Happy Holidays Family!
By now I know that most if not ALL of my friends and family have already checked me out on MTV's MADE. So now I am free to post my thoughts AND my "scrapbook" of photos from the er....THREE MONTH SHOOT!!!! I had to watch the show twice to process everything and I thought the end result was absolutely phenomenal!!!!
It all began with a phone call......I got a phone call from my manager Greg saying "I just got a call from MTV, they want you to come in and audition for a show that they're casting". So I went in the next day and interviewed with Tori the casting producer for MADE (the show I was auditioning for). She taped me talking and clowning around for what seemed like forever and then told me that the next step was that she had to show it to the execs and she'd get back to us with the results. We left the offices feeling good...because it was a really good audition and it just "felt right" ya know?
Well, I got another call from Greg the next day...."They LOVED the tape and they LOVED YOU....But.....(and somehow I just knew there'd be a but ya'll) But what? I asked.... BUT they want you to wear a wig. There was dead silence on my end of the phone....I had to really pray on this one ya'll because I'm the one who is always saying to never compromise yourself at the expense of others....and that's pretty much how I live. But I also knew that this would be a REALLY GOOD look for me if I got it right. So after much hemming & hawing and discussing it with my loved ones...I decided that the benefits from doing this show pretty much outweighed the drawbacks. So I went back retaped my audition with a wig and that was pretty much it...as soon as that interview was over I got down in the lobby of their building and "Flipped my wig" literally. I took it off so fast it made your head spin..AND it had to be 90 degrees out that day....hell! YOU try wearing a wig in 90 degree heat!!!! NOT FUN!.
To make a long story short....I booked the gig and found out that we'd be shooting the bulk of the storyline in Cincinnati, OH where the young lady was located. They'd shown me a short clip of her audition tape so that I could get a feel for what I was working with.
I didn't think she was an ogre or anything...lol...but in actuality she reminded me quite a bit of myself when I was her age. (Total Jockette - Popular but definitely NOT a girly-girl). But I thought she was pretty immediately....I just knew she was hiding herself under all of those sweats and tee-shirts she'd become comfortable in....I knew it could be done...but I also knew it would be on her and her level of commitment and focus on her goal to get the job done.
The first few weeks of shooting were the craziest weeks ever....I would be in Cincinnati for 5 days and then I needed to fly to Guyana for 5 days for Fashion Week and the BACK to Cincinnati for another 5 days of filming...so I arrived in Cincinnati with like A HUNDRED BAGS!!!!...it was ridiculous. I got to my hotel and got settled in for a moment before I headed out to meet Krystine. I came downstairs and met the "crew" lol...there was only two of them...producers, Michael Isabell & Anne Alvergue, who were also married to one another. We hit it off immediately and after a quick briefing we drove to meet Krystine.
Our first meeting occurred at a thrift store called "Plato's Closet". This is where I met Krystine and her sisters for the very first time. I am sure I must have been a sight to them at 6 ft tall, Giraffe print long dress, with matching yellow accessories....I am sure they didn't know WHAT to make of my big behind...lol. Over the following 5 days, I learned about Krystine's personal style (er...she thought she was into this whole "Rocker Chick" thing but she really hadn't found her niche at that point). After going through her closets and talking to her for a while, I knew we BOTH had our work cut out for us. I gave her some basic model tips, some pumps and some things to chew on while I was away in Guyana stressing that It was all on her to be committed to "Krystine...The Model Project" while I was away...i.e. I could "want it for her" all day long but in the end...She had to want it more!
When I returned from Guyana...cranky with a busted knee (see my Guyana fashion week blog). I didn't see much improvement from when I had left her last week so I had to turn up the heat on my training. The hardest things in the world was going to be teaching her how to be a lady....at all times and being comfortable in her own skin. I taught her the 3 "P's"...Poise, Posture & Personality and told her that this would be the lynchpin in her training....she had to think those 3 P's throughout our weeks together...she had to live it, eat it, sleep it and breathe it...or it would never take hold. Then we went to downtown Cincinnati to meet her new personal trainer, Rocco Castellano. Rocco is a trip ya'll....I liked him almost immediately! I recognized his last name immediately (Cuz a sista reads ya'll) and we chatted about it for a moment...(I swear I had a "Sopranos" moment during our chat...lol) He has this real NY vibe about him and he has a sarcastic sense of humor that I absolutely love!!! Over the next few weeks we worked constantly on her walk, her self confidence and learning how to "Fill up her model bag of tricks"....in addition to her training with Rocco. We set her up with Salsa dance classes, Pole dancing classes, voguing classes and of course...runway training with The Runway Diva!
We had lots of activities crammed into my time in Cincinnati that didn't make the final edit...Like:
Our trip to a real vintage thrift store where we met fashion stylist extraordinare, aptly named..."Hollywood" and he got Krystine to start looking at fashion from another mindset as well as teaching US how to change a blah outfit into something fashionable by doing something as simple as turning a dress backwards and trying it from that angle (Don't laugh ya'll...it actually worked and it would have NEVER crossed my mind to do that in a million years!). This vintage store was fabulous ya'll and I don't usually check out vintage stores because there is usually nothing in my size...(we all know that FAT girls don't give away the really fly stuff cuz...those in the know...already know that TRULY classic pieces NEVER go out of style!!!). Anyway, I was impressed because there were quite a few FABU things in my size and that made it a joy for me to shop....I gotta go back because Hollywood told me that REAL Gems are keep upstairs and it's by appointment only. I copped a really fly mink beret from there...so you know a sista is gonna go back as soon as I can!
We also got the pleasure of hanging out together a few times and we wound up at a Gay Club in Downtown Cincinnati....cuz EVERY BIG GIRL NEEDS A GAY MALE FRIEND....TRUST me when I tell you this! They will NEVER let you step out of your house looking anything BUT fabulous!
That scene in itself was hilarious because I just KNEW that Krystine had never been to a gay bar before...and it would be interesting to see how she'd react if someone hit on her. As it turns out the whole scene was cool and they loved her on site....and there was this one chick in particular who was positively DROOLING when she saw Krystine! She proceeded to follow her all night long...She handled it well but it was the funniest thing in the world to me watching Krys run from this chick all night!!!! But we had a blast anyway...and my girl held her own all night long. She even danced with a group of people for a while...And more importantly...she made a new friend, named N8 (pronounced..."Nate"...get it?) I was very proud of her...She seemed to be moving along nicely.
So you can only imagine my frustration when weeks later...I saw that Krystine wasn't where she needed to be as a model or where she was supposed to be weight wise. I realized that old girl was giving me the okey doke and wasn't applying herself like she should have been. I personally had begun to voice my opinion that she didn't really want the goal as badly as she said and most of the time she was going through the motions....after weeks of training, talking and rehearsing....I still wasn't seeing any thing close to a plus sized model.
And then I got pissed off.
It came down to us finally having to have a "sit down" so that I could figure out what was REALLY happening here. I knew she was competitive as hell and I just didn't understand why she wasn't applying a winning effort here. Well, our "Sit Down" turned out to be a nearly two hour, tear filled conversation...that was absolutely imperative to her turning things around. We talked about her dreams, her family, her pain and her need to please everybody. The last thing being her achilles....in trying to please EVERYONE....she had nothing left for Krystine. Krystine was never pleased. Once I got her around to seeing that and accepting herself AS herself...it was smooth sailing after that. By the time I got back to Cincinnati....my girl was ON FIRE!!!! She was looking good, feeling good and committed to being in "Model Mode" most of the time. I was really pleased with what I was seeing as we got closer to the competition.
I fell in love with her family....they are very close knit and I LOVE That! It's how I grew up. They have a magnificent home (they really do ya'll!), a cute little dog named Hercules, 2 cats and her dad, made sure to have an ice cold beer waiting for me after taping wrapped for the day. And her mom, Mary...was just a joy to be around...lol..she cried a lot. I gave her sisters my own personal nicknames based on what I saw in them or something they either said or did. Her oldest sister Elizabeth was christened "Soccer Mom", middle sister Michelle, was christened "Waffle Girl" (lol...she knows why!) and baby sis Kathleen was christened "Mascara Girl" and Krystine....well...I didn't really give her an "official" nickname but I called her "mama" most of the time! I even had an opportunity to meet Krystine's Uncle Jim...he was a blast as well. I met a lot of KK's friends and family and I think I tripped most of them out with my "disappearing-reappearing wig" act.
I think the highlight of my time in Cincinnati was taking my rental car and driving to Kentucky in search of a "Joe's Crab Shack"! I had been seeing those commercials in NY about the sweet, sticky, garlic crab legs and I was determined to have some. So on a whim I went and I must tell you....Those were the best crab legs I have had in a long time!!! I had that sticky sauce all over my hands and I was licking it off like I was in heaven. I know I must have been a sight like that. My crab came with parslied, garlic potatoes and ear of freshly steamed corn on the cob!!!! OMIGOD!!! I thought I had died and gone to heaven...I was so into my crab legs that I didn't see the waitress approaching me. She rolled up on me in mid lick and said "Aren't you that woman from FAT Chance?" I just laughed and said "yes, but if you tell anyone that you saw me licking my hands...I'mma hafta kill you!"...she hadn't walked away good before I resumed diving into my food. It was so good that I allowed the waitress to con me into leaving her a REALLY BIG TIP! (The bill was only like 20 bucks!). So good that "Team Kauffman" (Anne, Michael, Rocco, Krystine & myself) had our last dinner in Cincinnati back there....complete with the most AMAZING desserts!
Finally, it was time for us to leave the city of Cincinnati...where they eat spaghetti with chili & cheese on top....to head out to the West Coast where the forest fires where still raging. We arrived at the madness called LAX in the early afternoon. We headed straight for the car rental place and the line was RIDICULOUS!!! It was like waiting to ride in Disneyland to get a car. When I finally got to the window....I was told there'd be a wait until a car would be available. Which was fine...didn't really bother me too much. I never travel with wig on and this time it worked in my favor. A sister called me over to her counter and asked "Are you still working with Mo'Nique?" I told her the show was on hiatus but yes, I was still working with her...meanwhile she was typing in her computer the whole time. When we finished chatting, she said "You can go pick up your car now". I walked to the lot and home girl had hooked me up with a white convertible!!!! Now I know that probably doesn't sound like much to most of you all....but I HAVE NEVER DRIVEN A CONVERTIBLE BEFORE AND I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DRIVE ONE!!!!!!!! So needless, to say I was Giddy when I pulled up front. Anne, Mike & KK got their SUV and I followed them to our hotel. We spent the next days with KK as she finished her various steps in the makeover process. Krystine got new eyelashes (Fierce!!!)that took like 2 hours to apply, she got her brows waxed and she got a "fake tan"...lol...I wasn't really feeling THAT idea until I saw it. We shot on Rodeo Drive the night before the competition and it was fabulous...I knew in my soul that my girl was ready!
Ummm...the next morning...I got a monthly "visitor" and was an absolute crank box. Anne was in her sixth month of pregnancy AND her laptop had been stolen from her hotel the night before to boot....so she wasn't in the best of moods either. I had to go back to my room and say a brief prayer to get through the day because I knew it would be a long one. She had a makeup artist come by the morning of the competition and by the time I got back to her room...Mama's face was "Beat for the Gods!!!" I mean she was DONE! We got outside the Galleria Mall and BABY!!! There were a million sisters out there on that line...they had been lining up since 3am. There were women of all ages, the youngest contestant on line was 13..and I didn't have the heart to tell her she was too young....but she was already a beautiful juicy girl at 13! I also ran into the ALWAYS DONE Sara Barrios (Mo'Nique's FAT Chance - Season 2 Top 10 finalist)and her beautiful mom. There were beautiful women in all shapes, sizes and nationalities. Different looks and different mindsets...you could tell who came there to win....lol...I also saw a man on the line too....although he looked a little crazy to me and I don't know how he made it to the final line without anyone stopping him....but he did. We were outside on that line for AT LEAST 2 hours before we got inside...but I gotta say...my girl definitely stood out from the pack. We got to chat outside with David Hasselhoff and his daughter Haley...they were good sports about the whole shooting thing.
We got inside and their was STILL at least another hour wait before she could walk. I was surprised that quite a few folks recognized me and without my wig. But photographer Michael Anthony was running the show with his mohawk and energetic personality. We also found at that American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones, was one of the celebrity judges. The Torrid folks went out of their way to make ALL of the ladies feel special that day and that's mad cool ya'll.
So if you saw the show then you already know the results...Krystine made it into the top 10 finals...as was here goal. So now it's up to you all...go to the Torrid Website (www.torrid.com) and place your vote for my girl Krystine Kauffman to become the new face of Torrid!
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Check out what we COULDN'T fit into the final edit on "Life After Made":
And if you DIDN'T catch the show on TV...you can catch it here...Enjoy!