A blog about identity and difference: the path to discover who I am, understand my addictions and the madness of the years Out There. A blog with a good heart that will seek to educate, inform and entertain (a bit like the BBC but not so straight).
Thursday, September 6, 2007
A Pound of Flesh
TV is a funny old game.
Although I worked in it for 7 years, I'd forgotten just how surreal it can be.
Being picked up by a limo; at 5am.
The feeling of fear and nausea-inducing nervousness that builds in anticipation.
Arriving at the studio and meeting an ecletic range of people: Thandie Newton-> a couple talking about problems getting pregnant.
Being a very small cog in a large machine that is creating this strange varied menu, that is breakfast TV, day-in-day-out.
The Green room at GMTV has to be one of the weirdest gathering places of humanity on earth.
It is overseen by a lady in enormous red heels: who looks like she has seen it all (she has); and won't tolerate any nonsense.
If I hadn't worked in TV and encountered this kind of strange scene many times at The Big Breakfast, I think I may have done a runner straight back to Surrey; and my relatively "normal" life.
The first challenge was What To Wear.
I had two options- ironed, on hangers- and consulted the lady in the heels about what would look best on the set.
I put on option a) a long-sleeved shirt: only to discover that my recent enforced bed-rest has put on a few pounds and this favourite Hawes & Curtis shirt is now in danger of popping open- and revealing extra-ample cleavage, live of TV.
Not something I was prepared to risk; look at the problems such an event created for Janet Jackson.
Option b) a short-sleeved white and pink Gant top felt much more relaxed (and safer). A little less formal than usual but as this is GMTV- that may be a good thing?
The next hurdle- hair and make-up.
Simon, a lovely man, did great make-up but when he straightened my hair he asked do I want to "curl out" or "under".
I'm new to hair H straightening- H has got me on to it: so I didn't really know the correct answer. I guessed at "out". Wrong answer.
When I put my glasses back on it turned out that my hair was really flickey- like Madonna in the Hung-Up Video.
It was only 3 or 4 minutes until my first appearance- so I had to smile and say "lovely" (whilst saying the serenity prayer to myself- "accept the things I cannot change").
I needed to use those last few moments to ask for my intro to be changed from the vague "works for drugs charities" to "works for the drugs charity, In-volve".
This first slot went well. I liked what came out of my mouth (it's like sitting back and watching sometimes- I really don't know what will flow out).
I got a text straight after, from H, saying "call me" and knew immediately that the hair needed some adjustment!
The second slot was an hour later- plenty of time to build-up extra nerves (and tiredness).
And to "curl hair under".
Thandie Newton was the guest before us- me and Paul Stokes from the NME- so we had to wait just off camera for her to say her goodbyes and then hot-seat it with her.
Thandie is so beautiful and charming.
But SO thin.
She is the epitome of what women are told by fashion to strive for but in the flesh (lack of it) I felt slightly sick looking at her.
The camera does add 7 pounds (at least)- as I saw to my cost later in the day- but even so, she would look so much better (I think) if she wasn't so tiny.
I'm not judging her.
In fact I felt great empathy for all people working on-camera today.
When I watched back GMTV and Channel 4 a couple of shots really affected me.
It's difficult enough looking at yourself- in private snaps- but when you look even fatter than reality and millions of people are seeing you- it does start up the "lose weight- fast! voice".
If your career depends on how you look and you are being constantly judged by producers, I can totally understand why these actresses are tempted to stay dangerously underweight.
I had my own difficult discussion with the producer today- to try and get Frank's website details on screen.
GMTV have their own website that they trail- which has a link to Frank on it.
After a very good debate about addiction issues: we reached a compromise and she put a question into the script about young people and the impact of the bombardment of pictures of Amy and other famous addicts.
This gave me an opening to crow-bar in a Frank reference- with an encouragement for parents to access the site too- to get the facts to talk to their children
Job well done.
Glad TV's not my day-job anymore.
Posted by SarahOneDayAtaTime at 4:59 AM