Monday, March 06, 2006


I needed to get a headshot for a SuperSecretDoubleProbation project that I'll tell you all about as soon as I'm allowed, but for now just understand that this was NOT my idea.

So, if you know me in real life, you know that I pretty much look like a pale-type person, with very little to recommend me except maybe I don't appear to be concealing any weapons. You may be blinded, but you're only marginally frightened.

And it was up to this photographer person to turn Normal Me into Non-Barking Me, which... good luck. They gave me a makeup lady and a hair person and soft lighting and everything, and it was very confidence-boosting, because I sat in her chair and she circled me a few times muttering, "Well, you don't have any lips" and "Or hair" and "I don't even have any foundation this pale." She had to create a new shade of foundation for me. Like, she ground up some chalk in some snow or something, I don't know.

I knew I could trust the photographer's eye for detail by the way he spelled my name "Marybeth Ellies" and pronounced me as having, quote, "a Mamie Van Doren thing going on." And I had to do research, when I returned to my apartment and took my face back, to find out if this was an insult or a compliment.

I think it depends on which Mamie the photographer was referring to. Because if it's this one (link provided by Tim the Reader, who suggested that I look into this newfangled thing called "Google"), then, just... no. In these pictures, Mamie has lips and presentable thighs, and the resemblence continues to end the more you look at her.

But if the photographer was refering to this Mamie, who was approximately 700 years old at the time the picture was taken, then, again, just... no. Somebody's getting sued before the sun goes down.

Then I realized that Mamie was featured in Girls Town, which in turn was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which means... this movie was so bad, it needed robot puppets to make it right again.

I've seen this episode. Mamie chews gum a lot and says things like, "Don't flip your wig. I get your signal." Also: "Daddio." Boy, am I flattered.

The photographer spend a great deal of time zooming the camera in on and talking about my eyes, which he said were "great, just great, and all we'll need to do is darken the blue rim around the iris and take out the redness and lengthen the eyebrows and get rid of the bags and whiten the non-blue parts, but other than that, just great." Then he sucked out parts of my soul.

He sat me on a stool, and then he paused and-- you'll think I'm lying--but he paused and actually put a finger to his lips and then he said, "You know what, this... just isn't working for me." Like the Project Runway guy was going to burst out at any moment and start berating everybody within earshot. And then he made me lay down on the floor and fold my hands under my head and adopt some sort of glassy-eyed Precious Moments stare, and this, too, was deemed "great," and "very natural", and I don't know about you, but I set my makeup gun to "Whore-riffic" every time I want to be my natural self.

There followed a week and a half of Photoshopping.

Then I had to sit in large dark room to look at the edits, and I hope this never ever happens to you:

I hope you never have to see your own self projected at eight hundred times your normal size, especially while wearing an expression that asks if you, too, can taste the alcohol in the Long Island Iced Tea. Photographer guy was like, "Great, just great!" and I was all looking for the airsickness bag, because... there is a thing as Too Much Me. I run a BLOG. My EMAIL ADDRESS has my initials in it. I am all ABOUT me, and there it was: Too much me. I'm like one combover and two ex-spouses away from Full Trump Status.

Gah, I have to end the post. Even with the edit box all the way down to the bottom, I can still see bits of elbow and hair, and even that is too much me.

everybody's on the same cycle in girls town at:


susan said...

thank God photographer was skilled enough to remove all the unsavory aspects of your profile.
The man puts the mo in moron.

lina the reader said...

Um, um, um, I understand you're upset and all...

But um,

I think that picture of you looks amazing. I wish I had a picture of myself that turned out like that. Of course, no matter of Photoshopping could make that happen.

Um, okIjusthadtosayit.

You're going to banish me, aren't you?

susan said...

He may be a moronish Photoshopper but damn, girl, you are gorgeous.

kredin said...

MB - Don't take this the wrong way or anything... But what are you complaining about? Alright, the photographer may have been too “Hollywood”, but did you SEE the results? Gad, if JTP doesn't get his act together soon, I'll begin to think he is a complete buffoon.

Now, I've got to wonder... what kind of SuperSecretDoubleProbation type project would require a headshot of this caliber? Definitely not for the Annual Alumni Association Fund Raising Dinner. Maybe you are moving to California to pursue your secret dream of becoming a star and this is for your agent? Nah, doesn't sound like you. Hmmm, maybe another type of announcement? Have I underestimated JTP???? Please do tell.

(And yes, I said "Gad". Trying to clean up my image.)

Laney said...

I'm gonna go with Lina, Sunsan, and maybe John B. (without the "wood" comment) and say "You look hot Gurl!" Your make up is a little much, but your eyes are amazing. You should post this pic of you on that website where they rate the "hotness" of teachers. I'm seeing some chili peppers in your future.

Dantelope said...

Holy smokes! I mean, yes, you would have surely been the most hideous of monsters if he'd shot you upright, but the pure genius of making you lay down... wow, I mean wow.

You're not Emelee, but daaamn!!!

By the way, if you need to find that foundation again for some future endeavor, it's called "Mime White". :-)


amy lou the reader said...


I think that picture is amazing.

But I can relate to the whole it-takes-way-too-much-time-to-do-this-every-day thing. Once, my cousin branished a curling iron and some hair spray and, like, a gallon of foundation and turned me into someone totally new.

She spent two-and-a-half hours doing this.

And then she said, "See, if you get up earlier, you can look this good every day."

Yeah. Right. I got up for school at 5:00 anyway. I wasn't going to spend two hours getting ready. Every single day.

But, seriously, you that's a great picture. I wish I looked that good.

racheal said...


What a great picuture. You look so beautiful.

My guess for the SuperSecretDoubleProbation project is a book.....this is the pic that they will put on the back cover along with a caption telling all the readers of your book that you are a teacher and that you reside in Florida.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is wow. She didn't look this good when she was 18.

Anonymous said...

My people:

Thank you, all of you, for your very kind words. I do appreciate it.

To address lina and kredin's comments-- that's a good question. Why AM I complaining? I've been trying to process for weeks why this picture makes me so uncomfortable. It's possibly a combination of the following:

-I'm very unphotogenic, and no matter how well a picture turns out, I'm always going to think that

-I don't have the best body image on the face of the Earth; for the past three weeks, I've been working out maybe two hours a day at least five days a week, and I'm getting frustrated because I did not immediately lose the 15 pounds I'm trying to shed

-Any picture of me not involving zits is not really a picture of me at all

-Maybe I can justify posting a glamor picture of myself on the Internet by pointing out what an icky thing it is to post a glamor picture of oneself on the Internet

-I guess seeing what the photographer and the Photoshopping did to me was a bit discouraging. Models and actresses are naturally beautiful AND they have all this help, so what chance to average girls like me stand?

-Like many people who attempt to write for a living, I pretty much hate myself

-And NOW Don Knotts is dead.

Anonymous said...

racheal, good to see you back :)

Rochelle said...

It's a great picture. And actresses are not naturally great looking, they are just paid to work out with world famous trainers which would make any of us look wonderfully toned as well.

Allow yourself the freedom of actually liking a picture of you wonderfully sprawled on the floor. There is no shame in that.

Keep up the good work. Your writing reminds me so much of a good friend of mine. It makes me smile every time I read it.

LaBelleAurore said...

Hey MB:
I understand your mixed emotions, but get over it. You look great. Allow yourself to acknowledge you look great. Blame it on the photoshopping if it makes you feel more comfortable;) BTW, you have very pretty legs, as we saw in the pics of you taking part in the Olympic Games. Can't wait to see wait the supersecret project is:):)

red pill junkie said...

"I don't even have any foundation this pale." She had to create a new shade of foundation for me. Like, she ground up some chalk in some snow or something, I don't know."

Look on the bright side: when you are all rich and famous, you will have LANCOME begging on their knees to make your very own make-up line! ;-)

And, BTW

"-I guess seeing what the photographer and the Photoshopping did to me was a bit discouraging. Models and actresses are naturally beautiful AND they have all this help, so what chance to average girls like me stand?"

NATURALLY beautiful? You should see a couple of shots of such "natural beauties" as Brooke Shields, Madonna, Gwineth Paltrow, etc, taken by paparazzi when they have no make up on them: YIKES!! :-O

And ALL magazine covers and ads are tampered with Photoshop, no matter how gorgeous the model. They enlarge the eyes, play with the hue of the iris, remove impefections you name it.

Anonymous said...

Hee! Thanks, labelleaurore, but those pictures were taken in 1998, and I doubt they look QUITE like that anymore :)

Thanks everybody, honestly. You guys are way cheaper than my therapist.

Anonymous said...

The Photoshop thing does work wonders! I can't even tell that you were a man once!

2xgtld said...

MB- As a very happily married straight woman I have to say "You look HOT" although there ia a little "virginish/sweet" thing going with the pink and the tumbling blonde hair. You could be the cover of a romance novel... and those who read you know that the novel would have a sarcastic, grouchy, insightful, very verbal,absolutely hilarious, and secretly soft-hearted heroine.

And I was amused at the "I'm all about me" thing. All of the things that you listed were writing-related things- a blog, an email. You're just not used to yourself as a visual.

And I'm voting for the book thing... can we be in it, too, ala "Cooking with Julia"?

Anonymous said...

Awwwwww.... Anon blew the SuperSecretDoubleProbation announcement...

Lizzy said...

Dear MB - The photo is great. And you are not a pale as you think you are. I am much more pale than you. Enjoy your photo, show it off as much as possible because it's fab. Hell, paste it onto your driver's license to get maximum use out of it. And if Racheal is right about the book, good luck and I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

johnb, not to censor you or anything, but DUDE, his GRANDmother reads this.

Dantelope said...

Therapy is for things that scare you.

Like whether or not MB will leave us all high and dry as she pursues her lifelong dream of playing the part of Barbie in "Barbie Takes New Orleans".

That sounds dirty. I'll have to go when they have matinee prices.

Miasys said...

You are that rare, prized shade of pasty my mother fondly refers to as 'catfish belly'. Be proud, girl. Your skin will still look great when you're eighty, instead of looking like a handbag.
And look at the bright side, you're all ready for a career in real estate, or Mary Kay. I see much, MUCH worse, every day. With and without Photoshop. Like I tell the women I work with, it's a mouse...not a WAND.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Dan? Can you, like, not pimp your own blog every other comment.

Anonymous said...

gena, hee!

And anon, come on, play nice.

Amanda said...

I must say, I agree with all that the picture is great. But I'm astonished at the fact that no one mentioned the MST3000 reference! I love the show, they need to show reruns again, and, by the way, I have seen Girl's Town: I would NEVER have linked you and Mamie Van Doren. At any age. (That is a compliment!)

If if never hear anyone scat again, it will be too soon!

Jess said...

I think you look great! And you do too have lips....

Anonymous said...

Thank you, amanda.

Young Mel Torme attempting to act never, ever grows old.

"Where did he go?"

"Just follow the trail of scat."

And jess, thanks for the kind words. If you look at the picture sideways, when the makeup artist gave me lips, she made the top one CROOKED. I think that's why the standing-up ones looked even scarier.

Dantelope said...

Awww, anon, you're such a party pooper.

Besides, I like to think of it as "linking with an option to click".


Janet the Reader said...

Damn girl. You're what we South Floridians call "HAWT"!

Way to go Daddio. Or something.

Anonymous said...

Now, MB, remmember that art is NOT life. It is an idealization of reality. This photo, which mirrors the careful craft of the artist is NOT you. I worked as a photo lab guy and saw photos of pre-teens looking middle-aged and post-menopause sexy young. The lie of the camera. The photo is cute but distance it from yourself. It is not you.
Fact is, we dig you because of the writen art not the phtographic - keep writing and we remain your loyal subjects.

Anonymous said...

I think you've coalesed all my issues into one sentence, anon-- it's not me up there. Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Damn, you're good looking girl!! All that blonde champagne hair and pouty lips. Very attractive!

Josh The Pilot said...

Be jealous guys, be very very very jealous! Yes, she doesn't exactly look this way outwardly in real life, but it is only a shadow of how beautiful her heart and soul is... I love you, Tink :)

Anonymous said...

awwww... see? That's why I keep him :)

I love you too!

thebuxomwench said...

You know what? You don't need all that photo-shopping to make you look pretty ... you're pretty already and all that shallow-git generic no-recognition-of-whom-you-really-are talk from the photographer or his subsequent photos doesn't even begin to tap into the beauty of whom you really seem to be.

Case in "you're ALREADY pretty" point: the pics when you were bridesmaid for your blue-star-in-her-hair friend. You look utterly gorgeous in those pics ... just smashing on the outside, with your even-shinier-than-the-blue-star beauty radiating through, too.

An hearty "Pah!" to all shallow-git-generic photoshopper/graphers everywhere. What do they know, huh?

thebuxomwench said...

PS: I meant to say "with your-even-shinier-than-the-blue-star inner beauty and joy for your friend shining through, too" (on top of your absolutely smashing beauty-on-the-outside stuff).

Frothing at the mouth and typing with indignance towards said photo-git does not a typo free comment make ;) x

Anonymous said...

sniff...awwww...thebuxomwench...too, too sweet of you! I love you like McAdams loves Gosling!

bjd said...

In light of the picture, will the charges for all our future conversations appear on my phone bill discretely labeled as "Conference Calling?" Please advise.

Mike Marchand said...

anon: Fact is, we dig you because of the writen art not the phtographic

Speak for yourself.

thebuxomwench said...

Like Rupert loves him some pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain ;).

You're very welcome, MB :).

Your Cuz Ann said...

Okay, I love you and all b/c you are my cuz and do keep in mind I was with you on a photo shoot in high school...but DAMN, give me the name of the stylist and the photographer...I could use a shot of that! What in the hell did they do to get your hair to look that thick?
In all honesty cuz, you look great! Florida must really be agreeing with you. Perhaps if I moved out of a climate that goes from 70 one day to 38 the next, I too might have a chance at not looking quite so "weathered"!

Anonymous said...

OMG, it's CUZ!! What up?! Great to see you here. Run away to Florida if you need to :)

Marla said...

I think I'm on to your project...just came back from a visit to Josh the Pilot's photos and I sense something large looming... :) Guess I better go back and read your earlier entries in case I missed any announcements.

Anonymous said...

No announcements here yet, Marla, but I'd love to see you in the archives :)

Anonymous said...


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