DSCF3984In this picture, I am the woman in the red robe with her mouth hanging open. It’s a staged photo – taken on a photo shoot for Pier House, the Key West resort at the very end of Duval Street.

I’d been talked into this shoot by my friend Woody Hinkle, owner of an ad agency in Bethesda, MD. I was in Key West for the Literary Seminar, and he was there working with his client, Pier House.

“What are you doing tomorrow afternoon?” Woody had called and asked. “Want to be in a photo shoot? We could use a couple more models.”

Well, model I am not. But I spent much of my career watching photo shoots when I worked in advertising. It sounded like fun to be on the other side of the camera.

“We’re shooting at the spa. All you have to do is wear a spa robe,” Woody promised.

Ah, what the creative directors never tell you. Yes, wear a spa robe – a thin, silky one. And did he mention they’d be shooting outdoors, in the coldest week Key West has seen in the past 30 years? And that everyone else in the shot would be young enough to be my daughter?

The set-up was that we were at a bridal celebration. The photographer instructed us to imagine telling secrets to each other. Apparently I was more willing to mug for the camera than the younger women. Why not, after all? What have I got to lose? Looking silly? I’m way past that.

At sunset, Woody and I pretended to be a couple watching the sailboats roll into harbor. By that time, it was COLD and windy. “Take off your jacket,” the art director said.DSCF4206

Not a chance. I was willing to work for free, but not to suffer for commercial art. (The Pier House did give me a gift certificate for a massage of my choice the next day.)