Well, let’s finish this month with a dip into the ol’ Jewel Email and see what’s on the fans’ minds?
Why haven’t you put out your own exercise video? You have such a wonderful figure. Every woman in the world should learn the secret of converting her body into one just like yours.
Kansas City, MO
Okay, I guess we all know what’s on Stan’s mind, don’t we? Let’s see what the next letter says…
I wonder why you haven’t put your own exercise video? It seems as if everyone else in the world has…
Richard seems to have been conferring with Stan.
Here’s a letter from Ron. Let’s see what Ron has on his mind…
Don’t forget to have the recommended daily requirement of something from the four basic food groups: sugar, salt, grease and alcohol. Dinner and dessert at McDonald’s should take care of three of them.
Hmm…I seem to notice a pattern emerging…men concerned with my body and what I put into it. It’s really nice to know you guys are so concerned with maintaining my figure. Years ago, I had this idea to put out a video tape featuring me and several gay guys demonstrating exercises but Jane Fonda stole my idea.
It didn’t take long to realize that I would have to leave all the exercise tapes to the queens of fitness, Jane Fonda, Cathy Smith, Richard Simmons…
One day, this friend of mine (a famous movie director and producer, and when he gets on Facebook and reads this – he will never “Friend” me – as no doubt there will be someone who will figure out who he is) came to me and said, “Hey, Jewel, how would like to be in a fitness video with naked women, tons of hunks and you being the star?”
“…actually in truth, four topless women, three guys…uh, and I’m not sure they’ll be hunks…but a really fantastic location…Maui! I believe it one of your favorite places. And you’ll, of course, be the main force…in fact, the personality behinds this whole thing! How does that sound?”
Now, THIS is where I made my fatal mistake. And it only took one two-syllable word uttered low and under my breath…
There are some words that have a magic effect on me. For example, say “Sale” to me and I’m there, credit card in hand. If a store were selling life-sized stuffed hippopotami at 50% off, I’d be there, buying one. I don’t really need a stuffed hippopotamus in my house but at 50% off, who could resist??? Another good one is “sushi.” I love sushi. Especially sushi as served up by a real arrogant, nasty sushi chef. For some reason, the nastier the chef is, the better the sushi. (Or “the fresher the chef, the fresher the fish”)
And another used to be “Maui.” There was a time that Rush Limbaugh could have invited me to go body-surfing in Maui (or, in his case, body-yachting) and I would have been at the airport quicker than you could say “Don Ho.”
Here is the story of one such trip to Maui and why, from now on, I’d rather enjoy the tropical climes of downtown Cleveland on a real humid day. Next thing I knew, I was jetting off to what I hoped was going to be a fun-filled one-week working vacation. Little did I know what was in store for me. There were a few clues, even before I left LAX, that I was not in for the dream vacation of a lifetime. For instance, when I got to the airport…I couldn’t find the airline.
In fact, nobody at the terminal had ever heard of “Leisure Air”…and I mean nobody; not the ticket people, not the taxi drivers, not even the Hare Krishnas. I’ve heard of “no-frills” airlines that do away with unnecessary extras but you kind of expect them to have certain things…like a gate; I searched and searched. I’ve heard of airlines losing your reservation but this was the first time a reservation had ever lost an airline. Finally, fully three hours later, I found Leisure Airlines, hidden away in a phone booth (or what seemed like one) at the Southwest Terminal. I’ll spare you all my further troubles in getting to Maui, especially the part where I finally saw the plane they wanted me to fly on (Usually, I prefer two wings)…I especially loved the part where the pilot came back and asked if any of us thought we could recognize Maui from the air…
Fifty-two hours later…
I was in front of the camera, demonstrating the Jewel-A-Childs meal to a healthy appetite. “Throw out all those non-fat, low cal items…grab that whipped cream and chow down on your favorite food!” (I didn’t write this) There, in front of me, was a poor, innocent young lad…my cooking helper. Actually, he was the meal. Before we were done, he was covered with grapes, strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate, and oysters.
The cover of Jewel’s SEXERCISE VHS, circa 1994.
I guess I should explain that this was a comedy I was making. Well, I think it was a comedy. I’m relatively certain it wasn’t an episode of Masterpiece Theater…unless they’ve added topless women to it. It’s called “Sexercise,” starring yours truly — and will be available soon at at my website Jewelshepard.biz.
I had such a horrible time on Maui with the bad flight and the terrible accommodations and the awful food and mosquitoes the size of Hulk Hogan that the next time someone suggests a trip to Maui to me, I’m going to make them a three-word suggestion. Two of the words are verbs and this, an adverb.
Unless, of course, you just happen to be Warren Buffett. I love a man who knows how to throw his money around.
To zillions of B-Movie Fans (mostly male), she is a certified, Grade-A M*O*V*I*E S*T*A*R, no less incandescent than Jane Hathaway or Drew Barrymore. But she sure doesn’t live like either of them. Or get paid like them. Or have Martin Scorsese begging her to star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in his next epic. There is a Jewel Shepard Website, MySpace, Facebook, Hi-5 but, still, casting directors peer at her, wondering who she is, while pondering what to make of a resume that includes some very odd films, indeed.
What happened to her before, during and after the time she found herself breaking into so-called B-Movies is the subject of our show – a series of vignettes, mostly comedic but with an occasional touch of Hard Reality in them. She is our autobiographical narrator and she “stars” as Herself…which doesn’t seem like a breakthrough role for an actress but it is when they usually make you play hookers, bimbos and convicts.
Women love hearing Jewel explode those exploitive cinematic female “roles” and they identify with what a lady has to go through to get anywhere in the world. Men love the “backstage peek” that Jewel affords into her movies and her mind.
ANGLE ON A TV SCREEN
Only we don’t know yet it’s a TV screen; all we see is a clip from “Hollywood Hot Tubs,” featuring actress Jewel Shepard as a bouncy bimbo. As it progresses, we slowly PULL BACK to reveal its being watched on a TV somewhere and we HEAR the voices of two late-adolescent male fans…
FAN #1 (OVER:)
That’s her. The one jiggling all the time. Jewel Shepard.
FAN #2 (OVER:)
Awesome. Wasn’t she in “Party Camp” and — oh, what was that film with the zombie dudes? — Oh, “Return of the Living Dead?”
FAN #1 (OVER:)
Yeah. Only she didn’t jiggle in that one. She kinda, you know, got nuked.
FAN #2 (OVER:)
Awesome. I wish I could get nuked.
FAN #1 (OVER:)
I wrote her, like, a letter to her fan club and she, y’know, wrote me back.
FAN #2 (OVER:)
FAN #1 (OVER:)
Did so. Hey, listen…
His hand brings the letter up into FRAME to read it.
FAN #1 (CONT’D)
See, I wrote to her and I asked, like, what’s the hardest part of making those movies you do? That’s not what I really wanted to know. I really wanted to know her bra size but I figured it’s like, uncool to ask that on a first letter. So I asked her what’s the hardest part of your career. And she answered me! She did! She said…
THE SCENE – A DARK STAGE IN “LIMBO”
A single spotlight from above illumines the spot where Jewel wanders in, dressed like she just got off the bus from North Carolina (which she did), toting her battered Samsonite. She stops, sees “us” and decides to let us in on what’s on her mind…
I used to say the hardest part of my career was the bus ride to Hollywood from North Carolina. Eighty-eight thousand continuous miles, sitting between a woman whose baby made Sam Kinison sound soft-spoken and an old drunk who hadn’t bathed since the Truman Administration. Of course, I said that before I’d actually gotten a role in a B-Movie. How was I to know the bus ride would be luxury compared to four weeks getting whipped and losing my shirt in a Roger Corman epic?
As she strolls over, the spotlight illumines the ground, revealing stars like those on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She pauses on one heralding CLARK GABLE.
I came here for two reasons. One was to become a star. Another was to marry Clark Gable. This was the 1978. It turned out Clark Gable died in 1960. Okay, so they don’t get Variety in North Carolina. How was I to know? And it was sad, the way I found out. I came here to Vine Street, just South of Hollywood Boulevard and here I found his star. See? And I was standing right here, telling nobody in particular that I was going to marry Clark Gable when this wino passed by and said –
An old WINO wanders through and, without breaking stride:
Forget it. He’s dead.
The Wino is gone. Jewel is devastated by the news.
Dead. Okay, so I was a little late. There went one of my two dreams and — wouldn’t you know it? — it turned out to be the easier of the two.
Another light comes on, illuminating a mysterious figure in the upstage darkness. He white suit — identical to one worn by Rhett Butler in “Gone With the Wind” — makes him stand out, even if we can’t see his face. And the voice is unmistakable:
Things were different when I came to Hollywood. If Louis B. Mayer liked the way you looked — bang! – he’d have in front of camera before you could say, “Lana Turner.” Of course, if you were Lana Turner, he’d have you somewhere else, if you know what I mean.
Things haven’t changed that much. Except now there’s a lot more women who want to get into movies. And every guy with a digital and a sweater tied around his shoulders thinks he’s Louis B. Mayer.
That’s the way it seems, I know. But you take it from me, kid. If you got the face and the talent — and you’re in the right place at the right time — you’ll go the distance.
The apparition starts to fade. Jewel chases after it.
But wait! What’s the right time and where’s the right place? You have to tell me! You’re part of the reason I’m here. From the first time I saw “Gone With the Wind” and dreamed of being part of it all, I’ve wanted to come out here and be with you! You have to help me!
Frankly, starlet…I don’t give a damn.
And the ghostly figure exits into darkness. Jewel is alone again. After a moment, she gets her composure.
When the man’s right, he’s right. I was alone. But I wasn’t discouraged. That came later. I knew…the first thing I had to do was to get myself an agent!
JEWEL turns and the lights come up around her. We are in a cramped, seedy, agent’s office. She enters the scene and we see and hear a vignette of the tragi-comic ritual of trying to get an agent when you have no film on yourself…when, of course, the only way to get film is to get a job which, of course, means you need an agent…and so on…
Our tale progresses through a series of episodes like the Agent one, all linked by Jewel’s personal, autobiographical narration. She tells us horrendous/hilarious stories of…
THE FIRST AUDITION – That horrifying moment when the two people behind the desk ask, “Have you read the material?” And you have but you still don’t have a clue what they want. And, even more horrifying: Neither do they.
THE REAL JOB – Okay, so you pay first and last month’s rent until you get some parts in film. So you get a “real” job – in Jewel’s case, it was stripping. And then comes the day when you have a major interview with a producer tomorrow and he walks into the club tonight. How do you do your job and hide from the man, lest he find out what you do at nights?
GETTING YOUR S.A.G. CARD – Your first part in a movie and you finally get that elusive entrée into the union. But that one line (two seconds of screen time, tops) is such a letdown. And it gets cut out of the film, anyway…
THE PRODUCER – Then there’s the audition with the big-time producer whose films you watched when you were a kid and whose idea of exercise is chasing you around his office…the ones where the doors lock from the outside. Somehow, you’ll never watch his old movies again quite the same way again.
THE AGENT – The guy who tells you that you shouldn’t have run so fast when you were in the Producers’ office. Thanks a lot, fella.
PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSLY – Your friend got a part and not you: How to fake a smile and heartiest congratulations. Who says you can’t act?
THE ACTING CLASS – They make you sit on the floor, chant silly chants, try to imagine what it would feel like to be a bagel…and pay fifty bucks a week…for this?
MOM – This is the woman who raised you. This is also the person who believes you go to U.C.L.A. aiming for your law degree and that you work part-time in the student cafeteria. And, guess what: She’s coming to town, the same week your first film comes out and you don’t have your shirt on in it.
THE ENDLESS AUDITIONS – You sit there and you sit there and you sit there, surrounded by ten girls who look just like you, dress like you, talk like you…and who all have (it always seems) more credits and a better “in” with this director.
THE TAX AUDIT – Try explaining to the I.R.S. guy that a case of Revlon #9 Acne Cover is a business expense.
And there’s a lot more to it than that. Via a series of vignettes, Jewel “answers” her fan mail and gives us a funny, sexy tour of the Life and Times of a B-Movie Actress… Hollywood as seen from the bottom of the escalator. She wants us all to come along for the ride –
Jewel with former New York Giants inside linebacker Harry Carson.
So there I was, lost in a dream when his voice suddenly intervened to awaken me to the reality of a New Day. “Excuse me, Miss Shepard, but would you like me to start your bath, now?” It was my faithful man-servant Bruno, rapping gently on my bedroom door…Bruno, who has been so faithful since I rescued him from the midst of a bloody coup in the Philippines, while making a picture there.
I rolled over to glance at my companion, a still-sleeping Governor Chris Christie . I could hear his last words of the night before still resonating over my head: “Again? A man can only do so much,” he’d said, almost pleadingly. Poor Chris. He’ll just have to learn that you shouldn’t start anything you can’t finish.
“Oh, well,” I muttered to myself. At least he doesn’t snore as loudly as his former aide and appointee David Wildstein.”
“No, Bruno,” I called out as I slipped from beneath the satin sheets and padded across the marble flooring that was a gift to me from the King Jigme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan. “I think I would prefer a shower today,” I told Bruno – and I could hear him scurry off to begin adjusting the water to my precise body temperature.
Over the years, I’ve received countless letters wanting to know what’s it like to be a B-Movie queen. Well, my day is pretty typical, actually…not that much different from yours. But, for those who simply must know, I’ve decide to run down an average day for you. Now, where was I?
Oh, yes..in my shower.
You’d love my shower – a gift from the Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah of Kuwait who once staged an all-out three-week campaign to entice me into becoming his eleventh wife (brunette division). “You’ll be my favorite,” he kept telling me. Yeah, right. The only remnant of him in my life is this shower, designed to look like every shower in every B-movie, complete with life-size cut-outs of Sybil Danning, Edy Williams and a lecherous camera crew.
Following a luxurious shower. I plopped down in my make-up chair and my personal stylist entered. “Vidal,” I said, “you know that line about how if I don’t look good, you don’t look good?” Vidal nodded yes. I said, “Well, you don’t look good, Vidal. Perhaps I should call José?”
Vidal fell to his knees in tears. “No, no, Ms. Shepard, please. Not José Eber. He wears funny hats. Just give me three minutes to bring your full, natural beauty to the surface. Just three minutes!”
“You may have two,” I told him. “I have a meeting.”
Well, I’ll hand this to Vidal. In two minutes, he had me looking like my old self. Then, still wrapped in a towel, I wandered through my wardrobe rooms until the appropriate outfit caught my eye…one that Vera Wang had designed for me to wear whenever I went to Fatburger. It was especially heavy on the red sequins, the better to mask catsup stains.
Harold, my morning chef, had breakfast ready by the time I arrived at the table: Eggs Champagne with slices of glazed apricots, trifle, scones… “Lovely work, Harold,” I told him. “But I only have time for a Twinkie.” Harold started to weep but I told him, “Save it for my guest.” I thought again of Chris sound asleep upstairs and, for a moment, contemplated crawling back into bed to see if anything had reformed overnight. Just then, however, the telephone rang.
“It’s the studio,” said my personal assistant Arthur, whom I stole away from the service of Princess Margaret by offering him a chance to live in greater splendor. Grudgingly, I took the phone and heard, “Sorry, Ms. Shepard…we have this problem. Uh, we need you for a reshoot of one of yours scenes. Could you come right away?”
Oh, the annoyances of stardom. I summoned Jeeves and had him bring out my car. “The Duesenberg or the Maserati?” he inquired. I told him, “Today, I think I would like to take the Limo…the red one!” He hurried off to the garage and, within moments, we were tooling down the Hollywood Freeway. I sat, as usual, in the back, talking on my five-line cellular phone. “No, Hillary dear, I haven’t read your autobiography yet…I have a pile of screenplays the size of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to read, first. How do I know? Well, I had Kareem fly in from Hawaii last night and stand next to it.” There was a ring and I had to tell Hillary, “I have to put you on hold…that was Barack on line four.”
Twenty minutes later, I was on set…and all to do just one pick-up line from my last film. It was a terrible drudge – and not just because of how it wrecked my day but because I now had to re-create a moment from a performance of months before. In constructing a characterization of a movie, one must fully focus on the role and the motivations, large and small, that inform the character. Long weeks of preparation had gone into becoming the person I portrayed in the film and I thought I had left “her” behind me on the set when shooting wrapped. Now, completely out of context, I was being asked to jump back into a life I had long since abandoned…asked to recapture without the many scenes that led up to that moment. Finally, after asserting every ounce of my training as a professional actress, I signaled my director that I thought I had recaptured the proper frame of mind and that he should roll film. He did.
“Eat leaden death, you scum,” I yelled as I fired my Grenade Launcher and blasted fifteen Asiatic stuntmen from the trees.
“Cut! That was perfect, Jewel,” my director yelled. Far be it for me to disagree with him.
As I hurried to my dressing room, assistants and reporters fell into stride with me, snapping out questions.
“Is it true you voted early for Obama/Biden when you knowingly were sleeping with John McCain?”
“Are you really hosting the Oscars next year, Ms. Shepard?”
“Why did you turn down the lead in The Changeling and make them rewrite it for Angelina Jolie?”
“Ms. Shepard! Is it true you made them reschedule the entire Cannes Film Festival so it wouldn’t interfere with you leg-wax appointment?”
“Is it true that you just made a down payment on the entire state of California, as your part in helping California pay its employees?”
I slammed the door of my trailer, shutting them all out. I had to be alone with my thoughts for a moment. I threw myself on the Queen-sized bed, slipped under a comforter that was personally hand-woven by Grandma Moses and drifted off to sleep for a moment thinking about football… and Baseball, and how about those Dodgers?
Here they are – The three great lies of Show Business:
“I have a three-picture deal,”
“It’s a firm commitment,” and
“I’m basically a shy person.”
This last one seems to be the new mantra of every actress who’s doing a press tour for a film in which she doffs her top and/or bottom. Often, compounding the disingenuousness, they add, “I felt so uncomfortable taking my clothes off… but I’m an actress and it was part of the story…”
It takes a good actress to speak that dialogue and make it play. The candid answer would be more along the lines of, “The studio decided the film needed some flesh in it. That’s part of what they’re selling, so it becomes part of what I’m selling. That’s why I spend half my off-camera hours at the gym and a good chunk of my paychecks on tummy tucks and biannual implants. I only have X years before they start telling my agent that I look a bit ‘mature’ for the part (i.e. over 28), so I’m not about to lose a single movie role to any of the 18,000 actresses in town who’ll get naked for a passport photo…”
Shy people do not dream of becoming movie stars. That’s like someone who’s afraid of heights dreaming of life as a window washer at the Sears Tower. The actor has never lived who did not fantasize about winning the Oscar, getting up at the ceremony, and sharing the supreme emotional moment of their lives with umpteen-billion people watching on live TV.
I’ve done a few dozen movies, somehow managing to be at least semi-naked in half of them. Of course, I’m basically a shy person…
I’ve had extensive acting classes before my brief scene in My Tutor, But I suspect the two-hours-per-day of aerobics over the preceding months were more valuable to my performance. I’d also like to thank the man who supplied the diet pills, the women who colored and styled my hair, and, most of all, gravity, which had yet to set in on the salient parts of my anatomy.
(Please note that though the fun parts have been pixellated, this might be NSFW.)
For my even briefer scene, in Zapped!, I’d like to thank all the same people, plus the many special-effects experts who arranged to make my shirt fly off when Scott Baio focused his telekinetic powers on it. Despite their realistic simulation of a fantasy that every heterosexual male has concerning most of the women he meets, the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects that year went to something called E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Roger Ebert called it the greatest miscarriage of integrity since the year they by passed Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens and gave Best Picture to Kramer vs. Kramer.
I did an even briefer bit of blouse-ripping in The Underachievers. As usual, I was told, “It’s only a flash… no one will ever see it,” which perhaps should be the Fourth Great Lie. Every VCR/DVD has still-frame, and just in case yours doesn’t, there are men’s magazines that reprint such flashes. (I know because I keep getting them in the mail to autograph. Still, I haven’t seen a check fromCelebrity Sleuth, which makes a lot of money immortalizing those scenes we get paid almost nothing to do.)
My supreme starring (undraped) role to date was in a direct-to-Playboy Channel flick called Christina, which, nakedness aside, could be marketed as an over-the-counter sleep aid. It was shot all over Europe with what the press book called “a multinational crew,” which means that no two people involved spoke a common language. I was promised “tasteful nudity,” which in this case meant that I got to be topless in front of the Eiffel Tower. We shot it when there were no gendarmes about, on a dreary morning with the temperature hovering around eight degrees… and that’s Fahrenheit. All I can recall is that my nipples looked liked the pop-up timers on Butterball turkeys, and there were tourists taking photos and muttering; “Now this is what Paris should be like…”
Whereas for some films you negotiate how much nudity you’ll do, on this picture I actually found myself haggling to be clothed in one or two scenes – and I had to bargain with the man who held my return ticket. (I had previously disabused him of the notion, which he claimed to be have learned in film school, that more of the budget can be put “on the screen” if the leading lady shares her hotel room with the producer.) At one point, I had to single-handedly defeat several armed ninja assassins. The director thought it would help the scene if I was naked.
Did I like taking my clothes off in these films? Not particularly. But no one put a howitzer to my temple and forced me into this line of work. If I really were shy, I could move out of Hollywood, get a job selling microwaves at Wal-Mart, and eat desserts without fearing that a quarter-inch of cheesecake midriff would cost me a gig or wind up visible on film. Given the choice between Wal-Mart and being bare onscreen – with at least a theoretical shot at becoming rich and famous accompanying the latter – guess which one Shy Little Me opts for?
At times, taking off my clothes in front of a camera reminded me of taking off my clothes in front of a boyfriend. Back in the ‘70s, it was still unfashionable for women to take the initiative in sex. Guys could admit they wanted sex; girls had to feign being talked into it – excellent training for an actress. Olivier in his prime could never have mastered the genuineness of my best friend in high school telling her date, “Well, I shouldn’t… but if you really want me to…”
It works the same way with nude scenes. You know you’re going to do them. Your agent has told them you do them. If you’re even vaguely attractive, by the time you’re 18, every male with a Nikon, camcorder, or disposable Fuji has tried to coax you into slipping off your top. If your body’s good enough for any producer to want it in his movie, you’ve probably shown it to a lens or two, just out of vanity and the fear that it will never look any better. Still, you want to be coaxed a little, if only so they’ll think of you as an actress doing a nude scene, not as a nude model trying to talk.
Actually, it’s not so much being nude in movies that’s the problem. It’s being nude in all those producers’ offices. At least when you’re shooting the film, there’s a guaranteed paycheck… and witnesses.
Boy, are there witnesses. The Pope appears before smaller crowds. When the clothed scenes are being shot, you can look out and see the director and a crew of six. Somehow, when comes time for the bra to come off, 83 guys, including the caterer and the fellow in charge of transportation insurance, suddenly have a good and valid reason to be there. Be especially wary when they promise you a “closed set.” That means you’ll be disrobing in front of every single male even remotely involved in the production, plus their agents and a few staff lesbians. At times, I’ve felt like I should be hawking lap dances and getting dollar bills stuffed in my garter.
Auditions are worse. There are those producers and directors who are professional about it – female casting person on the premises, everything strictly business. Then there are those who seem to be having way too much fun. For them, it isn’t the visual thrill as much as the feeling of power, and the fact that you’re removing garments in their offices and at their command. For all the fully clad three-line roles, they see a maximum of five contenders; for the nude three-line part, it somehow becomes necessary to interview half of the SAG ingénue roster.
My first audition-in-the-raw came as a bit of a shock. They told us that the scene would be done in the nude but that the interview would be done in a swimsuit. Like all the other women in the waiting room, I’d dressed in the smallest, tightest, sexiest thing I owned, in the naïve hope that someone would think I looked so spectacular that no further undressing would be required. This has never happened in the history of mankind, but you have to be a dreamer to pursue an acting career.
But the director decided that he simply had to see us all naked, just to make sure there were no sags or scars or tattoos. (Later in my career, I toyed with having Dr. Pepper stenciled on my ass – one of those product-placement deals.) The first actress who went in stormed out in less than a minute, announcing to the rest of us, “They want nude!” Everyone moaned – not necessarily from surprise – and we all whispered about how we were being insulted and exploited and used and degraded… but none of us left.
I didn’t get the part. I’m not sure if what they didn’t like was my acting, my attitude, or my breasts. I’m not sure which of the three would be least painful. I do know that that kind of thing is not nearly the worst of it.
The worst is the producer or director who figures that getting you to strip is only Act One. I remember one very important person, who shall remain nameless (let’s call him Don Simpson, producer of Top Gun), who always seemed to be holding auditions for nude scenes. The rumor was that even if the eventual film wouldn’t call for a nude scene, he always had one written into the script, just so he could audition starlets.
Ominously, my reading for him was held not in an office on a studio lot but in a hotel suite in Beverly Hills. He gave me a quick once-over, offered a few controlled substances, which I declined, then suggested I whip off my clothes because “…if you can’t do it here, in front of me, you won’t be able to do it on the set if you get the part.”
I told him I’d brought a swimsuit and would be willing to go into the next room and put it on. That was the end of the audition.
I wish I could say that that was the only time this kind of thing happened to me. I also wish I could say it has happened with Kevin Costner, but it hasn’t. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, I will be nude for any audition you call me in for, even if the part calls for an actress in full body armor.)
So why do we put up with it? There are many reasons, and a shot at stardom accounts for at least half of them. Love of acting is another. An actress who refuses nude scenes closes herself off from a lot of acting opportunities. But really, there’s another motive, at least for me. Remember earlier, when I said I didn’t particularly like doing nude scenes? Well, that was a partial fib.
I hate the auditions, but doing the actual film has its perks. It’s acting, first of all – naked bimbo acting, perhaps, but if you’re an actress, that’s still better not acting. Second, there’s a feeling of glamour – all the lighting people and makeup people fussing over you, and the knowledge that you’re there because men find you beautiful. If you’re in bed with an actor, he usually gets to wear his underpants (you don’t) and he tells you he’s wearing two pairs, just in case, hint hint. For a little while there – when they’re filming, when the movie comes out, when it hits Cinemax – you’re a movie star, sort of. Plus, you get paid. Maybe not as much as Gwyneth or Uma or Nicole do for popping their tops, but at least you’re in the tiny percentage of the Screen Actors Guild that supports itself via screen acting.
But I can’t admit to any of this… and I especially can’t admit that when I take off my clothes on camera, I feel a little more beautiful, a little sexier, a little more desired. I certainly can’t confess that it’s one of the times I allow myself to think, “Hey, maybe I’m not as unattractive as my bathroom mirror claims I am every morning.”
I can’t tell you any of that. You see, I’m basically a very shy person…
I am trying to figure out which of the three listed above is more Important than the other two. Or is it important that I care if it’s important… as it reads as important?
How on earth do I get up in the morning? So many important things I think about! Holy Moly! My brain just stews in the importance of such thinking.
I did however see “The Butler” starring long time pal, Forest Whitaker, yesterday. He gave an incredibly wonderful and deep and dare I say? Important! Performance which will by years end be; a super-duper and important enough film worthy of any naked and gold-plated *important* dude any one sitting at the Kodak Theater come March 2014 wants so desperately to own they will stop at nothing! They would even prance through a sea of noisy, well dressed, and not reporter-like folks at all but reporter fashionistas — themselves, Desperate, for a second or three of tape time with a potential winner. Each reporter head, staked out just inches away from the red carpet asking YOU, the suddenly important actor or actress of the moment — in a round about way of course, what is it exactly about YOU that makes you IMPORTANT?
Jewel’s friend Forest claiming one of his many Oscars.
Mr. Whitaker, a very important man, gave an important performance worthy of Mr. Oscar, or that “naked thingy” is how I use to describe the man anyone in this industry would give their right boob to just to say they were nominated. Me? I call Oscar, ”Thingy” (because, for me, he will always be a Thingy. Unattainable except for the knock-off, six inches of plastic I have stored somewhere in some desk drawer from memories long since passed and obviously forgotten until rummaging through a clutter-filled desk only to pause and go, “Oh…” I would always catch myself saying upon stumbling upon him, naked and in my drawer. “Oh…” I would sigh again, “wish I had a man like you, to pine after, lust after, oh… if I could find such a man as you, Thingy!”)
Forest on the other hand will never be forced to say such ridiculous things to a plastic six-incher as I have stored away. Nah, Forest is a lucky boy. He gets to smile at his Thingy, and have others smile admire his Thingy as well. Me? I, a few months after, (as it takes that long for Oscar to come back engraved) will go by and check his Oscar man out and all the other awards from films like the “Crying Game,” “Bird,” “King of Scotland,” and this, Oscar Butler, and second Thingy to his mantle of well deserved prizes.
He will surely be up on stage next year at the Kodak theater, clutching Oscar and speaking with great importance, “This film would not be possible…” he will begin… after a few seconds pausing to stare down at the stage floor to compose his thoughts and then Forest will go on to being incredibly gracious. Thanking first the Academy, Oprah, a little bit about the man the movie is based on, say, he is once again, thankful for the opportunity to play such a part. He will thank the cast, the writers, the director and will appear very serious while making this speech until the end, where he will then flash a smile filled with sweetness and a slightly uncomfortable expression to his face, as if suddenly aware of being “caught” up on stage and in front of a room of his peers and those folks who got to this night via a ticket selling their souls to some online Sweepstakes Ad proclaiming this event to be so, Important as not to be missed!
Jewel and Forest in the days before all the awards and blogs.
In honor of Mr. Whitaker… I am posting a crappy photo of us deserving of a smile. The kind of smile, Forest will be flashing come Oscar night. The kind of smile he used to give me while watching me feed Hostess cupcakes to my dog who seconds before appeared to be lifeless in my lap but at the sound of a cupcake being unwrapped? Never have the dead come back to life than when my pup, Popcorn, heard a box of Hostess cupcakes being pushed around in a kitchen cabinet. Little did my Popcorn know at the time, that importance was more than a bite of Hostess Cupcakes but that my pooch, my Popcorn, was sitting among the truly important. Ha ha ha ha.
Sorry, Forest… just so laughing. Tell the family I say, “Hi” give them all my love. See you at that red carpet thingy. Another award for your mantel… I think you have won them all by now. Hmm… Nope. Not true. Missing that important “Best Director” thingy. Ha.
Here’s a word from others who; hmm… think a certain flick may indeed be IMPORTANT!
An article I wrote in the years of having real breasts… I wrote this for Maxim. Thought I would share with you folks out there in internet land… a little silliness that isn’t so silly for me anymore. Ha. Another laugh moment thanks to Cancer!
ME, MY BREASTS, AND I
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. And then, since he was on a roll, he created Hollywood, which was neither. He populated this place called Hollywood with especially good-looking men and especially good-looking women, and then, to make sure these especially good-looking people were not too happy, He invented agents and producers.
What He didn’t figure on was that the agents and producers would begin tampering with his other creations. The agents and especially the producers thought they knew how to improve on everything, including His handiwork. So they urged all these good-looking people to make their noses smaller and their lips bigger and to move their hair to places other than where God had designated. And they drove them to enlarge themselves in the chest area, particularly the woman. If you wanted to be a movie star, or even if you just wanted your boy friend to not compare you unfavorably to one, you had to enlarge your jugs, hooters, puppies, balloons, yabbos, knockers, mountains, or – to use the genteel word, currently used only by cosmetic surgeons – breasts. Whatever God gave you, it suddenly wasn’t enough.
I’ve been learning that as long as I’ve been in Hollywood because, as I’m almost ashamed to admit, mine are real – totally and completely natural. Oh, I’ve done a few exercises that were supposed to augment the bustline, and I pick out bras that promise to enhance one’s cleavage. But, at the risk of being a Show Biz outcast, I’ve made do with what He gave me, which is hard in a town that prefers and rewards Phony.
Actress friends ask me when I’m going to get them done (not “if” but “when”) and why I’ve been holding off. I’ve had many good reasons…
Cost. The high-tech jobs can run $3000 per boob and even a cheap job can run half of that. That is not something you want to have done at the 99-Cent-Only Store. Then there’s the cost of a new wardrobe, new bras, new everything.
Pain. Let’s face it: If you’re lucky and the plastic surgeon has done his end of the job carefully and there are no complications, you still have to wake up with that extra weight and lug it around all day. Not only that but there’s the feeling that, somewhere during the night, in the fog of anesthesia, you had invited King Kong to come ove and play paddy-cake with your bazongas.
Looks. I’m thinking of starting a new game show. We all watch the Playboy Channel and then a prize goes to the first person who spots a pair of real tits. The only problem is that it can take days. (Men watch the Playboy Channel to see the nude ladies. Women watch the Playboy Channel to critique the boob jobs and wonder why, when the Playmate is lying on her back with everything pointing to the ceiling and her scars visible, men find that erotic.)
Exercise. I run on the treadmill three times a week and, let’s face it – I don’t care what size balloons you have, they both need to be strapped down, especially during that middle-of-the-month girlie thing. So I guess my question is – if I’m strapping them down and wearing my titanium double-breasted, steel-belted, heavy-duty, jogging bra, and it still hurts – what do women who have size 36-double D’s do? Aside from perhaps have one of the male gym employees running for her.
Dating. I don’t know if this applies to everyone, but when I go out with a man I want him to look me in the eyes and have a real conversation. You know something about the arts of politics. Hell, I’ll even settle for “Hey, how about those Dodgers?” Somehow all that changes when I wear that Wonderbra. Suddenly, I find the man in question loses all interest in my eyes. I give ‘em a quiz later – “What color are my eyes?” – and I have yet to find one male who can answer. They can, however, tell me precisely the color of whatever they were able to see of my brassiere.
Obsolescence. Surgically-enhanced Casbahs were apparently invented by the same guy who invented the lifetime light bulb. They have to be replaced from time to time. Your standard cleavage warranty is for five years but I know women who have had theirs done four times in three years, usually moving up to larger models each time. I have enough trouble deciding when it’s time to trade in my car.
Balance. How are some of those women able to stand up straight? And to even ponder that thought further, how do they do it in heels?
But the main reason is that I always felt my 34B should be enough. Back when I was growing up (and out) in the South, the boys all seemed to think I was big enough there. My T-shirts fitted tight, showing that I was indeed a female. Of course, this was the seventies and everyone’s T-shirt fitted tight, but this was also the time when bra’s weren’t fashionable… so the guys always referred to my chest as the perfect ski slopes. I was once even referred to as the ultimate ski lift. Which was a compliment… because back then most women were labeled champagne glasses.
Then I came West. To earn a buck in this mythical land, I resorted to a billboard bathed in neon: “Become a Hollywood Superstar,” it said, with “Ingenues:18-20” in smaller letters. I wasn’t sure exactly what an ingénue was but it turned out I already was one.
It turned out to be a bikini contest sponsored by the Michelob beer company, held in the back of a Holiday Inn. I won. Then I won a bikini contest sponsored by the Heineken beer people, then one sponsored by Miller beer. Generally speaking, the key to success in these competitions was to have the largest breasts in the room. If the rest of you didn’t look like Abe Vigoda, that was enough.
Eventually, all these contacts led to a part in a movie. The film was called “Zapped” and it starred Scott Baio as a young man with the power of telekinesis – the ability to move objects with the power of his mind. Mostly, he used it to cause girls’ shirts to fly off. I was one of the women whose top disappeared, thanks to Scott’s mental powers and a bunch of special effects men with wires.
Okay, so it wasn’t a lead and I didn’t have any lines. But my breasts had gotten me into a movie with a real, live TV star. My career was definitely taking the fast track to fame…
Until “she” walked in. I was in my agent’s office when a reasonably attractive woman (from the neck up) walked in. The entire office went wild – they were looking at her from the neck down. She had enormous breasts. Huge breasts. Gargantuan breasts. Breasts that required their own zip code.
Suddenly my perfect ski slopes had melted a few inches. She was the very first woman I had ever seen who had her gazongas enlarged, not to correct some horrible deformity but simply because she wanted bigger tits. This was 1981. We both entered Miller beer’s country-wide hunt for the perfect bikini body. I had won all the city and regional competitions, and I was quite cocky about winning the Nationals. Wrong. Her body was otherwise unspectacular and her face was just okay… but Little Miss Mammaries took the gold. All of us losers shuffled off stage, acutely aware that we had been outboobed. That was the defining moment in my life, it more then a tiny bikini and flat tummy to win a contest. It all came down to breasts the size of Wyoming.
That was how it went for months. Audition after audition, bikini contest after bikini contest, wet t-shirt contest after wet t-shirt contest, I started losing – to larger and larger breasts. Mine hadn’t changed but suddenly they looked small by comparison. I got hired to take off my top in a few more films but eventually I would to auditions, see large cantaloupes in the waiting room, and know I was wasting my time. At age 22, I had peaked. I came to the horrible realization that I had to work less on my tan and physique and more on my brain.
These days, my body is not wanted, at least by producers and directors in films. Some have told me that I would definitely work for them if I got my honkers enlarged to at least a full C-cup. I’ve mulled it over and even polled my friends. So far, among both male and female voters, it near-unanimous for larger bazoosms. The women all think it would be a good career move and the men… well, you know what the men think.
One yeavote came from a girlfriend who is a petite and extremely attractive woman with what these days is considered a very small bust line (a full B-cup). Her perfect body somehow defies exercise and gravity, so I was surprised when she recently informed me that she her breasts were purchased from a nice man in Beverly Hills. I never would have known but she proved it to me with an utterly scientific comparison test. We took off our shirts and felt each others’ melons.
I was amazed at how wonderful hers looked and felt. For the first time, I had an inkling as to why men enjoyed that. Breast augmentation is becoming a refined art. Her hubba-hubbas could pass for Kosher with ease, unless she was on her back or I was squeezing real hard. Mine, on the other hand, flopped around. She thought they were quite nice but not photogenic. The droop in real breasts makes them more difficult to light or to capture in silhouette. Shaping, she said, is more important than size – though, of course, there will always be work for those who deal in volume, volume, volume.
I thought about it and I thought about it and I finally decided against it. The problems listed above were the main reasons, but what ultimately convinced me was Charles Darwin.
I first learned about Darwin by reading National Geographic back in my junior high school. The boys at my school were always checking it out to see black breasts. I learned about natural selection and evolution.
Darwin wrote that if a species does not use some physical attribute, it will eventually disappear over succeeding generations – like a breed of bird that stops using its beaks will eventually lose them.
These days, there are actresses with enormous, bogus bongos, and there are even strippers who get themselves inflated to 88DDD. The latter go by handles like Wendy Whoppers and Niki Knockers, apparently on the philosophy that it’s not enough to have ridiculously-large breasts. You ust also have a name that says you have ridiculously-large breasts. These women are exalted and revered as goddesses… held up as some standard to which the rest of us must aspire. A whole generation of horny, adolescent boys are growing up, sneaking peeks at Juggs Magazine at the newsstand, coming to believe that what’s in there is normal and that a woman whose head is larger than either of her boobs is somehow deficient.
This will all change. These women are not using them for anything more than getting men to stare and tip. They certainly aren’t using them for their intended function of nursing. One wrong move and the kid could suffocate.
Eventually, if Darwin is correct (which he is; we all know he was a tit-man), women will all undergo evolutionary breast-reduction. It may take several hundred years but eventually females will all be as flat as the root beer at Denny’s and humans will look back on photos of Dolly Parton’s bustline with the same amazement we now accord to the sloping brow of Cro-Magnon Man.
My breasts may not make me famous today. But when they dig up my remains in the year 2397, they’ll think I’m stacked!
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This is what I think of while going through the photo archives here on the computer. Photo after photo I stare at guinea pigs — future lunch for a traveler wandering, Bolivia.
Guinea Pigs. For an American they are mostly childhood memories – either you had one as a pet or found yourself begging for one at every passing of a pet store.
Never, did I ever think for second, these furry buddies would one day be on a lunch special for roughly one AmericanDinero.
Dorothy Parker once wrote:
“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”
I wonder… is eating a guinea pig – ugly? Uglier than eating a dog in Cambodia?
I don’t know. What I do know is this fine fellow at Machu Picchu is not gonna be on anyone’s menu anytime soon but will most likely become a hat or three to sell at the local tourist spot as one visits while wearing “fake fleece” made in America and sold online to one very happy, well fed, but extremely cold traveler who happens to be -–
Just passing through…
Dorothy Parker once wrote:
“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
Just thinking of one of my favorite wits and one of my favorite meals and one of my favorite hats today. Forgive me. J
Many of you folks know I have been having this teeny-tiny issue involving Bank of America. Fun folks those Bankers are!
I have learned about a lot about complaints, motions; and all crap one has to do when filing a motion aside from the verbiage written on the page. Like it’s real important to put documents in the right order for that court and how they do documents and then there is strikes and replies and submissions…
Seriously, all of this hurts my head. But what it has given me via a thousand hours on the Internet and reading motions filed and won, filed and lost and just about every other way to do a motion correctly or incorrectly or – again? Ugh.
What this has taught me, and I have Bank of America to thank for this is several things.
ALWAYS READ AND NEVER BE IN A RUSH TO SIGN ANYTHING. If you don’t understand what you are reading, be a dumbass and ask a ton of questions. Questions cost nothing and every question asked usually gets a response even it’s a shrug (and if you get one of those shrug type shrugs — Huge red flag! Don’t sign! Just saying shrug buyer beware).
If a bank gives you $202,000 dollar loan when you are showing earning $800.00 for a tax year? You know you are dealing with fucked some fucked up bankers. Which speaking of bankers… which really are Wall Street folks as your loan is immediately sold upon signing to some Wall Street who then determines if you are a good risk or a bad risk and then determines where your loan sits in “risky” stock yields or safer stocks based on the amount owed, put down, and intention of the borrower. Cause what the stock ultimately comes down is to the value of the person who is taking out the loan. So if the bank was shifty and didn’t check all the paper work given by the folks or institution representing the folks buying the house – you as a stock holder will get yourself some pretty shitty stock in your portfolio plan when the own times a few hundred thousand or so – defaults because of economy issues, global issues, natural disaster issues, or I fucked up and shoudn’t be buying a house I can’t afford issues. And I am even more stupid for listening to what those folks have to say who gave me the loan in the first place and that nagging voice from my youth, telling me there is “value to your home”, if one were to go down the path of buying a home.
Folks I am here to tell you there is value to your home regardless of if you are paying on it or not. There is value because the banks have arranged through their deception and way of lying to we folks who are not bankers or money folks a way to stay in your house and win against any of these offending banks who did business knowing you couldn’t possibly pay on the house you bought.
Step one. DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOUSE. Let the bank know you are physically living in the house.
Go to your local civil court and file a complaint against who every holds your loan. Which will be some sort of Bank name and a brokerage firm. Make sure to file your papers on pleading paper and just state the facts. A month or so later, the bank will reply with some sort of obvious thing like you haven’t paid, etc… and you then return the motion and use what they have responded to you with any of the links supplied in this blog that applies to your situation. Please don’t do a cut and paste, but write the reason any of these articles say that affects your case…
Then you are off and running!
What this means is as the Banks are so screwed up – you go into a holding pattern with the bank and your money. THIS CAN TAKE YEARS.
Now I hear some of you folks saying, “Jewel, that’s all fine to say, but what about my credit?” And, here is what I have learned: The minute the bank or loan holder has talked about you to any credit reporting agency? You are fucked. Fucked. Fucked. Fucked. Oh, sure you can buy a car at some 33% interest rate and you will not be able to get a credit card – but you will be living in your house. You will have a shot at receiving monies or in a lot of other cases? The house free. I kid you not.
Folks, from my own personal experience. I have figured out this much. The banks are too large. They are not the scary folks in real life they pretend to be when you get one of those “demand” letters. They are folks who have learned through other folks with lots of money how to make the government pay for their fuck ups.
IT WILL TAKE AN ACT OF CONGRESS to change the banking issue if you have bought a house and can prove or join a class action suit how you were wronged by folks in your own neighborhood who worked at a loan documentation place and they all knew they were dummying up the financial records to get them passed to be sold to a stock brokerage firm. So until that act of Congress gets passed and trust me folks… years, if ever if you bought a home from 2003 to 2012 you have a shot at what I am saying here.
It doesn’t take a brilliant lawyer no matter how many times “they” will tell you that. The Lawyer can be you. It’s about motions and paperwork. It’s about citing cases online that have won or lost. It’s about using a black pen and pleading paper. It’s about a timeline of events, using dates. It’s about changing your perspective on how you were raised and how society taught you to “do the right thing”.
Cause you are doing the “right thing”. By suing you are telling that lending institution you will not be bullied. You will not be harassed. You will put up with banking as they deem to deliver to you. It’s about your rights.
The more you take charge of your rights, the more you realize there are no bogey monsters.
When one faces death I have noticed that one begins to dream of things they have not yet done,
or of stuff they wish they can or could redo… and at some point during the journey of hearing a prognosis and going through medical steps in the hopes of somehow gaining a few extra days or months or minutes…
One finally begins to live.
So strange how a slide of a manila folder across the desk at an oncologists office can hold so much power over one’s choices from that day forward. I will never forget how the first oncologist showed me my biopsy report and gently told me the type of cancer I had and how aggressive it was and here were his recommendations. Somewhere in all of his speech I had tuned him out and dreamed of going to see Buddha.
The real question of who Buddha was and what he — or being a Buddhist — represents, to me, is a strange one. I had always seen Buddha as a trinket one could buy at cheesy Chinatown store or as a piece of cheap jade in the shape of a fat balding man. Not as some mystical solver of problems if one were to rub his tummy a million times chaffing one palms in the process. Buddha is real. I know. I saw him. He was big and gold and … altar upon altar did I see this man. On some altars I saw so many versions of him I got confused as to which side of his many positions to place my flower or incense, and from which position on the kneeling ramp I needed to face.
After finally kneeling, wishing, praying… on many a ramp? I finally found Buddha.
No, not in the kind you kneel in front of. Not the kind you toss coins into, but the kind of Buddha you see when looking at a small child wearing an “Angry Birds” T-shirt kneeling in front of a bunch of Buddhas. The kind of Buddha that goes beyond that of wishing and praying for riches and career issues — I looked at this small child on her own accord, drop to her knees and hold up her palms and in Thai she thanked Buddha for Mommy and Daddy. She said other words in Thai (no doubt wishing for a Big Wheel was among her wishes) but at that particular moment…
HOT... SWEATY... EMAIL LOVE… jewelshepard.biz Well, let’s finish this month with a dip into the ol’ Jewel Email and see what’s on the fans’ minds? Dear Jewel, Why haven’t you put out your own exercise video? You have such a wonderful figure. Every woman in the world should learn the secret of… [ 995 more words. ]
The Pitch jewelshepard.biz JEWEL SHEPARD: “If I’m So Famous, How Come Nobody’s Ever Heard Of Me? This is the show that asks the musical question, “Can a girl from North Carolina come to Hollywood, become rich and famous and adored by all…and marry… [ 1795 more words. ]