Perfect poise, that’s all I ask: lips, crimson red; rouge, just a touch; skin, creamy alabaster. I’d prefer a dark brunette for balance but I suppose a chestnut will have to do. Yeah, yeah – that one.
Have a seat, dear, right over there. Yes, right there – sit still. No, I don’t want you to move. Don’t move, don’t blink, don’t fidget. Good. Now, shutter your eyes slightly… yes, just like that. Splendid: your shape, your size, your pallor, it’s all good; but not your leg. Huh? Yes, it’s lovely, but we don’t need it. I’m sorry; did you say something, again? You do realize that when you speak, your face moves, right? Did no one tell you to sit quietly and look the part, not try to play it? No, don’t answer that; answering is the same as speaking. Of course I realize you’re not an idiot – please, can we just get through this? Please? Thank you.
Okay, smile brightly for the camera; after all you are the leader lady… What? No, not leading lady, sit back down; what are you jumping around for? Sit, please? Thank you. Come on now, you’re entire expression just soured.
Listen, sweetheart, I ask you not to move, you tilt your head; I ask you not to speak and you hurl insults. Please, doll – just turn back toward the lens. Thank you; yes I understand that you are cooperating with me. Now honey, sit still, look at the camera and smile. Will you at least try to look pleasant? Do you know how many technicians will have to look at these frames over and over again? Fine, turn sideways; a three-quarter will do. Quite the drama queen you are, or rather, would be, if sitting here wasn’t an indication of where your career is headed. Cheer up, toots, you’ll live in celluloid infamy – even if the public never knows it. Hey, that’s a very un-ladylike gesture to make at me!
You think that sneer is making it onto my reel? Go back to pouting; I can at least work with that.
~ Nina D’Arcangela
© Copyright Nina D’Arcangela
Okay – I know this post is a little tongue-in-cheek and lacks horror, per se, but it does address a very interesting role women played in the days of analogue film making – and some of those films were horror. If you don’t know what ‘China Girls’ or ‘Leader Ladies’ are, and you’d like to read more about them, check out this link to an interesting article published by Atlas Obscura.
The image used as the prompt for this piece is from Rebecca Lyon/Chicago Film Society where you can find more information, and an impressive selection of images relating to ‘China Girls’.
Stop by my other blogs for more Women in Horror Month content!
Spreading the Writer’s Word – A new Horror Flash-Fiction from a different female author daily in February!
The Road to Nowhere – Horror movie picks by The Damned staring strong leading ladies daily all month long.
And don’t forget to visit the Women in Horror Month official web site
for more great WiHM8 events and posts!