Sunday, March 8, 2015
That Time I Thought We Were Going To Be Abducted
When I was pursuing my makeup artist career it was very important to build a good portfolio both for my website and to show potential clients. I was an active member of a website, that shall remain nameless, that was a way for aspiring models, photographers, makeup artists, and stylists to connect and collaborate. A photographer reached out to me that he was doing a photo shoot one evening and was looking for a makeup artist to do the model's makeup. In exchange, I would get professional photos for my portfolio.
I looked at the photographer's profile which included a lot of his work which was a bit racy. A lot of lingerie and swimsuits but he did say he would take a few head shots of the model to feature my makeup for my photos. I reluctantly agreed because I figured in the closeups nobody would have any idea what was going on for the rest of the photo shoot.
The day of the shoot the photographer had called me that the model canceled but if I wanted to bring a friend and do her makeup he would take photos for me. I was very clear that whoever I brought would not be doing lingerie or swimsuit and that I was really just interested in getting head shots. He agreed but jokingly said have them bring their swimsuit just in case. I laughed it off.
I somehow convinced my sister to model for me and go to this guy's home. Now, we are not completely clueless. I knew potential dangers here and we did bring my husband along. Hooray for common sense! I literally had to drag them both but along they went.
We get to his condo/apartment and inside was his wife sitting on the couch watching America's Next Top Model (go figure!). I thought okay this can't be too bad. He said he studio was in the basement and downstairs we all went. The walls on both sides if the staircase was plastered in photos of half naked girls he had photographed in the past. A bit creepy for a middle aged guy who's married and all the girl's looked in their early 20's. If I was his wife I wouldn't have been okay with this.
We get downstairs and he starts taking photos. After he took a bunch of my sis and I he asked us to change. He had a stack of cartons that served as some sort of pseudo wall that we were to change behind. I knew he couldn't see us but in retrospect I wouldn't at all be surprised if he had a camera rigged back there.
The rest of the shoot was completely awkward. He kept asking my sis to unbutton her pants and pull them down a little and asking if she wanted to model in a swimsuit. We tried to be as friendly and firm as we could be and refused to do anything of the sort and I even reminded him that I was completely up front about only being interested in head shots. I was so glad my husband was there because if this guy was this brazen with my husband there would he have been forceful if he wasn't there?
The whole situation was completely creepy between the unassuming housewife sitting upstairs, the walls plastered with photos of half naked chicks, the creepy basement and pushy photographer. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. What made matters worse was that once we were out we had trouble finding our way out of this gated community. Every gate we got to was completely locked. We saw an arguing couple of an older gentleman and what looked to be a mail order bride on the side of the road and other strange people. We truly started to believe this was some sort of commune for freaks and they locked us in. My husband was even beginning to get a bit unnerved. We finally found an open gate after about 30 minutes of circling this community and sped out of there.
We laugh about this whole experience today but at the time it was quite scary. My sister and husband still will not let me live this down. I am extremely thankful that I was smart enough to bring my husband because if he wasn't there this could have had a different outcome. I am not saying this photographer was going to do anything to us but you never know. I urge others to be smart in their decisions and always let at least one person know where you are going and try to bring someone else if possible. Be safe out there! xoxo