My mom made sure to give all her kids a large dose of confidence thinking that hard life would steal away a whole lot of it. She has often told me that I seemed to keep it all 🙂 But nothing could prepare me for working in Hollywood. Its and old story that I have been told several times that I am too big, too fat, too much, too big built…I have heard it all, but it didn’t hurt. Its kinda what you have to expect when working in television in Hollywood. What hurt was often the way it was said. When you sit in front of your manager, your booking agent, your PR agent and your stylist and confidently claim that you are your size no matter what anyone says it seems like a good idea..until they say: “Well, then I guess we are out of a job, cause if you dont work, we dont.” Then it all doesn’t seem that cool anymore. And it hurts to put someone out of a job cause you are too fat.
Its not what they say, but how they do it. Like when I was up for the job of a lifetime. It had been months of preparation, auditions and interviews. It ended up being between me and another girl. Out of thousands of applicants it was between me and someone else to host at one of the largest TV networks in USA. I couldn’t believe it. I had been the first Norwegian to host at the american MTV and now I was so close to getting this job that was even bigger!! Me, this girl from Nesodden, Norway, in America, so close to the goal. When I was called in for a meeting with the producers I knew this was it. There is no way they call you in for a meeting with the producers unless you got the job. I had to fight the tears all the way there. Happy tears. When I entered the room they were all there, 8 producers around the oval table. At the end of room they had two huge posters hanging from the ceiling and all the way to the floor. The posters were covered by large white sheets. They all had a smile on their face and I just knew it! I frickin got the job!!!! I just wanted to scream, but knew to hold it in just a little longer. They started by tearing down the first sheet and right in front of me was the full length picture of the lady who was the current host of the show. I just gave them a huge smile and wondered how I should react when they would unveil the picture of me as the new host. And they did, they took down the other sheet and there I was! The full length picture of me, a huge smile. The new host!!!! I was about to scream, cry or just faint. But I kept it in and let them speak. I wanted to hear the words, so bad.
– Do you see what we see Johanna?
– yes, thats me (huge smile)
– And do you see how big you look compared to her? (pointing to the picture of the other host)
– Do you then understand why you can’t get this job?
Yes, I understand. I understand that Hollywood has a fucked up vision when it comes to health, beauty and fitness. That I have never had any problem understanding. But what I never will understand is that these people took it upon themselves to make posters, hang them up, cover them with sheets, show up all 8 producers with a huge smile just to really knock it into my head how fat I am. That I will never understand and that is what hurts.
Then I cried.
But to leave this on a happy note. It is not often you feel really pretty in Hollywood. But I remember one time. I had a photoshoot with Erik Asla. Norwegian photographer. Living in Los Angeles and New York and known for taking pictures of every beauty out there for Vogue, Allure and Bazaar, just to mention some. He was going to take my picture. And I knew I couldn’t bullshit my way out of this one. No big Hollywood smile to cover up this one. This was going to be a sexy shoot. I dont do sexy..I just tend to look constipated. 🙂
But that day he made me feel more beautiful and confident than ever. And just to make it clear. The day I cried and the day I felt incredibly beautiful – I was the same size 🙂
So when your shirt dont fit …for whatever reason…just flaunt it, put on a big smile and find someone who sees your beauty without comparing you to anyone else.
Love from Johanna
All pictures from the amazing Erik Asla.