Scenario A: Mike has a job as a deliveryman for a packing and shipping company to make ends-meet. He is looking for a job that will enable him to utilize his rare degree in veterinary psychology. He works twelve-hour shifts on a rotating schedule, five days per week, including every other weekend. Every morning Mike goes to work with his uniform on and a small black carry bag filled with a change of clothes, hair products and toiletries.
Scenario B: Blackstone is a local, up and coming singing sensation. He is known by his novice yet loyal fans as being an extravagant, drink buying, smooth talking, sexy dressing, ladies man with a voice that resembles midnight velvet. He is always fashionably late and never stays until the end of a club night. He is a walking VIP card in the busiest club district in the city. His myspace page has over 2,000 hits per day and he is never seen without his trademarked, five-button, black Versace suit with a crisp, white, French-collared shirt.
If I were to tell you that the men from scenarios A and B are actually the same person, would you believe me? Believe it! Mike Blackstone carries a change of clothes to work because he doesn’t have time to go home after work before the club. He is always fashionably late and never stays because he does not want anyone to see him getting on and off the bus at the corner. His five-button Versace suit is coined “trademarked” because it’s the only black suit he has. Mike is a fictitious, yet excellent example of one of Hollywood’s largest taboo groups, The Secret Society of the “5-9” Celebrities. From 9am to 5pm they work as normal citizens at normal jobs in normal society. But, from 5pm to 9am they masquerade, in their fake Prada and knock-off Gucci, as managers, singers, agents, publicists, models, dancers, and ironically even writers at the hottest spots in town. Though it is important to ask…which life is the secret life? Your co-workers are unaware of your nightlife and your nightlife has no idea that if they were to ever go to the grocery store across the street from their normal one, it will be you helping them make the decision between paper and plastic.
Okay, so you have identified yourself as being a member of this secret society, you even found your members-only black suit in the back of your closet. How do you conquer the stomach-clenching fear of having to ring up the label rep you met last night; who is spending on three items what you make in three months?
The solution is simple. Be yourself.
Quite frankly it is the only thing you could do in that situation. Everyone who is considered by us E-listers (most of us are not even on the D-list yet) to be “somebody” has started somewhere – you were just not around to witness that. However there are three things about yourself that could outshine the fact that you are seriously about to gift wrap two pairs of Manolo Blahniks and a watch, when your business card clearly read Celebrity Publicist last night. Personality. Credibility. Image. If you do not act like a deer caught in headlights and begin to sweat profusely, but rather flash that million-dollar smile and comment on their great taste in shoes, you’ve passed step one. Since you already know their next utterly dumb question, “So…you work here?” Duh, prepare for it now. Comment on the fact that you are on your grind but simultaneously find a creative way to re-validate yourself as a working professional in your stated field. You must not look like a liar. If you are successful, you have passed step two. Finally and most importantly, you should not look like a completely different person from your first encounter with them. Now it is understandable that wearing your freakum dress and four-inch heels at the counter is strictly against company policy. But what is not against company policy is well-groomed hair, an ironed uniform, clean shoes, and ladies, some makeup. If your physical presentation is consistently decent, you have indeed passed step three.
You are now ready to hold your head up high and graduate from that shameful secret society. If you can manage to keep your double lives separate, by all means, continue. But, if ever that day should come, when dreams meet reality, will you sink or swim?
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