Thursday, March 23, 2006

My Experience at FAT Chance Casting Call in New York

Well I went to the New York City Casting Call for Mo’nique’s Fat Chance II. It was an interesting experience. I figured, I'm a plus size woman, I can do that, I've got what it takes, I was soon to find out I didn't!.

So, I took a Greyhound bus from Boston at 12:30am, Monday. We were supposed to arrive in New York at 4:50am, instead I found myself at Mid-Town Terminal at 3:40am! That was the fastest trip by bus that I ever had to New York.

I waited at the station a bit then headed over to the Roseland Ballroom at 239 West 52nd St.. Wow, at 5:00am there was already a long line of big ladies outside and I was told that some had camped out from the night before. I guess we all heard about how people got turned back last year because the hall was too small and women were turned away.

Waiting in line was an experience, it was freezing but the women were very friendly and we did a lot of talking and bonding. Some of the ladies I was with came from Miami, Florida, Chicago, Illinois and Cleveland, Ohio. Camera crews were photographing the lines and we had to cheer every time one went by. There are also plenty of people taking still pics as well. People going by on 52nd St., are surprised to see so many big ladies lined up and they ask what’s going on. A Van goes by with a bunch of black brotha’s. One seems to be trying to flirt with the big lady in front of me, then he holds up a donut that he took a bite out of. The lady shouts, “Give me that donut and I’ll tip your van over as well!” The van is gone. Around 8:30am, staff walk by saying that only women will be allowed inside, strictly no males. Some of the ladies who came with they husbands and boyfriends got mad.

So around 9:30am they started letting us freezing ladies in the hall, 25 at a time. When the line started moving it was every woman for herself. As soon as you entered you took a form with a number, you had to hold the number in front of you and they took your picture then went to sit down. Most of us, headed to the bathroom and to change our clothes and apply make-up. Well I changed my clothes and put on minimal make-up because at this point I was too frozen to care about make-up.

So we’re in the big hall and Mo’nique’s staff are giving Pep Talks. There are refreshments, plenty of Dunkin Donuts. Now you never see refreshments at open casting calls so thanks Mo’nique for being so considerate. A video with a Message from Mo’nique doesn’t play due to technical difficulties. Sharon Quinn last year’s runner up comes in to a loud applause and wishes us luck. Honestly, I thought she should have won rather than Joanna. Sharon walks right by me, and I want to at least get up and shake her hand but my feet are still too frozen. Another contestant, Alicia, from last year comes in and also gives a small pep talk. Wow! What a treat to see the people we saw on TV last year.

Then time for the First Round of judging starts. They call out numbers and you have to line up in order by number. We go in groups of forty. Our group heads to the lower level and we have to line up along a taped line. Then a skinny white guy, asks each of us “If there was one thing that you wanted to tell me about yourself what would it be?” he jots notes after he questions some of us. Well I gave him my answer, “I never watched TV in the 80’s” he moved on without writing anything. By then I figured out the system, if he writes something you’re picked, he doesn’t write anything you’re not picked. I tell the other ladies around me and they don’t believe me. I’ve been to lots of casting calls and I know the chances of getting picked at a ‘Cattle Call’ are slim.

One the other side a very skinny white lady is doing the same. At the end they chose like 10 ladies from our group to come back the next day, I wasn’t one of them. The selected ones got red wristbands. By this time some of the ladies who weren’t selected are heartbroken. One lady near me, starts crying. I try to give her a pep talk but to no avail. She was hurting, I could feel her pain, rejected by society and now rejected at a place where she thought she might find acceptance. Me, I’m pissed that I froze for nothing.

Some of us ‘rejectees’ talk about the judges, their skinniness and whether they were qualified to choose who was fit to go one. Maybe I should have gotten back in line, grabbed another number and hoped to go before another judge. I decide I’ll try again next year, and next year I’ll make sure I’ve got a blanket, winter boots etc..

I go to the ladies room, change my clothes. Before I leave I try to see some of the ladies who I was with who got selected and wish them luck. They are all excited and talking to their families via cell phone. I leave the hall, and walk to Broadway towards the subway. At the corner I see the theater showing the play ‘The Color Purple’, wow!

I take to subway to Canal St. and get on the 2:00pm Fung Wah bus to Boston. And I’m back home at 6:30PM.

Good luck to the contestants and I look forward to seeing the show.


Berry said...

Welcome to the the blog world :-)

Chemi Che-Mponda said...

Hi berry,

Thanks for the Welcome message. I've actually been reading your blog for a while now. I love it.

Keena said...

thats weird.. i went to the LA auditions and it was NOTHING like that. the way they did NY was brief and cut throat.. wow!

Chemi Che-Mponda said...


Thanks, next year I'll fly out to LA!

Yeah it was sad to see people crying after being rejected. And many stood outside in the freezing cold for hours!

But NY was the last audition so they probably had already chosen who they wanted. NY was probably just a formality.