Beth and I made our 5am call time, yeah! I never get much sleep when I know I have to be up really early. I always worry about not waking up but I figured we were covered I set the alarm clock, the alarm on my phone and had a wake up call. So at 4am our room was a symphony of alarms and ringing phones.
So far Beth’s photo shoots have been limited to test shoots so we really didn’t know what to expect at an editorial shoot. We know that we really like Attilio and Jill, they are both very friendly and extremely fashionable so we had a really good feeling about this. We were all meeting up at Bob’s studio. Bob’s studio is awesome! Stone, tile and glass mosaics cover the floors and walls. The bathroom shower is made from flagstone all pieced together. I want that studio. That is where I should be making my windows and doing art stuff or even living!
But I digress; Bob is also a photographer and a hair and make-up person. For this shoot he will be setting up the lighting and doing a video during the shoot. And I assume Beth’s hair and make up, since there’s not another hair and make up person in our entourage. Also along for the fun are 2 of Attilio and Jill’s interns. Attilio will be doing all the shooting and Jill does the styling. And last but not least Beth. If you’re keeping track of the play list than you noticed that Beth is the ONLY model! OMG that’s huge, we expected at the very least a male model and maybe even some other female models. But nope it’s just Beth, no pressure there! Well there was one more character in this production, Dee. Dee met us at the shoot and she was doing Beth’s hair and make up. Leaving Bob to take care of lighting which is a full-time job.
What I’ve learned from helping load the RV Beth may get to wear, animal furs with the heads still on, a crown, many very gothic/ warrior/ Princess Amagada type clothes and hold a real sword. Very cool stuff (minus the animal heads, of course.) Beth was excited when she realized that she was the only model not because she is a diva that doesn’t want to share the spot light but because she wants to don the sword and crown!
Once we were all loaded up the adventure began. Attilio drove the RV with Jill as co-pilot. Bob and Marilyn followed behind in a truck with more supplies and Beth, August and I were in the back of the RV. We all started out working on computers or reading. But then I started feeling car sick so I shut off the computer and remembered that my WONDERFUL son, Thomas told me to bring some car sickness medicine. I took 2 pills and willed myself not to vomit in the RV. I tried to force myself to sleep and took deep breaths until the nausea passed and I did finally fall asleep. I awoke to a McDonald’s pit stop that both Beth and I declined. She also has started feeling nauseous but refused to take and medicine (big mistake.) The last 30 miles of the trip were very bumpy, windy, hilly roads that made everyone slightly nauseous. Poor Beth did end up getting sick into the RV’s sink. It was a miserable last leg of the journey and we were all glad when we finally reached the state park.
The rangers at Ha Ha Tonka State park were so nice and extremely accommodating. Not only did they grant Attilio a permit to shoot at the park but they also went out of their way to help us guide the RV up the very narrow and tree filled path to the castle. The path was obviously not meant for large vehicles. They had to use 2×4’s to lift branches so we could get thru. It was an arduous trek and we didn’t actually know if it would work or if we would get stuck. We did finally make it to the top and boy were we glad. If we had to go back and forth down that trail between every shoot to change of even just to warm up if would have really been miserable. The rangers were in and out all day to watch the production unfold. They were intrigued by the whole event. We also had a few other onlookers that were watching the shoots. The state park was open to the public so of course people felt compelled to stop and watch the activity. At one point a girl scout troop wandered through. As far as any of these people knew Beth was famous model and this was being shot for some big magazine. It so funny to think that this was Beth’s first editorial shoot but people were looking at her like she was a seasoned professional.
As soon as we got settled the transformation of the RV took place. It was now a hair and make up area, a stylist show room, a changing area, bathroom and the only place we had to keep warm. In other words it was CROWDED!
Before we could start hair and make up, Jeff had asked Attilio to shoot a few Polaroid’s of Beth in the infamous black bikini (we didn’t end up needing the $70 top after all ,Beth’s older string top that she doesn’t like was more in line with what they were wanting so we can return at least part of that ridiculously expensive bikini.) As we all laughingly cursed Jeff for this request, Beth always the trooper, put on her suit and braved the cold for the shots. I hope Jeff can use those because they were an ordeal to take. That stone castle was darn cold for Beth to lean on, and the wind was brutal!
Once the bikini shots were done it was time to start hair and make up. This takes forever! But it really only had to be done once then they just build off of it for the subsequent outfit changes. It’s amazing that the photographer can describe his ideas for these elaborate, seemingly impossible hair creations and that the artist is able to recreate it. Beth’s hair was done in a sort of poufy French braid with lots of extra braided hair weaved in to it. Then her makeup was done in some dramatic dark colors to go along with the gothic/ medieval look they were trying to achieve.
While Dee was working magic on Beth’s hair and make up Jill, Autumn and Marilyn stated putting together the looks. They were the stylists of the shoot (like Rachel Zoe for those that watch her.) The clothes were brought in from Europe, and some local up and coming designers. The stylist pull the clothes, accessorize and alter them to fit, all to get the look the way they imagine. It’s the same as any form of art to you have to keep playing with it until you get the look that you have in your head. Plus you need to work with the photographer so you’re achieving what he wants.
Once Beth’s hair and make up were done she then got dressed in her elaborate outfit, jewelry and shoes. While all the sample sizes in the clothes fit Beth perfectly the shoes are always another matter. She wears a size 11 and inevitably the shoes are 9-10. You just can not squeeze a size 11 into a 9 no matter how much baby powder you use. But they still feel compelled to try. It doesn’t help that the shoes are also samples and often don’t have the sizes printed on them.
One of the biggest challenges for Beth at this shoot besides avoiding hypothermia was walking in the ruins of a 100-year-old castle wearing platform, crazy high heels that were too small for her. She had to walk up a gravel path to crumbling stone steps, around the castle, up more stone steps, then often she had to climb into the window opening for the shoot. While on one side the drop was only 3 ft behind her the drop was closer to 20 feet into an overgrown briar-patch-like area with plenty of crumbling stones thrown in.
I tried to stay by her side to catch her or help navigate her back and forth to the RV. She never fell which was a miracle on its own! Then towards the end the day Attilio was granted permission to shoot in the “basement” of the castle which was actually the aforementioned briar patch. All day it had been raining on and off so the ground was very squishy which made it even harder to walk in with those heels.
Beth never once complained about the cold, or the long hours, or getting car sick, or being hungry. She just did what she was told and worked her little butt off. I was so proud of her. She looked like she had been doing this for years. As a matter of fact Bob commented that Beth seemed like a seasoned professional and Dee said that Beth was the strongest model that they had worked with so far. Both Attilio and Jill were very happy with Beth and continually complimenting her.
After 10 hours of shooting it was too dark to work any longer. Everything was packed up and we made the long journey back home. We all promptly fell asleep and stayed that way for most of the drive. Poor Attilio had to drive us all back in the rain and the dark; I’m sure he was just as tired as the rest of us but he got us back safely. This was a wonderful first experience for us with people we really enjoyed working with. I hope all of Beth’s future shoot are just as wonderful.
I plan on posting my pictures of the shoot after the editorial goes live next week. So stay tuned!