Insomniatic mumblings

If last year was about transition and the 'Rising Tension' part of my life-in-my-20s diagram, spattered with little dips of emotional highs and lows gradually building itself up, I think Today may have just marked the prelude of a Climax. 

Since the last official confirmed shoot at the end of December last year, I'd been laying low seeking refuge in my parent's house in suburban southern California. Because of my tendency to overthink and overstress, I had to rewind a little and reinforce positivity and faith back into myself. 

All in good time, for what was to come in the past forty hours.  (READ ON)

It all begins at 8a.m. on Friday morning when my scheduled ecommerce photoshoot in Los Angeles is interrupted by an unexpected phonecall from a "Blocked" number--which turned out to be my manager--telling me that there is a slight chance I may have to drop everything and leave for Paris. A last minute request for a haute couture show for a major fashion house in three days. No details yet, will know more soon. I had chugged a very strong cup of coffee when I woke up in the morning, which, intensified by this sudden surprise, left me visibly twitching. I can't concentrate. It proves to be a true challenge not to check my phone for any further news while I try my best to keep my behavior professional on set. 

11:30a.m. Few more back and forth with my agent. The casting director wants me to come in for a 'fit to confirm.' My agent asks me: "It's not a 100%, and they're not going to pay for your flight or expenses, but we think you should take a chance. What do you think?" 

I tell him yes, I want to go, it's my dream to walk for that brand, I want to try my luck. He agrees and says my LA agent will sort it out with my on-set client because I have to make the 3:50p.m. flight from LAX, meaning I'd be pulled out in the middle of my shoot and be driven to the airport. 

In the meanwhile, I get in touch with my mom who's at home. I ask her to pack a few things from my room and meet me at the airport with my passport (which, thank god, I'd brought with me from New York). When the set breaks for lunch, I hop into car service and head to LAX. 

My mom is waiting for me in front of Tom Bradley International Terminal. I frantically sort out a few basics and what little winter clothing I have in LA to brace myself for a real winter in Paris. I thank my mom, give her a kiss, and walk into the terminal to check in and board my Air France flight.

The next twelve hours feel like eternity as my throat closes in from the recycled air and my eyes feel like they're full of sand. My little toe on my left feet goes numb as I sit in seat 40D desperately trying to get some shut eye. I've never been able to sleep on the plane. 

The plane jets through the clouds and time zones and safely lands in Paris. Customs, hallways, trams, gateways, baggage claim, and I finally emerge out of the Arrivals gate of Charles de Gaulle Airport. A driver is waiting for me to take me to my hotel. 

When the hotel concierge gives me my room number, I quietly gasp. Room 326. Same number as my birthday. I think of it as an auspicious sign. Once in my room, I look at the clock. Saturday, 1:30p.m. in Paris, 4:30a.m. Pacific Time. My appointment is at 2:30p.m.  Without much time to really do anything else, I wash my face, brush my teeth, change outfits and run to my Paris agency to pick up my portfolio. 

My Parisian agents greet me with a hug when I walk in. A brief chat and I'm out the door with my neon green model portfolio folder in my hand. It's snowing in Paris, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. I try to walk carefully because the sidewalk is slippery with melting snow. I don't care if I look like a waddling penguin brisking through the street, I don't have much time and I don't want to fall.

I finally arrive at the atelier. After walking four flights of stairs I plop on a bench and change into my casting heels. I feel delirious and nervous self-doubt comes over me for a minute, but I am able to ground myself back quickly. Positivity. It really did me a lot of good to go home to my family and relax over the holiday.

One of the casting coordinators sees me sitting amongst a throng of girls waiting for their turn and calls me into the other room for fitting. They ask for my shoe size and a seamstress helps me disrobe and put on an unfinished gown. It's sheer white, covered with large pale pink flower print. Black feathers are sewn on the train. As the she zips me up, I suck my stomach in, just in case the dress is too tight. Thankfully, it fits, and I relax. Another dresser comes with a pair of zip-up booties and helps me get them on. She then leads me to the anteroom. Before I walk out I catch a glimpse of myself in the dress in the mirror. Even in its incomplete state, the dress looks undoubtedly divine.

I stand there, in front of the casting director. She smiles, and I'm already beaming, one part as a nervous mechanism and another part in sheer incredulity that I am standing there, in Paris, in a handmade gown that I've fallen in love with. There are a few quick exchanges in French between the employees. One of the employees turns out to be Korean, and we instantly begin conversing in Korean. She turns out to be an in-house designer who invites me to the design studio upstairs for a tour and a chat. The seamstress gently tugs and pulls the dress in a few places and I'm sent to stand in front of a blank wall to be photographed. Afterwards I undress and put my clothes back on. I say 'thank you' and quietly exit the room.

Few minutes later, my phone rings. It's my agency. By then I have just gotten into the atelier upstairs, and in attempt to not offend my new friend I let it go to voicemail. We talk for quite a while, and she offers me snacks and chocolate when I tell her I haven't eaten lunch yet (it is now 4p.m.). I thank her and eat while we chat some more. She has known me for mere thirty minutes but is nothing but kind and hospitable, and I feel infinitely grateful for her generosity. When I get up to leave she hands me bottles of perfumes I can give my mom and dad. I thank her multiple times and leave. As I'm walking down the stairs I call my agent. She tells me the news and I sink in the middle of the stairway. I've gotten an exclusive for the label. They're going to pay for all my flight and lodging expenses. My following appointments are thus cancelled and I can relax until my final fitting on Monday. 

Fiction or non-fiction?


Anonymous said...

I love your blog and this makes me so happy. When can you tell us who it is?!

-c. said...

Thank you very much, you'll know by the end of Wednesday next week;) xo

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to learn you'll be walking at Haute Couture fashion week, it's been a year since I began to follow your career and I was already very pleased to see you walked at SS2013 Paris Fashion Week, but kowing you're doing Haute Couture... It must be such a dream for you! I can't wait to see what brand you'll be walking for! Anyway, that was a pleasure to read your post :) x

Soojmooj said...

Thanks, I appreciate your sweet comment and support. I thought I couln't be happier at the end of last year, but amazingly it keeps getting better! My fingers are crossed that everything continues to go well. Xo

tuna said...

Have you tried Melatonin? Might put you into a state of sweet slumber next time you're on a trans-oceanic flight.

Latte said...

Gah! Loved this long-form post. Keep writing :) You're such an inspiration! Go bears.

Alicia said...

So happy for you! - Alicia

Anonymous said...

You walked in Chanel! Congrats.

Anonymous said...

I was taking breaths of muffled anticipation as I read along.. It was almost as if I had been there with you. You write so well. So happy for you that you had this wonderful, princess-like experience many girls dream about.

I hope more Fashion Houses notice you because you definitely have the lithe body and the body language for High Fashion. It would be a treat to see more of your work. I don't know what it is exactly but you bring something extra to the table. Like when I saw you in that one editorial, I wondered about you and the type of things you might do on a rainy day. Sorry, is that creepy?

Best wishes from your big time admirer
all the way from HK

Anonymous said...

wow. that was a great fairytale-like post that complements well the show's theme.

you make this ajumma proud :)