when i didn't hear from my commercial agent by friday, i figured that meant i wasn't getting a callback so i sashayed my angela davis afro to the edge of staten island, where michelle at ethnicity salon arranged my nubian knots just so. in about two hours, she was done. so fresh, so clean was blaring on my mental iPod until i checked my messages after my guitar lesson on monday afternoon. the words "you got a callback" reverberated all the way through me until my teeth rattled.
a callback is a beautiful thing but the thing is, the way you look is a key element to cinching the part. i had to show up the way they saw me initially but now that my hair was done, that wasn't an option. the week before, i pulled my soft afro into a bun at the nape of my neck and wore something grey and conservative. now my head looks like a minature bucky ball. sure, the look will soften in a week or so. but i didn't have a few days and they probably wouldn't understand that. i had to show up the following afternoon. and since i wasn't willing to take my hair down for a maybe (i honestly didn't have the time) and i couldn't get a wig (same reason), i thought i'd take a chance and be myself. when you look as black (read: ethnic) as i do, it's quite a risk.
when i called my agent and told him my tale of hair woe, he went, "Bunch, you're killing me." he scolded me for not calling in before i got my hair done. the thing is, they pushed the shoot date back by at least a week, so that gave them until after the weekend to let anyone know anything. to his credit, he encouraged me to go in without a wig because he didn't want me to look fake. i figured it was a wash but there was no way i was going to not show up. so there i was, at house productions again, with the some of the same nervous actors again, some of whom i recognized from the audition (and yes, their hair and clothes were exactly the same as they were then) -- only this time, there were lots of kids there with their strange overbearing parents for some kiddie call or something and they were all over the place. everyone was so exasperated with them because they showed up in masse over an hour earlier than their call time. so for a minute there was a bizarre overlap and everything kind of ran together in the middle of the room, like some 21st century vortex of commercial bunkum and pap.
honestly, you could cut that "need to please" vibe with a machete. feh.
i was a little on edge because i had someplace else to be and i couldn't be late. i scanned the sign-in sheet and then i scanned the room. would anyone let me jump line? i asked the guy who was waiting to go in next. he refused me because he was running late to meet a friend for lunch. (lunch?) then i saw the name jose. jose. that had to be the older distinguished looking black gentleman in the back of the room by the loo. he had an accent and he said that he was cuban. as i was touching up my make-up, he asked me if i was from south africa. "of course i am, sweetie," i smiled. he laughed. i love making strangers laugh. it's an instant connection and it never gets old. i ran back to him and started in with a very good explanation. he said yes before i even finished my sentence. ain't life grand?
i ran back to the monitor, took my place in line and zipped in and out of the room before i really knew what hit me.
how did i do? it's hard for me to tell when cameras are involved. i can leave a theater audition and know if they loved me but film/tv people like to blow sunshine up my butt, so i can't ever really tell what's going on. i didn't think that me or my hair was so hot the first time around and i got a callback so i guess i'm not the one to ask. one thing's for sure: when there's a callback possibility on the line from now on, i will call my agent to make sure i'm not in the running for anything before i change my hair. (i promise.)