Wednesday, January 15, 2014
TELL ME WHEN ...
How is the week treating you so far? Hopefully well.
Today, I am addressing a VERY important issue. I had been visiting a fellow blogger when I was catapulted into this distressing post. Many of us don't really think too much about it. And many may have had a tiny glimpse of it in their lives, but STALKING is NO LAUGHING MATTER.
A good friend and author, Stina Lindenblatt is hosting the "TELL ME WHEN BLOG HOP." It addresses this issue in her latest novel, TELL ME WHEN. This is also National Stalking Awareness Month!
For this hop, Stina asks us to either share a personal story or a story of someone we may know.Stalking is serious. It can happen to ANYONE, even men.
I generally don't post about my former life, but for this hop, I must.
When I was a model, I had been stalked by many people. Most were harmless. One young girl in particular was a friend of my brothers. The moment she met me... that was it. Cards, letters (this was before computers), phone calls. She even frequented my agency to see where I'd be shooting that day. It lasted for months. Until I finally sat her down and very kindly explained to her, I wasn't interested in anything from her. She did back off eventually.
But this was a major case of puppy love. But a few years before, another lurked in the shadows, waiting for his chance. An up and coming photographer, contacted my agency. He requested me for a shoot. Back then, agencies did very few identity checks. At the time, I had just turned 17. I went to his studio in the area now known as SOHO in NYC. Back then it wasn't the chic, trendy area it is today. It was a dark, run down, area full of empty lofts.
All went fine at first. It was a very professional shoot and a three months later, one of the images appeared in a national magazine. The photographer was making a good name for himself, so when he requested me again, I had no problem working for him. Once again, the shoot went well. Afterwards he asked If I'd like to go for a drink.
Being under age, I thanked him but declined. He followed me out and walked with me to the street. As I waited for a cab to show, he kept insisting. I still declined. I began walking and he continued to follow me. Thankfully a taxi showed and I jumped in quickly. He backed away and waved goodbye. I thought it strange at first, but then gave it no further thought. I had only been modeling for about a year, so I really wasn't prepared for what was coming.
He began leaving messages for me at the agency. Thankfully they hadn't given him my home phone number. My agent didn't seemed to concerned because he again requested me for a major campaign. She saw the dollar signs, but I was a bit leery. She talked me into it.
I had other obligations, so the shoot wasn't scheduled for another two months. During this time, he always seemed to show up and catch me leaving my other shoots. Trailed me for several blocks, until I managed to find a free taxi. I was unnerved. I explained this to my agent, but she just blew it off.
"Be happy you have such a photographer interested in you. He's going to be huge! Just think how far you'll go with him."
I kept all this from my parents, especially my dad, who was NEVER keen on the idea of my career.
So I only had my agent to confide in. I had to trust her... she was my agent.
The day of the shoot came and I showed up at the usual 5:30 call. I had expected a make up artist and assistant which was usual for this type of campaign. No such luck. I entered his loft and he bolted the door.
"Where is everyone?" I had asked, trying to keep calm. "I thought the makeup artist would be here by now."
"You don't need it. You're perfect." His eyes brightened and his smile was not friendly... it was creepy.
At the time I thought him middle-aged, but he was probably only in his early thirties. Shorter than me, but had a stocky build.
He pointed me to the rack of clothing, next to his bed. Yes, this was a loft. No walls. I felt exposed. I took the first outfit and raced into the bathroom, locking the door. Normally I had no problems
changing in from of photographers, but ...
The lights were set, and he waited behind the camera, set on a tripod. I relaxed a bit. For the next two hours, he acted completely professional. My breathing returned to normal. I would be fine.
"That's a wrap," he called out. "Leave the clothes on the bed after you change. Then, you can go." He looked at me, smiled normally, and packed up his film. (yes, they used film in those days. LOL)
"Thanks," I said and went back into the bathroom to change."
I came out ...
He was half dressed, draped on the bed. "I think it's time we get to know each other better." He patted the bed.
I was temporarily stunned. But my instincts kicked in and I ran to the bolted door.
"Surely, you're not leaving yet?" His silky voice chilled me like I was dunked in ice water.
"I'm leaving." I wrestled with the door and he lunged at me.
I was ready for him. I had learned how to take care of myself. My dad made sure my brother's and I could deliver a good punch.
I belted him in the gut. Pushed him hard onto the concrete floor, and the moment he moved, I struck him down again.
He wasn't expecting this. It was written all over his shocked face.
I through open the door and headed straight to my agent.
Back then, situations like this were always covered up. BUT, I did everything in my power to warn unsuspecting young male models to stay clear away from him. My agent did manage to drop him from the roster and eventually his reputation leaked out. I believe he was arrested a year or so later. Thankfully he never bothered me again. He obviously preyed on the weaker boys. I may have been just another pretty boy, but I was more that just another pretty boy.
So, you see, it's not just under age girls that may be subject to stalking. This was back in the late 70's and I'm sure it still happens. Even more so now with the internet. Stalking is far more dangerous. So parents be aware of not just your daughters.
The hop is until the end of this week, so if you have a story to share, PLEASE sign up on Stina's blog
I hope you all have a SAFE day.
Don't forget to sign up for my Coffee hop for Friday! Details on the post below this one...