"Would you be interested in extra work on Sex and the City 2 tomorrow?" the casting director said on the phone.
"I'd love to," I said. Over the past fifteen years, I had worked steadily with her casting agency and was excited to return to my favorite set.
"I'll phone you later with the call time," she said.
"By the way, I'm pregnant. Only a couple of months. No belly yet."
"Wait a sec," she said, putting me on hold.
"I'm Every Woman," sang Whitney Houston full blast on the other end. My heart quickened. Why was I on hold for so long? Was my first pregnancy an issue?
Minutes later, she returned to the phone, "Sorry sweetie, I can't risk it. My friend blew up at three months and tomorrow's filming is an office scene with three women. You'll definitely be seen on camera. I'm gonna have to find someone else."
Seen on camera. At last, my dream come true.
"But," I pleaded. "I can still fit into my size 6 jeans from Forever 21!"
"No, no. I can't risk it."
"Look, seriously, I'm 123 lbs," I said, adding an extra pound in case I gained one during the night.
"No. I'll call you another time."
Like a bad breakup over the phone, I hung up and felt numb.
Refusing to accept my expending belly, I stripped off my clothes, shoes, and hopped on the scale-- something I'd never done at noon, after eating.
The digital screen flashed 122 lbs. I shifted my weight and the numbers stayed the same. I couldn't believe I had lost a job because I was 5'6 and 122 lbs. Besides being discriminated against, I felt rejected. Only weeks ago, I was a photo double for Jennifer Lopez's un-pregnant co-star, wearing a designer dress, riding in a Rolls Royce. On another set I'd dined with Pierce Brosnan at the Plaza Hotel. I still remember at age eight my first extra job on the set of Sophie's Choice, eating cotton candy at Coney Island and waving to Meryl Streep.
Were those days of walking between the star's shadows and pretending to be someone else really over?
After a late night dinner with my husband, I felt my bloated belly and crawled into bed with tears in my eyes. He held me and said I looked beautiful. Within minutes he fell asleep. But I couldn't. I climbed out of bed and pulled out from a drawer a few dozen Sex and the City scripts that I'd collected over the years from my former job as Kristin Davis' stand-in. Hours later and still searching for answers, I put the scripts back in the filing cabinet. Then I discovered buried at the bottom of the metal shelf over a dozen journals from my young adulthood and an unfinished novel. For hours, I scanned the pages about trying to please my former stage mother, competing with my peers, and eating small meals to stay thin. I thought the industry was never going to change, but I could. It was time for me to live a different kind of life, instead of walking around in the background, behind some movie star, listening to them recite lines. It was time for me to create my own dialogue and share it with the city.
The next morning, I enrolled in a first person essay workshop and decided to follow Carrie's footsteps -- not in her Manolo Blahnik's -- but as a writer. I was finally ready to move forward and reinvent myself as a woman proud of my expanding hips.
At the end of an episode, Carrie once typed into her glowing computer screen: "Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be."