By Sue Murphy
I have come to the realization that I will never be a hand model. I’ll never be asked to showcase a cubic zirconium on QVC. Just add hands to the list of my body parts that would be considered subpar on the advertising list.
My feet, my last and final hope, are beginning to look as old as the rest of me. For a while there, they seemed almost viable, mostly because I kept them covered, but my big toe is now making its way through the top of my sneakers, just like my mom’s did, so no sandals ads, either.
That’s okay. I wasn’t counting on QVC revenues to finance my retirement, but still, the finality of it has me hitting an emotional wall – not at 90 mph – more like a slow-motion crunch. Actually, that’s it in a nutshell: Everything in my body has gotten crunched.
I knew long ago that I wouldn’t be an actual model-type model. Too short, too Oop (Out of proportion), and I made peace with that, reminding myself that I have other fine qualities, although, sadly, there are days when they don’t surface and, for the good of humanity, I stay home and keep my mouth shut. Here’s my new mantra: Tomorrow is another day.
Women of varying body types are now landing spots in national ads, but they all have one thing in common: they’re young. Young buys you a lot. Young is bouncy and full of promise. Older is been-there-done-that, which you think would be a wonderful sales tool, but only in some venues. Young models showcase jazzy items like hard seltzers and gradient sunglasses and trips on tropical cruises. No one wants to see a retiree in a skirted swimsuit jetting down a water slide on the Royal Caribbean. Ads featuring spokespeople my age sell things like life insurance and memory supplements and phones that have only two large buttons, one of which is HELP.
Older people are used in drug commercials, but only if their malady is temporarily getting in the way of their usual running of a 5K or leading a marching band or causing a stir on a fashion show runway with a new spectacular design. (Note, the older person is not asked to model the gown, just design it.) In all cases, the message is, “How does she do it?” Read: this is not normal.
On the other side of the argument, some of the mature celebrity ads make me cringe. Dear Betty White was used as a comic cautionary character in a Snickers ad. Joe Namath, a rebel who used to stand on the Jets sidelines in a full-length fur coat, is now reading copy for a reverse mortgage company. The company even snagged Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck, once voted the sexiest man alive. (Still not chopped liver, if you ask me). That about broke my heart.
My age group does get a lot of voice-over work, but I’m not a candidate for that, either. Instead of a Morgan Freeman vibe, my taped voice sounds like Gladys Kravitz from “Bewitched.” Gladys Kravitz … Gosh, I’m old.
Still, if they need someone to read in a reedy tone, I would be happy to speak up for decaffeinated tea pods and Grape Nuts cereal and coffee ice cream. I’d even say a few encouraging words about hand cream … even though they wouldn’t want to show me using it.
Oh well, from here on in, I will keep my hands to myself and concentrate on modeling other qualities like perseverance and a good work ethic. Patience? Well … Tomorrow is another day.