Watching a photo shoot is about as glam as sitting in a doctor's waiting room, except the studio doesn't have any National Geographics with which to pass the time. Every 10th photo or so the shoot comes to a halt so Vincent can apply another layer of rosewood lip pencil to Angie's mouth. Every 12th shot or so Mitch scrunches and spritzes her hair. Angie, wearing a sheer silk dress with a red-and-pink-rose design, leans uncomfortably on the floor, propped on an elbow. Her eyes are watering from the stiff breeze coming from the wind machine. "Isn't this glamorous?" she says.
Almost everyone wears black, the primary color for those who work in the fashion world. PIBs (People in Black) never seem to have last names: they arc simply Vincent on makeup or Mitch on hair or Neil from South Africa or Lucienne from Toronto.
Angie from Akron is 5'10" and weighs 118 pounds. At 24, she has traveled to more countries than most foreign diplomats and has lived in Paris for 5½ years. She owns a condo on a golf course just outside of Akron and an apartment in that parkside building in Manhattan. "I've met so many famous people, it doesn't faze me anymore," she says with a sigh. She would rather talk about Mary from Akron, her best friend since age four, than Oliver, Arnold or Cindy. As for her substantial bank account, she refuses to reveal the amount of her accumulated riches but says, "I started [modeling] at age 16, making $55 an hour, then went up to $1,200 a day, then to $2,000 a day. I have earned up to $10,000 a day, but that's not just me. When you reach a certain level, that's standard."
Today .Angie will be paid $250 a day to pose for Glamour. "Editorial pays nothing, but you make up for it with the exposure you get," she explains. Did somebody say exposure? By the end of the six-hour shoot, Margaret, the photographer and a PIB, has taken 1,188 photos. "It's going to be hard to edit this," Margaret moans. "Every shot was great."
Fifteen minutes after Angie has given her air-kiss goodbyes, she arrives at a nearby casting agency to audition for a shampoo commercial that will air on European television. "Shake it, toss it, run your fingers through your hair." the PIB behind the camera instructs. Ten minutes later she is in another cab, and the driver is running red lights up Madison Avenue. Angie's next job is in Los Angeles, where she will pose for a leather company's spring catalog. The plane for L.A. leaves from Kennedy Airport in an hour and a half, and Angie hasn't packed yet.
At 5:30 p.m., with the goods zipped up in a black duffel bag, Angie hands her plane ticket to the airline clerk at the counter, who doesn't suspect a thing. All Eddie has to do is keep a low profile, which is fairly easy for a dog the size of a' loaf of bread. Eddie knows the routine. If he doesn't stay quiet, it will mean a very long flight with a cargo full of Samsonites.
Once on the plane, Angie sweetly asks a passenger—Mr. Harris is his name—if he would mind moving so we can get two seats together. Leggy supermodels get away with murder. Not only does Angie smuggle her little white dog on the plane, not only does she use her cellular phone seconds before takeoff, but—egad!—she also pulls off the old seat-not-in-the-up-right-position caper. "Here, put yours even with mine," she whispers. "They'll pass right over us."
Well, they do, at least until dinnertime, when Martin, the flight attendant, asks me. "And, Mr. Harris, what would you like for dinner this evening?"
"Huh? I switched seats with Mr. Harris." I say, "not genders."
Around Angie grown men sometimes forget how to complete sentences, cab-drivers stare in rearview mirrors instead of at the road, and...boom!...just as Ginnie had warned me, it's as if Angie were traveling alone. Mr. Harris indeed.