October 17, 2021
Robin Buss is a 19-year-old (B&M Models) who recently arrived in Hong Kong to start her international career. The 176 cm (5'9") model is in Asia for the first time in her life and has kindly agreed to provide modelresource readers with occassional updates on her experience.
Sometimes I feel like that Barbie girl in a Barbie world. It's been another busy week, but this time the jobs were of the more.... pleasurable nature. Thursday and Friday I did an event for Cartier. They held a huge party on the rooftop of the IFC mall where we dressed as vacationing Goddesses adorned in pieces from the new jewellery collection "Pasha." It was a tough job, having to lounge with my Spanish male counterpart, playing chess and drinking champagne and mango cocktails! (poor me!)
Saturday I shot my first TV commercial, it was great! The concept for this Toyota commercial is that this super slick, very funky guy dances oh so suave down the street, turning frumpy boring people into hip, urban social ideals as he grooves past them. I was "telephone woman." My first outfit was a plain, grey, baggy, long-sleeved cotton shirt, over a pair of itchy, tapered grey pants. Hardly any make-up (which scared me a little!), and a loose braid, I was frumpy personified! For that first scene I had to yell at someone on a payphone. It was a fun character - much different than the glam goddess we models are usually asked to play!
My post-dancing-man transformation was drastic; I then became a sophisticated, sleek woman in blue. A gorgeous floaty dress under a robin's egg blue button up coat, dazzling make-up and luminous curls, I became an intimidating beauty. It was actually a little funny, to see how people suddenly looked at me differently, under all that make-believe. Two people actually mentioned that they liked the before better, which I at first thought was really weird. "What, is this not good enough?" I thought. I was even a little offended. But then I explored what was going on. Before I was plain. I was the average dishevelled woman, simple and uncomplicated in her appearance. Then I became the woman of power, über-cool and über-conscious of her looks, with tons of make-up... big hair, big heels. I was unapproachable in that form. Hmmm. Interesting what is socially accepted as the better character.
The whole process was quite fun, the woman in blue character required a lot of prep time, so I had hair stylists, make-up and assistants swarming around me like bees! I then had to stand in exactly the same position as I had left (which I hadn't specifically memorized) and chat gracefully on my cellphone. The important thing was to keep talking while the camera's were rolling, which ended up being quite personally funny! No sound was recorded, so I could say whatever I wanted, I wish I had a mike! I pretended to talk to my boyfriend... I recited a few poems. The dialogue finally boiled down to sentences like "isn't this simply marvellous?" and "Mmmm... Strawberry rhubarb" But I kept my lips moving! What ever it takes, right?
Another aspect of the job that I thought was entertaining were all the crew involved. There was one point when the cinematographer was trying to get just the right shot, and suddenly there emerged little Asian men with fans and white boards to reflect more light. Out of the woodwork they materialized, and just as silently faded away when it was decided that whatever prop they were offering was not needed. At some points it just felt unreal.
All in all I think the important things I learned on that job include: Confidence! Number one factor of any performance is confidence. Also, ask the people in charge exactly what they want so you know what to give them, and be open to the clients changing their minds and having you do something unexpected. When the camera stops rolling stay still until told otherwise. I got mad props for waiting patiently for a good while until someone came back and told me I was officially finished. I think its much better to be über-professional and stay put than to meander off and make the man whose job it is to tape-mark your spot's life more difficult! The client will appreciate that. And last but not least, have fun! Acting can be really fun if you allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and run it!
A pleasant conclusion to Saturday was that I finished early and was actually able to pick up my Dad at the airport. He is visiting me from California for two weeks, and I was really hoping to be there when he stepped off the plane. Wish granted! Tomorrow we are looking into a tour of the harbour and Hong Kong island, which will be great orientation for both of us. Oh dear, Dad is currently asleep on the coffee shop couch behind me, I better take him home!
To all you models: keep on believing that you can do it, 'cause you can. Actually, that's really a message that all people should know. Being in Hong Kong is unreal for me, and at the same time, it has become so comfortable! I truly believe that anything is possible.
More to follow...