December 16, 2013

#MyFirst... Fulfilled Wish

Each Monday I will be writing about a First. I will choose the First (first kiss? first drink? first fight? first phobia?)I will post the topic here and write my own little piece about it. And I will invite YOU to write about your own First on your blog anytime during the week. If you have never experienced that particular first, write about why not. And how you feel about that.
Then add your blog post via the linky below, and/or tweet it under the hashtag #MyFirst.

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 got a call back. And then a screen test. And then the meeting with the director and producer. And then a phone call. "They apologise, but they need to see you in a swimsuit," my agent said. "It's set in Queensland - you have to look good in a bikini."

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


23 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the role ... I have actually seen a very short clip of you in that show. It may have been the only role you got ... but you got it!!! Eat your heart out Nicole. (no?)

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  2. I have a confession that you might like - I have never watched that BMX movie that the tall skinny girl with curly red-hair made - but I do remember watching Butterfly Island! :)

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  3. I didn't think I had anything to write for this week's challenge - because I've never really had a wish fulfilled... but then I realised I was staring right at it!

    http://johnanthonyjames.com/post/70122885425/the-good-life-a-wish-fulfilled#.Uq4l5PQW2So

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  4. I remember you mentioning the TV part before... I can't imagine how exciting that would have been - particularly at that age! I'm Nicole's age so I remember her from back then. Just think... it could have been you with the pre-counch-jumping Tom Cruise!

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  5. I KNOW!!! And it really SHOULD have been.

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  6. Your post was heaven. Rhonnifer is awesome.

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  7. Really? Ha! Can't wait to hear about it!

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  8. I'm always serious - even when I'm joking. :)


    I remember Butterfly Island, and have never watched BMX Bandits, but I have watched Bush Christmas... did she beat you for that too? ;)

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  9. Yes she is - I totally have no idea how I lucked out that much! :)

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  10. Oh BMX Bandits is one of my all time faves - especially the sound effects! The camera shows close ups of the the bike wheels as they ride past single file and there's a really classy "schooowh" sound each time a bike goes past!! And when they do the cool sideways skid stop they add car tyres screeching! We went to Tasmania earlier this year and rode down Mt Wellington - I was having a great time doing the BMX Bandit "schooowh" sound every tree and pole I went past!! Admittedly, the other people on the ride (who I'd never met, and who being from Sweden had never heard of BMX Bandits) thought I was little strange......

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  11. Wow Kerri! I never knew. What a talented gal you are. Just look at the good side though, you could have ended up married to Tom Cruise! Ew!

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  12. I refuse to watch it now out of respect for Kerri! ;)

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  13. I take that as a personal slight. :-)

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  14. A memorable wish fulfilled indeed! I thought about this #MyFirst but couldn't think of a good one, my wishes were all too run-of-the-mill or cringing to share. (Sally is adorable :)

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  15. Very envious - if I had a) talent, b) the looks and c) could overcome my fear factor, I would have loved to do this too (so all I can fall back on is memories of school plays). BTW - that pesky bike riding role that Nicole Kidman had is not easily forgotten - see the quote below from today Age (I wonder if Nicole gets tired of the references, maybe you have been saved!) -

    A few weeks ago I was chatting with a few others about “the good old days” of riding bikes when we were kids…. There was even the time when some of us thwarted those bank robbers, led by a girl with curly red hair. Oh wait … that was BMX Bandits.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/executive-style/fitness/blogs/on-your-bike/is-it-safe-for-children-to-ride-on-the-road-20131216-2zfo4.html#ixzz2ncYIr8pI

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  16. What a fabulous story. I hung on every moment. I had an unfulfilled wish of being an actress too. I made it as far as NIDA auditions, which happened to be the morning after Schoolies finished. The auditioners promptly told us they were tired and hung over and unlikely to be doing call-backs, unless someone was exceptional. We weren't. But one of the other auditionees got a major role in a TV series. I am so glad I didn't become an actress - it's completely not me, but it was a dream which got me through high school.

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  17. Nice work Kerri! Congrats on the part of Sally. And you are right, if one wish can be fulfilled, why not others!! I wonder what happened to Nicole?

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  18. I love the lesson you learned...I'm definitely taking that on! :) And that is a lovely story...

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  20. Loving the picture, I've spent a lot of time trying to recognise you in it! After much head scratching, here is my story, http://wp.me/p49Dhy-3H

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