Scene 7

Jill Goldsmith

 

A large, high-floor office at Vogue in the Condé Nast building. Lots of glass, spare, modern furniture. Features editor Gail Phillips sits at huge glass desk with piles of papers and magazines. Brandy sits across from her.

 

 

Gail
So tell me again why you want to work here?

 

Brandy
It’s been my dream, since I was ten. My family says I’m obsessed, which is so lame. I just know what I want.

 

Gail
Where are you from?

 

Brandy
Cranston, Rhode Island.

 

Gail
Did you like it there?

 

Brandy
No.

 

Gail
Really. Why?

 

Brandy
It’s a crappy little state. It’s boring. My family was horrible. My parents said I was crazy and pumped me full of drugs. I wasn’t allowed to drive or use the toaster. Vogue got me through.

 

Gail
Surprised. Takes a closer look at Brandy. Can’t think how to respond.
So. You’re at F.I.T. How do you find it?


Brandy
I like it. I mean, it’s okay. I’d like to date, but all the boys are gay. It’s hard to find time for classes. During Fashion Week, forget it. And I’ve got an internship with Vintage Merry-Go-Round. Do you know that store?

Gail
Yes, indeed. In Chelsea.

 

Brandy
Right. Everyone comes in there. Today, I turn around, and this famous actor is just standing there. The one who played Frodo in Lord of the Rings. What’s his name?

 

Gail
Thinking. Elijah Wood.

 

Brandy
Yeah, him. He has really blue eyes. Really blue. And he’s tiny.

 

Gail
He was a hobbit.

 

Brandy
I know. But still.

 

Gail
Peter speaks highly of you. How did you meet?

 

Brandy
At a Target bodega, the ones they opened around the city during Fashion Week. I interviewed him for a story for the school paper. The article’s there. She points to a file she’s put on the desk. Gail leafs through a few pages, reads aloud.

 

Gail
“Designers today are looking to take their messages into the masses and Target has heeded the cries,” said Vogue assistant fashion editor Peter Bennett. He especially liked the leather handbags that say, ‘I am not a bag.’ “It’s exploring the existential underpinning of fashion that makes it such a crucial part of everyday life,” he agreed. Gail clears her throat. Looks up. Did Peter see the story?

 

Brandy
Yes. He asked for copies of it. And he said I was adorable.

 

Gail
Ah. I see. Well he’s right about that. I love your chains. And did you make that headband?

 

Brandy
Stroking her head. Yes. I want to start my own line, with the feathers. People compliment me all the time. They want to buy them.

 

Gail
Have you sold many?

 

Brandy
Oh no, I won’t do that. I just have this one. My sample. I don’t want to dilute the brand. I want a proper launch.

 

Gail
But isn’t it nice to be able to earn some money doing something you like?

 

Brandy
Thoughtfully. I guess so. I have no money. None.

 

Gail
And you know our internships are unpaid? For credit only.

 

Brandy
I know.

 

Gail
As you can imagine, they’re also very competitive. And, despite this being Vogue, not very glamorous. Answering phones, sorting mail, photocopying.

 

Brandy
Yes, yes, yes. That’s great, I mean that’s fine.

 

Gail
But you ultimately want to write?

 

Brandy
Yes.

 

Gail
Glances down at the story again. Existential underpinning of fashion? You’ve got to be more careful, especially if you quote people.

 

Brandy
Offended. But it’s true. It’s what he meant. It’s what he said. I’ve read it many places.

 

Gail
What does it mean?

 

Brandy
It’s complicated.

 

Gail
Tell me, why are you looking at the writing side of fashion. Not the business side, or creative?

 

Brandy
I told you. I’ve wanted to write for Vogue since I was 10. It’s my dream.

 

Gail
But why?

 

Brandy
Because it is.

 

Gail
But why?

 

Brandy
Because it is. Louder, agitated. Can’t I just have a dream?

 

Gail
Of course, dear. Of course.

 

Brandy
In fifth grade, I painted a picture of a red shoe, well pinkish-red. On a small canvas. I’ve always had it hanging above my bed. Do you know what it stands for?

 

Gail
The red shoe?

 

Brandy
Pinkish red.

 

Gail
What?

 

Brandy
Vogue.

 

Gail
I should have known.

So tell me, any other work experience since you came to New York?

 

Brandy
Well, I was working at Barney’s Co-Op three days a week. But it didn’t pan out. As of yesterday, I’m out. It was horrible the way they did it. The manager Ben told me at seven o’clock, just after my shift was over, to come to his office. And then he told me not to come back. I was shocked.

 

Gail
Did he say why?

 

Brandy
He said he didn’t think I was really interested in a career in retail. I said, well duh, that’s why I’m in school. Folding scarves is not my life. And I also told him that I really needed the job. I’ve declared myself independent of my parents. No one supports me. I think that surprised him. He kind of looked like, Oh shit. He said he’d talk to corporate, that I’d do better there. I hope he does. Do you think he will? I was going to call him Monday. Do you think that’s too soon?

 

Gail
Well. I suppose…

 

Brandy
Interrupts. And, okay, I just have to say this one last thing because it really makes me mad. He did it at the worst possible time. I was already crying when he called me into his office because I had just listened to my voicemail and my mom had left a message saying she has leukemia. I hate her and she’s probably lying. But it was a shock.

 

Gail
Does she?

 

Brandy
What?

 

Gail
Have leukemia?

 

Brandy
I don’t know. She sent me a bitchy text message today. I didn’t answer her. I just can’t right now. You know?

 

Gail
I’m not sure.

 

 

Silence

 

 

Brandy
Is there anything else you want to ask me?

 

Gail
No, no. No.

 

Brandy
Sooo…

 

Gail
We’ll get back to you. End of next week, latest.

 

Brandy
Effusive. Thank you. Thank you. For taking the time. Can I ask? Does it look good? My chances?

 

Gail
Well. You definitely stand out. You’re strangely compelling.

 

Brandy
That’s good?

 

Gail
Yes.


Brandy
Drops to her knees, breathing heavily.
Thank you. Thank you. Oh my god. Oh my god. I can’t believe it. I feel a little dizzy.


Gail
Walks around the desk, raises Brandy, calls out the door. Can someone bring a glass of water? Ushers Brandy out. Goes back and sits..
I just offered a crazy person a job at Vogue.

 

 

Jill Goldsmith is a freelance writer, specializing in entertainment business. She was previously the New York Bureau chief of Variety for ten years.