Visitors were asked to write a short story on modern celebrity. The winner would get star billing on the Steffi site as well as having Andrew Crofts as a mentor to help work up the story into a novel, find an agent, publisher and so on.
Howling miniature whirl winds caught her skirt tugging ferociously. The muscles in her face were giving up.
She was hardly listening,
“To the left a bit….no …to the right…. excellent now; smile!”
The ache was unbearable, like someone tightening the gears in her face with a spanner. She battled on, posing with hats and scarves, chairs and “beautiful” backdrops.
Please Clarissa we hurt!
“To the side,”
Ouch! STOP smiling!
“And look down…”
“…1 and we’re done!”
She flicked to the first page of Glam magazine to see the pictures accompanying her interview.
“…Clarissa Tipton, was late full of apologies claiming a traffic jam,”
Claiming?! The cheek! If only they knew the half of it!
She scanned the introduction horrified and began the actual interview.
“..Clarissa, how has life been over the last few months? We know you had a hard time. Im not here to discuss that.
But how have you been dealing with the bad press? Do you think it’s unfair?”
Life hadn’t always been like this, she wondered back through her memories as she slammed the magazine onto the desk. Once upon a time she had dreams, hopes and a life.
A stream of sunlight escaped through the curtains catching dust particles on its journey to Clarissa’s cheeks. Her eyes fluttered, the light granting her sight for the split second before she turned over desperate for sleep.
Sleep was a blissful reward, but her silent slumber was shattered by her mother’s harsh voice;
Clarissa ignored her until she heard her mother’s irritated footsteps ascend the stairs.
She quickly scrambled around, grabbing clothes, positioning herself in a pose of wakefulness.
“Are you up?”
“You better be!”
She skipped breakfast for the first time in her life that morning, a seemingly harmless event that would not be her last. Soon enough she was on her way.
The waiting room was ominous; the walls were grimy and scuffed from chairs. They had tried their best; there was a slightly yellow plant sat in the corner, lonely and unloved.
A tallish man in a pinstriped suit walked in muttered a name. So quiet it was almost unintelligible.
She looked up, her blonde hair masking her eyes. Underneath the veil they were nervous, conscious her entire life lay on this meeting.
“Would you like to come in?”
Heart thudding she gripped her mothers hand and entered listening to the mans highly polished shoes squeak as his weight was applied.
Gesturing to two chairs in front of his desk he settled in his own and pushed two glasses of water toward them.
“Do you have a portfolio?”
Clarissa was shocked when he had asked her to sign a contract; she was only 14 and never dreamed of staring so young. One of her clearest memories was of him leaving the room muttering to himself the fatal words, “So young; so naïve,”
The truths in those words were her downfall.
She now sat hunched in her designer sofa head in hands, why had she let her self be dragged in. Why couldn’t she let go and move on?
A cool tear scolded her cheek, its salty taste resting on her bottom lip. Followed by the whole platoon of salty moisture.
She found herself battling with breakfasts, desperate to skip them. It wasn’t a choice it was a demon gnawing her, telling her she had to be thinner. If she was fat she couldn’t achieve her dream. It was an impossible decision but with subtle encouragement from the pinstripe suited man she let her self be engulfed by the demons suicidal ways. It happened gradually and it brought a guilty smile to her face to see the scales reading an impossible weight.
Three years later, having suffered a heart attack due to the impossible truth she finally realized she did not want this, she could not want this.
It was too late. She was famous now…. It was all within her reach and that was what hurt the most. She risked it all and took the pinstriped suit to court.
She wanted compensation, he had encouraged her, brainwashed her. She didn’t ask for it. She didn’t like the way she looked in the mirror. She wasn’t Clarissa anymore, she wasn’t aloud to be. The public didn’t love Clarissa they loved the demon. The demon given to her by the pinstripe suit. But then all he wanted was the money. She was just money in his eyes. Solid gold.
Hugging her knees she could still feel the bones, she could not let go of her demon, or rather he could not let go of her. He wanted to consume her fat and reduce her to bones. He still laughed when she pushed away her burger in favor of a crouton and water.
The day of court had be labeled “Judgment day” in all the tabloids. She walked in head held as high as her skeleton would allow.
The judge had looked down sympathetically at her as he passed the judgment. She had won the case but all was not over. She could not live a normal life. How could she, she was now worth up to £50,000 a shot, £80,000 if you got some bone sticking out. She was hounded; she could not breath without it being documented. It was an impossible life.
She was on the brink of reinventing herself now a new line of clothes, a new healthy figure but somehow no one could forget her past. Interviews were in high demand.
The bell rang and she sighed as she heard the house keeper usher the young journalist up the stairs to the study.
“Good morning Miss Tipton,”
“Please call me Clarissa,”
Clarissa lent back and let her blonde curls mask her face, behind the veil she was terrified, and she knew the first question. The classic first question.
“Do you think its unfair?”