It was ten am next day but we were both up for hours. There was excitement in the air as Lilith phoned Bernardo. He told us where to meet him and to get ready for a bikini photo shoot.
Lilith and I just took our purses, phones and water bottles in case we were thirsty. I had no idea what it’s going to be like, but I was excited to do something new. I was always fascinated with models and their ability to do so many different things in front of a camera or just become this whole different person who was unafraid.
It was something I really admired.
I remembered feeling a bit nervous and Lilith trying to get me to relax by cracking jokes all the time to take my mind off it.
She told her parents what we were doing yesterday after dinner when all the guys were up at the game room entertaining themselves. Her parents were actually really supportive because they had known Bernardo Sevalli for several years prior and were good friends. They trusted him which, in the end, calmed me down a bit more.
I realized that I wasn’t scared of failure. I realized that I had nothing to lose, really. My confidence grew ever since I’ve transferred schools and met Lilith. I’ve met the right people who supported me unlike my pretend best friends.
I’ve learned what genuine love feels like and what it’s like to not be set up for failure for once in my life. Through Lilith, I’ve learned that real friends are always happy for your success and wouldn’t intentionally bring you down or try to set traps to catch you in their web of unhappiness. Real friends supported each other, trusted each other, grew together and didn’t sabotage one another.
That’s the one lesson New York taught me that was absorbed under my skin and into my very being.
Today, Abbott and the guys were out of the house before we could say goodbye. Lilith and I were kind of in a hurry but she still had her family driver drive us around in his limo and then we had to go on a boat to get to the shoot location.
We were meeting Bernardo and Donald Parsley, who represented the Parsley Models modeling agency. It was an international agency which represented models like Hannah DeBuff, Rachelle Westeral and other famous models from all over the world.
The meeting place was near a beach. They put up huge tents and set up trailers where many staff members walked around, trying to do their jobs without a hitch. Lilith’s gaze landed on Bernardo and Parsley to the right and my gaze followed. We made our way towards them and Bernardo’s mouth turned up the minute he saw us.
“Hi,” Bernardo said. “Donald, meet Lilith and Astrid. These were the two girls I was talking about.” He had said to a guy in his thirties. He looked very tan and exotic with pearly white teeth and chocolate brown eyes.
The man smiled immediately. “Well, you were right. You two girls certainly have a lot of potential. All we have to figure out if the camera loves you.”
He motioned us to follow and we did until we were inside one of the big tents.
“Listen, we’re looking for girls who are unknown in the industry to rise up and be the faces of my incoming summer collection. We’ll do a photo shoot and just see how that goes, what do you think?” The man asked.
It was kind of evident that he was a busy man because the very manner he spoke in gave away that he had lots of other things to do today.
“Sounds great,” Lilith replied and listened as Donald told us where to go and who to find. He made us sign a contract which would ensure us that we were being paid at the end of the day.
“Okay then, let’s move on,” Bernardo motioned both Lilith and I to follow him to one of the trailers. It was full of people - makeup artists, hair stylists, other staff members who were all crucial in this process.
Lilith and I looked at each other once we took in all the organized chaos.
Bernardo said something to the lady who appeared to be in charge and left us in her care.
They took our measurements and chose things for us that would fit us despite all of this being very last minute. We were put in robes and then waited in line for hair and makeup. I suddenly got a little deja-vu from our Makeup Class. It felt like I was back in New York with Lilith and Sierra, talking while getting ready.
The shoot took over ten hours and there was a lot of waiting involved. Lilith was the first one to go shoot and that’s when it really dawned on me that we were doing this. I didn’t know what the campaign was or how big of an impact it would have. I didn’t know anything about this company. The only thing I knew was that Lilith’s contacts landed both of us this job and I wanted to do well.
I remember being very hesitant once my name was called and I approached Bernardo. But he had a way of connecting to you through the camera and immediately put me at ease.
“Look like you’re having fun. Relax. Don’t be scared. Let me guide you but also don’t be afraid to take control. Don’t overthink,” I nodded and then stepped where he wanted me to be.
At the end of the shoot, he approached me and I asked him for his opinion. “There’s some really beautiful shots in here. You’re a natural.”
We did another shoot and then changed locations.
The day had gone by too fast and before we knew it, Donald and Bernardo called us one by one into the tent to go through the photos. Only Lilith and I had asked to be together when we saw them.
Before we started looking through them, Donald Parsley complimented us and said he was really satisfied with the pictures and would like to take us on more often and see how things went from there.
“You two girls just know how to use the light, you are confident in front of the camera and I had seen you weren’t afraid to let go and do whatever was on your mind. You were honestly a joy to work with,” Bernardo said and as we started with Lilith’s pictures, I just couldn’t believe how pretty she was.
“Wow, Lilith. You look amazing. Gosh.”
When we started to go through my pictures, I felt strange.
I didn’t feel like the person I was looking at was me. I didn’t recognize it.
It didn’t feel real. Oh wow.
Not to be narcissistic or anything but these photos weren’t as much of a disaster as I expected.
When we were done, we exchanged numbers with Donald Parsley and said goodbye to Bernardo. On the way home, we made a quick stop at one of the local restaurants.
“Oh my, I’m starving,” I told Lilith after we ordered almost everything we’ve seen on the menu.
“We’re going to gain weight,” She laughed.
“We’re allowed to now that the shoot’s over,” I joked.
So, we ate all that we could until we felt like we could never look at food the same way again.