Gillian West

"Let's Not Make a Fool of Myself"

Trying to make it in the modeling & theatre scene in Chicago. "Trying" being the key word. 



So I got the link to the pictures from the shoot on Saturday, & instead of waiting patiently for my personal DVD of the pictures to get to me I decided to apply an eyepatch to my ensemble and pirate these photos from the website. Of course, all rights go to Gregory Hitchcock! 

I will start with what I have dubbed as - the X-Files shot. 

Pretty cool - right?

Serious model windblown look..

Serious model on a rickshaw look...

The "No Gillian, We Really Need To See Your Hands, You've Been Keeping Them in Your Pockets Too Much"

Sassy Chain-Link Fence

Urban Outfitters, watch out for the next ones.

And now, I will dedicate a few lines to Eli "Strong Jaw"

Overall I am super pleased with the way everything turned out. I think his use of lighting & the space was impeccable & I think it gave both Eli & me a chance to explore our surroundings a bit. The only thing I would wish for would be for me to have brought a brush. I definitely underestimated what the Chicago wind will do to hair. 


30 Degree Modeling

After an extensive absence from blogging & theatre/modeling in general, I finally have something interesting to contribute other than "oh you know - just been temping". 

I have been itching to start pursuing modeling more seriously since i've moved here, but i'd let things such as money, jobs, hot dogs, time, & general laziness get in my way. Well enough is enough dear friends! My amazing marine boyfriend finally convinced me to put down the ketchup & pick up the hand weights (& thus - confidence), getting rid of the final excuse set out in front of me to keep myself from pursuing my dreams. The first thing I did was re-join Model Mayhem - a facebook like social networking site for models & photographers to meet & do work together. Though there can be a level of creepiness on the site, for instance the other day I was offered a job posing for a "European online web cam site" (if that doesn't say Future Porn Star of America - I don't know what does). But i have found some genuinely nice photographers who are interested in working with me & not kidnapping me, which would turn everything in my pessimistic mind to CSI: Chicago. 

That brings us to this shoot I did yesterday. I had been corresponding with a photographer who was interested in doing TFT (time for trade, essentially work that just builds both of our portfolios), first a test shoot, then a glamour & pin-up shoot. We met a few weeks ago to go over ideas for the shoot, as well as just getting to know each other. It definitely put me at ease the day of the shoot to know that this guy wasn't going to turn this Saturday in to Law & Order: SVU. Through the following weeks we corresponded via email, discussing different location options, as well as wardrobe/hair/etc. It was decided that I would go to MAC to get my makeup done before hand. I also was able to get my friend Eli in on the modeling extravaganza, as he has been trying to get more work & I was trying to feel as comfortable as possible with being there. With his girlfriend (& my good friend) Keely involved, it was a relaxed & comfortable experience the day of the shoot. I was prettified from the sassy & wonderful make up artist at MAC & met my friends at the Sheridan red stop to meet the photographer for a day of extreme modeling.

Now, I say extreme modeling because of the weather. It was probably around 30 degrees outside, with the occasional wind that made it feel arctic to my southern girl soul. We first shot at the Sheridan red line stop underneath the train, a really visually appealing spot with lots of columns. The only issue was the stop-start situation that began to occur, as every five minutes or so a car would drive through our shooting space requiring us to either move to the side or become a permanent fixture of this location. After around an hour of this, we decided to move down to a more industrial location in the West Loop meat packing district. Definitely a cool place. The photographer had Eli & I walking down train tracks towards him, which i felt was a feat as when you mix me in heels & big rocks I have Bella Swann tendencies (that is - the tendency to fall flat on my face, & there were some definite near misses). From there we moved on to some great red doors, stopping to defrost in a coffee shop on the way.

It was definitely a great experience, even with the cold. We finished with the meat packing district & went to one last location - the infamous "bridge to nowhere", which is actually an El-train track that was stripped down except for the bridge, so it stands in over the grounded Metra track right in a tall grass field. It was a great Urban Outfitters feel & we got some great shots. 

So pictures will come later, but overall I feel happy that I am finally doing at least part of what I wanted to do when I moved here. Which was to create, in whatever way I can, art. 

(As a usual lingerie model, it was also nice to wear clothes for once). 


well that was awkward. 

first professional audition: check. being awkward in the process: double check.

Obviously today was the day of my first audition in the city. I prepared.... so-so for it. Definitely looking back I could say that I had not done the standard of preparation usually committed for such an affair. But nevertheless today came & I rose to the challenge as Ron Weasley rises to Quiddich (in the Order of the Phoenix, mind you). 

The ride over to the theatre was relatively calm, went down to the brown line & took it out to Kimball, very straightforward. I was halfway there on the train when I realized I had yet to practice my introduction - just the standard "this is my name, this is my piece". So in my head I went over it a few times hoping that this was not some foreshadowing (dun dun dunnnn). Getting off the train I was surprisingly calm as I found the theatre and proceeded to climb up four incredibly high flights of stairs which left me sweating and puffing. Though some would disagree - who i'm not particularly sure - this is not the best look for me, so I was happy to find out they were on a break and I would have some time to cool down and collect myself before the audition began. Filling out the form another girl entered and it was discovered that we had both been booked for the same time, thankfully no knife fighting had to occur. Though i'm not sure my dueling skills would be up to par after living in the city for almost a month and never leaving the apartment after dark. 

Finally I was called. I stepped in to a relatively small room I thought might be the rehearsal space, which to my surprise turned out to be the theatre. I felt very off kilter, and my nuts and bolts teacher Dan Schultz crooned in my head "be present, don't be a jackass." I handed my head shot/resume and shook everyone's hand, commenting on the space and trying to be personable. After being asked what I was presenting today I suddenly developed a bit of a stutter - think Professor Quirrell before he lets everyone know he's been hanging out with Voldemort (can you tell I've been reading those books lately?). After confusing the play my piece was from with Titus Andronicus, the play I was actually auditioning for, I asked to start over in a quite awkward manner of putting my hands on my knees and bending over. If you've spent any time with me in a stressful situation, you know what this looks like. Eventually I was able to spit out what piece I was doing and began. Needless to say, I don't think they were very impressed.

Lesson learned. Though perhaps i'll blame this one on Irene, and the waning moon of Jupiter. 


let's adjust! 

I figured I should do another post, though there isn't much to talk about. I have my first audition on the 27th a the Right Brain Project, for it I have to prepare a side from one show and a classical monolouge for the other two plays in their season. The funny thing was when I got the confirmation email about my audition slot, I responded with "I was also wondering if there was a preferred style of dress for the audition". To my awkward embarassment he revealed to me that he hadn't been asked that question in 10 years, so you know, keeping it real awkward in Chicago since 2011. But i'm glad I did, as I am used to dressing quite nicely for auditions and they are more laid back, I was instructed to just "look like myself". I've begun preparing, but it's something i'm trying not to think too hard about - I know how to audition, this is what i've been training to do. Just have to pretend that i'm at the good ol' Steve's School for Chicks auditioning with all my friends. Who knows - maybe i'll make friends!

 That has been the hardest thing about adjusting to this move - I don't know a lot of people. I keep telling myself that if I can just get through this month I have a lot of good coming the beginning of September. But it's definitely a challenge. I have been working very hard to find a day job as well as auditions and though that does take up a lot of my time it is hard not to focus on the fact that this city is so large, and I went from such a small town with close friends (not to mention college where all of us were sisters) to... well... barely knowing anyone. I've been setting small tasks for myself throughout the week. Monday I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Tuesday was the Magnificent Mile, and so on. One thing I have found through all of this is a connection more to art, to wanting to get out there and audition. I find myself watching movies studying the actors, trying to look at it from their creative point of view, it's something we were told to do in our Film Class. A one Dan Schultz's words float in my head a lot, "don't just say you liked it, figure out why, what did that actor do?" Perhaps this lag in activity will help me when it comes to auditioning. 

So, sorry4eva for this super emo post. Reading over this I feel like instead of squarespace I should be on xanga. 


what an eye opener!

Well today was extremely productive, but also pretty eye opening in to the real world. I had two engagements today: a temp/permanent job agency interview and an open casting call at a modeling agency. I guess i'll start off with the less-artsy but still super important aspect: the day job (dun dun dunnnn).

I had sent my resume in to a few temp/permanent agencies for job placement & thankfully heard back from The Chicago Hire Company the day after I sent my resume in. After a brief conversation about my previous work history & how I am completely new to the city, I was scheduled for an interview the following day (today) at 11 am! This is something extremely exciting today since I have literally been spending most days in my apartment hanging out with my cat, Duke Phillip of Wellington. I took the 151 down to South Water Street and walked over to an immaculate building on East Wacker. After a brief farcical struggle with the elevator I was able to make it up with minutes to spare & can I say it is amazing the people you meet if you aren't afraid to talk. Chatting with the receptionist he told me about his small film production company that is filming a pilot soon! See kiddos? There are artists EVERYWHERE! Anyways, the interview went really well, just going over schedules & likes/dislikes & strengths. After about 15 minutes I was on my way!

First, as requested by Rachael, you can find my expectations of my modeling click here.

So now on to the modeling agency. I had my photos printed, my resume ready, my smile & bare essentials make up on. I'm feeling super fierce with a finger snap included. I'm ready to answer questions. I take the hour & fifteen minute train ride+walk to the agency, come inside & fill out the questionnaire. After about five minutes portfolios were collected to look at while we waited in the lobby. Another five minutes pass & I hear my name called. This.Is.Not.A.Good.Thing. Contrary to what I thought originally. The girl brings me back my portfolio with a "Sorry, you're not what we're looking for. You can go." I had just put on my heels too. So now I had to juggle these pictures, two pairs of shoes, & my broken pride as I shuffled out the door with the other unwanteds. Now this is something that I need to mention, looking around me I realized they ushered all of the normal size girls out. I am by no means fat (unlike Duke Phillip of Wellington who is giving the food bowl a longing glance right now), but I am definitely curvy. I have a healthy figure for my height, I work out every day & only my thighs move independently of my body when I walk - & even those are getting in line. I enjoy a good eat fest with my marine boyfriend when he's in town, I've never turned down something covered in ketchup. I refuse to make myself unhealthy to succeed in this business. & perhaps that will be my downfall. There is never any reason to put your health in danger, in the end it will put your art in danger. As someone who has struggled with an intense eating disorder for over 9 years, this is something I fiercely hold on to now. I think the most surprising thing was that I didn't even get to talk to someone - something I feel pretty embarrassed about now, of course they would do it this way. I just need to readjust my expectations. 

So BMG Models, sorry that you missed this fine piece of ass.