Saturday, January 23, 2010

Narcissism 101

Listening to: 'Kings and Queens' by 30 Seconds to Mars [This Is War]

Those of you who know me might recall that I flew into the UK two weeks ago. You might also be aware that I spent the first two nights in London, before making the dreaded trip back to Cambridge. So what did I do on the Sunday I was there? Sleep? No. Sightsee? No. Shop? No. Gossip? Well, yes I suppose, but that's not the answer I was looking for. Let me tell you.

It all started with an email from Shorty back in November. Something about a free photoshoot she had signed up for, and whether I'd go with her. The minute I saw her email, I thought "ooh like the one Scrumpy did ages ago!" but I couldn't remember the details (in retrospect, I probably should've dug up her blog post at that point...oh well, you live and learn). Now I was interested, but finding a date that we were both free was tricky, and the only date we could find was...yes, you guessed it - the day after I was due to land.

Fast forward to the weekend in question. My flight from Colombo was delayed by over 3 hours due to bad weather in London, so by the time I landed at Heathrow it was 10.45pm on Saturday. Did you know that Heathrow is completely empty at that time of night? There were three very sleepy Immigration Officers on duty, but there was hardly anyone else around. The baggage reclaim hall was in complete darkness, except for the area near the belt carrying our bags. It was kinda spooky! Anyway it was about 2am by the time I got to Shorty's, had a chat, had a shower and got into bed, and I was shattered. Still (and this is probably a good thing), the jetlag had me up pretty early the next much so that I had to force myself back to sleep about three times! When it was finally time to get ready, I managed to create three 'outfits' from the contents of my suitcase, and we set off through snowy London to the studio.

The first thing I noticed was that there were no South Asians on the staff, and that worried me. No, it's not a racial thing, but Westerners are notoriously bad at matching make-up for South Asian skin tones, and I didn't really wanna end up looking like a circus freak! Oh well, too late now! After many forms and a free hot chocolate later, I was introduced to my make-up artist. I found myself observing how she had done her own make-up, and I was relieved. You can get a good idea of a beautician's style by the way they groom themselves, and her make-up was very subtle, and accentuated the features she already had...a good sign. She took me to her fancy workstation and we discussed what kinda 'look' I was hoping for. And then she tilted my chair back in order to get to work! After a brief panic about not being able to see what she was doing until it was too late, I told myself to let the expert do her job.

And what a job she did! I had to convince myself that it was still me I was looking at. She had used hot rollers on my hair - something I've never done, and damn it looked good. And the I have really bad skin, but I couldn't see any of it! That's not to say she had caked it on (seriously, mac foundation is absoflippinlutely amazing), but you couldn't see any of the scars. It was incredible! I felt beautiful.

So then I met up with Shorty again (whose 'expert' had done the most gorgeous hair and eyes for her), and we waited to be summoned by our photographers. Man, now I know how a model feels. I lost track of how many times the phrases "beautiful!", "gorgeous!", "give us a smile...there, I knew you could do it!" were directed at me. I had to do all sorts of bizarre poses, and I didn't feel daft at all! I'm usually quite conscious about how my arms look and which side of my face is showing and stuff but everything just felt so natural! Which is really odd, considering I was posing...but still. Chatting with Shorty after the photo session, I realised it wasn't just me.

What we also realised was that we don't actually know many 'girly girls' in the UK. We were asked to recommend the service to our friends, and between us we could only think of a handful of names. And even with those names, quite a few were put down simply 'cos they're girls...not 'cos they'd ever imagine doing anything like this. Sigh. That's what you get for being an engineer, I guess.

The final leg of this adventure was actually seeing the photos they had produced. OH. MY. GOD. We looked awesome. I mean yeah there were a few photos where my right arm looked more like the leg of a frog, but overall the smiles looked genuine and the poses looked natural. And of course a little bit of airbrushing helped with the complexion ;-).

And then came the 'sales pitch'. I felt my heart plummet through my ribcage while I listened to the lady explaining the easy payment scheme...yes, it was expensive enough to warrant paying by installment. I fought hard with my conscience and ended up going for the cheapest option that would still be good-ish value for money. The saleswoman clearly felt sorry for us, 'cos she threw in a few extras at no cost. I've just received the photos and I must say, it's worth it. It's a once in a lifetime thing and the only time I'm gonna look that good...and my parents love the pics. I don't think I'll be buying any clothes for the rest of the year, but at least I'll have these photos!


  1. Oh my GOD, they were SO good!
    A stunner in all of 'em, through and through :)

  2. oooh sounds cool! but you can't leave us hanging like that, you've gotta show the photos! or at least put them up on FB so I can see :P

  3. How can we see them?! Did you manage to get them all?

    I will call you soon! x

  4. Sabby - :D Thank you my lovely, so sweet :-)

    Sach - hehe they're in a safe place ;-)

    Chavie - you ok there kiddo? Better get those eyes checked out :P

    Darwin - ;-)

    Scrumpy - Nah couldn't get all. Got proofs of all, but only 9 full size (out of a possible 30-something)...I wanted 19 :-|.


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