The Background Actress’s Guide to Costuming


(Circa: Late July 2017 on the set of "Isn't It Romantic?")

Originally I had pitched this idea to Racked.com as a contributing writer. However they declined because they had articles of a similar nature. I was going to pass on writing this for my own blog. However, the store that I purchased the above cocktail dress from is hiring, so now this essay has become relevant.

Where to start? The beauty about working a background scene is that they give you a list of examples of how you need to dress for the scene. Like:

Gucci
Zara
Tory Burch
Prada
Etc.

They will also give you visual examples of cuts and fabric, plus what tones they need you to wear. Much of this depends on the scene you are shooting too. If you are playing a lawyer, obviously you would be expected to wear a suit of some kind. Playing a hipster would require a different wardrobe and so on and so forth. If they give you specific brand names as the type of look they are going for, it would behoove you to do some research. The best place for this is Instagram, with the next being Pinterest. Look at how your favorite celebrities dress and that will help you.

The roles I typically get picked for require me to be a wealthy, socialite type. Think Hillary from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air:


(Source: IMDB.com)

When you're in my position of very little money and expected to look rich; what do you do?

This is where my friend the consignment store comes to play! The gold dress I'm wearing above is from a higher end retail chain. It's original price is closer to, if not above, $100. Yet I only paid $16 for the dress and an additional $20 for all of the jewelry. (The purse I received as a gift and the shoes were on loan from the wardrobe department, since my original pair were considered to be too shiny.)

The next thing you need to do is to bring options. Yes, I bought and used this dress specifically for this shoot. However, if the director's vision for this scene has changed in any way, it is as simple as changing into a different outfit.

A warning though: if you only brought one option this will force the wardrobe department to loan out an outfit and take your pay voucher (and maybe your driver's license too) for safe keeping until it's returned. This also means that you have to be extremely careful with the clothes (which you should anyway whether it's yours or theirs) and make sure you don't cause damage of any kind. (Or that could affect your pay or chances of being hired for other shoots in the future. One of the shoots I did, an actor walked out with a suit that was loaned to them. Needless to say that person didn't get paid and is more than likely not working for that agency ever again.)

A few other things I keep on me for the shoot as well:

A jacket or hoodie (for when it gets cold.)

A luggage lock (so no one tries to break into your bag.)

Lotion that absorbs well. (So it doesn't damage the clothes.)

A stain removal pen.

Deodorant that dries clear.

A robe or some kind of covering you can wear while eating or applying makeup.

A couple of other things I would add would be:

1) never bring real jewelry to a set. There was an unfortunate instance of an actress that brought real gold bracelets to the set and lost them, only to never find them again. Even if you get camera time, no one is going to know the difference; so keep it fake at all costs.

2) don't wear anything with a very distinct pattern or logo. Production crews do a magic trick what's called "cheating the shot." Meaning to make a scene look like it has more people than there really are hired on set. They do this in many different ways, by adding an accessory, or changing your hair or putting you in deep background. This means more camera time for you, so help them out!

I hoped you liked this essay as much as I liked writing it. I also hope I get the job at this particular consignment store since I do get a lot of my clothes from there. Fingers Crossed 🤞

I’m Choosing Not to Date

A guy that I flat out told that I'm not going to date, messaged me today to "check on me." I sound like a horrible person writing about my annoyance of this; but I want to clarify that I, have a really bad pattern of attracting or dating men who don't really care about me. What does this mean? Doesn't that guy care enough to check on you? The answer is no. What he's really doing is checking to see if I changed my mind about not dating him and that is what bothers me.

It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a guy that is genuine. Especially now that I am an actress and a model. Something about being in this career field is appealing to men. Much of it, I'm sure has to do with bragging rights. Who doesn't want to date a model/actress? The issue here is that it violates a rule that I have…the 23:6 rule.

I adopted this rule from a friend of mine. We discussed (over many shots of whiskey and after my awful heartbreak) why I should really hold out and be selfish about what I really want in a guy. This is what he told me:

For at least 1 hour every day and 1 day every week, the person you are dating will consider you to be the most ideal. Be it your looks, your job, your income status, your personality. But what about those other 23 hours of the day and those other 6 days of the week? The time when you are not so loveable? The time when that job you have takes more time than you can spend with him? When you gain weight? When money is really tight? When you're having a bad day and you need time to recuperate? If he can't love you at the worst time in your life, he is not permitted to love you at your best time.

My friend is so right. I apply this rule with every man that I meet now. Especially if he gives indication that I am only going to be a convenience, and not a priority to him.

The Dream is Dead

The more I keep getting denied for a loan, the more I keep getting fed up with my life. My dream of attending school overseas is swiftly dwindling and now I must figure out alternatives to continue to make my career work. Student aid is denying me on all fronts, so going to college in the United States won’t make a bit of difference. Instead I will have to pay for training out of pocket and continue to work low paying gigs in order to support myself. I guess it makes no difference, I would have had to take a low paying job in Ireland anyway to stay afloat. However, I really wanted to move away from my family and Delaware; to move to a city that supports the arts. 

But all is not lost, I could go back to training where I started up in NYC at Studio 4 or stay in the Philly area and go back to Playhouse West Philadelphia. I’m still going to make a goal to move out of my family’s home. Staying in Delaware while working on an acting career has become cumbersome in traveling, opportunities, and expenses. Plus like I said the environment has become toxic (even though I love them) which is also dragging me down. 

So I put myself out there to see if there are any opportunities that could make me union eligible and provide more paying opportunities along with more opportunities to have speaking parts. I’m probably going to have to make a customized reel and seek an agent as well. I have to keep going or I will be trapped in a void forever.

Back in Business…Sort of

(Source: John Staples of JBMS Photography.)

Fun Fact: I signed up for a home-based network marketing business back in 2013. 

Another Fun Fact: I failed that business within a year because I wasn’t focused on succeeding and had to put it on the back burner because I was extremely poor and had to take on a regular job again. 

But I’m not sad about that. As of yesterday I’m back in the company, but with a different set of rules for myself and my customers this time. Yes, the business is designed to sign up as many customers and distributors as possible. However, unlike before, I’m pushing it in a different manner. Believe it or not, the entire product line is perfect for someone like me in my industry. I’m an actress and a model. I have to look my best at all times and these products work: simple as that. With that said, I have no intentions of inundating this blog with sales pitches, nor am I going to seek out my friends, family, or followers to sign up. No. If you want to know what’s keeping me fabulous, ask and ye shall receive. 

What I will do is provide a link to the website if you want to shop. I’m available to answer questions or even to show off my results if you request them. No pressure, as my acting and modeling gigs are still my primary source of income. I’m in it for the discount and whatever extra cash I make. This for me is a happy bonus and I’m glad to be back.

Today’s Audition 

I knew I was going in for a beauty campaign today. As it turns out it may be a Korean beauty company that I auditioned for. It’s very serendipitous, especially with a video I watched the other day from NPR about Pore Vacuuming in Seoul, South Korea. With K-Beauty, I’ve only used a couple of products. A fairly decent cleanser and collagen sheet masks. My skin is very problematic and needs the most help out of my whole routine. As far as makeup is concerned, I have that covered. K-Beauty foundations and BB creams are often too pale for my skin anyway. I won’t, however, shy away from eyeshadows, liners, and lip products, especially if they are really pretty. 

I’m not sure if I’m going to land this campaign, but it is directing my attention towards using more K-Beauty. Maybe this is the formula I need to fix my face! We shall see.

Consignment Shopping 

I went shopping the past couple of days for my trip to the west. Because I'm on a limited budget, but I still want to impress. That's when my dear friend, the consignment store comes in. 

Why do I love consignment stores so much? 1) You can find some amazing, unique, and vintage items at the consignment store. They are usually made with better materials and tailoring. Most fast fashion nowadays, construct pieces for cheap using flimsy fabrics and stitching. 

2) It's very Parisian. Many women in the city of Paris consign clothes. By doing so, they create looks that they can call their own. Always setting themselves apart from others without breaking the bank.

3) Piggybacking off of #2, I love the hunt for a deal. I don't shop for clothing often, (in fact most of my clothes are either hand-me-downs, or clothes provided for me from various events or jobs that I have worked) but something about buying a massively priced item for pennies on the dollar just gives me a thrill. 

Simply put, consignment shopping is fun, economical, and hip. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The “Meh” Ball


     Liberace was better dressed for the ball.

Um…so…I was expecting massive slayage and punk inspired looks for the Commes des Garçons exhibit; but no such luck. With the exception of maybe Rihanna and a couple of other people, no one really wore Commes pieces or looks in that sort of style. I’m thinking that because of the “Great Robot Disaster” of last year; people wanted to tone it down this year. Here are my picks:

     An actual Commes des Garçons piece.


              (Source: Who What Wear.)

 

 Another actual Commes des Garçons piece.


                (Source: Who What Wear.)

                   

                              Pink Lily #1


                (Source: Who What Wear.)

                            Pink Lily #2


                (Source: Who What Wear.)

                              Catwoman


               (Source: Who What Wear.)

                   

                         Pointy Shoulder


               (Source: Who What Wear.)

Burlesque Dress (I love Ashley Graham BTW)


               (Source: Who What Wear.)

                   
                          Hipster Angel 


               (Source: Who What Wear)

My FAVORITE Outfit and one that I would wear out


               (Source: Who What Wear.)

 

                 High Fashion Detective


               (Source: Who What Wear.)

Maybe next year I will blown away, but :

When One Door Closes…

I’ve been having a very tough 2017 so far, and here I thought 2016 was a total dumpster fire. That being said, it isn’t all bad. I have received good news today. But first let me catch you up to this point. 

I’ve applied for so many remote jobs, only to get rejected. The pole teaching gig that I was all set to take has now been pushed off because of construction delays and now it’s no longer a guarantee. The money I have coming in from my accident to pay for school is taking forever and I keep dipping into my parents cash just to survive. Even though I’m retired from background acting, I had a job offer from the casting agency I deal with the most, offer me a background job I couldn’t take due to my dad still being in the hospital. Most of the scholarships I’ve been trying to apply to have an age limit, and I am beyond it. So as you can see…things are getting desperate. So what’s the good news?

I got an opportunity to help out a friend of a friend this week cover a shift at their business. Also today, I managed to book a promotional modeling job next week that will pay me a bit of cash as well. Add in the money I earned from my fit modeling job, the stipends I will be paid for my performances in Orange and Without You, taking over my dad’s gig, and I will be getting ahead sort of. I really wish some of these remote jobs will come in or if worse comes to worse, get back into Network Marketing and hustle my butt off.

IRELAND AAHHH!!!

Thank you, thank you!!! 🎊🎊🎊🎊🎉🎉🎉🎉 

I found out earlier today that I have been officially accepted to my school in Ireland. Now comes the real challenge of pulling together all the money I need for a smooth transition. I am allowed to apply for student aid (which is fantastic) and I’m going to see what scholarships I am eligible to apply for. 

This also means that I have to pinch all of my pennies right now and not be wasteful. If I’m smart about my budgeting, it can be done right. By the way I did mention that I was invited to go to Las Vegas to spend time with my friends. This is still on the books since I’ll be on the other side of the pond for at least 2-3 years. It’s considered my farewell tour before shipping off to school. 


(I have to be self-employed just like my character on Animal Crossing.)

So now, it’s about taking all of the income producing activities that I can. I have to have it be flexible since I do have some modeling and theatre jobs on the books. What to do, hmmm…🤔🤔🤔

A Heavy Weekend 

(Source: Yuri!!!On Ice. This is a factual depiction of me on St. Patrick’s Day.)

Well friends, I’m exhausted. I did stick to my promise of not consuming alcohol…that was until St. Paddy’s evening and I didn’t have to pay for my drinks. I was invited to go see burlesque at one of the local bars and I was in love! Not only because of the burlesque show, but due to the fact that they were a dive entertainment bar, complete with a pole. And I may be trying out for the burlesque troupe. 😊

Anyway, I want to give a quick update on my progress so far:

• April 7-9th I will be performing Titanic: Tragedy and Trial in Delaware City for the Reedy Point Players, I am double-cast and not doing anything else but performing so it should be a solid performance.

•I had to pass on roller derby assessments because of my show schedule being back to back and on the same nights as practice. It couldn’t be done. (Holy Over-Commitment Batman!) 

•Speaking of shows and why my schedule is full; I got cast in Orange Is The New Musical at Bootless Stageworks. This is my second performance this year, with my first being Body and Sold.


(He had it comin’!!! Oh wait…wrong musical.) 

•My school advisor is trying to work their voodoo magic to get me accepted into school, this means I have to update my resume and submit to the program directors to show I’m serious about my education.

•I’m also attending a casting call for a fit modeling job in town. For those that don’t know what “fit modeling” is: you are invited to a fashion lab to try on clothes for fashion brands and give feedback about how well they fit. The brand wants to know how well the garment fits and feels before they mass produce it, and put it out on the market. It’s good money if you can get it. The last time I did it, I ended up getting a free pair of jeans and socks out of the deal. (I don’t think that’s common, so please don’t expect that if you do get the job.) 

•I’m making progress, slowly but surely in my combat class. I got a fight partner today, so we will be going over scenes to work on soon. 

•I’m still trying to pick up some more background jobs, especially since it is pilot season and there are new shows coming out. No such luck right now.

That’s all I got for now, I will keep you posted on anything new.