After staring at my email for hours waiting desperately for Siya Kolisi to reply to me about a magazine cover shoot, I’ve just received a message – not available. This after days of cold calling everyone I know in rugby circles and eventually resorting to stalking his wife on Instagram…
How can this be my life? This is not how it’s supposed to play out.
I should be the one being stalked, being asked to star on magazine covers and raking in millions. But given that I am fast approaching 40, I think I may have left it too late.
Thank God I have kids, and as a reward for enduring nine months of pregnancy and the stretchmarks that come with it, not to mention the sleepless nights, I can absolutely try and make some money off them.
So I decided to sign them up to a talent agency (how very Kris Jenner of me)
They’re only three and two, but you can never start them too young right? By Hollywood standards they’re probably already over the hill.
So I sent off pics of the kids and seeing as they are the cutest children ever (a completely unbiased opinion obviously), I expected an instant response. Well the response was instant… it just wasn’t positive. I think the exact words were “sorry they’re not quite what we’re looking for?”
Umm… what exactly are you looking for in a toddler? I did question whether my son’s penchant for wearing pink and carrying handbags and my daughter’s “puppy fat” as we are still calling it (don’t get me wrong – she’s utterly gorgeous) had something to do with it…
Anyway, still reeling from shock, I realised that forcing my children onto stage and in front of the camera as a means of living out my fantasies (and earning 10% along the way) was perhaps not my finest parenting moment, and I should probably make things happen for myself.
It’s just that that requires so much effort. The effort coupled with the fact that I have no training and zero acting experience (not even a starring role in a school play), is definitely what’s held me back all these years.
The idea of going to endless auditions surrounded by other hopefuls, most of whom are probably more talented and better looking, didn’t appeal to me then and still doesn’t really appeal to me now. I’ve always had visions of just being talent spotted, much in the same way Charlize Theron was – discovered at a bank and a star overnight.
Granted she is a gazelle-like goddess and I am 5ft (152,4cm) and pretty ordinary looking, but a girl can dream.
The reality of course, as I realised when I moved to Canada to “make it big”, is a lot more harrowing.
Despite having a university degree, I found myself working as a waitress at a total dive called Earls (where everyone on the wait staff was also an aspiring actor I might add) and moonlighting as a receptionist at a yoga studio.
The money and time my fellow waitrons were investing in “their craft” with zero returns, made me deeply depressed. Instead of following suit and attending acting classes and joining the audition circuit, I was hanging out in bank queues (and bus queues for that matter) hoping for my big break. But the only thing I was ever offered was money to buy my groceries (and no, not in exchange for sexual favours!)
While standing at the checkout counter having to unpack my shopping bag as I couldn’t afford it all did result in one of my finest performances of a girl unhinged, unlucky for me, it wasn’t a bigwig movie producer in the queue behind me but instead a good Samaritan who kindly offered to pay for my shopping.
I returned to Cape Town with my tail between my legs and found my way into a career in publishing
Now, over a decade later, I’m a 35-year-old mom of two working in print media which doesn’t look set to be around for long and I’m about to embark on a move to Somerset West of all places, where I am pretty sure very little happens in general let alone on the movie front (no offence to all the mommies on my child’s classroom WhatsApp group). Something has to change right?
About the author
Jessica is a writer and editor based in Cape Town with over a decade’s experience in magazines. Now, the mom of two is testing the waters in the world of digital journalism, with many entertaining and insightful stories to tell along the way.