Wanderlust

Wanderlust

Monday, January 7, 2013

Awkward adults and tantrum, baby.

For the past 20 minutes, a 3 year old has been throwing the absolute worst tantrum in the very quaint Katie Wheeler library of Irvine.  Complete with banshee shrills, uncontrollable sobs and shrieks of illegal decibel levels that would have permanently torn one's vocal cords and another's eardrums.

As the mother shuffled forward first into the restroom with her child's dragging weight hanging onto mostly her mother's torso and legs, the restroom may have been her harrowing escape - but it was a poor attempt to seek for some sort of soundproof refuge.

The reverb echoed volumes.  So the mother carried her child in another struggle to exit the building altogether.

She didn't exit far enough though.  She was still near the front entrance oblivious to the fact that we could all still hear her banshee child just as well from outside.  Her sounds were so distinct that I could have sworn the mother daughter duo were still inside.

Good lord was it all awkward.  One of the most awkward atmospheres I have ever been in for quite awhile.  And yet...I found it so fascinating.  Not so much the little girl, but to watch everyone react to the outburst of a scene.

Because mind you, this wasn't a grocery store where a kid couldn't get his candy bar while everyone is rolling their boisterous metal carts with three good wheels and one rebel of a wheel; or talking aloud to their family members what they could or couldn't put in their cart; and constant beeping from food being checked off from the conveyor belts.

This is a LIBRARY - where no one makes a peep and the only sounds you could hear was the light tapping of keyboard keys, newspapers being perused, books being cataloged back onto the metal shelving units and the occasional beeping of books being scanned and checked out.

As the little girl continued with her high-pitched NOOOOO!!! NO!  NO! NoOoOoOoO! with the intermittent weeping howls, the librarians silently exchanged knowing glances and murmured amongst one another. 

They looked a bit clueless on what to do while trying to remain heedless of the situation.  As if ignoring the situation long enough, it would stop?  I'm surprised that one of them didn't try to politely tell the woman to move away from the building a little further to help out with their "quiet" policy.  But no one dared to move.

And then there was a father who had just entered the library with his own daughter about the same age.  That little girl kept looking back in an (adorable) aghast of how a fellow peer of hers could ever behave as such.  I wondered if she ever thought she could do the same.  The father looked concerned but at the same time relieved he had such a well-behaved daughter in contrast.

The tantrum was SO BAD that a random middle-aged library patron yelled back at them as soon as the doors had closed, "HOW ABOUT SOME FOOD AND A NAP!"

UH.  Is all I thought. 

A few more moments pass as we all try to pretend that we couldn't hear the little girl shrilling.  But any passerby kept looking up, shaking their heads or rubbernecking to downcast their own looks of judgement.  A few would look at each other and would give each other these scoffing frowning smiles to one another.  Although they were strangers, it was as if they were bonding and communicating to one another, "What a hell of a situation, huh.  So glad that's not MY kid."

Somehow I had a feeling that the mom was immune to the embarrassment of it all.

Then one of the librarians retells to her other librarian colleague what the random middle-aged library patron had said while adding, "What's the point of her doing that?  It's not like you're helping anything..."

True.  I thought.  But I also wanted to say the same thing to the librarian in regards to her NOT doing anything about the situation.

I could see the random middle-aged library patron talk out to anyone else who was listening to her thoughts on the situation.  I heard the word "parenting" from her mouth at one point.

Finally the kid calms down to a few snivels and the mother brings her back in.  She really did seem immune to the embarrassment of it all.  But hey.  It's not like she knew these people, right?  She comes up to the librarian and tells her sorry and explains that her kid just didn't want to leave the library.

I laughed in my own head.  I feel you, kid.

Honestly, the mother's "sorry" didn't seem all that apologetic.  Or maybe she was so tired from wrestling with her own child's tantrum that she didn't want to put any more efforts into talking for the rest of the day.

The two left and the library continues on as it always has while I documented what I got front row seat tickets for.

Part of me is at disbelief that somehow that child's raging tantrum has inspired me to write my first blog entry of the year.

But a bigger part of me knows that maybe it's because that child's raging tantrum and the public's reaction to it encompass exactly how I have been feeling for the past year. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SAVE THE KITTEN-LOBSTERS! Why I realize looking up the dream dictionary is like diagnosing yourself medically via Webmd.

 
I dreamt that I was invited to someone's mansion who apparently had gourmet grocery store as part of his kitchen.  As I walked in awe through this amazing establishment, I'm in the exotic foods section where instead of having fresh meats and fish in the glass, they had...

KITTENS.

They were scrawny, starved and had pleading meows.  The temperature was definitely cold and you could tell from the frost building up and their fur matted with icy wetness.  And then I realize, that they weren't just kittens, they were kitten-lobsters!

Instead of their usual furry bottom, they had lobster tails and then a kitten torso and head.  And then a second realization kicks in, the lobsters were slowly consuming the kitten.  Shocked by the cruelty of it all, I try to find a way to free them but there isn't one.  I begin to bang on the glass loudly as if by some random burst of strength chance it would break it.  I cry because I can't save the kittens and yet, empathized with the lobster's hunger and desperate measure.

I'm led away to outside of the mansion where I come across a healthy looking kitten and I become readily excited to hold the little one.  But then it turns into a blonde boy who exclaims I'M FREE!  I'M FREE!  And runs away thereafter.

-
It was SO vivid that it struck a frantic side of me - what does it all mean?!  (Uh, imagine that being melodramatically with fists being shaken in mid-air)

Cue quick scramble to google the dream dictionary.  This is what I found and you can find my commentary in italics.

Kitten 

"To see a kitten in your dream represents a transitional phase toward independence. You are ready to explore new things that life has to offer. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes innocence and purity."

 Alright, I can roll with this.  Kitten trapped under glass equals having a hard time transitioning towards independence.  That seems straightforward enough.  Check.

"To dream that you kill a kitten in your dream indicates that you have trouble expressing yourself in a personal relationship. You are feeling frustrated in this relationship."

 Well.  I didn't technically kill the kitten per se (Garfield heavens forbid!) but the kittens are slowly dying in my dream.  So...does that count or not?  I mean...I guess I have trouble expressing myself in a personal relationship but isn't that everyone?  Out of ALL the relationships you have in the world at this point in your life, there's bound to be at least one relationship where you have trouble expressing yourself.  I can prove this with one word:  FACEBOOK.

"To dream that a kitten turns into a puppy signifies a transformation in your personal life. You are moving away from only looking for your yourself to caring for somebody else. You are seeking companionship."

Are kitten-turned-puppies popular enough dreams to have made a slot into the grand dream dictionary?  Out of alllllllllll the animals, why puppies.  Why not...a full grown cat.  Or North American Condors.  Or more importantly, for my sake, lobsters.  Could one replace "puppies" with "lobsters" for personal interpretation customization?  Mad lib time.

Lobster
"To see a lobster in your dream represents strength and persistence. You will hold your own ground and overcome minor difficulties and problems"

Mmmm-hmmm.  So.  If the lobster is eating the kittens, does that mean the strength and persistence is holding back my independence or supporting it?  Or does it mean I have the strength and persistence to seek companionship.

"To dream that you are eating lobster indicates that you will regain your confidence."

Okay.  But what if the lobster is eating a kitten.  Is the kitten some sort of meta self representation or like...not.  And if so, should I take it as a meaning reversal?

-

And then, I stopped.  After all this, I realized-- 

DUDE.  You're ridiculous.  You just dreamt about kitten-lobsters for hamster heaven's sake.  You can't apply these generic dream dictionary meanings to parallel your life!  

So I came up with a better dream interpretation for myself.  Check it out.

Kitten
"To see a kitten in a dream means you like them in real life, you think they're cute, you probably visit cuteoverload.com each morning after you wake up, and you contribute to half of a million views on youtube videos of kittens wearing things on their heads.  If given the chance - yes, you would most certainly keep one as a pet.  You're probably a nice person."

Lobster
"To see a lobster in a dream means you like to eat them.  You think they're delicious as well as other fellow crustaceans like crab and crawfish.  In fact, you probably ate crawfish somewhat recently and you think they look like baby lobsters.  You're hungry right now.  Go to your nearest sushi restaurant."

Kitten-Lobster
"To see a mutated version of a kitten-lobster where the lobster is consuming the bottom half of a kitten in your dream means you are in no position to keep a pet." 

So what can you take from all this?  Give me your dream and I'll interpret it for you.  
I'm as honest as they come and I will guarantee you 99.999% inaccuracy.

I should sleep.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Time to re-"model" this blog.

For quite some time, the first thing that would welcome you to my blog was my title in the largest font blogspot would offer:

WHEN A 20 SOMETHING YEAR OLD TRAVELING MODEL PENS HER CLUMSY MIND, IT LOOKS SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

And then below it was a scrolling widget of my photoshopped and published modeling work as a display of my credibility in case any one had doubted my lofty claim to the career.  Ha.

That by the way, uh, may sound immodest...but actually, it's my way of sarcastically shunning any preconceived notions that when a girl claims she's a model, what she really means is that she's taking photos of herself on the iPhone that her sugar daddy bought her and is instagramming them with anticipation for likes.  You know, the modern society's way of grading and validating.

I thought the title summed up my life perfectly at the time without losing any readers with falsely diagnosed attention deficit disorders.

But like someone who was falsely diagnosed with some attention deficit disorder derivative, my own blog bored me.  Or at least the maintenance of it.

And so, after attending a blogger's and digital media conference recently, I was inspired to click on the darn thing again.

What a mess.

The title is so irrelevant to my life.

I am no longer traveling or living abroad as a model.
Heck.  I'm not even modeling as much as I used to as I'm trying to pursue acting and hosting.

But hey, at least I'm still a 20 something year old and yeah, this mind of mine - is still relatively clumsy.

Every now and then I get random people mention how they used to follow my xanga and it warms my heart to know that there's a rare few who have seen both my writing and myself evolve over the past decade.  But at the same time, it makes me sad that I haven't kept up with the blogging.  And there's a multitude of reasons as to why I haven't.

Anyways, let's see if I can update the ol' girl again.

Bisous,
Isablogs Again Du




Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What happens to the male specimen that harass me, how the hosting parasite bit me and...oh yeah, doing what makes you happy!

Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Fake guts and body parts! Must. Du. Something. With. Them.

And "du", I did.

 Normally, I prefer to eat my intestines but no, instead, I played with my food.
 No, I didn't even do that, I made a boa out of it.


The creators of horror webisode series "Damaged Goods", Jacob Voelzke and Chris Buch, were so kind to have let me play with their buckets of...well, damaged goods. I met these guys while doing my first live-streaming gig for a show called "Kick In" where we'll be bringing in artists to talk about their projects and getting audiences to help kick-start some funding for them. 

There's only been one show.

It's ironic because I want to do a kick-in for "Kick In" since we, ourselves, could use some funding for our production, lol. Some lavalier microphones would be great because you can't hear my commentary in between the interviews while the microphone is on the interviewee and my hand gets tired from holding up the mic to the other person's mouth.  And right now, our studio lighting is a lamp and the lampshade that's on it.

BUT.  I have to say, it was a really cool experience because it was LIVE and there are no re-takes and take backs.  When I messed up (which I did a few times), I had to play it off.  Story of my life, much?

If you're curious to see how I did, come HERE afterwards.

Now, I've done SOME hosting back in Asia. I assembled a reel but I'll be honest, it's not a public link because I'm not satisfied with it.  I am my own biggest critic. I'll rewatch this footage until I'm literally sick of my own face because I will have nitpicked right down to the eyelash glue and ponder deliriously why I didn't move just 3 degrees more over so people wouldn't have to wonder why they're staring my ear and the earwax inside it the whole time rather than my face.

 It's amazing what you learn about yourself when you watch yourself on camera. It's never what you think when you're doing the actual shooting - and I mean that in both still and video shoots. I try to stay conscious of my bad habits. As they say, practice makes perfect.

 It's funny how I got my start with hosting. It's wasn't because people thought:
"Oh hey, you're a chatterbox, let's put that to some good use!" 

 No, children.  It was simply because:
"Hey, you're a decent looking gal and you speak perfect American accented English - you should host!" 

 Oh, cool.

Same, same, but different. As long as I'm getting paid to talk, I won't delve further into the real reasons as to why I was hired.

Furthermore, they just threw me into the gigs without auditions and I dove right in without any training and with little to no direction. I would have to call myself out. For example, when I hosted FashionTV Vietnam, because the crew didn't understand English, they wouldn't know when I messed up or what I said didn't make sense. They judged solely on my body language, the intonations and inflections of my voice. I could have said "McDonald's rocks my world and these are the reasons why!" with pageant poise and they would've never known.

 Damn. I should've.

For me hosting > acting.  But I'm working on both.  I prefer hosting because I get to be a sponge and soak up information.  Whether it's via research on the guests and topics of discussion the night before or  from the guests themselves during interviews.  I get to meet all kinds of characters and interact with them one-to-one.

I'm starting alllllll over - from ground zero as up as I'm trying to slowly back away from modeling.  I moved to LA impulsively about two weeks ago because I wasn't happy in Vietnam and I want to push myself further - with my personal goals, my career aspirations and simply, life.  Something I've noticed?  The responses I get in regards to my decision to move back.  I used to feed pretty concrete answers.

SCRIPT A
THEM:  Why did you decide to move to LA so suddenly?
ME:  Because I want to push myself further with hosting and acting.
THEM:  But it's easier to "make it" in Asia and it's so competitive and hard in LA.  

While they're at it, they might as well remind me that the sky is blue, 1 + 1 = 2, the bird and the bees aren't really about the birds and the bees, beef is made from cows, practically everything they're wearing right now is probably made in China and that hamsters are the cutest animals in the world.

Chances are, I know.

I get told that everyday.  And at a pretty high frequency per day too.  From family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and oh yeah, MYSELF.

Along with other comments such as you're too short, you're too skinny, you're not skinny enough, you're prettier in person, you're prettier in pictures, you have bad skin, you're too dark, your Vietnamese is god awful, your English is too Californian, you're Asian, you're old, you're too young looking, you're too commercial, you're not commercial enough, blah blah blah blah blah.

I nod, smile and pretend it's the first time I've heard it all, that I've been delusional this whole entire time and that no one has had the heart to break the bad news to me and more importantly, I need a major reality check.

Listen.  I might not be the next Maggie Q.  Heck.  Things might not work out and I'll have to resort to some office job I have been purposely avoiding since college graduation.  And that's TOTALLY fine by with me.  At least I had a go for it while I was still (relatively) healthy, young and free; have a few modeling photos and footage to show my grandkids that yes, their grandmama isn't just a bag of wrinkles and crazy talk; and at least I'm doing what I want to do.  I would need a bigger reality check if I tried to do all of this when I'm 45 with 2 kids, a mortgage to pay off and a teetering divorce.

I have a set of experiences I have to give credit to for my inspirations and growth as a person.  No matter how far fetched my choices might seem or out of reach, I pursue the things that I do because they make me happy.  And I'm not even referring to just showbiz.  If you're not happy, do something about it. Rather than feeding concrete, I throw up abstract as the real root of it all.  Opting for script B instead as my explanation, people never challenge me.

SCRIPT B
THEM:  Why did you decide to move to LA so suddenly?
ME:  I just wasn't happy anymore.
THEM:  Welcome home.

That's 'cause no one could ever deny happiness.

Bisous,
Isabodyparts Du

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My impromptu "Happy New Year" e-card to you. BUT. More importantly, ROUND TABLE PIZZA IS COMING TO VIETNAM!



Salutations from the future!

If you're in the Western Hemisphere, you are probably still reveling in the New Year's festivities while I only have half an hour more till New Year's Day becomes "Day TWO" of 2012.

I only have one resolution this year, and unfortunately, I can't publicly announce it.  But it's a good one.  Ohhhh, it's a good one.  I have friends taking bets already.  So I plan on reaping a big payout at the end of 2012.  That is, if it doesn't end.  (Which, it won't.  Don't make me type Y2K.  Gah.  Too late.)

I'd like to think of my resolution as a possible memoir or a romantic comedy in the making.  The latter definitely not starring Rachel Green - oh whoops, I mean, Jennifer Aniston. Same thing.  I'd most definitely call in Zooey Deschanel for a casting.  I'll stop here, because you guys have no idea what the resolution is and I sound like I'm rambling.  Per usual.

Moving on.

This year has been AMAZING.  I have never done so much in such a short amount of time.


And! I stayed single.  Yes.  Me.  The girl who has been known to her friends to always be in a relationship.  I'm sure you have one or two of those in your group of friends.  Refer them to me, please.

The pattern has finally been broken and this is the longest I have ever been without a serious commitment.  I have gone out of my way to make this happen as I have a tendency to meet amazing people along the way, fall in love quite easily, and emotionally invest myself completely to my partner.   Thus, neglecting myself and the goals that I want to pursue.

This time around, I was able to concentrate on the relationship with myself  by emotionally investing in...well, me.  The ROI? I feel like I have grown so much more in the past year than I ever have and I'm proud of what I have been able to accomplish this past year.

Also, naturally you always have your ups and downs in life, but unlike the other years, I got over my "downs" at a faster rate and my "ups" constantly crescendoed in 2011.

As you may or may not know already, I'm usually based in Saigon, Vietnam.  But I have a weakness for traveling and living abroad, so I'm going to backtrack my travels for the year:

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (for the millionth time, yay)




An old college friend of mine, Sharlene, became a beautiful bride and had her wedding in beautiful Manila.  It was like a mini-reunion with old friends from Chapman University.


And then, I did a photo shoot while I was there - might as well!  Especially if it's with renowned photographer Enzo Mondejar!  (Styled by Eric Poliquit, MUA/Hair by Nina Dumpa) Check out his work here.

BALI, INDONESIA (for my first time)


Yes.  There should be photos where I'm frolicking on Bali's beaches and enjoying cool drinks at Ku de ta by the soothing ocean with some good friends.  Unfortunately, a make-up artist "accidently" deleted all of my photos from Bali before I could upload them.  And the only visually tangible thing I have from the trip is this helmet I ended up bringing back to Vietnam.  Guess that means I'll have to come back!  Darn!  

MONTREAL, CANADA 
(I hadn't seen my mom for 2 years and I hadn't been back here for 5 years)


I flew just in time for Mother's Day to spend it with my mom!  And this trip was the best thing I spent my money on.  I want to make my first million for my mom and sister.


I can't remember the last time I wore so many layers!
Oh wait.  On the motorbike in Vietnam.  So I don't get completely fried in the sun.  
Allow me to rephrase this, I don't remember the last time I felt so cold!


Big one and little one reunited for what?  CHOCOLATE. DUH!


Bonjour et au revoir Montreal!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (for The Weeknd)




Here I am with accomplished director/photographer/colleague Bao Nguyen and with my good college friend Lani Nguyen (no relation) who is an amazing advertising strategist by day, an uber talented DJ with the moniker Lani Love by night, and a fancy style blogger at all times on Sugar Rock Catwalk .
I have only been to New York once and unfortunately, it was right after 9/11.  This time, I got to experience New York with a self-proclaimed "hipster" local who knew the ins and outs and all the hole-in-the-wall joints.  

It is during this weekend, I confirm my thoughts on "hipster" types, New York veterans and newbies, and how New York can charm me any day - but I'm forever a Californian girl at heart.


SAN FRANCISCO/SAN JOSE, California (for 3 weeks)


I hadn't been back in the Bay Area, where I was born and raised, for 2 years.  I thoroughly enjoyed it actually.  I initially planned on being in Southern California for 3 weeks but the reverse happened.  I ended up staying in Northern California longer than expected.  I reunited with my close girlfriends I have known since high school and then met a few new characters to add to my life.


I went to a the Treasure Island Flea Market in Frisco with some friends and one of the Gemini halves in my life, Jenny!  We found a photo booth where there was a costume box full of gizmos and props and we had only 4 seconds to change for each photo snapped!  So that photo above is the outcome.


Turner got me a hamster PJ set.  'Nuff said!



Napa Valley wine tasting with the girls.  But in my case, I was wine sipping.


Becky and I got to visit Cathy at her workplace, the Facebook headquarters!  
In addition to spending time with good friends, I saw it as an opportunity to bring my laptop in person to fix the Facebook bugs I had been having, lol.


I spent my birthday playing Cranium and ate Fondue with all the girls.  Yummmm!

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (for a week)




Reunited with my beauty Tamie.  We were roommates in Cebu, Philippines about two years back.  She is actually one of the many reasons I'd move back to LA. 



Reunited with my good friends and old roommates Van and Irene who I funnily enough found on craigslist when urgently trying to find a new place to move to during college.




Yes, I reunited a lot in this year, I realize.  Bare with me here.  I haven't seen these girls since graduation!  I spent the most time with them in college, especially when I took on leadership roles in the Asian Pacific Student Association club.  Yes. That would be "APSA", for short.  But "the Asian club", to get to the point.  And yes, we were awesome.





Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) with Turner, who is a character all of his own.

GUANGZHOU, CHINA (for one month)




Casting, casting, casting.



With my sweet booker Justin and my very sweet roommate Estera.


With Piotr, another roommate of mine, who never failed to introduce to me ear candy that my iTunes so happily consumed as part of the top 25 Most Played playlist.


Tourist time!




NINH VAN BAY, VIETNAM (for The Weeknd)



Sometimes, you have to take a vacation from a vacation.


Singapore (for a month and a half)


My first Zoukout!




Unfortunately, at this time, I'm not allowed to post certain photos from Singapore.  But I'm going to post this photo dedicated to some of the most awe-inspiring girls I got a chance to meet at the end of 2011.  You know eggxactly who you are!

Summing it all up, I got to be in 7 different countries and this turned out to be the most "personal" blog I have up to date.

With some of these friends, there are a few where I literally just met them this last year but we bonded instantly. With the others that I have known for awhile, we have gone for a few months to even a few years without speaking to one another.   And that's okay.  You pick up from where you left off.  This is something I have come to accept and continue to learn to accept.  Especially since it's not easy saying bye, time and time again, not knowing when the next time you'll see each other again.

However, I'm going to go ahead and say that I have relatively good judgement when it comes to my friends.  They're good people and I am thankful that I even crossed paths with them.  I will now dub my 2011 as the year of reunions.

Again, hope you all had an amazing year, but an even better one that's about to happen.  Especially in March when Round Table Pizza is opening 20 locations in Vietnam.  YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bisous,
Isablog Du

Friday, October 28, 2011

Filling out the clipboard during the audition should be enough to land me the receptionist role!

That outbreak of directors and producers, chaperoning their laptops and 10 cafe sữa đá amongst local coffee shops can only mean one thing: CASTING season is upon us.

Sure. Castings happen all the time. But the real meat of it happens between September to end of November here in Vietnam. (In case any of you beautiful-faces-and-unsound-minds decide, HEY, I should drop everything, move out of the country and model/act/host/lookcute in Vietnam - I wonder when I should I do it!)

An old friend I had worked with on the set of "Nữ Vệ Sĩ" had me come up to a casting for another soap opera. They made sure not to mention what kind of soap opera this was as well as what characters they were looking for. So I was left wondering, whatever shall I wear?

You'd think it wouldn't matter as much as say, the talent themselves but let me explain to you guys a simple formula when it comes to showbiz in Asia:


PRESENTATION > TALENT

In the States, unless you've been requested to wear certain things, they'd rather see you in minimal make-up and simple clothing for castings and head shots. Avoid loud colors, distracting logos, heavy eye make-up, blah, blah blah. They constantly remind talent that they want to see "YOU".

But say, if you were in Thailand, a casting is a job in itself! You get to the location, they have a make-up artist and a hair stylist work on you, put you in full-on wardrobe and then you have to shoot exactly as the concept layout they have for the actual shoot. You're there for about an hour or so, that is, if you were early. If you weren't early, be prepared to miss the rest of your castings as you wait behind all the other folks in line waiting to be "casted".

It's mind-warping how production would put in so much time and effort into casting just as much as they would for an actual shoot. But their purpose is to get the talent to look as exactly as they possibly can to their ideals.

Recently, I made the mistake of wearing a long resort-y type of dress to an action film casting last time.  So this time, I was left wondering, what outfit could I compromise for roles that range from:

Femme fatale to girl-next-door, and
Naive university student to single, young, mother of two

For a show that's possibly:

Action packed, drama filled, or comedy based.

And this, dear friends, is the best I could do:

Low-cut cleavage bearing red tank underneath,
Church-approved beige button-down cardigan on top,
Skinny blue jeans, and
Khaki wedges.

I arrive to a rather intimate audition room where a bunch of other local talents are seated.  I smile at everyone.  It's easy to spot who's there to audition and who's there making the decision.  The latter has a relaxed dominance within their postures.  Despite being the last to arrive, they took snaps of me first.  And then the man with the most relaxed dominance within his posture asks me what I used to (and maybe still) consider a dreaded question: "Can you speak Vietnamese?"

Here's where I've realized that neither presentation and talent apply.

My mind raced unnecessarily defensively.  Of course I can speak it.  Let alone karaoking it, reading it, writing it and typing with accents on a computer!  But how can I can convince anyone of these things with my blasted American accent!  And yet, they did voiceovers anyways for even the local actors, whether you had a Southern, Central or even the proper Northern accent.

"Tất nhiên em phải biết chứ!  Of course I have to know how to!" I added with a sweet, sweet smile to cancel out what could've been taken as a smart-donkey comment.

"Tên em là gì vậy?  What's your name?"


"Isabelle Du."  I made sure to pronounce it slowly and enunciate clearly.

The man wrinkled his brow.  Clearly, my name didn't make it through the velvet rope.

"Tên Việt?"  He asked for my Vietnamese name.

"Anh cứ gọi em bằng 'Du" hoặc là 'Beo' cũng được."  I told him that he could just call me by my last name or "Beo".  "Beo" means wildcat in Vietnamese but the nickname was originally derived from the local's pronunciation of "Belle".

He didn't seem so amused and just had me fill out a form while I could feel onlookers' eyes were upon my writing.

Name.  Alias, if any.  Height.  Address.  Cell phone number.  Acting Experience.  And, done.

I hand him over the clipboard to which he tells me that he'll call if anything comes up.

Er...that's it?  No video casting?  No sides to read?  No crying-on-cue-requests for the melodramatic hospital scenes?  The whole room stares at me as I smiled, thanked and said my goodbyes to everyone.

Apparently, no one was interested in my acting abilities and I just wasn't what they were looking for.  I don't mind these things.  Especially if I got to try out on camera and didn't get the role.  But I can't help but wonder "why" when I didn't get to try out at all.

Is my look not convincing enough as a Vietnamese person?
(I hear it just as much as people misspelling my name.)

Or was my Vietnamese not convincing enough for them to hear a full-on script reading?
What could I have done to better my chances or did I not stand a chance to begin with?

Was the interaction the "try out" itself?  Or is that too meta?   And what shall I have for lunch?

Well kids, all I can come up with is that a yes is a yes, a no is a no and that you can never go wrong with phở for lunch.  Yum!

Till next time,
IsaBEO Du Meow!





Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Me and the McDonald's Diet.

I ate McDonald's almost every day during my last week of China.

And maybe some of you realize this and maybe not, but McDonald's delivers in every country EXCEPT for its native motherland.  The good 'ol US of A.  But hey, we got to give Americans at least one good reason to unglue their eyes from their monitors, their bums from their couches to step outside of their houses, right?  I know I'd be done for.

One of the good/bad things about living in Vietnam is that there are NO McDonald's.

KFC.  Yes.  Subway.  Check.  Popeye's.  Yup.  Pizza Hut.  I'm VIP there.

But nope - no McDonald's.

So even if I really wanted to munch on my two apple pies for a dollar or stuff my face with Big Mac and fries, I can't.  And I really shouldn't, because we all know there are healthier options.  As much as I love, love, LOVE McDonald's.



So when Model Measurement Monday came to weigh me in, I was surprised to find that I was 46.5 kg (103 lbs).

This means, I lost 2.5 kg from my usual 49 kg (108 lbs).

Here's where I have to write about the badly dramatized Supersize Me documentary.  Yes, you bet I've seen it.  And guess what.  I got hungry and ate a Big Mac right after I saw it.

Homeboy was trying too hard to prove that McDonald's is "bad" for you.  Of course you're going to gain weight if you supersize all of your meals for 30 days straight.

However, in a PR class I had taken in college, my professor mentioned an interesting rebuttal story.  A McDonald's lovin' woman ate McDonald's for 90 days straight and LOST 37 pounds (17 kg).  She made certain meal selections and exercised during those 90 days.  Hence as to why McDonald's adds the tagline on their products' boxes and wrappers, "It's what you eat and what you do".

You guys can read the article here.

After I got off the scale, my booker gave me a big grin and an enthusiastic thumbs up as I contemplated how to gain my weight back.

I left the agency, bought myself an Oreo McFlurry and walked a 5 level shopping mall in my black heels.

Catalog: BoAime

BoAime is designer Mimi Ledo's love child.

Here are some shots from this year's BoAime Fall/Resort 2011 catalog:





Creative Director: Nathan Lee
Make-Up/Hair: Vinh Thuy

And here are some shots from the last time I modeled for her Boaime's Resort/Spring 2010 catalog:











Creative Director:  Henri Hubert
Make-up/Hair:  Andy Phan

Mimi's a good friend of mine and she's got this amazing attractive independent spirit about her.

You can just see it from her pieces.  They're romantic but whimsical, coquettish yet uninhibited.  And actually, she's one of the very few people I really admire.  She's Vietnamese by heritage and came to Canada by herself when she was just a kid by boat. She knows what she wants; has a good heart, a sharp tongue that tells it like how it is, self-starter motivation like no other; and travels whenever she pleases but spends half of her time in Montreal, Canada and Saigon, Vietnam.

Someone should write an article on this woman.  Really.





Check out BoAime's facebook

Bisous,
Isaboaime Du

Casting Reality: You are but a pretty girl amongst other pretty girls.

Every morning, we'd stuff ourselves in the van and then, it's:


Casting.  Casting.  Casting.

Take off your clothes.
Put on our clothes.

Smile.  Smile.  Smile.
Pose.  Pose.  Pose.
Snap.  Click.  Flash.

Next girl, next casting,

and,
repeat.

-

So mindless, these things.
And yet.  It gave me a lot to mind and mull over.

One can only show so much of their persona to stand out.

I hadn't been booking - but at the same time, I wasn't the only one either from my agency.  Including a few that have been here longer than me.  It happens.  And maybe for a multitude of reasons. And I can accept that.   Maybe it wasn't the right agency, or season, or maybe China wasn't my market,  er, specifically, Guangzhou.  I should have looked more into it actually prior to coming here.  But foolish me, I may have been much too distracted by the idea of staying somewhere new.  Oh well!

I may have mentioned in a previous entry how I was aware it was mostly catalogue but I didn't realize it would be ALL catalogue.  There weren't any TVC (TV commercial) castings or editorials here since they're all in Beijing and Shanghai.  One of the bookers disclosed to me that it was their first time bringing over a model with a Pan-Asian look and it was a bit of a trial basis to see what the clients' feedback would be.  Come to think of it, I hadn't seen a lot of Pan-Asian looking girls at castings.  They were either Eastern Europeans or Brazilians.

For me, rejections are hackneyed.  But I have to say, not booking made me antsy and model castings have made me realized that...I'm tired.  Just so damn tired of it.

It's time for something new, baby.


Bisous

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nip Slip. Pun involuntarily intended.

Nude underwear is practical and a model's necessity.
But let's face it. A strapless bra is just as cozy as a thong.

So there are days where I'll wear silicone nipple covers instead.
I forget that that they're there and they do what they have to do for my girls.

During a recent casting, the client had requested for just me out of all the other girls in my agency to try on their clothes for their catalogue.  Yes, I thought.

"Please change."

And changed I did - into their baggy-styled sporty clothing.

"Pose, please."

And pose I did.  Cool poses, that is.  As cool as cool can be.  Heck.  I felt super cool.

They smiled.  I smiled.

And just as I thought I would make a graceful exit and an unfaltering impression, I slip backwards a little as I tried to walk towards the changing room.  I looked down at my feet for the culprit. There it was, my left silicone nipple cover, surprisingly still in tact despite my heel's attempt to puncture it.

The clients' smiles had now turned into stifled chuckles.  I may have let out a sheepish laugh.  I can't remember really.  But I quickly grabbed the cover and said "Thank you" to everyone in the room.

The "Thank you" was for having me try out for them.  I realize now that it may have sounded as the kind of "Thank you" one gives to an audience after having performed in front of them.

I'm going to blame Guangzhou's humidity on this one.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's "pose training" exactly?

According to the girls in my agency, it's watching reruns of America's Next Top Model episodes.
And not just any rereuns.  But cycles 1 and 2.  The show is currently working on cycle 17.

Afterwards, they're filmed doing 20 poses, without repeating one, in 30 seconds.




Upon reading completion of this blog entry, you are now certified to instruct a posing class.
Should you desire to further your credentials, you can join me in my photo booth rampage.