Yes, Graham is now a male model. Will we see him on a package of Pampers soon? Perhaps.
A casting agent in my mama group recently needed cute babies for a Pamper’s print ad. Hey! I’ve got a cute baby; who am I to deny him his chance at fame? So Graham and I showed up at the same Clarion Inn as the infamous last time. I held the diaper-clad boy on my hip and a sign with “Cheris Lifford #247” in my hand. They took a few pictures of us standing in front of a plain backdrop: close-ups, full-length, with and without glasses. Done in five minutes. I felt kind of idiotic and my mouth hurt from smiling. Graham snuggled my shoulder and looked, wide-eyed and unsmiling, into the camera. Ah well.
So I was very surprised when Pampers called to set up a photo-shoot. Rob spent the rest of the afternoon saying, “Yeah! I live with models!”
The next week, while Violet was at school, we made our way to a posh area of town. The house they were shooting in was amazing. (aside: Did you know that if you are rich and live in a posh house with huge oaks, giant windows and amazing light, you can make thousands of dollars a day from production companies renting the space? Then you can become even more rich! Yay!) There was a semi parked outside full of diapers, camera equipment and clothing. Inside there was a huge crew bustling about while a mom and a 15 month old cavorted on a fuzzy white rug. Bob Marley was blaring and the photographer was saying things like, “Oh lovely, that’s great, do that again, oh amazing, he’s adorable! keeping moving, oh yeah, nice, what a cutie” etc. etc. I fed Graham in the kitchen, which was stuffed with equipment and catered food. Everyone talked to Graham, who snuggled shyly into my neck and got strained squash on my shirt.
Then I was ushered back to a room for wardrobe and make-up. The ladies were having a hard time with this assignment because it called for “real women”. The wardrobe lady told me she was running into trouble finding clothes that fit “real women” (hey! clothing manufacturers? are you listening?) and that Pampers wanted to show skin, but not in a sexy way. Hm. I finally ended up in my own peach shirt (strained squash stains and all) and their white linen pants. The make-up lady gave up trying to do my hair because Pampers wanted it to look like a regular mom throwing her hair into a pony-tail and she just couldn’t stop making it look “done-up”. So I put my own hair into a pony-tail. Like a regular mom. Meanwhile the on-site nurse was playing with Graham on the floor next to my feet.
We finally got onto the fluffy white carpet at around noon. Graham was already showing signs of being tired and grouchy. His morning nap had been measly, he hadn’t eaten much and all the excitement was wearing down his reserves. And he didn’t like the white fluffy carpet. My instructions were to get him to gaze into my eyes while keeping my face extremely close to his. And make him smile. The baby whisperer was also there to make him smile. They started with shots of him standing and holding my leg, then moved to ones of me holding him in the air for what seemed like hours. I quickly ran out of tricks for keeping him engaged, especially while listening to the photographer and the baby whisperer giving me instructions. He was much too interested in the camera and all of the people around him. What I mostly remember is the photographer gasping every five seconds, “Look at his skin! Oh my god! His skin! Those eyes! His skin!” Got it. Graham has nice skin.
Maybe 45 minutes in I took Graham to a quiet room for a quick snack and a break. When we came back I realized the whole crew had just been sitting around waiting for us. No pressure, though. We tried again, even moving outside to the patio couch where the wicker furniture was soon deemed “too harsh a texture” for Pampers. Unfortunately, Graham was in love with the wicker and began to protest any attempt to pose him. Also he was clearly disconcerted with the non-stop attention from me; an hour and a half of quality time literally two inches from his face. I think he wanted me out of his personal bubble. He made it clear it was over.
More catered food arrived. I changed, signed away my rights to the photos, got paid and went on my way. I did get to see some of the shots on their computer. Graham looked adorable. Me? Not so much. But it was fun. And I’m spending all that money on myself. HA.