Your LUCKY DAY (unless it’s next month)
In this post:� Laura Florand, the Complete Woman; plus free copies of Blame It on Paris
Those of you looking to find out EVEN MORE about Sébastien and me than what you got from Blame It on Paris, this is your LUCKY day. Complete Woman has an interview of both of us in its February/March issue. (Or Jan/Feb? I am a little confused because on the outside of the magazine, it claims to be the Feb/March issue, but on the inside, it claims to be the Jan/Feb issue. And I myself had thought they planned to put the interview in the Dec/Jan issue, but my brain kind of fogged over during pregnancy and really doesn’t seem to have cleared yet, so it’s entirely possible I misunderstood.) Anyway, I just got the copies last week, and usually I get that kind of thing about a week after the issue has hit the stands, so I believe you can find it now. Otherwise–after the holidays.
Even better than the interview and pictures, they are offering a free giveaway of 10 copies of Blame It on Paris. Well, free–really $3.99 + a 37 cent stamp because you do have to buy a copy of the magazine, cut a coupon out, and send it in with Blame It on Paris marked as your first choice prize. I haven’t really decided what would make the best second choice. The other books look interesting, but then there is the “Bad Girl Beauty” make-up set, and to get it you have to write in the code “Bad Girl”, which, you know, could always be fun. But, think of it, for $3.99 you get to read an interview with Sébastien (and me), see photos of Sébastien (and me), and possibly win a copy of Blame It on Paris. What a deal! I have this (hopefully) absurd fear that NO ONE will ask for Blame It on Paris and the copies will sit there, embarrassed and wistful. So instead, I challenge everyone to make it the MOST asked for thing Complete Woman has ever offered; in fact, maybe having ME (and SÉBASTIEN) in it could be what doubles this issue’s sales. Although we’d probably never get credit; they would assume it was that actress on the cover.
Now that this issue is out, I get to tell the story of the Complete Woman interview and PARTICULARLY the photo shoot.
Because, see, the problem with this photo shoot is that it took place in August. That is, THREE months after I had a baby. Three. Now, if you are Parisian, this would not be a problem. “You’ll get back in shape, don’t worry,” my mother-in-law tried to reassure me in month 2 postpartum. “How long did it take YOU?” I asked, hoping for hope, since my mother-in-law turns 50 this year and recently, in my own presence, bought clothes in the pre-teen section of JC Penney’s. That fit. That fit just fine. And, here is the beauty of it, she then turned to me and said, “Don’t you want to try them on, too, Laura? It’s a really cute outfit.” And there I am, just staring at her, me 2 months postpartum, twenty pounds over what I’d weighed the year before but in that weird, blobby, flaccid post-my-belly-was-just-recently-stretched-beyond-belief way. And let’s not even go into the topheavy-thing. And she’s holding out to me this top designed for pre-pubescents, in a size small, and I’m wondering if she just dropped off the moon or I did, and either way can I get out of this darn mall and quit trying to find something that fits me and I look good in before I start to cry.
So, “How long did it take YOU?” I ask this teenage-thin 50-year-old mother of two children, hoping for inspiration. She coughed and looked down. “Ah…a month. But I was younger,” she rushed to reassure me, at the look on my face. “That’s all.” Some days Parisians invite homicide more than others.
And right at that time, just after she left, a major women’s magazine decides to do a photo shoot of me. Now this should be wonderful, right? Great attention for Blame It on Paris. First, Marie Claire, then Complete Woman. For someone who spent 25 years of her life writing nearly every day, to finally have a book on the shelves and this kind of attention, life is GOOD. Except…
Except for that photo shoot part. “Are you sure they wouldn’t just like some old photos?” I asked my publicist, who is really fantastic, I am so lucky in my publicist I can’t believe it. “Like from our wedding? I have got some great photos from our wedding.”
“No, they want to do a photo shoot.”
“Oh.” Long silence. “Umm…if they are disappointed in the photos, do you think they’ll cancel the article?”
“I’m sure they’ll make you look wonderful,” firmly said my publicist, who is wonderful but who, after all, hadn’t actually seen me. For all I knew, she thought I looked like my book cover, too.
“Did you tell them I just had a baby?”
“You’ll be fine.”
So, then, about a week later after some frantic but fairly failed efforts to drink more smoothies and eat less chocolate and practice dance while carrying a baby, the art director for Complete Woman called to talk to me about what she wanted us to wear. “Just go through your closet and pick out something you feel good in,” she said.
“Umm…okay,” I said, suspecting right away that my publicist never admitted to her I just had a baby and wondering how to explain that there was nothing in my closet that even FIT me let alone that I felt good in. Well, some of my old maternity clothes still fit me, but I so could not see myself showing up in a magazine that featured super chic actresses on its cover in clothes that looked like pajamas.
“Something sexy,” the art director said.
Oh, lord, I thought.
“I’m thinking a camisole top over maybe a flirty skirt.”
This was so not sounding good.
“But in colors. I think we should put Sébastien in black and you should wear colors, kind of the Parisian/American thing.”
Darn it. If there’s a time to wear black, it’s when you feel flaccid and flabby and want something slimming. On the other hand: “Blue!” I said happily. “I could wear blue!” It’s like a fantasy of mine that I’ll get to wear blue for something. I used to wear blue all the time, until for some reason other people started thinking they should intervene in my wardrobe.
“No blue,” she interrupted this hope. “I think we’ll go with a gray background, and blue is just too tricky to photograph.”
Nobody ever, ever lets me wear blue. I don’t know what’s going on with this color.
“Maybe pinks or greens,” she said. “And silk. Silk looks great in photographs. But no patterns.”
She seemed to think I would have just the right thing in my closet, and I grew too embarrassed to admit otherwise, because I always have the feeling that people who work for those women’s magazines DO have pretty much anything and everything sexy in their closet, even a pink or green silk camisole with no patterns that looks sexy on a woman who just had a baby. If people who work for women’s magazines have babies. I have a feeling they do not. Maybe I need to read The Devil Wears Prada for more specifics.
Not having admitted this, I therefore had to do a mad search of the mall for possibilities. I had to do this over the weekend because it was my FIRST WEEK back at work after having a baby, and that means it was this intense weeklong workshop we do every year that thoroughly exhausts everyone even in the best of circumstances. During this week, my FIRST WEEK back after having a baby, I also had a couple of book interviews to fit in. And…shopping.
Now it may be that in Chicago or New York, where magazines come from, a pink or green sexy silk camisole with no patterns that looks good on a woman who just had a baby is something you can find quite easily. The only big city I know really well is Paris, and you’d have an easier chance of finding chocolate in Hell than you would of finding something like that there. And your odds of finding it in Durham, North Carolina when the st
ores have just cleared out all their summer clothes and only have their fall lines…well, those chances are absolutely none. All day I tried on clothes. All day I looked at my just-had-a-baby torso in changing room mirrors–first unclothed, then with clothes making me look even worse if possible. I got home with really no reasonable possibilities, and the next day Sébastien and Mia came with me and we tried again. We got a couple of things. I’m not saying I looked fantastic in them, but I had to wear something for this shoot, and it obviously couldn’t be maternity pajamas.
Monday, the art director called back. “Oh, I talked to the editor, and she said not a camisole. It’s in a winter issue, so it needs to be long-sleeved.”
Can we say…AAARRRGGGHHH!
So, yes, you guessed it, the same tortuous, demoralizing, depressing procedure filled the next weekend. On the upside, I found several blue things I could wear at least to work, even though I was forbidden them for the photo shoot.
I was deeply terrified that the shoot itself would be humiliating. But my photographer turned out to be 8 months pregnant, and she laughed and laughed about my search for sexy postpartum. “Don’t worry,” she said. And, in fact, afterward she went through and weeded out the photos that made me look bad. If it is accurate to blame the photo for “making me look” that way. It would be perhaps more accurate to credit the photographer and make-up specialist for any of the photos that made me look the other way.
So between her great photography and the fabulous job the make-up specialist managed, I’m pretty happy with the photos. But Sébastien sighed when he saw them: “Putain, j’ai grossi.” He said. Which means: “Really-bad-French-word, I’ve gained weight.” And he added: “I just never look good in photos.”
Which I thought was supposed to be my line. But although he DOES look even better in real life, I think he looks just fine, and the things he said in the interview were really sweet. So check it out! And send in your coupon for a free copy!