This was the hardest day I’ve had in a long time. But I am sharing this odd story as a form of therapy for myself because I feel horrible–on many levels.
For those who have been following my blog, you know that I’m a writer and public speaker. That’s how I make the majority of my money. I also do other cool stuff like helping out at events, personal assistance, and over 50 modeling. Once in a blue moon I’ll get an acting gig.
My acting experience is limited. I can’t memorize lines, but I am great at improv. Over the past 15 years, I’ve acted in many You Tube commercials and short films. I was the “cool mom” in a Gamin’ commercial, a mom in an Intel commercial, a shopper in a high-end pharmacy, an older version of a young actress, and most recently a mom in a rap video that received over 50K hits. This is to name a few.
I’ve also done a health-related video. It was for a pedometer that tracks your steps. That was what I suspected this was when I was told “health video.” I arrived on set early and it was a rude awakening. I was there to pretend I was someone with a former health issue and miraculously cured by goat’s milk. Not only that, they wanted me to cook and eat lamb.
DID I MENTION, I AM VEGAN?
My gut told me to walk off set right then and there. My brain told me, “You were hired as a professional. This Air B’nB was rented. You can’t walk out last minute, there is no understudy.”
Had the recruiter told me all of this, I wouldn’t have accepted the job. She didn’t. In fact, she was so disorganized, I didn’t even get my lines sent to me until the last minute. I had to learn them on the spot, with no teleprompter!
I was now put in a bad place, so I figured, let me feel it out and try to salvage this gig. I straight out told the director I would not eat lamb, that I was vegan. He seemed okay with that.
I won that round.
But I almost gagged because I had to sit with the dish in front of me. I pushed it away so it wasn’t too close to me. I was almost in tears being so close to a dead animal on a plate. I almost puked.
The director obviously didn’t understand what vegan meant because he thought I’d drink the goat’s milk. He kept asking questions. To make it easy, and move this dreadful shoot along, I lied. I said I was a Buddhist and it was against my religion. We used almond milk and didn’t put the powder in when I was drinking it — only afterwards when I had to shake it up.
Round two — another score for me.
Now here is where it got ugly again. I had to lie about my health. I was NEVER unhealthy in my life. At age 59, I am on no medications and still a size 6. But I had to say I was once “fat” and that goat’s milk helped me lose weight. I also had to pretend the exercises were a struggle as I was doing them, making noises like “whew” and “urgh.” These were super easy exercises. Then I had to rave about how this goat’s milk cured health issues I never heard of!
I said to the director, “How old am I supposed to be? EIGHTY?”
He smiled and said nothing.
Finally, the shoot was over. I was paid and on my way home, fighting back tears. I felt like a heel on all levels. First of all, I let the director down because I was difficult to work with and stood my ground on issues that are important to me. Second, I let down the vegan community because I made this fraud video. And finally, I let myself down because I had to be in a video next to a sacrificial lamb–literally.
When the director briefly left the room, I made a sign of the cross and apologized to the lamb.
Now, everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — who reads this will now think I’m an asshole. Haters will really get their jollies off adding their crappy comments.
And when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
I got an email.
From the recruiter.
She got fired because she didn’t tell the director that I eat meat!!
Reading this took me to Next Level Awful.
I tried to stay positive, took a breath and wrote back that this was a “learning experience” — for both of us. I wished her luck and left it at that.
Moving forward, I would assume in her career as a recruiter she would get the facts straight and let the next actress/actor know what is entailed in a job. I mean, c’mon, even if I wasn’t vegan, what if I had food allergies? And if she is struggling with English, perhaps an interpreter to help her?
On my end, I now know to be more persuasive about gathering facts. I only decided to wing it because the recruiter was struggling with her English. I also assumed maybe she was young and inexperienced. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. When she said “health video” it was my big mistake to false assume it was going to be about an exercise product and not food.
I did my best to make the best of an awkward professional situation and I need to forgive myself.
If you liked this blog, feel free to buy me a kombucha: https://ko-fi.com/maryannechristianomistretta
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: email@example.com.
She is the author of the following books:
“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary
“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You
Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/
Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.
And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA/videos