A couple of days ago, I had my picture taken for my bio. I anticipated an experience something like either one of my official graduation pictures: go in, stand on the mark, smile big, SNAP SNAP SNAP, look at pictures on camera, and either say great or ask if you can have one more try. The whole thing takes ten minutes or so.

The pictures on the website are generally quite good, so I had high hopes this would not be like my senior yearbook picture experience. (Why yes, I am still a wee bit bitter about this, so you do get to hear the whole story.) Unlike other schools that let you submit a headshot of your choice, so long as it meets certain requirements, my school treated these pictures like driver’s license photos: stand in front of a white backdrop and SNAP you’re done. One shot.* This was less formal than the normal school pictures and there were no retakes. As a result, in my official senior yearbook picture I have deer-in-headlights bug eyes and have my neck arched forward at an extremely awkward angle. I look like I’m about to fall over or something. It is not good.**

Anyway, before picture day, they sent around a memo to all of us telling us what to wear (medium colored suits, preferably gray; no white shirts; no patterns) and suggested women might wear pearls. Remember that because it’s important later.

The first thing that suggested to be that this was not your typical mass picture experience was the cool jazz welcoming me to the conference room that the photographers had commandeered. Apparently mood music was in order. Also not expected: the fact that the room was totally dark except for the photo lights (again, setting the mood?) and the fact that the photographer did not work alone. He came with an assistant. An assistant whose job was to prep us for our photos. Who knew just throwing on the lip gloss and checking my teeth wouldn’t suffice? After powdering my face (I told you this was hardcore), she attacked my hair. I had brushed it in preparation for the photo and thought it was looking pretty nice, but, horror of all horrors, she SAW FLYAWAYS. And that’s when the gel came out.

Now what you have to understand about my hair is that although I have a lot of it, it is fine. And it’s also wavy. Which means that if you touch it and put lots of crap in it, it not only gets limp and stringy real quick, but it also starts to frizz up. So not only did I have that going for me, but the woman tried to give me gel strands.*** (Apparently she also tried this on my office mate as well). NOT the look I was going for for my official bio shot.

After I escaped the clutches of the gel-crazed assistant with my dignity and hair more or less intact, I got to meet the photographer. His first comment: “hmmmmm…your neck is looking a little bare. I’m not reallu feeling that.” (Bare on purpose! I didn’t wear a necklace because I generally don’t wear necklaces). He then proceeding to explain that he travels with a strand of freshwater pearls and that he REALLY thought it would greatly improve the picture if I wore them. Said as his assistant was putting them around my neck. So yes, Jill, if you’re reading this and have put it all together, I am in fact wearing a pearl necklace in my official picture. Now go ahead and crack up because I know how much that phrase makes you laugh 🙂

The shoot itself was pretty much what I imagine a Glamour Shots shoot to be like, all head one way, body the other, tilt your head, chin up, more tilt, etc. etc. It was… interesting, particularly as I was definitely not anticipating a full out twenty shot photo shoot. I think some of Tyra’s wannabe models get that for some challenges. ANTM, here I come.

Or not. There were some good pictures and some not so good ones (see above re: deer in headlights). Luckily the one I liked best was also the one in which the photographer saw his vision best fulfilled so there was no disagreement there. After the pearl thing, I have a sense he might have steamrolled me to get his way.

And thus ends fifi’s posing days for the time being.

*This whole post is making me wonder if the whole school picture procedure has changed now with techology and if everyone from kindergarten on up gets to preapprove their pictures. Is it possible that we now live in a world with no retake day?

**I hold a rather large grudge towards that yearbook in general though. I know, I know – it’s been almost nine years. But I still have to wonder why it was necessary to put a full page picture of me speaking at senior government day (student council pres right here) when I had two massive black eyes and a brace on my nose from breaking my nose (another story for another day). If it was necessary for the yearbook timeline/story they could have used more of a distance shot. I would have been okay with that. It just didn’t have to be a closeup of my face, is all I’m saying!

***you know when you see girls with their hair done up for prom or other formals and it looks beautiful except for the random stringy pieces of hair hanging down? Those are gel strands. And I hate them.