Saturday, 9 July 2011

The One with the Photo Shoot

Well I can safely say I've never done that before!

I was once asked if I wanted to be a Page 3 girl! I was 16 years old and on holiday with my parents. I was wearing a leopard print swimsuit and a straw trilby hat! It was the mid 1980's but even that doesn't excuse the fashion faux pas that made me look like a cross between John Taylor from Duran Duran and Bet Lynch!

Needless to say I declined the random guys offer. He probably wasn't even from The Sun and anyway I was going to be a serious actress thank you very much and I didn't need to take my clothes off for my art!

Today I did! 

Today I stood topless with my modesty hidden only by a combination of upright piano, fake sunflowers and a glass of wine.

We were in the theatre we perform in regularly and I've whipped my clothes off backstage for a quick change but I've never stood with it all hanging out in the glare of the lights before.

Driving there I was a bundle of excitement and nerves. I had more make up on than was good for me and my hair was straightened within an inch of it's life. I noticed I hadn't had time to paint my nails. I panicked! Then it dawned on me that if the readers of The Independent on Sunday noticed my shabby fingers nails there must be something wrong with my boobs!

I could tell that the others had butterflies too. When I pulled up most of them were outside having a crafty smoke!

There were seven of us ladies. All brave, beautiful, amazing women who love the theatre and want to raise money to help fight cancer, leukaemia and lymphoma. 

One of our number lost her husband to cancer a year ago this weekend. She stood shoulder to shoulder and, literally, breast to breast with me. I was proud of her and all of us and honoured to be beside her.

As we shed our robes, tits and bum gags tumbled out of our mouths and laughed filled the empty auditorium. 

The freelance photographer was a warm, lively lady who seemed impressed that we had found a venue with a piano and as it was a theatre, lighting was already in place. She said she usually pitches up to these jobs and finds that only a couple of people have turned up and no one knows what's going on!

We were consummate professionals. Well apart from all the jokes, wine drinking and giggling!

It felt wonderfully liberating to stand semi nude in the theatre and in three of the girls cases completely starkers! 

I don't like my body. I never have. Which is a shame because my mind turned to that 16 year old on the beach. Back then I thought I was fat but in reality I had a cracking little figure, all boobs and bum and a tiny waist. 

You don't realise what you have until it's gone.

Since having the boy I've not been able to look at myself in the mirror let alone let anyone else see my sagging breasts, stomach rolls and stretch marks.

Taking that robe off today was a big step for me. Bigger than I realised.

So this afternoon wasn't just about publicity. This was an early rehearsal for a year and a bit away when we will stand there for real, without a stitch on, and a paying audience in attendance laughing and crying and hopefully having a great evenings entertainment, all for a good cause.

I don't know who I'm playing yet but it doesn't matter, all the parts in this fantastic play are great but more importantly the cause is great and all us ladies who bared all today and the ones who couldn't make it, but will bare all next September with us, are great.

So today, despite the hang ups about my post pregnancy body, I took my top off and I'll keep taking it off if it means one day we can find a cure for these terrible diseases.

I may not be 16 anymore but it's still my body and I'm proud of it.

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