The Time I Auditioned For a Jewel Music Video…

by lizriggs

BHC 0109 Audition 02

It was a sweaty day, the kind that bakes the backs of baby white skin and fuels beads of sweat on the poorly paid workers who hold up signs for banks and new restaurants on the sides of major intersections.

And I was going to an audition for a Jewel music video.

The invitation had been from a boy whose name was saved in my cracked Nokia phone as “Hottie.” He was a guy I’d met a few weeks earlier when he tried to kiss me while my date was in the bathroom. Obviously, this was a classy move and I decided to maintain a distanced friendship with him.

“Will you come with me to an audition today? It’s for a music video. I need a girl to come with me.”

“No thanks.”

“Please? We can drink whiskey before. It’s a video for Jewel. And it’ll be fun; I promise.”

I had nothing else to do that afternoon; I was always interested in free whiskey, and at the very least, I figured I could write about it three years later.

“Whiskey,” I responded. Whiskey.

But, a Jewel music video? This was my chance! Fame! Fortune! VH1’s Behind The Music! All I needed was my ripped up flannel and a pair of jean shorts cut so short you couldn’t tell where my ass began and my upper thighs stopped.

Hottie picked me up in his white truck. He had a bottle of Jack in the back seat that I put to my lips despite the fact that it was 3 in the afternoon on a Tuesday and the car was still moving. People had told me this was legal in Tennessee, and it’s something I’ve never argued with.

“They’re gonna ask you what agency you’re with.”

“Oh great. Really? I’m a bad liar,” I said, shaking my head and pressing on my chest to alleviate the burn of the brown liquid.

“It’s not a big deal. Lots of people don’t have agencies. You just say you’re with me. You don’t need one, really.”

“What agency are you with?”

“Don’t worry about it. Just say you’re with me.”

Hottie’s mystery always crept close to frustratingly dishonest, but, once again, I had to keep my eyes on the prize. A Jewel music video! I was about to get my Hollywood All Access pass! This unexpected opportunity would certainly launch me into a whirlwind of D-List fame. I could meet the stars of The Hills. I would get invited to parties with Michelle Branch. My twitter could get verified!

We walked into my future. There was a winding line of actresses? Models? Porn stars? There was no telling who these people were, or what their actual professions were. I don’t know who finds out about Jewel music video shoots or what kind of people they’re trying to cast in them, but apparently people who want these spots do exist, and they don’t look like Hollywood starlets.

Hoards of late-twenties blonde women stood around holding head shots, and photographers lined up to take polaroids and ask questions that I didn’t know any of the answers to.

“How do I explain that I don’t have a head shot?”

“Just tell them you forgot it,” Hottie said confidently.

“That seems to be, like, the only thing you bring to these things,” I said, looking around at the glossy black and white headshots clasped between fingertips. “If I say I forgot one, they’ll just think I’m an idiot.”

“It’s not a big deal,” Hottie said again. This seemed to be his response to everything, which may explain why at 33 (who knows if he was actually 33) he was still auditioning for Jewel music videos and drinking whiskey at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

We approached a lengthy collapsable table. It wasn’t quite what I’d imagined. There were no gift bags full of luxury items. No snacks. Not even bottled water. Perez Hilton was nowhere to be seen.

“Agency?” A man with salt and pepper hair asked.

Hottie dropped his agency’s name. He handed him a head shot. I stood there empty handed, buzz having been killed by the lack of Hollywood grandeur, looking at him like a girl who’s just been asked to stand outside and Abercrombie and Fitch and spray their cologne at unsuspecting strangers.

“Agency?” he repeated, locking eyes with me.

“Uh. I’m with him. His agency,” I said. “I don’t have a head shot. I don’t know. I’m with him.” I said. It came across about as smoothly as it sounds.

“Alright. And you guys are auditioning together?”

“Yes,” Hottie responded.

Gross. Now everyone in this place thought we were a couple.

The camera guy approached us. He was no older than Hottie, but he looked particularly weathered, with wrinkled cheeks and thinning hair. He was dressed like he had access to some reality television stars-just maybe not those on The Hills.

“Okay, I need you guys to dance,” he said.

Shit, I thought. I should have thought this through.

Hottie grabbed my hand and started to dance with me.

“Okay now I need you guys to talk. Just have a conversation—like you’re flirting. Like you’re enjoying each other.”

Ugh. This was weird.

“What are you two doing Saturday?” the cameraman asked.

Oh my gosh. Was it that easy? Had I done it? Were Lauren Conrad and I about to be BFFs? Was Jewel going to hear me humming in the bathroom and invite me to join her on stage?

“You guys are cute. I’m doing this shoot for a sort of indie romance thing this weekend. I think you guys would be great for it.”

By indie romance, I immediately knew he meant Juno.

I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want to ruin my chances at stardom. So I let Hottie remind him that he had his information and his head shot, and of course I was along for whatever. By this point, I think everyone had pretty much assumed we were married.

We left.

The cameraman never called. We never got called back. I was never in a Jewel music video.

They obviously didn’t want to cast anyone hotter than the songstress herself.

Maybe retelling this anticlimactic tale will get me on the set of The Hills. Who knows.