Today I got a taste of what it must be like to be a god. Yes, today I was a doctor. A pediatrician no less. Let me clarify. I had an audition for the role of a pediatrician for a television and print campaign for a baby formula. I have no clue how I did or if I got it. It was a “straight to callback” audition which means I didn’t go to the first audition, but was brought in for the callback (the second and in this case, final audition). I can’t tell if this is a good thing (as in they like me so much they don’t need me to go through the first rounds of cuts), or a bad thing (they didn’t like me enough to call me in originally, but due to some weird fluke, they changed their minds).
At any rate, I donned a real white lab coat and a stethoscope, pulled my hair back into a conservative ponytail, put on minimal make up and voila, instant MD. I was actually surprised at how realistic the results were. I even had an otoscope in my pocket. Of course the embroidery on my lab coat spelled out, “Julie Talbert, MD, Party Central Medical Group,” but no matter, I left the coat open (revealing a very conservative and pediatrician-like pink oxford button down over gray slacks) and the “Party” part didn’t show.
There were three other women there at the same call time as me. They were all older than me, and not by a little, and they all had kind of a “smart girl” look about them. The fact that I am a “smart girl”--my IQ is 152--is not so evident looking at the outside of me. The hair maybe throws people off? I don’t know. Anyway, real life smart girl that I am I came up with a plan. I tamed the beast--tied it back in an elastic band, and therefore, looked as smart as I possibly could for the audition.
After it was over I had to pick up my son at camp. I didn’t have time to go home and change so I showed up dressed like a pediatrician. I was wondering if everyone would laugh at the fact that I was dressed in a costume and it isn’t even Halloween, but nope, everybody bought it. Even someone who knows me looked at me confused and said, “You’re a doctor? How did I not know that?” Another woman looked at me with a worried face and asked what had happened. It made her nervous to see a doctor coming to the camp.
Even a little girl looked at me with awe. “Excuse me,” she asked looking up at me with wide blue eyes, “What kind of doctor are you?”
“The fake kind,” I laughed. “I’m not really a doctor at all. I’m an actor pretending to be a doctor.”
She looked rather disappointed as she ran over to one of the camp counselors and said, “That lady isn’t a doctor, she’s just an actor.”
Yep. I got a taste of what it must be like to walk around with the world assuming how smart and capable I am. No wonder so many doctors have egos the size of Texas. They get treated like rock stars everywhere they go (as long as they’re wearing their lab coats and have their stethoscopes around their necks). Everyone I saw looked at me with respect.
In L.A. unless they’re famous, actors aren’t given a whole lot of respect. Not from strangers anyway. I actually don’t even like to tell people I’m an actor. It’s so difficult to get work anyway, I may as well say I’m something else. Like an elevator operator. To say that you are an actor here is like saying, I’m a waiter. Rarely you meet a waiter who isn’t an actor and vise-versa. You never meet a doctor who is a waiter, or a waiter who is a doctor. Just doesn’t happen.
I have to return the lab coat and stethoscope tomorrow. I’ll be sad to let them go. But at least for one day, I got to walk in those shoes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed--please feel free to join me in that, positive thinking, laws of attraction and all. I hope I get the part. Then I’ll be able to say, “I’m not a doctor. But I play one on TV.”