Why am I Here? Who are These People? Why am I Wearing These Shoes?

Who really cares?

Well, the real reason why I’m here is because I wanted to find a new platform from which to unpack some of the old and new ideas, questions and thoughts in my head that have not, until now, been able to be addressed, analyzed, teased out or even made sense of over the years.  Sometimes, new situations arise without our being given the time to assimilate what has just transpired before and they continue to run back to back until you find yourself asking, “What just happened?”  Anyway, they say that to make any sense of your thoughts, feelings or experiences, you need to be able to be reflective and write them down.

I suppose it all started out during the early eighties, when I er,  fell into modeling quite unintentionally.   I realise how casual that sounds, but I didn’t want to say I was “discovered”, because I always thought that sounded really poncy. OK, I was discovered.  There I was, off in my own world, dancing away with my sister at a club, when I noticed this woman in the background, following me  everywhere with her gaze.  Every time I moved to a different part of the dance floor, there she was, right in front of me, examining me through the dark haze.  At some point down the line, I’d had enough and headed for the stairs that led to the bar.  But suddenly, there she was again, this time right in front of me, hand extended.  “Hi, my name’s Becky Bain and I’m the Fashion and Beauty Editor for Look Now Magazine.”  Before I could respond, she continued, “We’re currently running a Road Show Competition for the Face of ’84. May I take some pictures and enter you?”  “I beg you’re pardon?” I asked, as my eyebrows raised so high, they nearly parted my hair. “I mean may I enter you for the Competition?” She quickly finished.  Turned out she had been trying to see if the night club atmosphere hadn’t been playing with her eyes and that I wasn’t truly hideous close up under proper lighting.

The rest, as they say, is history.  I got into the finals, got signed up with a model agency and 13 years and  several model agencies later, I began my new career…as a Mum. Now that was a real eye opener. Moving from watching what you eat ( I don’t care what any of those models say, we don’t all eat whatever we like and not gain weight) and working out religiously to watching yourself balloon and grow and feel heavier was like being in a slow car wreck, especially as you no longer had any control over what was happening to your body.  Nature was taking its course and I eventually thought, sod it, I’m going to eat that entire jar of black olives, followed by that double avocado toasted sandwich with a handful of chocolate thrown in for good measure and frankly I don’t care how ungracefully I devour that bag of cool, inviting, refreshing oranges from the fridge (it was then the middle of July and I had a 7lbs radiator with no thermostat permanently strapped to my belly…he wasn’t due for another two months), even if I do look like a ship-wrecked savage who just discovered food for the first time in 17 days. (OK, technically, I’d have been dead, but let’s not lose sight of the point, shall we?) Well, that was that. After I had my son, I decided I really didn’t want to go back to pounding the pavement on cattle calls (castings/auditions) and prancing around the gym, so I took to gentler exercise whilst raising my kid.

Then monotony set in.  One day turned into a week, a month and two months seemed like one very, very long blur.  I could no longer recall what I did the day before, for I’d lost some of my brain cells giving birth.  I decided when he got to a few months that I would ‘take up something’.  I had no idea what that was yet, but I was looking…I was looking.  That’s when I stumbled across an Aromatherapy massage therapy course.   In fact, the next few months and years became a series of courses, from massage to creative writing, courses in Media Business, Media Law, Sit Com Writing, Documentary Making and 16mm Filmmaking.  Then I was ready for the big stuff.  I enrolled on a degree course in Media Arts and Radio Broadcasting, at this point, my son was in nursery.  In the middle of my 2nd year exams, I had to move house and find my son a primary school.  I was then invited to do a MA in Film, which I leapt at. Only this was a night course.

When I look back, I have no idea how on earth I managed it…running up and down stairs and train platforms with a back pack full of books, carrying a buggy, rushing to creches, my mother’s place (God bless her), nurseries, primary schools, after school clubs, all whilst studying, writing essays, keeping house and bringing up baby.  To add insult to injury, I later took up a further teaching degree and lectured in Media for three years whilst doing much of the same behind the scenes. Don’t ask me how I managed to fit in all the hours of study, lesson planning, research, marking, report writing with family life, because I really couldn’t begin to tell you.  It seems like it was somebody else who did all that stuff, not me.  I guess the bottom line is that you just get on with what is presented to you, simply because you have no other choice.  Well you do, actually.  You could just sit on your arse every day and do nothing.

Why am I wearing these shoes? Because I can no longer sprint from casting to casting, leaping on to open backed Route Master buses nor up and down London Underground escalators in my stilettos with such wild abandon, so I’m wearing ballet shoes and fleece-lined fashion boots these days, because they feel wonderful. And flat.