Yes, I was on Your TV

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Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a glamorous movie or television star? Recently, I got a small taste of fame with my Television Commercial Debut. I cannot say I’m getting Warhol’s promised fifteen minutes of fame, but if you watch Fox or Buffalo stations, you might see my thirty seconds in the lights.
It all started when in a late night lapse in judgment; I answered a vague Craigslist posting looking for a “real Mom” to be in a commercial for a retail store. After about a day of paranoia that I had just given the “Craigslist killer” personal information about myself, I get the call from a studio executive. I’m told a few details about the project and I’m asked to upload a short video about my family and shopping habits. Enough time passes for me to decide that I wasn’t chosen when another mysterious call comes in.
I was one of two Moms who were invited to shop our local grocery store and then compare those items with the prices at the major retailer. I was briefed on a long list of legalities, rules, and a banned clothing list that eliminated nearly every item in my wardrobe. I am also told a ridiculous tale of shopping horror stories, so I knew what not to do. Tuesday morning at 7:45 came early, as I met the company officials and 2nd Mom at a donut shop. After some inevitable getting lost and an embarrassing display of my inability to work a smart phone type gadget, we arrive at the grocery store.
The initial shopping trip begins. I chose my forty items, being careful to stay within the guidelines, while getting an accurate snap shot of a typical shopping trip. It was just like a normal shopping trip with my family except I didn’t have my family throwing random junk food in the cart, and the executive actually helped load groceries on the cart and carried the bags. The company was kind enough to purchase these groceries, as they would be critical during this next stage.
We arrive at the major retail store where I’m greeted by store managers, film crew, make-up artist, and the star of the commercial. After a tour of the store, the results are revealed…drumroll…. I was chosen to be in the commercial! With a handshake, Mom #2 leaves, and I am sat down in a make-up chair. For perhaps the first time in twenty years, my hair is “done.” My face is layered with concealer, powder, and I’m introduced to a medieval torture device called an eyelash curler. The nice lady warns, “Do not move or you will lose all your eyelashes.” The move magic continues, as microphones are taped inside my shirt and attached to the back of my pants.
The first location is the produce section, where I strike a pose for a photo shoot, as onlookers select their fruits and veggies. We film a short clip outside, where my eyes water from the cold in the winter air. Next, we film the first product comparison. I have no lines or rehearsal, but instead, I’m instructed to listen to what the host tells me to react. Take One…Take Two. I quickly become aware of the time restrictions as the host is instructed to change his wording or pace. Logic tells me I also do not have time to recite a soliloquy. We continue in this manner for the other products, as I laugh at the quirky host and marvel the price differences between the two stores. Each step of the way there are legal concerns to consider, which I find of particular interest as a paralegal major.
Bystanders gawk, and wonder out loud what we are doing, even asking who I am. A staff member quips, “Don’t you know her? She’s a famous star!” I felt like a real celebrity as the make-up lady touched up my hair and make-up between every take. We break for lunch, but I can hardly eat from all the excitement. By the time the video shot rapped around 4:00, I was exhausted, but they still had questions for a radio spot.
When I was finally done for the day, I come to GCC for my night class. I get the first look at myself in the mirror, and use water and paper towels to wipe off as much gunk as I could. It was good to relax and return to life among the “normal” people. Apparently, being myself, is the toughest acting job I’ve ever imagined.
Within two days, My Facebook lit up with friends asking if that was me they saw on TV. Co-workers were calling asking for the famous “Rhonda Parker” and family was stopping me in the store, asking for my autograph. I was one of the last one to see the finished product. My husband and started watching TV just to see the commercials. My face becomes the last thing I’d see before bed, and the first thing I woke up to in the morning. I was unavoidable, just like the crew promised I would be.
Overall, this was a fantastic experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It gave me, yet again, a more objective view on the Hollywood lifestyle. A lot more work goes into every aspect of making a movie, or commercial in this case, then you would ever home to imagine. I found out a few things I might never have known about myself. First of all, I’d rather sleep in than have to start my day several hours before the crack of dawn. I’d rather be the one behind the camera, or better yet behind the computer monitor. Most importantly, I do not want to ever be within fifty feet of an eyelash curling device ever again! I’m still having post-traumatic stress syndrome from that evil little beauty aid!

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