I thought I would never get to New Jersey when I heard that my flight got delayed. I was certain I’d done something bad and karma was teaching me a lesson when it got delayed four more hours. I became friends with a feisty and pissed off grandma who tried to scare me with horror stories involving a New York winter while we waited. I didn’t listen. In fact, I got even more excited when I heard the word “snow.” As JetBlue tried to calm us down with food vouchers (they know Puerto Ricans very well), I re-read some old e-mails. It hit me that I’d already confirmed my presence at a photo shoot in a town I’d never heard of. Not even in Kristen Stewart indie movies. Pennsahken? Pennsoahken? Pennsauken.
I’ve been entering Instagram giveaways since I joined the social networking site and didn’t think twice when I saw a post by Sourpuss Clothing looking for models for their Spring 2015 collection. I’d been a fan of the company for a couple of years and was familiar with their brand. I even had a sticker on my laptop that read “A Classy Kind of Trashy.” The sticker was always on display because I believed it defined my personality. My hair may be up in victory rolls, but I have sailor’s mouth. I remember thinking it was perfect timing because I would be in New Jersey around that time. My flight was booked in September and I was going to leave island life behind for two weeks on December 7th.
Scratch that. I was going to leave on the 8th thanks to JetBlue. My shoot was scheduled for the 9th and I felt myself getting a bit stressed out sitting next to the angry granny. Fast forward to when I actually got on the plane and I cried quietly because of the non-stop turbulence. I was glad it was only a 4 hour flight. I would not make it alive if the plane is that shaky during an international one.
After getting off at the wrong stop thinking I was in Trenton, a nice lady got me on the right train. One stop and another train later, I was in Pennso… Pennsah… Pennsauken. I waited for 40 minutes in the cold for a cabby that would later try to hang up a phone call by saying in Spanish that gringos don’t like it when cabbies are talking on the phone. I surprised him by asking where he’s from—in Spanish. Turns out we’re basically neighbors. He’s from the Dominican Republic and I’m from right next to him. I left him a hefty tip hoping he’d realize that just because a girl had a fair complexion and fake red hair doesn’t necessarily mean she’s gringa.
I hate you, cabby.
Can you smile and flip the bird?
After a quick check-in at the motel, I walked about 10 minutes while being showered by freezing rain looking for my room. King sized bed, Kardashians on TV and a working cellphone. I was ok.
I called the same cabby the next day even though I could walk to the Sourpuss Clothing warehouse. I figured I’d spent too much time in the cold anyways. I was greeted by Amanda, the photographer and what looked like a never ending shoe room. Her colorful skin made me notice my lack of tattoos. I hoped I wasn’t too clean looking for them. I told her I had a septum piercing just in case they wanted to toughen me up a bit but she said it wasn’t necessary. After getting my makeup done, a very nice lady started doing my hair and I learned that no matter where I go, I’ll always get the “Oh lord! Thick hair… And lots of it!” She was extremely patient and funny and it made me happy to hear positive comments about my hair rather than negative ones, which I often get in Puerto Rico.
I was extremely nervous and stiff when Amanda started shooting me but I loosened up once she told me smiling is good and I saw a “Do not do this” sign showing a model with pouty lips and a sultry look. They also asked me to pose with Alexa Nicole, an experienced alternative model from New Jersey. After lots of changes and many fun dresses later, they took us to Wawa and I was a first timer. I was impressed by the touch screen ordering thingamajig and by how fast they made my quesadillas. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
After stuffing out faces, we went to Bombshell Pin Ups, a magical place with different themed rooms. A.K.A. my future home. We shot at a retro kitchen room and a circus themed one. We were finally able to use props and had a ton of fun. Alexa Nicole and I even “fed” each other fake cupcakes. Yum.
Always feed the models.
When we returned to the Sourpuss warehouse, we got our checks, a goodie bag (4 dresses and a cardigan yaaaas) and Alexa offered me a ride so I could get back to where I was staying at by getting on a single train.
I’m glad I bit the bullet back in January of last year. Committing to a daily workout and smaller portions of yummy food was tough but I finally got to where I wanted to be. I still have a less than long way to go, but I know I’ll get there this year.
This was truly a super fun experience and I got a sneak peek at Sourpuss’s Spring 2015 collection, which is ah-mah-zahng! I now wish Puerto Rico had more reliable public transportation. I would take the train every single day.
Can anyone get married? I need an excuse to purchase this dress. Please and thank you.