I wish I were as creative now as I was when I was a kid. One of my best ideas provided endless hours of entertainment for my best friend Lindsey and I. It all started with a trip to Glamour Shots for Lindsey’s birthday. For those of you who have repressed their knowledge of Glamour Shots, it is a combination of gaudy salon and photography studio. We were eleven years old at the time but Glamour Shots treats all its customers like a 35-year-old-woman with dreams of being a 1980’s model that can’t cut it and so in desperation has decided to resort to porn but first needs some cheap head shots for their portfolio.
Perhaps that is not the verbatim mission statement of the company but it must be close because despite our tender ages the “stylists” plastered our faces with enough makeup to induce early onset acne. They curled, teased and sprayed our hair and adorned us with low-cut rayon shirts and long strands of large fake pearls. Needless to say, we were in Sixth Grade Girl Heaven. For just a few hundred dollars of our parents’ hard earned money, we were provided with several sheets worth of photos that at the time we considered beautiful but are now appalled by.
To our surprise and great disappointment, our parents were not eager to fund this sort of excursion on a weekly basis – even though having a diverse Glamour Shots portfolio would come in handy in the extremely likely possibility a modeling scout approached us at the mall.
I wouldn’t let our parents’ lack of sympathy thwart our dreams, however, and so I constructed my own Glamour Shots studio in my parents’ basement. I had a makeup station with a lifetime’s supply of blue eye shadow, orange blush and red lipstick. I had a hair station equipped with Aqua Net Super Hold hairspray, a hair pick and an assortment of scrunchies and banana clips. I gathered up all my dress-up clothes to form a wardrobe station consisting of several sequined tube tops, a wedding gown from the 1800s and a bright yellow bridesmaid’s dress. I also managed to scrounge together some props, including a fake rose I had detached from a flower bouquet intended for some relative’s grave. I even draped some sheets to create a dressing room beneath the stairs. The truly impressive features of the studio, however, were the backdrops in the photographing portion of the studio. I thumb-tacked several different table cloths to the wall and they only fell down every fifteen minutes or so.
We would take turns being the model. As photographer, we would provide helpful modeling tips and encourage one another to bring out all the seductive looks an eleven-year-old girl could possibly muster. “Pretend I’m Jonathan Taylor Thomas,” “Try to look like you’re a little bit angry,” etc. If MySpace and Facebook had been around in those days, we likely would have been much more experienced at pursing our lips and looking seductively constipated for the camera. (I won’t even go into how annoying I find the Duck Face pose. I will simply post a few random examples here and let the pictures speak for themselves. And don’t be surprised if I give Duck Face its very own blog entry in the very near future.)
But back to happier times when Lindsey and I were easily amused and considered my little studio to be on par with the real deal. The only drawback was convincing my parents to have all our rolls of 35mm film developed on their time and expense. We just couldn’t understand their lack of enthusiasm. I mean, here we are, saving them thousands of dollars by creating our in-house version of Glamour Shots and they can’t drive five miles to the store and pay $5 to have our masterpieces developed. Well, we certainly weren’t going to treat our children so shabbily, we vowed. Our parents were sitting on a gold mine and didn’t even know it – when we became famous models, didn’t they want us to buy them fancy cars and mansions? Didn’t they want us to thank them in all our magazine interviews? Instead they had to settle for a small mention in a blog.
And no this is not me at ten. I found this gem on Google. But I will be posting both my professional GS photos and the basement studio pics soon… Get excited.