I consider myself a lucky girl. I live in the greatest city on earth, have a loving family a mere hour outside the city, a boyfriend I adore, girlfriends who are as goofy as they are glamorous, and a career that doesn’t require I punch a clock everyday. While the latter is ideal in many respects, it also proves time and again to be the single biggest cause of stress in my life.
After studying acting at NYU for 4 years, and spending an un-godly amount of my parents’ money, I thought my luck had really kicked in when I found an agent who wanted to sign me immediately out of school. At first, I thought this was based solely on the talent I displayed on Industry Night, when I performed a scene as the title character/nun in Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You. I later realized my agent’s enthusiasm had a lot to with the fact that I look a good, oh, eight years younger than I actually am. So, as a twenty-one year old, I signed with the YOUTH department of the agency. I could easily pass for fifteen, but because I was an adult, producers who hired me instead of a minor didn’t have to pay for a parent to be on set. Producers loved this. I got lots of work. That was nice for awhile, until I started to realize I was trapped by lame material meant for fifteen year-olds. Too many audition sentences filled with words such as “like” and “ya’ know” and “totally!”
Work has come and gone over the years, and there have been many ups and downs, but my one true salvation in the crazy world of entertainment has been television commercials. Seems I have a knack for selling fast food, condoms, iced coffee and cell phone plans. Go figure! These commercials, while occasionally embarrassing, pay my rent for many months out of the year, so I really can’t complain. And I have had the pleasure of working with some big name directors (i.e. Barry Levinson!), and some pretty big stars even, including none other than a certain domestic mogul/ex-convict who makes a mean cherry pie.
I would like to say that I despise Martha Stewart (I’ve heard too many horror stories about her snobbery from some of her Westport, Connecticut neighbors – a town that’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from where I grew up), but in all honesty, I don’t. The woman has balls, and she has managed to build an empire by being domestic. I think that kind of makes her my hero! More often than not, while home visiting my family, I find myself curled up on the sofa, Sir Lancelot (my silver, tabby cat) in my lap, my head buried in the latest copy of “Martha Stewart: Living” – a mom coffee table staple. In fact, Martha’s magazine became especially interesting to me once Kimberly and I started The Dinner Belle. Now, I’m always on the hunt for new table setting ideas, complete with floral arrangement concepts and new recipes to match the season.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out recently that I would be shooting a commercial with none other than Miss Martha herself! Again with the luck! The current Macy’s TV campaign– “Macy’s. It’s Where The Stars Come” – features a plethora of celebrities—everyone from Maria Carey, to P.Diddy, to Donald Trump, and Carlos Santana—who has a line of woman’s high heels? I wasn’t aware. And quite frankly, I think it’s weird.
I was set to co-star (okay – I was to “appear” in two very short clips as a Macy’s sales employee) alongside Martha. To be honest, I was a bit nervous leading up to the shoot. There were so many questions I was dying to ask her.
“Do you think red and orange really go together when considering linen and plate color, or do they clash?”
Among the things I wanted desperately to find out about her: Would she be kind? Would she have a 13-person entourage like a certain Miss M. Carey? Would she look the same as she does on TV? And perhaps the most burning of all- would she eat off the craft service table?! Surely, I thought, we’ll have time to burn, sitting side-by-side in our directors’ chairs (hers reading “Martha Stewart” on the back, mine “Actor”), and we’ll shoot the shit in between takes.
I’m sad to report that for all the anticipation of co-starring with The Queen of Homemaking, I got no more than a quick glance and a few spoken words from her, which, magically enough, did happen at the craft service table! I was holding up a Clementine, about to start peeling, when she turned to me and said, in her signature, droll tone,
“I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.”
Then she felt around in the bowl, examined a few more pieces of citrus, selected the appropriate orange ball, tossed it to me and said,
“Here. Try this one,” and then walked away (she was, I might add, wearing large platform shoes to give the illusion she is tall…she is not).
I looked down at the Martha-blessed piece of fruit and then at the one I had selected. I expected hers to appear magical in some sort of way, orange-er perhaps, but to tell you the truth, I could not detect a single difference.