Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Do You Like Zumba?

Do You Like Zumba?

Photograph via Westgate Pavillion

Editor’s note: Once a week, Laura Morton will use personal history to put a Craigslist ad into perspective.

The Story

Years ago, when I still held a strange, passing fancy of being an actor, I had an agent in Nashville. He called every so often for various films, television, or commercials. On one particular afternoon, I received an email from him saying he’d submitted my headshot for a national commercial for Curves. They wanted to see me because, apparently, I “fit the bill” of what they were looking for in their so-called character breakdown:

 

[quote]

These women should be warm, open, happy, busy, giving people who are beautiful both inside and out. They have a smile and personality that makes us want to grab a coffee with her . . .

These females will need to have some rhythm, as this spot has dancing. =)

[/quote]

 

Since I was told to wear my gym clothes, I pictured an audition comparable to A Chorus Line, or maybe a group of women in a big room doing jazzercise steps and slow-motion high fives. I pictured business types behind a long table eyeing all the “warm, open, happy, busy, giving” women doin’ their thing.

On the morning of the audition, I woke up early—very early—5:45. You see, when I landed this agent in Nashville, it didn’t occur to me that it would be a three-hour drive (6-hour round trip) for every audition. But Nashville is a hub down here, and I got to drive hours for a chance at the big time.

I headed out, tired as all hell, drinking coffee and not at all feeling like the “warm, open, happy, busy, giving” person I was supposed to be.

When I arrived at the Best Western and walked into the lobby, three women in black yoga pants with long, combed hair strolled out, so I knew I was in the right place. I instantly had that horrible feeling we’ve all had—when you leave your house you feel really good about what you’re wearing, but, after three hours in the car, no sleep, and a moment of clarity in the lobby of a Best Western, you realize that your legs are neither tone nor tan and the red dots from either mosquitoes bites or razor burn can be seen by all.

A young gangly guy gave me a form to fill out. For a moment, I was the only one there. Then a middle-aged woman came; she seemed more my speed. She had real workout clothes on and her hair in a cap and messy ponytail. She took off her sunglasses, and I saw that she had a black eye. The explanation she gave was that she got it “on vacation.”

Then the actress came in. She had on more jewelry than I’ve ever worn in my life and had flowing long hair and showed way too much excitement for filling out forms.

We were told to gather our things. I stood up, and Black Eye Lady asked, “So, you like Zumba?”

I stared blankly.

“Do you Zumba?” she said again.

I looked down at my clothes to see what she could possibly be talking about. “I don’t think so,” I said.

The gangly guy sent the three of us across the parking lot to a large room, where a young director and a camera guy sat behind a table and looked through headshots.

“Hi ladies,” the director said. We put our bags down, and she went up to Black Eye Lady and asked how the surgeries were going. Then we were told to stand in a diagonal and say our name, agent, age, and something interesting about ourselves.

“Carol, let’s start with you.”

I looked at the other women and turned back to the director. “Me?” I said.

“Yes, Carol go ahead.”

“I’m Laura.”

“Oh, sorry. For some reason I want to call you ‘Carol.’”

Once we all slated, the director asked if we all knew what “Zumba” was. The actress and Black Eye Lady chimed in that they loved it and of course knew what it was.

“I’ve heard of it,” I said, referencing my conversation with Black Eye Lady moments before.

The director explained that Zumba was “like traditional workouts, like jumping jacks and toe touches, but with a Latin influence. Yeah?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Great, I’m gonna play this music for 45 seconds and let’s see what you got.”

The music started and the actress and Black Eye Lady started with jumping jacks, so I started with jumping jacks too . . . and then something happened. I became completely unaware of time and space and I chose this moment in my life—this arbitrary moment at an audition for a Curves commercial in a Best Western in Nashville, TN—to absolutely go for broke. I danced, moved, jumped, spun, did the Charleston and a Sixstep, and kicked more than would ever be necessary.

Then the music stopped.

The director went to the camera guy. “Did we get Carol—I mean, Laura?” She turned to me. “You went a bit outside the frame . . . well, more than a bit. I tried to gesture to you to move back, but you were in your own world.”

“Oh.”

The director leaned over the camera watching the playback footage, “Hm, no that works. Great. Thanks ladies. We’ll let you know by Thursday.”

And that was it.

All in all, about twelve minutes of my life, hours of driving, and my self-respect all down the proverbial tube.

So, I turned around and headed home.

The Ad

nashville craigslist > jobs > salon/spa/fitness jobs

Zumba and Kickboxing instructors (8th south Nashville)

Looking for Outgoing energetic Zumba and kickboxing instructors for a new group fitness program starting up next month! Please send resume with certifications! Looking for Zumba M,W,F 6:15am T,Th 6:15 pm… Kickboxing M,W at 6:15pm and F at 5:15pm and T,TH at 6:15am. Any questions just ask!

The Response

I think the real reason I didn’t get the gig was because I wasn’t Outgoing energetic enough.