I am not built for travel. I know several people who travel 2-3 weeks out of every month for work and my respect for them knows no bounds. My flights to and from were less than six hours each and they sucked the life out of me. I’m not a major germophobe, but I felt like everything I touched in the airport and airplane would give me a cocktail of diseases. Because I had a window seat on both flights, I didn’t drink as much water for fear I’d be getting up to pee every half hour. I was dehydrated, hungry, nauseated, and cranky.
Thursday was recapped previously, so I’ll go right into Friday, photo shoot day. I woke up to a gloomy and rainy city with enough time for breakfast, but I hate being rushed so I relaxed in my room until it was time to head to the studio. I was hoping that it would be sunny so I could take a nice, leisurely walk there, but I didn’t want to show up drenched so I cabbed it.
The studio was every bit as NYC studio as you would imagine. Spacious, industrial loft with huge windows overlooking the water. As soon as I walked in I was welcomed by Mary, whom I had been corresponding with previously. She then introduced me to the other Mary, and the rest of the staff charged with making me look camera ready for the day. The mix of nerves, low blood sugar, and high-heeled boots had me close to passing out, so I went over to the breakfast spread and devoured a banana while they finished working on someone else.
First up was wardrobe, where I had to strip down with only a cardboard half-wall shielding me from the rest of the studio. This was clearly no place for modesty. They pulled a few pieces off the racks and held them up to me, asking how I felt about each one, but I told them to put me in whatever they wanted because after all, they’re the experts. We settled on two outfits: a dressy one and a casual one. I won’t give away too much detail here because a) this post would get too long and b) you’ll just have to wait for my story to come out!
Next it was time to do something with the rat’s nest atop my head. The stylist eyed my long, stick-straight Asian hair and said, “hmm, no layers at all, huh? this limits my options…” I KNEW I should’ve gotten my hair done before the trip! But he made do with my long locks while we chatted away about all the different fad diets we fell victim to in our lives before passing me down the assembly line to makeup.
Makeup and I are not friends. The extent of my cosmetic knowledge goes as far as concealer, eyeliner, mascara, and blush. Both the makeup and hair stylist asked me how I normally fix myself up, and I’m like uhhh, I don’t. How about when you want to be fancy? they asked. Uhhh, I don’t. Okay then! But like the true professional she is, found a way to work with my canvas while we chatted away about growing up in Southern California.
Showtime! The photographers were like “You’re a monkey, Derek! Dance, monkey, dance!” and I was pretty much as awkward and uncomfortable as one would expect. Don’t get me wrong, the team was incredibly wonderful and put me at ease as much as possible, but having the spotlight, quite literally, shone on me like that is not my favorite thing in the world.
When I’m asked to smile for the camera, I am exactly like Chandler from Friends when he and Monica were trying to take their engagement photos. Why does that happen to me?! My face ends up looking like a combination of constipated and creepy sex offender. Between takes, the hair and makeup team would rush in and touch me up, and sensing my trepidation, quietly offered me advice and assured me that I looked beautiful. “Such a tiny waist,” I heard someone say. That helped me loosen up for the rest of the photo portion, then I sat back and relaxed while I waited for my interview to start.
If I thought I was uncomfortable during the photo shoot, good grief. Giving an interview for the rolling camera put my inner awkward dork on full display. I’ve always thought I was articulate and well-spoken, but when put on the spot like that? Yeah, no. First of all, I wasn’t exactly put on the spot. I knew they were going to interview me, so why I didn’t prepare anything or practice a lick is beyond me. Mary lobbed softball questions about my weight loss journey, questions to which I normally have specific, long-winded, and scientific answers. But I fumbled over my words, gesticulated more than usual, and most of the time didn’t even answer the question she asked, instead going off on a random unrelated tangent.
My bombing of the interview portion erased almost all of the positive feelings I’d had about the whole thing. I wished so hard I could do it over, but what’s done is done. Again, I was assured that I did fine, and I was probably just being way too hard on myself per usual. Luckily whatever is published is only 60 to 90 seconds long, and I am confident their team of experts will be able to edit and piece together something workable from my film.
And that was it. All in all, what a fabulous day it was. Absolutely everyone I worked with- the stylists, editors, camera crew, production assistants, hell even the studio’s receptionist- were just awesome. The odd thing was that everyone treated me like I was doing them a favor by agreeing to do this. Not a chance! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. I’m not sure when my story will run on the website, it could be several months from now, but of course I will clog up all your social media timelines whenever it does.
The rest of the day and night, I was left to my own devices to explore Manhattan. I didn’t work out at all, but as you know, NYC is a great, walkable city. I traveled on foot as much as possible, even without any destination in mind. On my previous visits, we took cabs everywhere because lugging around 280+ pounds was not easy. It was rainy and damp, but with my hair and makeup done I trolled the streets in my tight ass pants and high-heeled boots like a badass. I’ll be honest, I felt pretty damn hot. And it’s quite an ego boost when the men in New York are very…verbal.
Considering I couldn’t walk down the street without being assaulted by the glorious smells of back to back pizza joints, bakeries, and other such restaurants, my nutrition was pretty decent. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult to pass the halal and pretzel carts by on my way to Blossom Du Jour, a vegan cafe just a few blocks from my hotel. I had several meals from here, including an avocado wrap, pancakes with peanut butter syrup and tempeh “bacon,” and a “tuna” melt with a vanilla cupcake for dessert. Not exactly healthy fare, but I did stop eating when I was satisfied, and I remained veganish, so I think I did pretty well.
Most of Saturday was spent at the airport or on the plane, so I didn’t eat normal meals for fear of how my stomach would be affected en route. I ate a light lunch, then picked up some trail mix and swedish fish for in-flight snacks. Pretty sure a whole bag of swedish fish for dinner doesn’t count as a well-balanced meal, but what can ya do. I didn’t ace the trip like I’d hoped, but I also didn’t go ape shit like last time, and managed to come home to a number lower than my previous weight. I will take my C+ grade and run.
I’m so exhausted from this short trip that I almost don’t want to go back in November. Strangely looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with Ease Into 10K Week 5 along with a weight circuit tonight. Before then, I must tidy up my disaster area of a bedroom, put a load of laundry in, maybe get some work done, and spend a little time with my near-full DVR.