Blacktress has exactly three weeks before she has to be naked on camera for the Indie Film, Open Mic Knight. She thrusts herself into body beautification mode so intense one would swear her wedding day to the Prince of Wales is approaching. Her first order of business is to track down all her vegan friends. Ordinarily she finds them far too annoying to invite to dinner parties or share meals with. But now that I’m watching my calories like Jennifer Hudson, this is the perfect time to catch up with those lunatics over lunch, she thinks. When even thinking the words “catch-up” makes her crave a turkey burger and sweet potato fries, she realizes that she’s in for a long three weeks.”
Her first date is with her hippie friend, Nirvana who is a strict macrobiotic.
“ I’m working hard to get ready for my Monster’s Ball moment,” Blacktress tells her from an outside table at M café on Melrose. “But I’m never gonna get that body in less than a month. Billy Bob Thornton’s maybe.”
Blacktress is devouring a pricey “meal” that looks like a medley of garnishes. Nirvana nibbles on something Blacktress is about 64% sure is seaweed.
“So what. Haven’t you seen Girls on HBO?” Nirvana asks.
Blacktress violently shakes her head.
“I no longer watch TV shows, set in present day New York, that don’t have at least one brown, red, or yellow series regular,” she declares. “I do make an exception for Seinfield reruns. Sex and the City re-runs. And if I’m really fucking bored Friends re-runs. But that’s it. It’s 2012. I gotta take a stand at some point.”
Nirvana slurps her miso soup.
“Whatever. You should watch it. The lead girl is constantly taking off her clothes and it doesn’t look like she’s ever been to the gym her whole life. She’s standing in the power of her flabby authenticity and it’s beautiful. Plus, it’ll take the edge off the Halle comparisons. “
Blacktress perks up.
“Okay, I’ll watch it. But I am taking a stand against racism next month,” she says without an ounce of sarcasm. “Remind me.”
Turns out Blacktress does find the sight of Lena Dunham’s flabby belly empowering to women in broader sense but it does little to ease her own personal anxiety. I don’t have nepotism on my side, she thinks. I should probably still be gunning for at least a four pack.
The next day Blacktress runs but mostly walks around Griffith park before meeting Roma, a gorgeous model/ old art school friend for lunch at a trendy raw food place in Hollywood. Back in New York, Roma was the kind of girl who ate mostly veggie sticks and the occasional fistful of popcorn. The entire dorm was concerned she was borderline anorexic. Since moving to LA, Roma has maintained the same basic diet but has rebranded herself as a gluten- free, raw food vegan, and no one bats a false eye lash. That’s the thing about Hollywood, Blacktress thinks: All you need is the right branding and labeling and you can repackage any bullshit story without anyone even noticing… Well , almost. Blacktress does note Roma’s collar bone jutting out into midair like a diving board. She’d express concern but like most Lost Angelinos she’s too obsessed with her own issues at the moment.
“So I have two and a half weeks to get into the best shape of my life,” Blacktress complains. “And I’m freaking the fuck out. I’d do the Beyonce/ Gwyneth Paltrow lemonade cleanse thing, but it doesn’t agree with me. I tried that once in ‘09 and I fainted on the street in Burbank in a pool of cayenne pepper vomit. True story.”
Roma chews her kale salad at least 472 times before finally swallowing.
“I know. It sucks. I can totally relate. As a model I can never be too thin or too beautiful. I guess you actresses are sisters in the struggle,” she says initiating a high five.
Blacktress leaves her hanging. Roma’s words hit her like a ton of broccoli triggering a light bulb moment.
“No, I am not your sister in the skeletal struggle. I’m an actress ,” she exclaims. “Oh Shit, I’m an actress! I almost forgot!”
Roma looks around with the particular kind of confusion models wear when they aren’t sure if they’ve just been insulted. Blacktress doesn’t notice. She powers on.
“I’ve spent so much time worrying about how I’ll look naked on camera that I haven’t even thought about how I’ll look if I suck giant balls in this movie. I haven’t even broken down the script or written a character bio yet. I’ve just been eating grass and exercising like that’s gonna do all the work for me.”
Blacktress breaks out in a full guffaw, rudely celebrating her personal “Aha” moment as Roma chomps on leaves.
That night Blacktress curls up in bed with her cat and her craft. With a list of action verbs in one hand and her character journal in the other she exhales and the weight she thinks she needs to lose is lifted.
Blacktress Tip of the Week: You are not your body; you just have one. Never make anything more important than the WORK.