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by acwhitehouse 

Posted: 18 November 2007
Word Count: 2025
Summary: A young girl, desperate for fame and fortune, waits for a magazine interviewer to arrive.
Related Works: Love child • 

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As she sat in the gleaming living room of a penthouse apartment that she couldn’t really afford, the young woman shivered and debated whether or not she should take off her top. If so, she should really turn up the thermostat a notch. Not too much - the nipples should remain pert but, on the other hand, goosebumps were a definite no-no. Her agent had set up the magazine interview. She decided to call him and ask what she should do.

Back on the sofa, with only a couple of minutes to spare, she has the go-ahead. The agent said he thought it was a great idea. After all, there are so many instant popstars, WAGs and IT-girls around at the moment and it’s hard to find a way to stand out.

“I reckoned,” she had said on the phone, “well I sort of reckoned that if I answered the door topless, you know, like I was getting dressed or somefink, then it would catch their attention. Wot d’you fink?”

“Good girl, yes,” he’d replied, “Now you’re starting to think like a star.”

“It’s a woman coming though, innit? I mean I don’t want to look like a tramp, do I? You sure it’s a woman?”

“Oh yes, I spoke to the editor of the magazine yesterday. The writer coming to see you this morning is called Michelle – lovely girl – you’ll like her.”

“Okay then. I’ll ring you later, yeah? Let you know how it went.”


And so there she waited on the taut white leather that was beginning to stick to the backs of her thighs. She began to wonder if the shiny silver miniskirt really was the right thing to wear, and if maybe she should change again. The stylist whom her agent had hired had taught her a few simple rules for choosing outfits, but what went with boobs? There probably wasn’t time anyway. She suspected she might be paying for the stylist herself, although she could never get a straight answer from anyone when it came to money.

There was a knock at the door. Her breathing started to quicken. The blood pounded in her ears. She had already worked out what her opening line was going to be (“Hi, I’m just trying to work out what on earth to wear. Won’t you come in? Don’t mind these, [indicate breasts.] They’re nothing but trouble, I call them my ‘girlfriends’!”) But now it just sounded so stupid. She really didn’t think she could say it.

‘Oh God,' she thought, 'what am I going to do? What am I going to say to her when she comes in?’

But it was only the man for the electricity meter. She was extremely glad she’d looked through the spy-hole before opening up.

Hastily, she grabbed a creamy velvet trench-coat from the hall cupboard and wriggled into it. The tags were still on it and they scratched her bare neck. She was beginning to feel an uncomfortable dragging sensation caused by going bra-less for too long.

‘Maybe I could put the bra back on?’ she thought. ‘Would that have the same effect? No, I’ll stay as I am.’

“Morning, morning!” said the meter-reader cheerily. “Just off out are you? Won’t keep you a minute. Busy lady I expect. In the kitchen is it? Most of them are in this building. Yes, there’s the one I’m after. Yes, all done. Not too painful now was it? Must dash. See you later dearie.” And as quick as that he was gone, clicking the door shut behind him.

The girl exhaled slowly, sitting back down on the sofa. She noticed a soft roll of grey dust on the cream and brown rug at her feet. It must have been sucked from under the sofa by the closing of the door. She wondered whether or not she should pick it up. She ought to take the coat off too, she thought. That writer-woman would be here any minute. But now she had to think of something different to say too. It was so hard. She wished she could ring her mum.


She’d once read that Marilyn Monroe had opened the door to a reporter in her dressing gown – ‘bathrobe’ they had called it - American of course. In the middle of the interview she had asked ‘Mind if I brush my hair?’ The interviewer said no, of course she didn’t mind.

“The next thing, this interviewer right? She looks up from her writing to see Marilyn Monroe… Only Marilyn-bloody-Monroe, sitting there on the sofa with this hairbrush, and she’s only brushing her pubes! That interviewer right? She said she was ‘sickened’, but that was like the fifties or somefink wasn’t it? Different now, innit?”

That was what she’d told her old school-friend when she’d first come up with the idea of the topless interview. She wouldn’t stay topless of course. She’d invite the woman in, lead her into the walk-in wardrobe, full of designer labels she could barely pronounce, and quickly slip something on. It was the first impression that counted, she had decided.

“Kill two birds with one stone, yeah? I make an impression, get meself noticed AND I show her the clothes at the same time. It’s one of those win-win situations, innit?”

The friend had been sceptical but her lack of enthusiasm had been put down to jealousy. After all, the agent had often warned her ‘People will change, you can’t trust them anymore, the papers will be after them, wanting them to sell their stories, old photos, anything they’ve got. You’re a commodity now. You need friends that understand you – the NEW you.’

Perhaps she wouldn’t call that girl again for a while. Perhaps they needed a break from each other, just until things had settled down.


It had been such a whirlwind of novelty since she’d won the contest; new flat (‘apartment’ she corrected herself), new hairstyle, new make-up, new clothes, a new car that she couldn’t drive. Paperwork to sign, endless paperwork – she’d long since given up trying to read any of it. There had been parties, photo-shoots, red carpets; that had been the first three months anyway. Now the album was out and it hadn’t done as well as they’d hoped, according to her agent. Her profile needed a boost – that’s what he’d said – so he’d set up this teen-mag piece.

“Nothing complicated my dear,” he’d said, “just ‘what’s your favourite colour?’ and ‘whom would you most like to meet?’ It’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure you look the part, there’s a good girl.”

The good girl stood up and returned the coat to its hanger in the hall cupboard. There were at least ten coats in there, more than half of which she’d never worn. Every week the stylist arrived with another armful of goodies – it had been exciting at first, like Christmas all the time. When she caught sight of the price tags she didn’t even dare wear some of them out of the house. She didn’t leave the flat very often anymore anyway – too many paps and nowhere much to go.

She still hadn’t thought of anything to say. Worse than that, she suddenly realised, she hadn’t worked out which top she would choose to put on once she got the writer-woman into the wardrobe.

“Shit,” she said to herself, and skipped off to find the one she’d been wearing before the electricity man came. No, it was crumpled. She’d have to find something else. “Shit, shit shit!” What had the stylist said about metallics? Never mix colour with metallics? ALWAYS mix colour with metallics? She couldn’t remember. She spotted a grey cashmere jumper to her left and decided it would have to do. Grey and silver were similar enough – she didn’t think that could be wrong.


Back to the sofa. Check the clock. This woman was late already. Should she call her agent again? No. She suspected he might be getting a little bit annoyed with her. This HAD to go well. If it didn’t… It didn’t bear thinking about. She’ll be back in Croydon before the cd hit the bargain bins. The girl decided to stop worrying about what she should say. She’d just say whatever came into her head and hope it didn’t sound too ridiculous. The writer-woman would be clever, she expected, probably been to university and everything. What if the article just made her out to be a complete idiot? What if the woman didn’t know about the Marilyn Monroe thing?

‘No, wait,’ she thought, ‘what if she DOES know about it and just thinks I’m copying what someone’s done before? Then she’ll think I’m a right sad git.’

That muck on the rug was annoying her. She may not have been sure what else she was paying for but she was certain she paid for the cleaners. She decided to have a look around and see what else had been missed.

She tensed her small muscles to shift the sofa backwards off the rug. Filthy! It was thick with dust underneath, not to mention coins, fag-ends, a used condom. She was going to have words with the cleaners about this. She eased her expensively manicured fingers into the crevice where the seat cushions met the back. She felt grit and something sticky. She moved on to the kitchen, in which she had never cooked more than toast, to wash the crud out from under her nails. The fridge slid out easily on its castors. Grease, hair, the lid off a Pot Noodle – they were having a laugh! Taking advantage! These fat foreign women who looked at her sideways and muttered in disapproving tones that she couldn’t understand. They reminded her of her mother - her mother who had always kept everything spotless, germ-free, scoured. Her mother who hadn’t understood why she wanted any of this; who kept wittering on about ‘plan B’ and ‘having something to fall back on’. Her mother, who hadn’t believed in her. Well, she’d showed them alright. She’d showed all of them.

She checked the other rooms: bedroom, bathroom, seething with the sheer betrayal of it – to take her money like that and then not do what they were paid to do – it was obscene. Maybe she should get her agent to talk to them. They would probably just stare at her in that way they had. They might quit. Then she’d have to beg her agent to find her a replacement. She wondered how much he would charge her for the time it took.

In the bathroom, she considered her reflection. ‘Too skinny,’ her mother would say, ‘and what in God’s name have you done to your hair?’ She hadn’t been back to visit in a while. She’d call mum later on, she promised the blonde in the mirror, they’d have a proper natter, like in the old days. How old she felt suddenly; how tired.


Maybe Croydon hadn’t been so bad after all. Maybe she should have stayed at college and kept her Saturday job in the local Spar. And then there was Kev. She’d binned Kev the night she won the competition. He’d been annoying her for weeks, complaining about all the time she was away, the rehearsals, the money she was spending on outfits and cabs. He hadn’t shared the dream; that’s what she’d yelled at him when he’d attempted to follow her into the green room after the show.

“You never shared my dream Kev. Now look where I am and look where you are. You’re just a sad little man, Kev. You’ve lost the best fing you ever ‘ad.”

Now she was starting to think she might have been wrong; that perhaps it was she who had done the losing.

The minutes ticked by: five minutes late, ten minutes late. She brought her eyes back into focus – still fixed on the dust-roll on the carpet. She decided she ought to do something about that bit of fluff after all.

- end -

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Comments by other Members

Skippoo at 20:15 on 31 January 2008  Report this post
Hi Amy,

I liked this a lot - it held my attention and I really liked the scenario of this nervous new celeb waiting for an interviewer, unsure of what is going to come next. Her discovering the dirt in the apartment, i.e. the dirt underneath the glamour was great too. It was very sad, really, and totally got across the message that what this girl wants is not going to make her happy (similar theme to the YA novel I've just started!).

The one thing I would criticise was that the tone was a little too condescending to the main character. It read a little like a middle class writer looking down on the girl for saying 'fink' and being from Croydon! I'd make those touches a little more subtle, personally. I want to feel sorry for her because her dreams are empty and sad, but not because of her class or where she's from. Does that make sense?


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