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Lights, Camera, Cancer

Updated: Feb 20, 2018

Auditions are a way of life for models and actors. Picture long lines, lots of waiting around and then a quick moment to make a good impression. It can be daunting, intimidating and inconvenient but it's all part of the process.

Then there is a beautiful thing called the direct-booking. That means you have been booked for a modeling or talent gig without having to first attend a casting. Sometimes our agents will pitch us to clients using our marketing materials (comp cards, headshots, portfolio, resume, demo reel, etc.) and the client will direct-book us. More often direct-bookings come from a client that we've already worked for. Either way, direct-bookings rock.

Of course, I haven't been attending any castings or bookings lately since I'm a week into chemotherapy.

So you can imagine how surprised I was yesterday to receive an email from a local producer, Christian, who I've worked with for years. I assumed that he had heard about my diagnosis and was reaching out to send me a cheery note. As I began to read his email, my heart started to thump a little faster. He was writing to let me know he had two TV hosting shoots for me in Dallas next week. Direct-bookings, score! For a hot minute I thought, I can totally do this.

I anxiously called Cristina, my best friend and consulting partner, to run it by her. We learned long ago to say "yes" whenever possible and to work out the details later. Cristina, as always, was endlessly positive. She encouraged me that if I felt up to it then I should definitely take the gig. So, she asked, did I really feel up to it?

While I feel much better than I'd anticipated, I do have a hideous rash all over my face and body, surely we can style around that? The painful sores in my mouth make it difficult to enunciate, do you think they would notice? Normally I'm great at memorizing lines but "chemo-brain" is no joke, I wonder if they'd let me use a teleprompter?

And my scalp has been itching and tingling for days. What if my hair falls out before the shoot?

After about 30 seconds of serious consideration, the answer was clear. I was obviously in no shape to take the booking. I emailed him back, politely declined and informed him of my current condition. It always stings to have to turn down a booking. And being upstaged by cancer is no fun.

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1 Comment

jude savage
jude savage
Feb 10, 2018

Tara, you are an amazing woman and a wonderful writer. I have been through all of this and hadn’t realized or been able to communicate exactly how I felt. I kept most of it to myself. You are so brave and beautiful and you have a long, happy, loving life ahead of you. Jude Savage

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