Four years ago, I was single and sad and living in Los Angeles. But I was also svelte and tan which admittedly, on some days, outweighed single and sad. Though rarely was that the case.
I was an actress who would get down to the end on projects but seldom land the part. Did I read with Emile Hirsch for the Wachowskis for Speed Racer? You betcha. Did I land the role of Trixie and get to spend several glorious months shooting in Germany tasting all of its Teutonic wonders and washing my cherry cola tresses in spätburgunder to bring out the natural highlights in my hair like I hoped and prayed? No. Christina Ricci won that role.
The majority of what I read for was guest spots on hour long procedurals. These roles are extremely hard to get. Mostly because being a female guest star on primetime drama means having to cry your eyes out scene after scene because your character is:
a) battered and/or raped
b) terminal with some painful/disfiguring disease
c) on a witness stand facing a life sentence for a crime she did or possibly did not do
d) losing a loved one far before his or her time
Also, you have to make the producers in the room think you give a fig. Which sometimes you do not. Sometimes you wake up and even though you know you’re an actor and it’s your job, you just don’t want to live in the head space of a person who has been raped or is dying. Again.
One such afternoon, I sat in my Jeep between appointments and like a madwoman in an Almodóvar film, I scrawled the following.
“My friend–let’s call her Glossy von Leibniz, is an art historian. She tells me I am setting back the feminist agenda because I want a bridal registry.* Like she’s Betty freaking Friedan. She accuses pathetically unwed me of being in the kitchen more than any unmarried woman should. She delivers sermons about how she’ll never help complete my cherry red Le Creuset set. To which I have only one response . . .
What the fuck am I supposed to cook my eggs in? A pot of suffrage? Does Geary’s of Beverly Hills now carry a line of cast iron ovens called Vote and Power that I don’t know about? Enlighten me, darling. I am not convinced a desire for Calphalon makes me antiquated. My predilection to only ride shotgun in a car with a man? Sure, you can have that.
Glossy hates the common interests I share with Anna Quindlen whose literary success caused the corollary plummet of maple syrup industries across Vermont. Quindlen’s prose about motherhood drips from every page. I can’t shake my sparkle pompoms to that. But I would be lying if I said her subject matter did not appeal to me.
For example. Pastry dough is a staple in my fridge. I am a girl devoted to cooling ginger peach pies on the kitchen windowsill in July. Pies properly baked in ceramic dishes. Only philistines use tin. Not that the glamorous life of a mostly unemployed actress isn’t satisfying, but I would have offed myself a few recurring roles ago save the comfort of my perpetual woolgathering. One cocktail, one klonopin, one capful of Calgon and I am rocking in my dreamboat. There, I fantasize about having the tastiest gardens, the prettiest babies, the sturdiest cradle, and inevitably the dearest man. I want to lovingly complain about my adorable husband. Presently, I have no idea where he is. When he arrives I am going to ask why he was late. Doesn’t he know? I am a young Elizabeth Taylor in the aisles of Whole Foods wearing Ferragamo sling-backs, a full peony colored skirt, and yeah I’ll say it. Pearls.
“Hi. My name is Chubby Princess.”
“Hi, Chubby Princess.”
“I like yellow wallpaper and I really like the idea of leaving china to my kids.”
Today, I live in London with my husband and our daughter. I am not svelte and I am no longer tan–well maybe I’m still kind of both, but only by English standards. Most importantly, I’m happy. And I’d like you to know my cherry red Le Creuset set is complete. While Glossy stuck to her word and never helped, she did give us the prettiest cake server I’ve ever seen. Chagrinnamon Toast is the collection of recipes and stories I acquired between my sad bronzed days and my happy-yet-Dickensian-orphan-colored ones now. I hope you find them funny, but if you don’t I hope you at least find something delicious to make.
Yeah, there was another 1,500 words to that rant I wrote four years ago. But as this is my first entry, I decided to give you the abridged version in the hope of you staying on for more. And believe me, there will be more. For there’s hardly anything this Chubby Princess likes more than more.
*Please note that Glossy definitely does not feel this way any longer–a fact that endears her to me and makes me love her even more.