Around Easter last year I was offered extra work on Made in Chelsea. It is probably at this point I should point out that, from what I gathered, the show is very much constructed. I know, shocking revelation. Anyway, about twice a week I would receive an email from a lady offering dates and scenes in which extras were needed. After about a month of said emails I felt the pressure to reply, somewhat out of curiosity, mostly so I could finally find an excuse to watch the show.
I replied to an email for a morning shoot and I was answered with a pleasant email asking me to show up at a Chelsea market for 7 am (ouch) and wear clothes ‘in the style of the show’. Right...because as a student I can afford the Chelsea look. Because of this, my early start and my deep rooted hatred for the show, I turned up in ripped dirty jeans and a hoody, much to the dislike of the kagool clad runner who met me on set. ‘We’ll find a coast to put on you’ he grimaced, ‘you look cold.’
Of course there was no sight of the cast. They were tucked away, probably in warm caravans and shops, I couldn’t spare a thought as I shivered out a cup of lukewarm tea. I tried to converse with the stick thin, ombred and tanned creatures that sat next to me. Although once I worked out that all they could utter was ‘I rully lyk Millay’ I gave up, and began desperately reminding myself that there was a world outside Chelsea. A life that didn’t involve names ending in ‘ies’.
Eventually after enough time in the cold to turn me an attractive mottled pink, we were called over by a production assistant and told what to do. Our task? Pretend like we were shopping. I can do this, I thought, I have spent my life, my Saturdays working up to this point, gaining experience in ‘shopping’.I was ready, I could pretend to shop.
We were placed about a mile behind the actual cast (two girls who’s names I have completely forgot, Rosie?...Fran something?) Presumably so we couldn’t discover any juicy plot details (I say juicy, I mean mildly interesting) or touch the fabled cast. Cameras rolled and my true mission began, I would shop, whilst becoming the true star of Made in Chelsea. I needed to get on camera. So I began to shop, but my movement became frantic, like a stressed mother on the twenty fourth of December, I bounded from stall to stall, shop to shop in a desperate attempt to get my face on television. Granted, in hindsight I now realise that I must have looked like an obsessed homeless woman, but the glare of fame over came me.
Unfortunately my greed paid the highest price. I was approached by the same grimacing production assistant, ‘I know you’re a big fan of the show’ (no) ‘And I know you want to see the cast’ (not really) ‘but you seem a bit excited and need to calm down’ (really?) ‘and allow the cast to perform’ (I wouldn’t call it performing). With this I was consigned to a starring role, behind a shop sign. I didn’t care, I acted my heart out, flailing my arms like a child in a production of Oliver, all in hope that a limb will jut up from behind one of the girls’ perfectly curled barnets and make my 5am start worth while.
For weeks afterwards I watched the episodes religiously, holding my breath every time a scene changed in hope the time would come for my debut into the acting world. When the moment arrived I was anything but prepared; as soon as I recognised the market stalls I paused the video and began inspecting every pixel for my pale limbs. With every press of play I came close to accepting the truth, the truth that they had placed me so far out of shot that not even my Duracell bunny-esque twerking could make the cut. I was crushed, destroyed. I had gone into the day with the hope that my belief in the show would be restored, that I could learn to believe in all day lunches, blow drys and male grooming again. I was wrong. I am never getting up before 10 am again.