I absolutely hate having my picture taken. Hate it. If you ever want to get rid of me, just pull out your Nikon and yell, “Smile, everyone!” and I’ll run out of the room faster than Arnold Schwarzenegger after he gets his DNA results handed to him by Maury Povich. Yep, that fast. Hasta la vista, suckers.
(Please note: Wendi has now officially fulfilled all contractual obligations in regards to Schwarzenegger jokes. She will not be making any more.)
(Please note: That is, unless he also impregnated the woman who cleans his compound’s septic tank. Because that shit would just write itself.)
Now where was I?
Ah, yes! My deep seated hatred of my own image.
At my parents house, there are stacks and stacks of pictures of me not smiling. Most of my friends have group photos where I’m standing in the back, looking like a serial killer with a home perm. And the only reason my wedding photos aren’t half bad is because I have a veil partially obscuring my face. Otherwise I probably would have just hid behind the cake until the photographer finally gave up and started taking pictures of my drunk sorority sisters. I don’t know why, but I’m just not photogenic.
Ironically, my camera phobia was at its peak when I was a film major in college. Nine times out of ten, the acting students we hired for our movies didn’t show up because they’d been arrested for pot possession, so then I’d have to fill in. I didn’t mind it so much, but my classmates got a little sick of the rainbow wig, muumuu and sunglasses costume I insisted on wearing, especially when I played Eleanor Roosevelt. I think we got a C- on that one.
After college, when I’d go interview at TV stations for associate producer jobs, I was often asked if I was interested in being in front of the camera instead of behind it. “You’re blonde!” one news director told me. “Why not give it a try?”
“Because if that’s your only criteria, sir, I don’t think this organization is up to my journalistic standards. Good day!” I replied. (But it may have come out a little more like, “Wha? Me? On camera? Hahahaha! No f*cking way, Les Nessman. Hey, why are you ripping up my resume? Jeezus H., do you at least validate?”)
Anyway, what all of this means is that I’d clearly rather lick flop sweat off Newt Gingrich’s stomach rolls than put myself on camera, but today—I have an announcement. And that announcement is that I felt so inspired by the amazing Listen To Your Mother Austin show that I actually sucked it up and now I’m on the YouTube like a badass. Oh, yes, I am, brotha. I just hope I get half as many views as the “Laughing Baby On a Skateboard Who Gets Hit in the Nuts with Rebecca Black” video. (Fingers crossed!)
But my many neuroses aside, I’m incredibly proud of the show we put on and I strongly suggest you all click over and take a look at each and every one of the wonderful readers in our cast. Their stories are all beautifully written and delivered and I just love them to pieces. I hope you’ll try to spend at least a little time watching; you’ll be so glad you did.
Thank you to my friends Jennifer Sutton and Ann Imig for allowing me to work on LTYM with them, and also for finally giving me something that I believed in so strongly, I actually let them post video of me.
No black wig, muumuu or sunglasses required.
(And please be aware that while I may sometimes write like I speak with Wanda Sykes’ voice, my real voice is actually more like that of a 9-year-old girl with a kitten fascination. You’ve been warned.)