I rushed to the audition from a busy lunch shift, nervous but excited about the promise of booking another commercial. Having not booked anything in a year, this audition had more riding on it for me than I cared to admit. Pep-talking myself in my head, I kept repeating phrases like you got this and be confident and you are enough. Basically, if it was ever featured on a poster for a fifth grade classroom, it crossed my mind at some point on my journey to the audition...You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I finally arrived and did the "responsible actor thing" by going to the bathroom first to check myself: Check that there was no kale in my teeth, check that the wind hadn't completely ruffled my carefully curled coif, check that my coral blouse wasn't wrinkled ("Wear something that POPS on camera! Perhaps a jewel tone? Maybe something warmer since you have brown eyes?"). To my right, I saw another "me" with different coloring. Accessibly pretty, girl next door, fair skin dappled with adorable freckles, artfully brushing her long auburn hair. She glanced at me with her green eyes, and I attempted a polite smile that probably read more of a murdery smile. I gathered my things and took my place in the waiting room.
I walked in on two other girls animatedly talking to each other about their most recent ventures in "the industry". They swapped stories about student films they had booked, storefront theatres they had worked at. One of them had a giant hipster hat on and metallic silver oxfords, while the other sported a purple sweater and unfortunate olive green tights. (The breakdown said "quirky". May work at Nordstroms. Trendy Millenial. I wore a coral blouse and leather leggings. To each their effing own.) Red-headed slut (the girl from the bathroom) walked in and sat across from me. She nestled into her seat with grace, like a cat readying itself for a nap. She was at home here. She had this.
Her phone suddenly rang and she answered, her voice low, crouching out of the waiting room and into the hall. The other two girls auditioned, and once red-headed slut finished her phone call, she resumed her feline position. The session runner then exited the room to refill her absurdly large water bottle, and RHS (red-headed slut) exclaimed "Excuse me. I don't believe I have the right sides for this." with just a twinge of panic.
"Oh that's alright, hon. I'm gonna go refill my waterbottle and I can go ahead and make you a photocopy."
A silence fell over the small room that felt like it was shrinking more and more the longer I waited. So like the idiot I am, I attempted to break the tension and offer help.
"You can look at mine if you want. I didn't even get them until late last night, so I really have no clue what I'm saying." I was lying, of course. I knew exactly what I was saying. I knew I was selling the cone-cinnamon-twist-a-lot, and could say that ten times fast. But in the hopes of making RHS more comfortable and confident, I offered her my dented, dirty white iphone 5c to look over.
"I'm fine thank you...who's your agent?"
She replied with a more impressive name.
"I was just like, making sure that they didn't send it to you and not me. Like, if we had the same agent."
"Yeah, no. That'd be a bad move on their end. If they, you know did that."
RHS then takes out her dent-free rose gold iphone and dials what can only be the most pressing call ever, given that I'm about to audition and she could have made this very call in about ten minutes, once both her and my auditions were over. I was confused as to why she didn't politely leave the room as she had last time, but I quickly put the pieces together.
"Hey so get this. Turns out I didn't need a callback, they just gave me the lead. I know. But the only thing is, this means we have to reschedule our LA trip." She moaned with mock disappointment.
Aw heyell naw. NAW. Here's what we don't do. We do NOT power play other people in the audition room. We do not go out of our way to make someone else feel small so we can feel good. We offer help, we remain professional. We don't need to all pretend to be friends the way musical theatre kids feel like they have to do. I want to book the job as much as you do, right? But to sabotage someone else by attempting to break their focus and make some bullshit phone call (if it was even a real phone call), is not okay. I have no idea who ultimately booked the DQ commercial, but I can say I ended up having an audition I felt great about, red-headed slut be damned. I've since had fantasies about shaving her head, but I thank her for teaching me a valuable lesson, which is that the audition room is no place to show off. Wait until you're in front of the camera, mmkay honey?