the rest of Eve’s hair, and brushed it out. “Much better!” she said. “This will do. Next!”
Eve slowly got out of the chair, and felt the back of her head. “Oh God!” she exclaimed, and swung her head left and right, trying to get a glance in the mirror, but of course she could not see the back of her head.
“Move along dear, we haven’t got all day you know!”
I sat down in the chair, and handed Tricia my card as she pulled the cape around me. “Natural blonde!” she said. “Boy, these assistants have messed up again. This hair won’t do at all.” She looked in a few cabinets, and pulled out a blonde wig with very long hair. “This looks better. Try it on please.” She handed me the wig, and assisted me in putting it on. I needed quite a bit of help as I had never worn a wig before. The wig was a bit tight, and it took a lot of effort to hide all my hair underneath. Tricia started brushing out the wig, but looked unhappy. “This is not going to work.” she said. “You have too much hair.”
While she pulled off the wig again a loud message was broadcast throughout the studio: “Numbers 50 through 125 on the set in 5 minutes! 5 minutes to the first take!”
Tricia looked like in a panic. “What’s your number again?”
“Shit, shit! We’re never going to make it. Here, hold that wig for a second.” She shoved the wig into my hands and looked around nervously. Then she quickly flicked on the clippers and before I knew it she pushed them over my head, from front to back. I was simply stunned, paralyzed. A few passes over my head, hair falling all around me, and the clippers were turned off again. She pulled the wig out of my hands and put it on again, over my now bald head.
“That’s better.” A few strokes of the brush, and she pushed me out of the chair. “All done! Next!”
I only half realized what she had done yet, as I walked over to makeup. In the mirrors I saw myself pretty much the same as before, only with blonde instead of dark hair. The wig fit perfectly now, and prevented me from fully realizing that I had just been shaved, that my head was really bald! Makeup told me there was no time, and I wouldn’t be in the foreground much, so I was forwarded to the changing booth with number 123. A girl guided me to the booth and gave instructions.
“Please remove all your clothes, also your underwear, and hang them on the left. Then put on the clothes you find on the right. And please hurry. We’re late already.”
I did as asked, and on the right I found a light sundress and a pair of slippers. The dress was white, with some small flowers. It was very light. My lack of underwear was pretty obvious. On a beach it should be even more obvious. I was rushed to the set, just in time to meet boyfriend 76. He was a cute blonde guy, Swedish looking. We smiled at each other. Walking along the “beach”, looking very much in love, was going to be easy with this guy. The director started giving instructions to everyone regarding our positions, and what we were supposed to do. Just before the camera started rolling he stopped everything and called me.
“Hair! Makeup!” he yelled. They rushed to the scene. “This doesn’t look at all like a natural blonde! Look at these eyes! And her black bush shines through this dress! Go fix this right away. Back here in two minutes tops!”
I was rushed to makeup and told to lay on my back on a table. Tricia and the makeup girl whispered a few words to each other. “OK now, lie very still and close your eyes. Don’t move an inch you hear!” I felt something lukewarm being painted onto my eyebrows. Something else was done to my eyes, which I couldn’t make out for sure. But I didn’t dare to move. Then I heard “Hold on!” and a sharp pain made me open my eyes. Before I got any explanation I was told to hold my eyes open wide, and now I realized what was happening around my eyes: Tricia was cutting off my dark eyelashes. Soon this was done, and the two of them moved away from my face, pulling up my dress to take care of my dark bush. Just as I feared the heavy duty clippers quickly got rid of my bush. “That should do!” said Tricia, and I was rushed back to the set. I managed to glance in a mirror for a second, while getting off the table. My eyebrows were gone, removed with wax I suppose, and I couldn’t see any trace of my eyelashes anymore either.
Back on the set I walked along the beach with boyfriend 76, apparently looking very much in love, but without realizing what was really going on. All I remember is getting back to the changing room and putting my own clothes back on. The stubble of my bush looked ridiculous, and felt awkward against my panties. There was a small mirror in the changing room, so I could get a good look at my face for the first time. I blinked my eyes a couple of times. The familiar sight of my eyelashes going up and down was missing. My forehead looked funny too, larger, without eyebrows. I would have to paint them on for a long time. And I couldn’t even wear false eyelashes because there was nothing to glue them onto. At the desk where we were getting paid I met Tina again. I started telling her about the things that happened. But then I was interrupted by Tricia. “Sorry girl, but the wig is not included in your fee.” With that she pulled the wig off, and for the first time I realized completely that I was really bald. I put my head on Tina’s shoulder, and started crying…