Some big news came out over the weekend. It has been creating rumblings for several months because of sightings at the Michigan City Outlet Malls and, in one case, an ad on the back of a baseball team's schedule that made it all the way to my friend in Grand Rapids, MI. This time, all of Elkhart (or at least those who read the Elkhart Truth) was able to see Danielle, pastor's wife and worship team member, happy mother of almost four children, modeling as a cocktail waitress for a large Bluechip Casino Advertisement. As you can imagine, there's been a stir.
I thought I would give a little background for those of you who are hearing this news for the first time. A couple of years ago my BF suggested I sign up with a Christian-based modeling and talent agency that she was involved with. The pay was excellent, and I thought it sounded pretty amazing to get paid to act, so I signed on. After no jobs in a year (Elkhart isn't exactly Chicago, people), I was a little disappointed; but then the call came. I finally had a job offer! GREAT! They paid well and I would be needed one morning in February 2007. Here's how the conversation went with Chantelle Casey, owner of American Model and Talent:
"Who is it for?"
"Bluechip Casino in Michigan City, IN."
"(Silent gasp and smirk, thinking "Oooo. This might be a little more complicated.") Outloud: "Who is my character?"
"A cocktail waitress."
(Silently. Double ooooo.)
"Could the outfit be questionable?"
"No. If it is, though, you can walk off the job. We'll support you."
Rebellious Danielle raises her chin and says, "Absolutely!"
More level-headed and submissive Danielle asks Karl what he thinks. As usual, he says something like, "It's up to you, but I don't have a problem with it. You may catch some flack if people see it, though, so as long as you're prepared."
"Okay, God. Sorry for that rebellious flare-up. Is this okay?"
No registered response.
So, I did the job. It was fun. I didn't mess up too bad (except when the guy in front of me hit my drink tray and I spilled and shattered its contents. Now that was embarrassing). I met new people and the photographer was complimentary. I really didn't think much would come of it considering the shoot was, I believe, two full days long and I was there for one morning, but I didn't know. I figured, at worst, I might get on some billboard heading into Chicago, where I'd seen other Bluechip ads, but how many people would really see it?
Back home, friends and I got some good laughs. Pastor's wife turned cocktail waitress. It felt good to not be so traditional and fundamental. It was edgy. I kind of like that image (eg my nose piercing six years ago.) I got a pic from Bluechip in the mail for my portfolio, and then I heard/saw nothing for over a year. In the spring of this year, my BF called from the Outlet Malls and said she saw me...then she texted me the ad. Now, that was a little higher profile than I expected. Elkhart natives actually shop at Michigan City...I might hear stuff about this. And I did, but not a lot. Mostly, I just laughed with people about it. Then, the stakes got higher.
My neighbor called me this weekend and said my picture was in the Elkhart Truth. That's when the shock and realization of the implications came into play. Since when did Bluechip advertise in my hometown newspaper? Has that ever happened before? Now I had absolutely no control over who saw my picture. It really was out there for all to see. It didn't help that this weekend I was singing on the worship team. It felt like I was totally exposed.
Karl was right. I'm getting some flack (stay tuned for part II). Would you do it again, some may ask? Actually, probably not, but maybe not for the reasons you may think. Do I still like that edgy image? Absolutely. Do I like to push people (especially conservative Christians) and make them think outside the box? Totally. Did I have that "something's not right" feeling the morning I modeled when people were out on the floor gambling at 8 a.m. and I thought about how I, by advertising for Bluechip, was encouraging people to participate in that? Without a doubt. In my mind, it's definitely a gray issue, but after that sobering thought that February morning a year and a half ago, I don't think I would do it again--even for some good money and the chance to be REALLY edgy.