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LV Weekly

[Confessions of a Showgirl]

Audition gone awry: A nose for nerding out

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Nerd prototype.
Maren Wade

A wise actor friend once said, “When I get a residual check it isn't ‘money for nothing.’ It's payback for all those auditions where I had to dance like a fish, do the robot in a bikini, or lip sync to a dead pop star and didn't book the job!”

Everyone starts somewhere, and for a showgirl, somewhere is usually an audition. Aside from the lucky few, a fair percentage of a showgirl’s time is spent auditioning. For every 20 auditions she goes on, she may only get one job offer. (For the record, that’s an estimate because frankly, I’m bad at math.) As I reflect on my seasoned auditioning career, I confess that I’m guilty of being a hard-nosed performer who will go to great lengths to get the job. That said, one auditioning experience went a little too far, even for me.

They were casting for a new show in town, and the role I wanted called for a showgirl who could play two different characters. Character No. 1 embodied all the glitz and glamour you’d expect of a Las Vegas showgirl. However, Character No. 2 was to be an office nerd who suddenly breaks into an ’80s hip-hop dance while rapping.

Random, I know.

For this casting, each nerdy showgirl partnered with an equally nerdy showman. Couple after couple were forced to get in touch with their awkward sides as the showgirls and men danced for producers. When it came time for my partner and me to audition, I was committed; I needed this job! I pulled out every cheesy dance move in my arsenal: the running man, the Roger Rabbit, the bad moonwalk. I was nerding it up like my life depended on it.

And my partner wasn’t doing a bad job, either. We looked especially awkward since he happened to be around 6-foot-6 and I’m 5-foot-6 (okay, I’m really 5-foot-4 on a good day … fine, 5-foot-3 ½).

As we got to the climax of our scene, he decided to give me a high five, ’cause nothing says nerdy like high fives. His massive hand came at me like a bazooka, and before I knew it, his high five sent my hand into a low five, speeding backward straight at my face and smacking into my nose!

My eyes began to water. I had never experienced this kind of pain. (Did I mention I’m dramatic?) My survival instincts must have taken over, because I managed to stay in character and finish my audition. Tears were streaming down my cheeks uncontrollably, I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t tell if I was bleeding. All I could think was, They’ll never hire me if I’m that girl with a bloody nose at their audition. I was mortified.

When the audition was over, I got to my car and looked at my nose again in the mirror. I couldn’t believe what I saw. One side had a massive bump on the bridge as if I’d just gotten into a bar fight, while the other side was perfectly straight as if I just walked out of a plastic surgeon's office. My nose was broken! It was completely asymmetrical. But here’s the strange part: The bump on my bridge used to be on both sides. In fracturing my nose, my audition partner had actually straightened it out.

I didn’t get the job that day, but at least I know my good side now. Still, every time I look at my nose I wish I could take that audition back. I should have sniffed out a better opportunity.

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