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Today's topic is My First... Fulfilled Wish
I was thirteen years old and I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be an actress desperately. You know - with that passionate, yearning, my-life-will-be-over-if-it-doesn't-happen need that only a teenager can feel.
I enrolled in acting classes, and my mum schlepped me out there every Saturday morning for two years. (One of my fellow students was an extremely tall, thin girl with frizzy red curls. Her name was Nicole and she was really very good. I often wonder what became of her.)
About a year into my 'career', it was time to find an agent. My mum looked in the Yellow Pages, and took me along to an office full of pictures of famous-looking children. A maternal looking woman peered at me over her glasses and scrutinised my head shots.
"This one is nice," she said, indicating a photo of me in a blue and white striped V neck. Then she rejected a pic of me in an eighties-style headband. "This one makes your head look too big," she said dismissively. And she was right, of course, but come on, it was the eighties. My head was supposed to look big!
Shortly thereafter my agent began sending me out to auditions. One after the other. Week after week after week. Auditions for TV commercials, for bit parts in films, for guest roles in TV series, for a starring role in Sons and Daughters. I wanted them so badly. I put my heart and soul into each audition - even the one for Outback Vampires, which I couldn't determine was a comedy or not.
I got nothin'. Not a single job.
Then, one day, the Big Audition. I got a call-back for the lead role in a new Australian movie called BMX Bandits. The premise sounded pretty lame - some kids on bikes - but it was a lead role in a movie! I did the call back. And then I did a screen test. And then I met with the director and producer.
And then I heard the dreaded words. "You came runner up," they told me. Some girl called Nicole got the part.
I was gutted. I considered giving up. But I didn't. I persisted. Audition after audition. Week after week. My mother deserved a medal. I deserved a role in a McDonald's commercial. A guest part as a corpse on The Young Doctors. ANYTHING.
And then, another Big Audition. A lead role in an eight part mini-series for the ABC. Butterfly Island. I was auditioning for Sally, the nearly-eighteen year old who wants to become a flight attendant. I was fifteen. I didn't know why my agent sent me. But she did, and I gave it my best shot.
|And there I am. Sally. That's Bob, my boyfriend. Bit of a spunk.|
I didn't eat for a week. I borrowed a black, faux-leather two-piece. And I went back to the office and paraded around in my cossie in front of those men for all I was worth. It was terrifying. Then, abruptly, one of them held up his hand. "Thank you, that's great, you can go get dressed now." Which I did.
And then they called me back in. "We are definitely going to use you in the part of Sally," he said.
Oh my god. I felt it. Oh god, how I felt it. A wave, a delicious rush of joy, rolling over me from my limbs up to my head. It was happening. It was real. It was intoxicating. It was pure thrill.
I got the part! I GOT THE PART!
It was a natural high. I flew out of that office and I levitated through the next days and weeks. To this day, that moment back in 1984 remains one of the greatest of my life. And I feel so grateful for having had it. It was magical. It was my own personal Oscars moment. I was crap in the TV series, and I never worked again as an actress, but I got that part. And I loved every minute of it.
Besides, that whole episode taught me something important. If one of my wishes could be fulfilled, then others could too. And that is a lesson indeed.
Next week's topic: My First... Time Drunk