I woke up to a text from photographer Brianna Capozzi asking if I could fill in for an agency model who didn’t show up to set. After telling her I was free to shoot, I received a photograph of a guy with shaggy hair in his face and was told I would have to make out with him. I was apprehensive. I don’t often enjoy sticking my tongue in a random stranger’s mouth while a roomful of people watch, but it was for a fashion spread in a magazine of which I’m a fan, so I obliged.
Brianna then explained that the photo editorial would have a strong narrative and I’d be portraying a slutty waitress. I was practically already in character, as I was sporting a hickey from a threesome I had the night before with a giggly, blonde actress and the guitarist from a popular indie band who shall remain nameless because, quite frankly, I’d like to continue sleeping with him.
While heading to midtown, I got a text from Brianna’s set assistant: Bri’s phone had gotten stolen from a Burger King in Times Square. Of all the places I picture an iPhone getting stolen, a Burger King in Times Square is certainly first on the list. Things were off to a rocky start, but also right on track considering the strange nuisances Bri and I have had to overcome during prior shoots together.
For context, I once broke out in head-to-toe hives a few hours before a shoot for Vice that involved me crawling on Bri’s furniture naked. A handful of Benedryl later, the itchy red bumps dissipated and I was able to frolic freely in my birthday suit around the Bed Stuy abode, albeit with coffee in hand to keep from passing out. I imagine the stress of phone theft to be pretty on par with that of an allergic reaction.I met up with Brianna and Haley Wollens, the shoot’s stylist and mastermind behind Drake’s Dada outfit, Miley Cyrus’s “23” looks, and director of Blood Orange’s “Champagne Coast” video, at a street fair a block away from the rented studio space. Heading to the studio, Haley casually mentioned that the male model I was supposed to make out with was 16, a detail Brianna had conveniently left out of our earlier text conversation.
I was relieved, as I was dreading having to kiss him in the first place, but with this newfound knowledge of the model being underage, I had a legitimate reason, as a 29-year-old, to back out. Everyone was clearly upset at my refusal. In their defense, the majority of models aren’t pushing 30, so the girl who bailed was most likely a fellow teen. I compromised and agreed to fake the scene.
After changing clothes at the studio, we made our way to a well-known chain restaurant in Times Square, where I would be impersonating a waitress. We ordered something called an Onion Loaf, which, I’m pretty sure, is a combination of onions and weirdest-name-ever-for-an-appetizer. Bri snapped off shots while I pretended to serve the greasy food to my future faux-sex partner and the model currently playing his girlfriend.
Midway through the scene, a group of angry security guards surrounded us. I expected to get kicked out, but I definitely hadn’t assumed that the restaurant would have several large men conveniently hanging around, ready to take action should any unauthorized fashion shoots occur. Brianna and I grabbed the film and darted out of the two-story building while the guys from the magazine stayed and settled the bill.
For the next shot, we needed to make it look like I was getting the other female model arrested, so I could whore it up in the bathroom with her boyfriend. Seeing as how we were in Times Square, there was an annoying amount of police around and it was suggested that I convince one of them to be in the scene. I complied and approached two officers with a smile and the most amount of charm I could possibly muster up.
To my surprise, one of them said yes. Initially I was excited to model with a member of the NYPD, but working with someone who has no previous experience, regardless of the career field, is quite a chore. The officer kept laughing to kill the awkwardness of being photographed, but the only thing it was killing was my patience.
Following the fake arrest with a real officer, there was just one more scene with me in it: The make-out session. We went back to the studio and crammed four people into the building’s tiny bathroom. My blouse was unbuttoned, exposing my see-through bra, and the teenage boy was pressed up against my neck so closely I could feel his breath. It was uncomfortable in every definition of the word.
In the midst of all this unnaturalness, someone opened the bathroom door, accidentally hitting Brianna’s assistant who was standing in front of it. The woman trying to enter looked as stunned as we were – it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, also known as Elaine from Seinfeld, also known as one of my favorite actresses and half of the best Halloween couple’s costume idea I’ve ever had (the other half being Jerry, of course). She used the restroom, then went into the studio next door to ours. I wanted to scream, “Is my future husband, Larry David, in there with you?!” but figured that would be inappropriate.
It was clear the day had peaked, so I left and went to the 16 Handles in Williamsburg where, naturally, I would regret getting too many toppings. While trying to figure out what the clear, jelly-like balls were that I had sprinkled all over my fro-yo, the guy I slept with the night before texted asking about my day. Fitting into a single text, an accurate description of what had occurred in the ten hours since I had seen him proved to be a challenging task. After drafting a lengthy response, I realized it sounded chaotic, but in actuality was probably pretty mild compared to some of the events that used to take place in New York’s busiest neighborhood, and that my craziest photo shoot with Brianna has yet to happen…