In my stubbornness, I've decided that I never want to work a "real" job again. As a result, I've spent the last six months doing some very odd things to pay my rent. I spent my last few days in Las Vegas crowd gathering (literally, gathering a crowd) for Cisco at VM World, a computer networking convention and nerd gathering extraordinaire. Let me get this out of the way: I spent the last three nights with my feet propped up under six pillows, to alleviate the swelling from the lethal high heels/long hours/cement combination in my overpriced Hooters hotel that I stayed at by myself in a city that I despise. Complaining aside, it's really not too bad of a gig.
You see, to subsidize my auditions and low paying background jobs, I make my living as a tradeshow model. The biggest perk of the job is that the job title includes the word model in it. That alone strokes my often-bruised ego enough to put up with other inconveniences. The job is the red-headed step-sister of legitimate acting and modeling jobs. You see, you still have to be accepted by an agency and get hand-picked for every job that you work. But, unlike in acting and modeling, there is no cutting, no airbrushing, nothing separating you from the the general public at all. These factors would make you think that the models must be rewarded handsomely with airfare, hotels, and lavish gifts. While I personally get many free pens, baseball caps, and post-its with the company logo, the previous statement could not be further from the truth. It's on you, gorgeous.
I am not asking for pity here. There are definite perks to the job. You get to travel a lot and you can pick where and when you want to work. If you don't like something about your job, you won't have to do it for more than a few days. The pay is decent to good, and it can be a lot of fun. And, there's always the possibility of meeting Mr. Right in the convention world- a world very high in the man-to-square-foot ratio (!).
But really, after talking to other booth employees, come to find out that their hotels are paid for, as well as their flights, and per diem. They have "real" jobs and they're sittin' pretty. Meanwhile I'm standin' in my stilettos, trying to look pretty.
I decided that I didn't want to be bogged down by the hours and commitment of a real job to be free for the all-important Audition. Yet, when I am booked on a tradeshow, I would have to book out with my acting agent and it would take nothing less than a straight-to-producers audition to pull me away from a booking. All the same, I am sticking to my stubbornness.
Ultimately, if you choose to be an actor, you are choosing a life fraught with schedule conflicts. That's why you must choose between auditions and a "real" job. Each day is a gamble and your next audidtion could change your life. For somebody who, after six trips to Las Vegas, realizes she still dislikes gambling, and after six months in Los Angeles, has figured out she doesn't even particularly like watching television, it is dawning on me that I may have chosen an odd profession. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way.