Here is the whole true story of my one (AND ONLY) modeling experience, which led to getting my hair cut from long and thick (well below my shoulders) to short and up over my ears, all in one sitting. After it happened, a number of people asked me what was going on, so I cut and pasted this “diary entry” together from some of what I’d already written. That way I’d have something detailed to remember the experience by. It was fresher in my mind back in the summer of 2012 when it happened, which is when I wrote much of this.
I have to start by giving you a little background about me, as I was in the late Spring of 2012, when I had justturned 33, and a few words about my mother. You need to know that my mother is a professional, freelance photographer. I love my mother (I’ve always called her “Mother,” not “Mom” or “Mum”), but she can be a real pain sometimes. By contrast, Daddy is as sweet as can be, and a brilliant scientist as well. I’m Italian, both by descent and by marriage, though I do have Moorish ancestors through my Sicilian side, with whom I identify closely.
It’s fair to think of me as biracial (white and black). At that time, back in 2012, I looked very Italian, with thick, mostly-straight, breast-length, dark brown hair and an olive complexion. Today, in 2017, I look more black, or African-American, meaning I’ve evolved somewhat. That’s another story, but all my changes began with what I’m about to relate to you.
Mother is a typical US, East Coast Italian. Daddy, Sicilian by both of his parents, grew up in Ohio. Mother and Daddy live about 350 miles from me now, when they’re not in Europe, in the smaller city where I grew up.
As a teen, college student, and young-adult, I always – and I mean ALWAYS – had long, gorgeous, dark brown hair, save for a time in high school when it was a dark auburn. That long hair persisted until the spring of 2012, right after I turned 33.
An old friend of Mother’s, Jürgen, who has an ad agency in Germany, had asked her to help with a photo shoot he was doing in the US, which happened to be in the city where I now live. The ad was for a perfume, to be tested and sold in Germany. I never understood why they were shooting in the US, but the main company headquarters is here, so maybe that’s why. The perfume brand manager was from Germany, though, not from the local parent company.
Mother asked me to help her while she was working in town, and, of course, I said yes. As I recall, I was about 3 months pregnant with my daughter at that point, and not showing because I was slow to gain weight in the first half. That all changed in the second half, though!
I live in a large metroplex of a bit more than 3 million people. At the time, my husband and I had a 23rd floor condo just east of downtown.
My mother and Jürgen, a long-time family friend from Germany, flew in on a Thursday afternoon. Mother had been in Geneva with Daddy, who was at CERN for about 9 months or so, until January of 2013. We had a nice dinner and my mother even complimented me on how I’d decorated our condo. That was a surprise, because she rarely complimented me on anything!
Mother stayed with Hubby and me, while Jürgen stayed at a hotel downtown.
My mother got a call very early Friday morning from Jürgen, to tell her that the French model, who was supposed to be the main person in the shoot and, thus, allow them to skip a concept test and go right to ad production if they wanted, wasn’t coming. She’d slipped in the bathroom and hyperextended her knee, or something like that, and couldn’t walk. In fact, she was at the hospital near her home in Paris. She wasn’t going anywhere, and had already missed her flight. Jürgen had managed to catch the perfume brand manager just before her flight left Germany, but she decided to come anyway.
Poor Jürgen. I felt sorry for him because this shoot and ad campaign was a big deal to him and his agency. Given the time pressures on him, he reluctantly agreed with the brand manager (she’s responsible for the marketing and sales campaign for the perfume), and decided to go ahead and do a concept shoot. If any good material came out of it, they could use it. Basically, Jürgen was on the spot.
Normally, a concept shoot is done with less expensive models first anyway, so everything in the script, images, and positioning is agreed to before they pay someone who’s expensive. They had attempted to skip that step to try to get the ads out more quickly. I guess they were outa luck on that idea when the top model was injured.
Poor Jürgen needed to scramble, big-time, to find one or two models to fill in, and hopefully produce some material the client could use for an early product launch. My mother agreed to visit whatever local modeling agencies we could get into that day, Friday, to see if they could come up with someone to use. Preferably, it would be someone who could fit into most of the wardrobe for the studio sessions and the outside sets downtown.
Mother asked me to drive them around, since neither she nor Jürgen knew this area very well. I was fine with that and thought of myself as her gofer at that point. I got my husband’s bigger car for the day (I had a little Mercedes 550 sl). Jürgen spent the first hour or two after the modeling agencies opened to call a bunch of them. He found 3 that seemed promising, so off we went before lunch.
Jürgen is a really nice guy and has always been kind to me. When I was studying in Europe – back when I was in college – I stayed with his family for a couple weeks between semesters. I was glad to help him out in at least a small way. He was obviously very upset while we were driving around. He was even more upset after the first place we went. They had nothing. None of their models were even close to what he needed, and most wouldn’t be available on 1-day’s notice anyway.
I watched this poor guy pick at his lunch while my mother talked on at about 100 miles per hour. She was enjoying slamming the French, whom she doesn’t like much at the best of times. Unfortunately, that was the last thing Jürgen needed to hear. Personally, I don’t share her views. I love France, French people, and all the beautiful culture there, including the architecture, art, and food. Besides, they buy a lot of my erotic/fetish books!
The second modeling agency had one person who was a possibility. This was based on looking at their portfolios; at this point, we hadn’t seen any real, live models yet. The agency agreed to track down this girl and off we went to the third place.
Jürgen and mother were just starting to look at portfolio photos at the third place when the perfume brand manager from Germany came in. She must have come straight from the airport because she was dragging her luggage behind her. Mother and Jürgen were bent over an album, and I was in the corner reading my Kindle. Remember, I’m the chauffeur.
The German woman’s first words, in English, were, “Find anything yet?” As she started to look at the album they were sharing. No “Hello” or “Guten Tag” or anything. Jürgen said they had one possibility from another agency. The woman looks around the office we’re in, points at me, and says something like, “What’s wrong with her?”
My mother completely misunderstood the woman, who hadn’t bothered to introduce herself at all. Thinking something totally not related to what the woman was saying, Mother blurts out, “Nothing’s wrong with her, she’s pregnant.” She tells me later that she thought the woman was commenting on my poor health or something, brought on by my pregnancy. I suppose it was obvious that I hadn’t gained enough weight, and I probably looked a little skinny.
The woman brand manager, eventually I found out her name was Inge, said, “She’s not THAT pregnant.” And now both Jürgen and I get it. She means: “Why can’t we use the girl in the corner for the model, since no one will know she’s pregnant?”
This is NOT what I want to hear – and so unexpected – that I suddenly felt like I’d fallen off a tall building. Trying to laugh it off, I said something like, “Oh, I’m not a model. I’m her daughter,” indicating Mother. “I’m just driving them around since I know the city.”
Totally surprising me, Jürgen looks up at Inge saying, “Do you think so?” Clearly, this idea hasn’t occurred to him, or he’s covering the fact that it did. I’m beginning to feel set-up. But there’s no evidence that my mother has tried to pull anything.
This goes back and forth, like forever. Somewhere in there, Inge gets introduced to my mother and me, and I try to make it clear that I have no interest in modeling AT ALL. In fact, merely thinking about the idea made me sick to my stomach. Regardless, no one pays any attention to me, until my mother tells me to not be such a baby.
Can you believe that? I had just turned 33 years old at the time!
Jürgen finally turns to me with this forlorn look and says, “Will you help me, Liebchen?” Apparently, through this bizarre conversation, he and Inge have decided they want me for the concept shoot. Maybe even for some early-release ads.
I guess I’m a complete sucker for being called “little love” in German by a nice man the same age as my father. I couldn’t tell him no.
So, in the end, they decided on me and the model from the second agency who’s mid-20s and blonde. I didn’t see how they got the French look they were originally going for from either of us.
The next morning, I had to get up at some God-awful hour to be at the studio for styling and makeup, then look like a complete, incompetent idiot for an entire day. I remember wishing that my mother welded car bodies or something for a living.
Mother did make financial arrangements for me. I will say this; she wouldn’t take any crap from either Inge or Jürgen. I did make more than a little money. I got even more when Jürgen later swapped the photos, meaning that he sold some of them, modified and not modified, for magazine articles or websites.
Saturday was long, heart wrenching, embarrassing, and unbelievably tiring, physically and emotionally. I don’t like to be the center of attention of more than a few people at a time. I don’t even like family gathered around me when I open birthday presents. My parents used to always throw big birthday parties for me when I was a teenager. I could barely stand it.
I got to the studio with Mother just after 6:30 in the morning. Way too early for me on a Saturday! Jürgen, Inge, and the other model (as though I am one; her name was Lindie) and some other people were already there. There was a room set up like a little beauty salon with three salon chairs and a large makeup mirror near the front of the studio. The rest of the place was rather lavishly set up for the indoor shoot.
Inge sort of looked us over and just blurts out, in her German-accented English, something like, “We don’t need two long-haired models. Let’s cut that one. Something fashionable and edgy.” She’s pointing at me! Then she points to Lindie and says, “Make her look even more wholesome-American.” There was no doubt that Inge was an asshole …
My first thought was absolute panic. My second thought was, “I can be wholesome!” So I try to make it clear that I have no intention of letting them have their way with my hair. Inge acts like this is a breach of contract or something, even though she knew damn well that I didn’t want to do this in the first place. The woman was clearly used to having her own way. Jürgen looked distressed and my mother was somewhere between impatient with me and angry at what a bitch Inge is turning out to be.
This argument goes on. Meanwhile, a man hairdresser, who instantly set off my gaydar, had already started on Lindie. Somewhere along the way, they wear me down, so I suggest a chin-length bob, which I had been thinking of maybe, sorta, kinda, perhaps getting soon, or sometime, or after the baby, or in a hundred years anyway, if this hadn’t all happened. Apparently, that’s not “edgy” enough for Inge, whatever that means. The woman hairdresser gets involved at this point and begins to poke around my hair puffing it up and pulling it across my forehead and stuff while we’re standing there. Eventually they decided on something like the haircut I ended up with.
I say no, I don’t want them to do that to me. For one thing, I’m scared. I’d never, ever had a real hair-cut at all in my 33 years, just a trim from time to time. A couple inches off long hair, tops. Secondly, I think the style will be ridiculous on a pregnant woman. Although I wasn’t showing, my tummy was noticeably rounded to me, and it was only a matter of time before everyone would see it.
That argument didn’t help at all, by the way.
Mother and Jürgen decide to get me away from Inge and we walk outside. They basically pull out all the stops to get me to go along. They’re understanding and clearly at a loss for what to do if I say no. In the end, I guess they wore me down, by appealing to my caring side. Probably the final straw was my mother. She can be such a pain. But she was either genuinely concerned about me, or she’s a better actress than she is a photographer, and she’s a great photographer. She got to my heart and I couldn’t let her down. Or Jürgen. What seemed like an eternity later, I said I’d let them do what they wanted.
Back inside, the woman hairdresser, Chloe, washed my hair, then sat me down facing away from the mirror. The actual haircutting is kind of a blur to me. I do remember that she parted my hair in the middle, combed it straight down, then quickly cut it off all around at just about chin length. When she did that, about a foot of rich, beautiful, dark brown hair cascaded down to the floor, all around. My heart rose in my throat at the same time my hair fell away.
Chloe combed a thick section of the remaining hair straight forward, covering my eyes, then cut that part straight across, an inch above my eyes and a little above my thin eyebrows, to make bangs.
Or fringe, for those of you of the British persuasion.
Next, she started cutting at the side, behind my ear. I could feel her cutting my hair up over my ear, then leaving a longer, thin piece hanging down in front of my ear. She did the same thing on the other side, then started cutting up my head in the back.
I was determined not to cry and make a bigger fool of myself. I mostly didn’t, but when I felt the hair in front fall from above my eyes to make bangs, I did cry. I got back under control, though. Mostly, I felt shocked or panicked, especially when she cut up over my ear and even more when she clippered my hair part way up in the back with an electric clipper.
Eventually she finished and turned me toward the mirror. I almost lost it. It was like looking at me and not at me at the same time. Just seeing the overall effect, I thought no one would ever recognize me. That’s how I felt. But then as I looked closer, I could see that my eyes looked the same, my mouth was the same, my ears and face were the same. But the hair made an enormous difference.
After the makeover I had very heavy bangs to just above my eyebrows. Long, thin sideburns tapered forward to a point at my cheek. My hair was cut over my ears, and only slightly layered at the sides. The back was more-or-less even with the sides, but my neckline in back was clippered very short about 1/3 of the way up the back, tapering into the longer hair above.
Eventually, I thought it looked very European chic. At first though, I was devastated. I probably lost 14 – 15 inches of hair that morning. Most people thought it was a great haircut.
Once that was done, the photoshoot began in earnest.
The indoor shots were against a neutral background. These are called blanks. Some of the blanks have made it onto other internet sites, both unmodified and Photoshopped. The Photoshopped images usually feature me with heavier eyebrows, but my brows were very thin at that time, and still are today.
The concept proofs prepared by the agency basically put the subject, me, into the concept advertisement. There was a tiny amount of retouching the original photos, specifically my lipstick. The outdoor shots had whatever background the site provided. Because of copyrights, I only received one picture that I could share, an indoor shot with 3 different backgrounds.
I handled the indoor shots OK, thanks to a lot of direction from Mother. The outdoor shots were awful for me. It was a Saturday, so lots of people were walking by and I swear half had to stop to watch what has got to be the most boring thing a person could ever do, meaning model. Nevertheless, there I was, embarrassed at how I looked, and maybe even more embarrassed to have all these people staring at me.
The last thing you want to do when your personal appearance has been drastically changed is to have dozens of people looking at you. I hadn’t had any time to get used to what they’d just done to me, before I was essentially paraded around in public! I was shocked, nervous, and mortified!
One more thing about the whole experience on a more positive note. Chloe did my makeup too, and she was VERY good at it. As anyone who knew my look before can see when they look at the concept pictures, my eyes are the same, but Chloe was mostly able to conceal the little puffiness I often have just below my bottom lashes, which is an Italian trait. She showed me how to do the concealer. Other than that and the partial false eyelashes I was wearing, my face looked the same with redder lip gloss than I usually wore. But I liked the makeup, and I’ve been able to take the time at home and come pretty close to the same effect ever since. At least until a year or so ago, when my look changed drastically again, but for another reason.
Eventually, the day ended and I got home to our condo, high above downtown and the river. Hubby LOVED my new look, and I eventually came to like it too.
I suppose I’ve been on a “hair odyssey” ever since. I know for certain that it’ll never be long again.
And events have happened to prove those words, but that’s the subject of other true stories.
As a result, though, I’ve taken to writing a number of big novels featuring hair cutting and many other fetishes. And, yes, I’ve practiced about 50% of what I’ve written about. If you want to know more, search for “Giulia Napoli” on Amazon, and check out my novels.