Wednesday, January 15, 2014

TELL ME WHEN ...


Hello, All.

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) 

"Good work."

"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...




34 comments:

  1. Wow! Good thing you knew how to fight back. At least he was eventually arrested. Stopped the cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm already signed for another bloghop that day, but stalking is an important issue. Stalking happens more than some would like to acknowledge. The internet has increased the stalker's sense of entitlement. Harassment by an ex is why I use an avatar. I know that scary feeling of being followed, watched. Creepy is right, Michael. Glad you escaped. Smart dad you had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgot to say, bravo for Stina for addressing this important issue. Good luck Stina!

      Delete
  3. I did a lot of research on stalking, most of which involves female victims. Male victims are definitely not unheard of, but this is the first story I've read where a male stalked another male (for sex). I suspect this is more common than we realize, but it not something most guys would admit to. Just like most guys won't admit when they've been sexually assault (not that it's much different for females).

    Thank you, Michael, for sharing your chilling story!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, that is a frightening story. Stalking has been going on for a long time, but as you say here, it was often disregarded or covered up. I think it was not long after this that there were some high profile murders of young stars who were shot by stalkers, right?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Michael .. sadly I can imagine this sort of thing happens - but to read it happened to you .. is just appalling ... and I'm so glad your Dad gave you those protective tools to get you out of his clutches .. and that you were strong enough to help others .. by informing on him.

    I've only been followed by someone from a tube station and I went into a hotel and asked that they let me out the back way ... so no incident as such, just didn't feel too nice.

    Some Africans tried to corner me on a street in Johannesburg .. but I just walked out into the middle of the (busy) road .. and avoided them that way ...

    I do keep my eyes open ... but I couldn't defend myself ... it's being aware ... and being sensible ...

    So pleased you're alright .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  6. And your agent didn't care at first? That's sad. You were underage - she should've been watching out for you. Good thing you were able to take care of him.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Stalking terrorizes vulnerable souls on a multitude of levels. It robs the victim of the sense of innocence and safety that can never be returned. It is foul beyond belief and takes a long to recover from. I am glad you knew how to fight back.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Scary story, Michael. Glad it turned out okay. Some are not so lucky. I've had some creepy experiences online, luckily there's that "block" button. That has come in handy a few times. I think it is so important to remember and to remind our kids not to share too much personal information with strangers, no matter how comfortable we get with them. You never know who may turn out to be a stalker.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such a horrible experience, so glad it worked out and you were prepared, but you're agent was so wrong! Getting this kind of information out there is great, erasing that attitude by sharing these stories is so important!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a scary and horrifying situation. I can't believe your agent, how wrong headed not to pay attention. There are weirdos galore out there and we all need to protect ourselves. I was assaulted in college by an athlete who thought all women were there for his pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Stalking is so scary and so many people simply will not talk about it. Thank you for sharing your story. People NEED to know that this is serious and can happen to ANYONE.

    ReplyDelete
  12. P.S. I hope you thanked your dad for those fighting skills. Otherwise this story might not have had such a happy ending. So glad YOURS did.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Another variation on this problem is cyber stalking. A friend of mine has a teenage son who was stalked online by his ex-girlfriend. She bombarded him with unwanted (kinda scary) texts and posts on all the social media sites he used. The boy was a nervous wreck. His parents had to involve the police to get it to stop.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Freaky. People constantly encouraged my mom to put me in modeling when I was young, but she never did. Growing up, I kind of resented it, but when I became a mother, well I totally got it. Still do. I'm sure those instances are more rare than common, but gosh, you never know what's going through people's heads.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow Michael. That is a scary story! I'm glad you were prepared and were smart enough, even in your youth, to trust your gut. A lot of people get themselves in trouble by rationalizing away the warning signs.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Chilling story, Michael. So glad you managed to stay safe. Creepy.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yikes, Michael. Glad you got out of it okay. And you're right, girls aren't the only ones who get stalked. My husband had inappropriate experiences with his big brother, though not as explicit as yours.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very distressing, Michael. And I can relate to it, having had a stalker in my past. Glad you handled it so well.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a frightening story! But good for you Michael, you were prepared and could fight back!
    And it seems like cyber stalking is on the rise. Parents really need to be aware of their kids' cyber habits...
    Writer In Transit

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my gosh, that's so scary, Michael. I'm so glad you were able to fight back and protect yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It doesn't seem safe anywhere. Sometimes we think those days were simpler times, but I think stories like this just weren't reported. What a shame.

    So glad you were able to fight back and get out of the situation unharmed - physically, anyway.

    Have a good weekend Michael.

    ........dhole

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow! Glad you made it out without harm. Glad he was arrested. Tweeted!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I generally don't hold with violence (unless it's in fiction or film, ie, make believe) but I'm glad you punched him. He deserved it! And I think things like that happen to boys and young men a lot more often than is ever reported.

    Congrats to Stina, this sounds like a great book.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am so sorry this had to happen to you. I am glad you got away unharmed and that he went to prison eventually. Good thing you got those two punches in.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a nasty experience, but I have no doubt it happens to a lot of people, especially in the modelling business. Only similar story I know was when hubby was roomed with someone at a convention and this person "came on to him". Hubby managed to get a different room but later the guy was murdered so no doubt he "came on" to the wrong person.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so glad you were able to defend yourself and get out of there! What a scary situation. These things to happen to men, but I think they're kept secret more. Maybe because men don't want to seem vulnerable. I'm glad you had the guts to warn away others who might be hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Whoa... Michael... not many people can say they've lived through something like that. Yet again, you share a piece of yourself that shows what a remarkable person you are. I don't think many people could have done what you did. It really is an INSANELY scary story. The whole thing reads like it should come right out of a book!

    And I hope you'll forgive me for not participating in your amazing hop. I'll definitely pop in here to see how it's going--you've got a great sign up! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. You gotta wonder what goes on in the minds of folks. I guess it's as much a power trip for them as anything--at least in situations such as yours. Things can turn nasty fast. Stalkers can me enamored and harmless or they can be predators of the worst sort. Glad you kept your wits and stayed safe.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow that's scary. I think the worst part was that even though you were leery, it was someone you worked with. In effect, trusted. Not some stranger.

    Thank goodness your dad taught you how to protect yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  30. So scary, Michael. I'm glad you shared. It's true that with anyone can be lurking anytime and for anyone. As a mom, I'm always wary, probably not as much for myself as for my kids. I missed your coffee hop! But I'm addicted as well. BAD! Christy

    ReplyDelete
  31. Yikes Michael! I remember hearing some of this. So glad you fought back.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow, Michael! Thanks for sharing. All the stories are so moving and scary. Glad you knew how to protect yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Female Celebrties Facebook Covers, Most Popular Fb Covers in the Industry
    UniqueFbCovers.Com

    ReplyDelete