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A Story 2013-02-27 00:09:01 Reply

It's utter shit, I know.

Anastasiya Belaya has to do dinner with her agent at this so-called classy five-star restaurant downtown and she'll sit for maybe an hour or two to hear how she hasn't been on the runway nearly enough lately and how her publicity is suffering because of it and how she needs to get out there and make herself accessible and known, despite the fact that she spends pretty much every waking moment on the runway, and that her publicity is at an all-time high, and forget the fact that she's the most accessible model there is. After this berating, after all this abuse, she has to be uptown by eight for a party she'd been invited to and which her agent had so graciously said she could make, even though she'll have to be up the next day bright and early to do a shoot for some catalog of some magazine she can't care enough to remember the name of.

It's classy, so she should dress classy, that's what she's told, but for the life of her she can't not wear this little black dress she's had stashed away since Spring, the one with the cut-outs around the shoulder and neck and with the hemline that's less than mid-thigh, so unless she wants to let the tabloids know whether or not she shaves, it's recommended she keeps her legs closed like a vise or crossed. She'll pair it with heels and a clutch and jewelry that's silver and gems.

Arrival is key here, she's also told. Her agent made this date so no doubt he's tipped off the paparazzi that the Anastasia Belaya, only the hottest model to come out of Russia in, like, ever, will be meeting him there for lunch.

So, when the plain black car pulls up and her driver, his name's not important, circles around and opens her door, she uses both hands to hoist herself out, stands tall as soon as her feet touch concrete, makes a show out of straightening her dress. She straightens her driver's tie and she has to keep this up for at least fifteen seconds or the cameras flashing off to the right will miss it, and she can't have that.

Then she says, with that accent of hers, "You don't mind waiting, do you? I'll only be a minute."

Her smile, it's sweet. Her smile, it's a lie.

She turns and walks with her pelvis to the door, has to do this swing thing that all the other models do except she has to do it all the time, knows after having it drilled into her head no less than ten-thousand times that she should always walk like she's going down the runway.

All this going through her head. How to stand, how to talk, how to hint at romance between her and her driver when there isn't any.

If she should be thinking all of this while crossing the street and, God forbid, be hit by a car that couldn't wait five minutes to let her crotch-walk across.

She doesn't open the door, someone does it for her, and this frees her up time to turn to the cameras and smile, wave, blow a kiss. Give a wink.

Inside, it's beautiful, all giant chandeliers and gold trim on the dark wood everything. She meets her agent at a table with red cloth draped over it and he's already ordered for her, so kind of him. A salad, because she's watching her weight.

Forget that he has a steak, that he's scarfing down a basket of rolls, a glass of wine. She'll settle for her water.

Forget that he has a receding hairline and the mustache of a fifties porn-star.

Forget that he has about the most obnoxious voice int he world, literally, just horrible.

Sit down, smile, ask how he is, say she's fine, just taking in New York City while she's here and not somewhere else, like all those cities she has to visit because people want realism nowadays, so you can't just fake Rome, or Paris.

Listen to him as he tells her the fifty-million shows she has scheduled already aren't enough and she needs maybe fifty-million more to make an even billion and that'll be great, won't it?

Just fucking peachy, she resists saying.

All the while she's thinking about her food that she's having trouble eating because, in the business of being beautiful, food is no longer just food; it's calories. So she doesn't have a salad on her plate, she has a plate of calories. Three-hundred and fifty to be exact, if the menu is correct. And for a few extra dollars you get this gourmet thirty-two calories on the side.

After three bites, she's done. After three bites, she wants to vomit.

From here, it's crucial her exit is perfect. She knows this because her agent tells her before she stands up. So walking towards the door, it's good to swing her hips, better if she does this while stealing a glass of wine off a waiter and pay for it with a kiss on his cheek.

Because, she has to be flirtatious. Because, she has to be sexy. Because, her agent says so.

When did she stop living and start acting? When did her entire life become a stage?

Drink this all in one go, his voice in her head says. You're Russian, and Russians are all drunks, right? So it's important to appeal to your ethnic base. So she does, she drinks it all in one go while walking, hands it to another waiter before she leaves, and outside, she walks so perfectly to the car it's like she's approaching the podium to accept an award.

Make sure the window's rolled down, blow a second kiss, then drive, drive, drive. Faster, faster, faster.

And, scene.

Home is a penthouse suite at the moment, that she bought because of the hardwood floors and never decorated, so it's all scarce and Zen-like, at least, that's what the papers said when they interviewed her here, on a piece that was meant to let the public feel like they "knew" her.

But they don't know her.

She takes off her dress, throws it in the trash, can't risk wearing it by mistake later and being seen in the same thing twice. She walks to her bedroom in panties and stockings and heels, throws the clutch on the bed before she joins it.

Naked, she feels vulnerable, not shrink-wrapped in some expensive piece of fabric that hides her, protects her, from the world.

Forget this, however.

Just think that, in two hours, there's a party that she doesn't want to attend, that she will because she's told to.

So she can sleep for thirty minutes, shower for another thirty, fuss over her outfit for an hour and still have time to be fashionably late.

Protect the Muska.