Accepting opportunities: Viscaya editorial shoot (Part 3)

Anxious is an understatement. On the morning of Chi’s shoot, we rose early. We grabbed a quick continental breakfast from our hotel. I reviewed my reporting location on my information e-mail and checked the travel time on my phone’s Google Map. Assured there were no tolls (I was still not getting that $7 plus a day EZ Pass for the rental), I determined our departure from the room.

Ri was surprisingly easy to get ready. And though my photo was not to be taken, I put on make up. Chi didn’t need to dress to impress, as her wardrobe and styling was being done once we arrived to Nancy Vuu’s hotel suite.

I drove quickly through downtown Miami admiring the murals I would’ve loved to stop and shoot in front of. I looked longingly at the many beach signs along the highway. And finally at the “destination,” I lamented the many “no parking, tow away zone” signs that lined the street. Imagine if the rental were just not there when we went to where I’d parked and needed to get to the museum on time. I parked, anyway, in what looked like a safe spot far down the residential block. I checked for more signs, observing the directional arrows on those I saw, and scanned for yellow or red curbs. Safe. Meanwhile, Chi wondered toward the building Vuu was staying in – an apartment style complex with ornate tiles decorating the front patio and door frame. Ri was amused by the wandering ducks that seemed to be long-term residents of the neighborhood. They were equally interested in her, until she tried to pat – I mean pet – them.

Anyway, when we finally joined Chi in the designated location, there were a host of other models in the cramped one room apartment where Vuu’s many young clients were being adorned. Some of them, I noted, I’d seen on Child Model’s website and in various industry magazines. One young girl struck me as particularly divine in natural beauty, with her deep mahogany hair and soft blue eyes. Her skin, a sort of permanently light-brown complexion, provided the additional contrast that her dark pupils in those pale eyes began. Nearby sat a little one of, perhaps, six years old with the age-revealing missing teeth. She was Chi’s complexion with a wild mane of black hair her mother had washed, braided, and released for the occassion. Two other models sat on the white comforter of the plush bed staring intently into a tablet screen as YouTube videos streamed. An adorable auburn haired and freckled lass belonging to the make up artist became enraptured by RiAnne, and she busied herself entertaining my child who’d decided not to be confined.

I entertained small talk. The conversations were guarded, stiff and uncomfortable. One mommy happily rattled off the list of shoots her children were schedule for in the next few weeks. Their lives, it seemed, were spent on the road or in the air and always in between sets of fashion editorials. I baulked at the numbers that danced into my head of the expense of it all – – travel tickets, hotels, photographer’s fees. Surely they were getting their photos for free or being paid for their appearances, right? Another mom seemed to share in my shock. She cautiously admitted in a quiet voice of aprehension that this Viscaya experience was a splurge not often made in hopes that other opportunities might arise from it. I think she waited for judgment after she spoke, but she wasn’t going to get it from me. This trip was an investment into possibility and it was not cheap. Some moms left the room, chosing to sit and chat amongst the familiar faces of model-momagers who often shared travel itinerary for their kids’ countless modeling endeavors.

We didn’t fit here. I felt it, just as I had in Texas for Ri’s shoot. We were outsiders encroaching on coveted happenings. And we weren’t really critical players in this endeavor.

Ri grew more and more impatient. Hairspray clouded the air. The heat in the small room was stiffling. And though I wanted to monitor the progress of my daughter’s styling, Ri and I ultimately had to wait outside as the minutes ticked slowly by. The call time for arriving at Viscaya came and went long before the dozen models and their chaperones wandered to the various vehicles. And then our convoy of cars hit high way traffic.

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