As I was in Soho I thought I may as well get stuck in right away and went to look for the photographer’s studio. The street was interesting with various ladies standing around keeping a distance between each other. I suspected they were ‘ladies of the town’ and to me they looked quite old and raddled. The studio was over a night club and walking through its rather shabby décor, in broad daylight, convinced me that night clubs were not going to be my scene.
The receptionist was friendly when I told her that Paula had sent me. She was married to the photographer and called him out to meet me. We fixed a date when he would do my head shots and they asked me to bring a variety of tops. Tentatively I asked how much it would cost – I would have to have masses of prints to take round the studios. The total bill would be about what I would earn in a month, nursing. Ouch!
That night I talked to William about it and he said you had to speculate to accumulate and not to worry about the cost of the photographs. When I told him about phoning Paula morning and evening he thought there was no point until I had the photos. However Paula had been quite firm about it so at 6pm I phoned her.
‘Pat now write down this address. You have to be there to be seen at 2.30 tomorrow, looking very glamorous. Don’t let me down!’
Paula dictated the address and said I was very lucky as it was a big advertising campaign for the Milk Marketing Board and they particularly wanted a small blonde. Paula had already said that my height was a disadvantage at only 5’ 4” for modelling, although fine for films. Even though most of my work would be hair, teeth, make-up and sweaters, photographers, sometimes lacked imagination – like casting directors and liked to have the whole package. I was frequently called ‘little Pat -----‘.
I was very excited and William and I pored over a street map of London to decide how to get there. I had my date with Renata in the morning; I couldn’t let her down again, so I asked her if she could come earlier, and when I explained why, she agreed. When I saw her next morning I noticed she had a fading bruise on the side of her forehead and wondered if that was why she had kept her head down the last time I had seen her. Had that brute been hitting her? I couldn’t bear the thought of it but she seemed much happier and explained that she had left a cupboard door open and walked into it. She was wearing a pretty silver necklace with a heart on it which the spiv had just given her. I told William about my fears but he said we shouldn’t interfere. If she came to us for help that was fine but otherwise we shouldn’t come between husband and wife and anyway she was probably telling the truth.
When I arrived at the studio they were very nice but said they had decided to use a well known model who really was petite – a good two inches shorter than I was -with white blonde hair and an elfin face. For the next few months her photograph was everywhere – her white blonde fringe complimenting the large glass of milk she was drinking. She was perfect for the job. All in all it was good experience and rejection was something I would have to get used to.