Friday, December 31, 2010

Rent a Snow White

From Christmas in Shanghai

I finally did it. As an English teacher being white was a definite plus, but I've finally really capitalized on the color of my skin: A couple weeks ago, thanks to the invitation of a friend who works at a marketing and events company, I spent an afternoon in Pudong dressed up like Snow White for a Christmas party. In China' there's a strong association between Christmas and Snow White. My coworker told me it's because "You know, snow, Snow White, Christmas has snow" another friend said the reason the two are connected is that it's a well known foreign fairy tale and Christmas is a foreign holiday, so the two naturally got lumped together.

Whatever the reason, I made a thousand kuai in three hours standing around and smiling while parents dragged their wholly unwilling children to come pose with me. Poor things. I met someone from a modeling agency at the event and she said to send her a picture and they might have more jobs for me in the future. Woohoo.

It was an easy pay day, but not as easy as I thought it would be. It was surprisingly exhausting standing around and smiling, and also excruciatingly boring. The dress and the wig were scratchy and uncomfortable. Plus it was a bit awkward, the parents would come up and mingle (me thinking: "Am I supposed to stay in character?"), and say stuff like "Oh your Chinese is so good, you could teach English to kids." Me: "Ah, I used to teach English but I've changed jobs." Thankfully I didn't have to tell anyone I'm a journalist, because I mean, who would've believed it in that get up?

But if the opportunity comes up again, I'll probably take it. I used the spare change to take James and I out to a nice Italian restaurant along the river before I left and ate some of the best cheese, meat and pasta I've had in a very long time.

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