Not made to measure

I kinda dread receiving phone calls from stylists.

It usually means only one thing: that the production I’m going to be acting in has little or no wardrobe budget and would need me to wear my own clothes, at least for some of the scenes, because they don’t have enough to dress me up for the entire shoot.

I don’t know if that only happens in Singapore, but I think it’s a sad state of affairs when actors have to wear their own clothes in productions. Then wouldn’t the actors be themselves and not being someone else as they’re supposed to be?

I just got an offer for a teacher role in a 13-episode MediaCorp children’s drama serial (in which I will appear in 11 episodes).

So, last night, the stylist rang me and the conversation went something like this:

Stylist: Hello, can I speak to Qiaoyun, please?

Qiaoyun: Speaking!

Stylist: I’m the stylist for [show title] and preparing the wardrobe. Can I know what size clothes do you wear?

Qiaoyun: XS to S.

Stylist: XS to S?

Qiaoyun: Yup.

Stylist: What size top you wear?

Qiaoyun: XS to S.

Stylist: What size bottom?

Qiaoyun: XS to S.

Stylist: *nervous laugh* So petite?

Qiaoyun: Yeah. :(

Stylist: Hmm… a bit hard to get such small size. How about you wear your own clothes?

Qiaoyun: Um…. I don’t have any teacher-like clothes…

Stylist: Oh. Actually just something simple will do. Do you have basic skirts?

Qiaoyun: I only have one.

Stylist: Oh. Like that…

Qiaoyun: My clothes are all very youngish, not very suitable for teachers.

Stylist: Er… may I know how old you are?

Qiaoyun: [censored], but I look younger than that, so I don’t wear clothes that age.

Stylist: Oh. Hahaha. In that case, I’ll try to find something for you. We’re trying to get sponsers but it’s not happening yet. For now, we’re just trying to settle the pilot episode first.

Qiaoyun: I see.

Stylist: What’s your shoulder measurement?

Qiaoyun: Um… can you wait a while? I measure myself now.

Stylist: Sure.

For the next 5 minutes, I fumbled with a measuring tape while the stylist made me measure myself all over. It’s hard because I’ve never really had to measure myself. We usually get measured by stylists, and they would write little numbers in their little books and they don’t exactly give us copies of those. And I think it’s rude to peek into their books while they’re writing, so I never know my measurements.

Every time I measure myself, I end up getting different numbers because I’m not sure if I’m measuring myself correctly. Like, how do you measure your shoulder length? Exactly from which point to which point? You could be off like two inches if you don’t get the points exactly right.

Anyway, that traumatising phone call kinda dampened my glee of getting the role. I think it’s quite a good role, but I’ll talk more about it later when everything is more firmed up.