I’m sitting in the waiting room of a large and reputable bi-coastal talent agency. Thankfully, I already have theatrical representation, but I’m in search of a commercial rep for some extra cash. Look for me on the next Tampax commercial. Or better yet, Valtrex. Oh, yes. If the price is right, I’ll go on national TV and claim I have herpes. No problem.
I digress. I wish you all could be the flies on this wall and join me as we witness the destruction of a childhood. A few moments ago, an eight-year-old stepped out of the elevator. This “child” is groomed to perfection, right down to her trendy cotton t-shirt, tucked into her Prada skinny jeans to display her leather, braided Gucci belt. She stands next to her “40 somethings dressed as 20 somethings” father as he announces her arrival and asks if all of the agents might squeeze her into their schedules. She gives a mechanical flip to her perfectly coiffed locks, and paints on her most adorable beauty pageant grin.
She and Daddy take their seats next to mine, open her portfolio and go over the imperative details together. The gloss on her lips shines brighter than mine and I’m reminded to re-apply for my own meeting.
In LA, I witnessed families divide just so that one parent could relocate with one of their children, from midwest homes to studio apartments in Hollywood so that the child could “follow his or her dreams”. It’s hard not to wonder just whose dreams they are following. And, does it really matter? Is there any dream worth the shattering of a family unit?
I am a huge believer in the preservation of a childhood and wonder if working professionally can snuff out that sacred flame. Public school, playgrounds, bike rides to creek beds to skip stones, piggy banks with rattling coins…these were integral components of my own upbringing and my goal is to do my best to offer my children the same.
I open my manila envelope, remove the pictures of my babies and place them in my purse, leaving only my own headshot and resume. I had thought that possibly, before they are old enough to be aware, their adorableness could make them some money for college. But as the receptionist calls this eight-year-old’s name, and I watch her saunter off down the hall with more of a womanly swagger to her hips than I could ever master, I realize that this brag book is for facebook, friends and family. Let’s keep it that way for now, shall we?