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Truman Says

Tina Fey on What Fashion Photo Shoots Are Really Like.

Tina Feyread a passage from her debut book Bossypants to the LA Times about what goes on behind the scenes on-set at a fashion shoot for a magazine cover. As is her way, she's both painstakingly accurate and self-depricatingly hysterical. Here's what Fey had to say about when mere mortals must play the role of model for a magazine:

People sometimes ask me, "What is it like to do photo shoots for magazines? Do you enjoy that kind of thing?" And let me be completely honest here: Publicity and press junkits are just part of the job. Your work is what you really care about because your work is your craft, and your craft is your art. And photo shoots are the FUNNEST.

In case you ever find yourself at a magazine cover shoot (and you might because Snooki and I have, so anything can happen), let me tell you what to expect:

It's usually in some cool place called "White" or "Smash House" or "Jinx Studios." Sometimes it is in an amazing hotel. Wherever it is, it's nicer than where you had your wedding. You take a freight elevator up to a beautiful loft where there's a coffee bar, at which everything is free. FREE, I say.

I suggest you show up freshly scrubbed with damp hair. Not only is this a courtesy to your hair and makeup team, but it also helps to set the bar low. Show up looking like an uncooked chicken leg, and they can't help but be pleased with the transformation once they've got all the makeup on you. I think this is what Jesse Jackson called "the subtle genius of lowered expectations," but I may be misquoting.

You'll be introduced to the stylist and shown racks and racks of clothes. She's been given your sizes ahead of time and has chosen to ignore them: All the shoes will be too big, and all the pants and skirts will be a 5T. The stylist likes to figure out a few looks before hair and makeup begins. So you'll try on 20 or 30 things. Somebody will put up a makeshift wall by holding up a full-length mirror next to an open loft window, and you will strip down naked. You must not look in that mirror at your doughy legs and your flat feet, for today is about dreams and illusions, and unfiltered natural daylight is the enemy of dreams.

When you inevitably can't fit into a garment, the stylist's assistant will be sent in to help you. The stylist's assistant will be a chic, 20-year-old Asian girl named Esther or Agnes or Lot's Wife. In a few years, she'll be running the editorial staff, but at this point in time her job is to stuff a middle-aged woman's bare ass-crack into a Prada dress and zip it up. In my case, Esther and I are always mutually frustrated zipping up the tiny dress. Esther is disgusted by my dimply flesh and her low status. I'm annoyed that her tiny hands lack the strength to get Pandora's Plague back into the box.

"How's it going in there," calls the stylist passive aggressively.

Reinforcements are called in to push on both sides of my rib cage until the zipper goes up. To avoid conflict, we all blame a third party.

"It's these damn invisible zippers," we all say in unison. "I don't know why designers use them."

The reason none of the dresses fit is because they are samples. They are from the runway, and they were made to fit runway models. Sometimes I can actually fit in a sample size because at 5-foot-4 I have the waist size of a 7-foot model.

"You can fit in a sample size," they told me triumphantly with the dress straining at the seams, two feet too long at the bottom and the bra cups hanging right above my navel.

They want this to be important to you so go with it.

Tina, babe, come do a shoot with us, we're gay and not nearly as cruel, and our assistants' names are much more fun -- like Chip or Bradley -- and you won't feel bad if he's not attracted to you, because he's gay! C'mon! We'll have so much fun, we promise!

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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