The Mature Model, a Modeling Agent & Hollywood Plastic Surgery — a fable in 3 parts

In this series of humorous short stories (which make up a few chapters of the novel non-Hollywood) we follow an aspiring actress as she learns some hard truths about The Business.

In the ever-present struggle between looks and talent, the subject of modeling is sure to come up. And though Sarah has known a few models, it is in meeting a mature model that some things start to fall into place for her.

Read along as author Neal A. Yeager narrates these tales of a young woman meeting with a modeling agent and her struggle to comprehend the weird world of Hollywood plastic surgery.

Watch above, or click to view on Youtube

The 40ish Male Model

Chapter 40: The 40ish Male Model

Sarah stared.

Here she was at acting class once again. And today she was not really feeling into it. Being here reminded her of the awful experience of the Ugly Girl film falling apart right in front of her.

Sarah’s eyes sort of fell on the teacher, Coach Bobbie as he spoke. Sort of. It was just that everything that had been going on lately had left her feeling, well, flat. She tried to tell herself that she was an actress — despite the fact that her production had folded, she was still an actress and… whatever.

On the other side of the room she noticed “I’m not really an actor” Jeremy chatting up Tracey, the model. Surely, he wasn’t attempting to persuade Tracey — the making-big-bucks-posing-for-big-name-product-advertisements Tracey — to do the intense naked monologue that he had written. Sarah was pretty sure that though Tracey didn’t seem to have an excess of mental wattage she would still know that her particular nakedness would be worth a whole lot more than what Jeremy’s budget would allow.

Coach Bobbie was just going through his usual start-of-class routine wherein he mentioned any acting jobs recently landed by people in the class. And this time, Coach Bobbie was pointing to someone he’d never pointed to before: a paunchy, middle-aged man who was seated in the second row.

Coach Bobbie said, “And Larry here has, as I understand it, got himself a film role.”

“Yeah,” said Larry, “It’s a movie. And, well, I’m playing the father of the main character. The premise is that he’s — the main character that is — he’s gotten into drugs and such and I’m the father. I’m this law-abiding, suburban guy and I’m disappointed in my son.”

Bobbie interjected with a “wonderful!”

Sarah found herself losing what little interest she had in this little exchange. Her thoughts began to wander as she began to wonder what she was going to say to her ex-boyfriend Mitchell the next time that she saw him. His career was going along just fine and presumably his love life was as well. She was going to have to admit to him that her first real acting gig had gone down in flames. Great. How about another scoop of humiliation?

She looked up to see that middle-aged Larry was still talking about his role. Larry continued, “It’s, you know, it’s a start. It’s one scene and a couple of lines. And it’s a no-budget thing. Not getting paid.”

“Well that’s okay,” said Coach Bobbie cheerfully, “at least you’ve got modeling to pay the bills.”

Sarah flinched, abashed, and shot a quick glance up at Bobbie. She had never imagined him as the type to make such a mean comment about a student. To make a comment like that to a balding, overweight, 40-something guy? Sarah had never known Coach Bobbie to be anything but encouraging to his students no matter whether those students had any chance as actors. So what was that “modeling” crack about?

Sarah made a mental note to remember that Coach Bobbie apparently had an acid side.

She looked over at Larry, who seemed to be taking the insult in stride. He laughed a small laugh and replied, “I’m not giving up modeling, trust me.”


Throughout the class Sarah found herself unable to get into it. She just sort of went through the motions with this one. The only point of interest was when Larry performed his movie scene for the class. He had to run through it several times with Coach Bobbie before he started to get it working halfway right. Sarah realized — and she assumed that Coach Bobbie did as well but just didn’t say anything — that the reason Larry was having trouble with the scene was because it wasn’t very well written. In fact, it was kind of crap.

But it was a role. And just getting a role, even a crappy one, had to be an achievement for someone like Larry. Hell, if Sarah was having difficulties breaking in due to her looks she could only imagine what it must be like for paunchy, balding Larry.

After what had seemed an eternity, Coach Bobbie brought the class to a close the same way that he always did: with the words, “As always, persevere.”

As class broke up, Sarah hung back until she saw Larry heading toward the door. “Hey,” she called to him, “You were really starting to get it there near the end.”

“Thanks,” replied Larry with a smile, “It’s fun to do, isn’t it?”

“‘Fun?’” Sarah asked.

“Acting,” said Larry, “Acting is fun. That’s why we’re here isn’t it?”

Sarah replied, “Honestly, I’d never thought of it that way before.” And at that moment she really had to wonder to herself why it was that she had never thought of it that way before. She continued, “But I guess that’s your secret, huh Larry? It’s that kind of attitude that lets you get on with it and ignore things like, well, like that comment of Coach Bobbie’s.”

Larry appeared puzzled. “Comment? Which comment?”

“The one at the start of class,” Sarah said, trailing off. Larry just looked at her, seemingly unable to recall the comment she was talking about. Sarah continued, “You know… that crack about modeling.”


“Yeah. It’s kind of like a ‘don’t quit your day job’ kind of comment only worse saying that your day job is as a model to someone who’s not a model.”

“Ah, I see,” said Larry, “Yeah, that would seem like a mean thing to say to someone who isn’t a model. But the thing is, I am a model.”

Sarah paused, then said, “Excuse me?”

Larry laughed and said, “I’m sorry, I thought that everyone knew that about me. Modeling is my day job.”

Sarah chuckled. Good joke she thought as she gave Larry a quick once-over: the gut that hung over the belt, the softened jaw line and the receding hair line. This guy a model?

She said, “You’re telling me that you’re a model?”




“Right… Aren’t you kind of…” she shrugged and pointed vaguely at his gut.

“Fat and old?” he said.

“Yes!” she exclaimed, “I mean, no. I’m sorry I didn’t mean… well I did mean ‘yes,’ just not so…”

“Exuberantly?” asked Larry.


Larry laughed then said, “I’ve got my portfolio out in the car. Let’s go grab a cup of coffee and I’ll show it to you.”

And how, exactly, could Sarah refuse that?


At the coffee shop, Sarah was astounded to see that Larry had, in fact, carried in a large, bound book which certainly had the look of a portfolio. And a rather thick portfolio at that.

Larry opened the book. The opening image was a full-page magazine advertisement featuring Larry, dressed as a farmer astride a big, green tractor. He said, “This is my best-known campaign: John Deere. Ran for almost 6 years. I was in their ads and…” he flipped through the pages — page after page of Farmer Larry with various pieces of large, green machinery, “…brochures and these posters that they had in the dealerships.”

Larry looked up at Sarah’s astonished expression, “I know we’re in L.A. so you’ve probably never seen these, but if you lived in a rural area you would’ve seen these so much as to be sick of them.”

He smiled wistfully and continued, “Yeah, John Deere was good to me. John Deere paid for my house.”

Sarah said, “So you’re, like, famous in the Midwest.”

“Famous? Hardly. I mean, how often do you notice the people in ads? They’re just… the people in the ads. The ads are about the products. You’re not supposed to notice the people,” he said, “Anyway, these aren’t running any more. They changed campaigns. Which happens all the time. But that one had a good run. Like I said, almost 6 years.”

Larry flipped back a few more pages. “Here’s me as a carpenter. Here I’m cleaning carpets. Here — oh this is a good one: for Chevrolet — Here I am handing car keys over to my ecstatically happy daughter. Here’s another one with tools — I’ve done a lot of power tools, which is kind of funny seeing as I’m a total idiot when it comes to fixing things… Oh, and I went through this phase about 10 years ago where I thought that I wanted to do more white-collar type ads, so here’s me in a suit and glasses and — ta-da! — suddenly I’m an investment advisor. That one actually ran in the Wall Street Journal but I came to realize that my strong point is as a handyman type. For whatever reason.”

Sarah began hoarsely, “So, you — you — you really are a model?”

“Really am.”

“Professionally? As in, that’s what you do?”

Larry laughed again, “Haven’t had a ‘real job’ for over 20 years now.”

“Larry,”said Sarah, “you, my man, are my new hero.”

Larry blushed and said, “Well gee, that’s… nice.”

“No, I mean it,” she said, “You can’t imagine how frustrating things have been for me, the way this whole system is built on looks. The people who I’m supposed to aspire to are the people who I don’t have a hell of a lot of respect for — and they’re people who I physically can’t be. The same way that I’m not physically built to play professional basketball, I sometimes think that I’m not physically built to be an actor — which drives me crazy because being an actor should be about acting, which I can do. Basketball is physical so it makes sense that what you’re built like matters but being able to act has nothing to do with what your body looks like!”

Sarah paused, then followed Larry’s gaze, which was on Sarah’s hands, both of which were clenching the table tightly as she leaned forward across its surface, as if she were about to leap across the table and do some violence to somebody. She realized that at this particular moment she probably looked like one psycho-scary momma.

She relaxed back into her chair and said, “Sorry. Got a little ranty there didn’t I?”

“It’s okay,” said Larry, “I understand the frustration. I’m just lucky that since I couldn’t be Mel Gibson I could still be the John Deere guy.”

“My hero, the John Deere Guy,” said Sarah. She looked him over again. Then something suddenly struck her. She shook her head and said, “Human beings sure are funny things, aren’t they Larry?”


“I just realized that a few hours ago I was doing to you exactly what I’ve been complaining about people doing to me. You didn’t look like my conception of a model so I didn’t think you could be one. Which is exactly why people think I can’t be an actress. Funny.”

“I suppose.”

“But you give me hope Larry. You give me hope.”

“I might be able to give you more than that,” said Larry, “I have lunch with my agent the first Tuesday of every month. Why don’t you come along? We’ll see what she thinks.”

“About me as a model? I can honestly say that’s something I never aspired to be.”

“Oh, and did you aspire to wait tables?” he asked.

“How did you know I wait tables?”

Larry fixed her with a look, “Seriously? Did you just ask that question?”

“Okay, yes I’m a waitress and no it’s not the career I’m after. Just a day job.”

“Well as someone with experience in both food service and modeling, I can tell you which is the better day job.”

Sarah smiled. “First Tuesday of the month eh? All right. It’s a date, my new hero.”


*The printed version of non-Hollywood follows a different character in its next chapter. You can read the book in that orderif you prefer, or scroll down to see the next chapters starring Sarah.

[ or just skip ahead to Chapter 43 ]

Mature models can advertise tractors

With the addition of a new character to the world of non-Hollywood we are given a different take on the world of modeling. And it is an aspect that gives Sara her first glimmer of career hope.

It's one of those things that we hardly ever think about. Say the word "model" and a certain image just pops into mind. But if you look around at the world of advertising you realize that the word can actually take on different shapes. For instance, the mature model is an important part of the modeling business.

After all, not every product can be advertised by a gorgeous young woman or a hunky young man. For some applications that makes absolutely no sense, and so the concept of a mature model actually figures into it.

With the introduction of Larry into her life, Sarah is given some hope that perhaps her lack of looks might still enable her to get work as a lifestyle model. Hey, it's worth a shot.

For Larry, a middle-aged man who looks like a middle-aged man there has been a steady income as the face in the advertisements for tractors. This older male model has made a living without a "day job" for quite some time in a highly competitive business.

There are all sorts of advertising gigs for an older male model: from the construction guy featured on the box for a new drill set, to the installer in the cable ads, to the cab driver on the ride-sharing site it makes more sense to have someone who looks like a regular person than it does to have someone who looks like a super model.

So those types of modeling jobs are out there. And Sarah is inspired by Larry's success to pursue them.

Watch above, or click to view on Youtube

Call My Agent

Chapter 43: Call My Agent

Sarah munched.

It was the first Tuesday of the month and she was seated with Larry, the John Deere Guy, at a restaurant patio where she was looking forward to meeting his agent. Maybe she wasn’t making much headway as an actress. Maybe her first film set experience had imploded. Maybe she wasn’t a hot babe. But her new friend Larry — who made a good living as a model for John Deere ads despite not having model looks — had given her hope that her way in might be through a similar path.

The idea that she could possibly be a model without looking likeā€¦ a model, really intrigued her. Bald, overweight Larry did it, so why not she?

“She’s always late,” Larry said of his agent, who was supposed to be joining them for lunch, “In all the years we’ve been doing this I don’t think that she’s ever been on time once. So I never feel guilty about getting started before she’s here.”

“Good,” said Sarah, “because I hate feeling guilty.”

“And I like to eat,” said Larry.

Sarah looked out at the scenery. They were on the patio of a place on Sunset Blvd. The setup was that the patio was on the back side of the building rather than the Sunset Blvd. side, which gave it a nice elevated view of parts of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

“Nice view,” said Sarah.

“Yeah, I figure that if you’re doing something as stereotypically Hollywood as meeting your agent for lunch then you should do it in a stereotypically Hollywood spot. People have been meeting their agents here since, God knows how long.”

Larry looked out over the view and sighed contentedly. “Yeah, this is a great spot. Have you ever seen those photos of Old Hollywood?”

“Have I ever seen them? Sure.”

“I love those old photos,” Larry said, “I’ve got several books worth of them. You just get a certain feeling from them, you know? The swank places. People all dressed to the nines. It’s that whole glamour thing. It just doesn’t exist anymore. People have been having lunch on this patio since the heydays of Hollywood, but do you think that Cary Grant ever came here dressed like I am?”

Sarah glanced down at Larry’s outfit: conservative casual, by no means grungy-looking, but still she knew what he meant. A far cry from glamorous. She said, “Didn’t Joan Crawford say some quote about never leaving the house not looking like Joan Crawford?”

“Something like that,” he said, “And there’s just no such thing as glamour anymore. These days our rich and famous tend to dress pretty much like everybody else — only difference is that their designer T-shirt costs $300 more than the T-shirts in my drawer.”

A female voice said, “Surely you don’t own any T-shirts Lawrence?”

Sarah looked up to see a woman walking toward their table. And as Sarah watched the woman, she had to smile. Because here Sarah was looking at something that you don’t usually see in Hollywood folk: Sarah was looking at a real woman. A woman who appeared to be in her late 50s — and who actually looked it. No obvious ’enhancements,’ the woman could have been Sarah’s aunt Rita who lived in Minneapolis.

Larry said, “Of course I have T-shirts. I get a couple free ones every time you have me do a photo shoot as a carpenter… Beth, this is Sarah. Sarah, Beth. Sarah’s a friend of mine from acting class.”

Beth raised an eyebrow, “A friend, eh?”

“Oh don’t start that now,” said Larry.

“Why not?” asked Beth, “Sounds horribly interesting. It should give me conversation fodder for weeks. And not just with you. I’ll be blabbing to all kinds of people about how one of my middle-aged clients hooked up with a girl half his age.”

“We’re not ‘hooking up’” said Larry, “and what do you mean, ‘half his age?’ Sarah is more than half my age.”

Beth looked at Sarah, then turned back to Larry and said, “Actually Hon, probably less than half.”

“Ouch!” Larry cried.

“But you’re missing the point dear. Less than half would actually be even better. From a juiciness standpoint anyway,”

“Okay, enough,” said Larry, “Enough. Enough. Enough. Now, when you came up Sarah and I were just talking about glamour and how it’s gone from Hollywood.”

Beth shook her head and said, “Oh Lawrence, you sound like my father. Sarah, I’m second generation in this business. My father started the agency and I grew up here — actually in a house on Larchmont where there now sits a 7-11. Anyway, when I was growing up my dad was always lamenting that Hollywood style had gone downhill. Not that he had been around at the peak of Old Hollywood either. Still, he would complain to me about how these days all the movie stars were just a bunch of hippies and hobos and what have you. Of course, we were never in any of that movie star scene anyway. We’ve always represented models, not actors. And we were never in the fashion side of things. Dad used to bill us as ‘an everyman agency,’ which I changed even before he retired on us.”

Sarah jumped in, “So, that’s how you came to represent someone like our John Deere Guy here.”

“Oh yeah. We’ve always represented that type. Dad’s first real client — the first client who made any kind of money for us anyway — was a guy who portrayed a milkman in a whole slew of ads for Hershey’s. This big, jolly-looking guy — who incidentally, when he was older did a lot of ads as Santa Claus. Dad used to have those Hershey’s ads plastered over every wall of the office. For years he kept those things up. Even when he had plenty of other clients getting good work, if you walked into dad’s office there were 15 versions of the milkman staring you in the face.”

Larry said, “Hey, now there’s something I’ve never portrayed. You’ve gotta get me a job as a milkman.”

“Sweetie, milkmen were long gone even when we were kids. I think that the likelihood of finding an ad campaign with one is pretty darn slim. And speaking of slim, it looks like you’re losing a little weight on me there Lawrence. How the hell am I supposed to sell you if you start looking like Brad Pitt?”

“Hey, that’s your problem not mine.”

Sarah asked, “What, so fatter is better?”

“Oh no, no, no,” said Beth, “Actual fat guys are hard to sell but someone like our Lawrence here who has just a few extra pounds on him, well that makes him look more real. And real is the business that I’m in. I don’t deal with the brooding, anorexic crowd who are photographed half-naked even when they’re selling clothes. Nope, I deal in the real deal. Like this man right here.” And she clapped Larry on the back.

“Gosh,” said Larry, “Thanks. But you do realize that I’d give pretty much anything to be one of the brooding anorexics. Even for one day.”

“Which,” said Beth, “is about how long their careers last. A day. ‘Cause pretty doesn’t last. You, on the other hand, my friend, can look forward to as long a career as you want. And considering that when you make money I make money, I hope that you want your career to last a good, long time. I’ve got bills. Mortgages. Car payments. That young stud I keep in an apartment in Venice Beach. It all adds up. So I need you lot to keep bringing in the cash. Which, by the way, I do appreciate. Immensely.”

“Pleasure’s all mine,” said Larry.

“Just keep that whole ‘real’ thing you’ve got going and we all make money,” Beth said as the waiter approached. She ordered something that seemed to require 50 different sets of instructions. When the waiter had gone, Larry suggested that maybe Beth should just go back into the kitchen and make it herself and save some time.

Beth replied, “Hey, if our waiter’s back there, then yes, definitely. I’d cook for hours if I could slide that shirt up and have a look at those abs. Mmm. Mmm.”

Sarah laughed aloud. She had pretty much decided by this time that she liked Beth. She appreciated the straightforwardness — straightforwardness without meanness. She felt the world could use some more of that. She also felt that here, finally, was a ray of light. Here was someone with a way for Sarah to make her way into the business. It was exactly what Sarah needed. And she was now getting hopeful. She fixed Larry with a look which seemed to suggest that she was ready and that he should get on with it.

Larry turned to Beth and said, “the reason that I asked Sarah to come along is that I wanted your opinion on her chances of doing what I do.”

“Oh?” said Beth, “Now Lawrence that’s a first. For you, anyway. Not that I’ve never heard that sort of thing before, but in all the years I’ve known you I’ve never known you to do that one.” She turned to Sarah, “He must really like you. And though he doesn’t have tantalizing abdominal muscles, his butt’s actually not bad.”

“Oh stop that,” said Larry, “You’re horrible. Seriously, what do you think?”

“About your abdominals or about your ass?”

“About Sarah’s chances at our kind or modeling.”

Beth looked away from Larry and toward the waiter at the other side of the room. She said, “Whoa. There are those abs again… Yummy.”


“Right. What do I think?” said Beth as she turned again toward Sarah. For a few moments Beth was quiet, seeming to take Sarah in completely, studying her with a professional eye. Sarah felt confident that this intense study would pay off quite well and she was extremely glad that she had come to this lunch today.

Finally, Beth said, “Honestly, and I’m sorry to say this to you sweetie, but honestly I think the answer is ‘no.’ I don’t think that I can market you.”

Well, this was not the response that Sarah had expected. It took her a few moments to take in the words that Beth had spoken. Sarah said, “You can’t? Am I… not real?”

“You’re not a type sweetheart. Look at our friend Lawrence here. He’s a type. He’s an everyman type. You can picture him as all different sorts of blue-collar jobs. Cable guy? Yes. Plumber? Yes. Small-town dad? Yes. Farmer? Oh, hell yes, definitely and ring the cash register on that one. He’s just got that sort of look to him. But you, and as I said, I’m sorry to say this, but you don’t look like anything type-wise. If you were fifteen years older and fifteen pounds heavier you might look like a mom, or a postal worker, or a grocery store manager, but right now you’re just not a type. And types are what we make our living off of.”

Sarah stammered, “but… but he and I. I mean, we’re the same. We’re the people who aren’t the… the, beautiful people.”

Beth replied, “But he’s a type and you’re not. My business is built on types. Nothing else. Not what kind of personality you have. Or what your education is. Or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, I like Lawrence. We’ve grown to be friends. I like having lunch with him each month and even if he decided to quit the business I’d probably still want to keep getting together for lunch — of course I would probably try to bully him back into the business each time. But the point is that liking him has nothing to do with why I represent him. I represent him because I can sell him. I can sell the hell out of him. As far as the business is concerned he’s a product. A product whose picture, when placed in an ad for, say, power tools makes you want to go out and buy power tools. Does that make sense?”

Sarah replied weakly, “Well, yeah, I guess so. It’s…. It’s kind of hard to take, but yeah, I can see what you’re saying… But is there anything I could do to become a type?”

Beth replied, “Like I said, when you’re older you might try this again. Other than that the only thing I could think of would be surgery. But honestly, who would get surgery to look ordinary? I can’t imagine someone going into a surgeon and asking to look like our friend Lawrence here, no matter how good his career is because of it. No, if you’re going the surgery route, then hell, go for all the fakeness you can get. Come out of it looking like a porn star.”

Larry jumped in, “Ah Beth, you don’t believe that.”

Beth smiled and said, “No, you’re right. I actually don’t. I think that 9 times out of 10, people come out of surgery looking worse rather than better. It’s so easy to tell when it’s fake. I have friends whose faces are so tight they can’t make normal expressions and their lips are so insanely puffy that you can’t understand a word they say — you just hear this kind of mumbling Mmmph Breemph Phrou — but their skin is so tight you could bounce a quarter off their cheeks. Not to mention one friend of mine who, when you hug her you feel like you’re being impaled by two concrete footballs. No thanks. Not for me. But then again, I’m not trying to make that kind of living.” And she smiled at Sarah.

Sarah did her best to put her hurt feelings aside and smile back.

“Now,” said Beth, “Let’s forget the business talk and just go with my lunch with a friend, who has brought along a friend of his who seems like a really nice person. Must be, for Lawrence to bring her. We’ll have a nice lunch, I’ll mentally undress Mr. Waiter and we’ll all get to know Sarah better. So Sarah, tell me about yourself.”

Sarah, resigned, cleared her throat and began, “Well, I’m a waitress…”


*The printed version of non-Hollywood follows a different character in its next chapter. You can read the book in that orderif you prefer, or scroll down to see the next chapters starring Sarah.

[ or just skip ahead to Chapter 46 ]

Meeting with a modeling agent on Sunset Blvd.

It is a time-honored tradition in Hollywood: meeting with the agent.

Or, in this case, the prospective agent.

Sarah, inspired by the successful modeling career of her new friend Larry takes a meeting with his modeling agent at one of the classic meeting places on Sunset Blvd.

Knowing that modeling agencies don't usually take on clients such as herself, the fact that Larry is middle-aged and making a living at it fills her with hope. But she's in for a surprise when she meets the wonderful character of the modeling agent who tells her that she's actually not cut out for a career as a lifestyle model. Maybe when she gets older she may be a mature model, but for now the modeling business is not for her.

Oh well. She really wanted to be an actress anyway. Back to that.

Watch above, or click to view on Youtube


Chapter 46: Exam

Sarah redialed.

She had been sitting in the doctor’s examination room and waiting to be examined when her phone had started blasting Karma Chameleon, an inside joke that meant a call from her ex-boyfriend Mitchell. She had hesitated, staring at the display, wondering if she wanted to answer this one. She had been dreading talking to her ex ever since the whole crash and burn of the Ugly Girl and the associated film which had completely collapsed. Mitchell was a success. Sarah was a failure. He was an agent. She was nowhere near being an actress.

So she just listened to Boy George sing away for 30 seconds or so. In her hesitation she had missed the call, but she quickly realized that, yes, she would like to talk with Mitchell. She wanted to talk to him. Why? Because she missed him. It was as simple and stupid as that.

He answered on the first ring, which meant that he was wearing his headset — which he referred to as his “David Geffen headset” — for maximum work efficiency. “Hey Sarah,” he said.

“Hi Mitchell. Sorry I missed your call. I’m in the doctor’s office.”

“Doctor’s office? Anything wrong?”

“Yeah. I don’t look like a model. That’s what’s wrong.”

“Sorry?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she said, “There’s nothing wrong.” Which was a big, fat lie. She had already stated the truth. The problem was that she didn’t look like a model. That was the problem that had brought her to this office. The doctor that she was seeing was a plastic surgeon.

Mitchell began, “I just called because I heard what happened to your production.”

“How did you hear about that?”

He replied, “It’s a small town Sarah. Anyway, I was sorry to hear it but I just wanted to make sure that you didn’t let it get you down. These things happen and you’ve got to roll with it. Keep up the fight.”

Sarah was a bit puzzled about that statement. Was the same guy who had told her that she wouldn’t make it now telling her to soldier on? What the???… If he was telling her that, then he was saying something that he didn’t believe. And his saying that certainly smacked of condescension. It was the British who were supposed to be condescending, not the Australians. Australians were supposed to be mellow.

And hunky.

And Christopher Nolan.

Suddenly, she really didn’t want to speak with Mitchell. Didn’t miss the pompous so-and-so at all.

She said, “Yeah, thanks. Look, I’m not really sure why I called you back right now. I’m in the doctor’s office. Plus there was a sign in the lobby about no cell phones.”

“Oh sure, I understand,” said Mitchell, “I actually have to shove off myself. But like I said, I just wanted to say to keep your chin up and all that.”

“Great. Thanks,” she said. And after a few more inane little comments, they each hung up.

And not ten seconds after hanging up, her phone rang again. This time just the generic ring. She looked at the display, which read: Mr. Grilled Cheese. She thought to herself that she really needed to change that to read: William. Either way, she was glad to be getting a call from him, so she picked up the call.

“Hey there Grilled Cheese,” she said.

“Hi Sarah. Sorry to bug you. It’s just that the last few times I’ve been in the restaurant you haven’t been working.”

“You’re not bugging me William. And yeah, my schedule has been a little weird lately. Had to switch a few shifts. But I am on for lunch tomorrow.”

“Great. Then I’ll be there. I mean, assuming that’s okay.”

Sarah responded, “Well you see William, it’s a restaurant. Which is kind of a public place. And you kind of don’t need my permission to go there.”

“Okay, then I’ll be there.”

A soft knock sounded, the examining room door swung open and the doctor entered.

Sarah said into the phone, “Oh, sorry. I’ve gotta go now.” And she hung up.

Without looking at her the doctor said, “There’s a sign in the waiting room asking you not to use your phone here.”

“I know. Sorry. I was just sitting here and… sorry,” Sarah mumbled.

The doctor opened up a file and said, “Okay, Miss….”


“Sarah.” He looked at her file, “So you’ve obviously never had any work done. No other form of surgery?”

“Nope. Broke my arm once. But that’s as close as I’ve come.”

The doctor looked up at her. His eyes slowly and clinically worked over her, first examining her face, then thoroughly scanning all of her.

Sarah suddenly felt cold.

The doctor said, “Well you certainly want to change that nose and the ears. A little of the cheeks and eyes. And of course the breasts. The rest, I’d say…”

Sarah interrupted, “‘Of course?’”

“Excuse me?”

“You said, ‘of course the breasts.’ I just…. I just thought that they were, you know, okay.”

“For what?” the doctor asked.

“Um. For breasts. I thought that they were okay for breasts.”

The doctor dropped his gaze and stared directly at her chest. He said dryly, “They’re not. But if you want to save them for later, that’s okay. Personally I’d schedule it all out now, but it’s up to you.”

Sarah held up her hand and said, “Can we…. Can we back up a sec.? I thought that we could start with me telling you what I’d like.”

“What you’d like? I know what you’d like.” From the desk he picked up a photo of a woman with perfect features, “You’d like to look like this,” he said.

Sarah mumbled, “Well… not exactly.”

The doctor said, “I’ve been at this a long time. And I can tell you that we can sit here and talk for hours and hours and when we get to the bottom of it, this is what you’ll end up agreeing that you want.”

Sarah said, “Actually, I just wanted to look like me, only better. A better version of me.”

The doctor stared at her. His expression still hadn’t changed a bit. “You want to go through the expense and discomfort of surgery so that you can end up looking like you?”

“A better version of me.”

The doctor sighed deeply and then began again, “Okay, Miss…”


“Sarah. Cosmetic surgery is not about looking like yourself. It’s about looking like somebody else. Now if that statement doesn’t make sense to you then I think that you should save your money.”

Sarah and the doctor sat looking at one another in silence. After a few awkward moments, Sarah’s phone started again blaring Karma Chameleon.

“Excuse me,” she said as she stood, pulled the phone out of her bag and walked out of the office.


*The printed version of non-Hollywood follows a different character in its next chapter. You can read the book in that orderif you prefer, or scroll down to see the next chapters starring Sarah.

[ or just skip ahead to Chapter 49 ]

Hollywood plastic surgery and other flawed belief systems

It's the consultation that she never thought she would want and never thought that she would need: a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

But Sarah's failure to get ahead in her profession has made her wonder if maybe her looks are more of a problem than she had originally counted on. Did she need Hollywood plastic surgery in order to make it into the acting profession?

That's the question that she's hoping to have answered at this consultation.

Too bad that the doctor she has picked is a bit of an ass.

So much for plastic surgery.

But does that mean so much for Hollywood?

Mature model