JD Williams - I AM campaign - behind the scenes

Sunday, September 30, 2018

As promised, here's the inside story behind my recent trip working for JD Williams as a model. Just using the word model conjures up all sorts of emotions in me; disbelief, bemusement, surprise, delight, pride and even a faint sense of ridicule as I don't actually believe that my less than perfect features could make the grade. However, this surely is a good thing to say that you, me, in fact anyone can become a model in this day and age provided you find the right vehicle. 


Talking of vehicles, I swapped boats for planes this summer as I became a jet setter for a few months travelling to and from Manchester for wardrobe fittings, photo shoots and filming of the TV commercial. I expect many of my readers will have had to or still do, commute in this way and I'm sure after the initial buzz it could become blah, but for me it was always an adventure to step away from my small island community and become absorbed into this frenetic pace.


The travel and accommodation is all organised by JD Williams so after a good night's sleep I was collected by my driver along with a few other artists (yes that's what we're referred to) to be delivered to a hotel somewhere in Manchester (that's ignorance not secrecy) which had been turned into operation central for the day. First stop is hair, nails and make-up. The tendency for my hair to be one way on one day and quite another the next, was treated as something to be tamed and calmed down into a repeatable style.



At the previous session we had been fitted for our outfits and from there are created story boards which are used to show hair styles and make up for each model. The processes of hair, nails and make-up multiplied by all of these ladies (at least 13 of us without including the extras) takes hours. There was an ever changing flow of ladies moving around the room, being beautified, giving me a chance to chat to someone new every half an hour or so as we rotated chairs and neighbours.


Gel nails - my first experience of this new fangled procedure.


Irish choreographer Johnnie waits patiently for his charges to be released for the next phase of wardrobe, then moving onto set for a refresher of the dance routine. 


Between the nails shot and this one some twelve hours had elapsed, during which time I had been to wardrobe then chaperoned from hotel to warehouse where my scene for the commercial along with interviews for social media took place. I'd left my camera locked up in wardrobe meaning no more background shots from day one.


Day two and this was a different hotel, the venue for another lot of filming and stills. I gravitated to this corner which had become an impromptu waiting room. I love this crazy idea of a horse as a lamp. By this time I had got into the swing of things and realised that I was to be on call, primed and ready for most of the day, but that there was a lot of waiting involved. I'd brought a book with me and immersed myself in that rather than wonder when my turn would come.


Ladies in waiting.


The production team at the helm, orchestrating every scene until it's perfect.


Andrea's scene in the TV commercial where she appears in that wonderful turquoise lingerie was filmed as a closed set, just being tweaked here.


Watching you, watching me.




Annie and I stepped outside onto the stairwell to capture these dazzling chandeliers.


A dab of blusher here, a tweak of collars there and you're good to go. With cheekbones like those, Claudia needs the minimal of attention to look beautiful.


Decisions, decisions.


Annie and Paulina - "It's time to eat!"


Evon is an absolute natural in front of the camera. Watch out for her in the commercial in that silky orange dress. If you miss it on TV you can always catch it on my earlier post here.



This is where my memory lets me down. This lovely lady whose name I have forgotten (I want to call her Elizabeth, but think I may be just making that up), was the photographer who took the shots of me that you'll see in the Oct issue of Woman and Home. She was full of encouragement, telling me I could be likened to Twiggy or Mary Portas and then once she put round glasses on me, Annie Hall. I relaxed immediately with her, laughing as I do with Polly as she made lots of suggestions for poses. 


End of day two of filming.


Day three was a different day altogether. Only five of us were kept on for this session - Annie, Paulina, Rachel, Savi and myself. Little did we know that we would be announced as the five stars of the I AM campaign when it went live.


Hair, make-up, wardrobe and the photo shoot all took place in the same studio space. Even lunch was served in the same building which all made for a very straight forward day.



Three days of hanging out together had created a bond between the five of us. We feel very at ease together and are now genuinely friends. This, I think, does come across when we're in front of the camera together. We certainly do have great fun.


The editing suite is a fascinating area of a shoot. The photos are processed immediately as the hundreds and hundreds of images flow through the system. It was amazing to see ourselves reproduced for the next phase so quickly.


Another day, another photo shoot and this time I know that my photographer is called Phil. His manner is warm and engaging, plus he plays some great sound tracks during the session.


Yep, that's me throwing some shapes, dancing without a care, call it what you like, but I'm having fun!



That's a wrap!



Some 24 hours later and I was on Truro station, wiping the stardust off my shoulders and heading back home. The day job beckoned, but that was no hardship at all. What felt like a dream lingered on in my head, especially as the campaign sound track had become part of those memories too. The film shoot took place on the 4th July and the TV advert went live on the 20th September. Somehow I managed to keep this wild adventure to myself for those long weeks. 

Anna x

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27 comments

  1. Loved this behind the scenes view!

    I think their whole campaign is wonderful and they did well choosing you. You are also very much a natural.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Golly, I know this one went on a bit, but I really wanted to share the event, blow by blow. Glad you liked it Suzanne and thanks for your words of support.

      Have a super week!
      Anna x

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  2. Oh how exciting and wonderful it all was. It sounds like a most wonderful experience, one you will never forget. Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed the peek. xx

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    1. It was really exciting to see everything from this very close perspective. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it too Hilda.

      Wishing you a great week ahead!
      Anna x

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  3. What an experience you've had, Anna! Your behind the scenes tour clearly shows that Rome wasn't built in a day: it's quite mind boggling what's involved in a production like that. I'm not surprised you were chosen, since you seem to be a real natural! xxx

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    1. I wonder if natural ought to have the words "show off" added, Ann? Lol! Years ago I would never have dreamed of this taking place and certainly not with me being able to laugh and flirt in front of the camera. Just shows that anything is possible!

      Have a good week!
      Anna x

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  4. What a whirlwind adventure Anna! So many NEW experiences and people flying through your life! (WARNING: much of your previous life experience won't be easily applicable to sudden starlet status!!:-)

    I think of the hours of solitary ocean swimming and the strength, endurance, and focus you have learned while accomplishing personal goals. Also, the management skills honed at the art gallery while hosting and promoting artists to a diverse public.

    Thank you for sharing all the fun with us Anna! These behind the scenes views give a better sense of your adventure. You've got this Anna! JD Williams chose so well! Enjoy, savor and delight in these unexpected but fully deserved experiences. BRAVO!!

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    1. Hahaha, thanks for you enthusiastic appreciation of this special time of mine Jude. You're so right - nothing I've ever done before could prepare me for this. I'm a do-er, an organiser, a beetler and yet as an "artist" none of these skills were required. Patience, listening to instructions, and the ability to take directions were just some of the remit in this new role. That said, it was a wonderful experience giving me a great insight into the world of TV and advertising. I was a tiny cog in a very large wheel and as such had my part to play as they needed, not as I thought ought to happen - that was my biggest challenge. It was the best fun ever and I won't forget it!

      Have a super week!
      Anna x

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  5. Wow! Isn't that just fantastic! Congratulations!

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  6. Wow Anna you look fab, what a special and fun time, thanks for sharing from behind the scenes. Rotaing chairs and neighbours and the general buzz sounds fun. Kudos to Polly too for her part in your journey.
    Tessa xx

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    1. Thanks Tessa. It was a fun time indeed and one that I'll never forget. Glad you enjoyed the read.

      Cheers,
      Anna

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  7. What a fabulous experience. How lucky are you and so relaxed taking all the pampering in your stride. I am now in my 60s and since retirement have got my passion for fashion back on track. I can no longer wear the style of clothes I wore in my 20s, 30s or 40s as my shape has completley changed but am having lots of fun playing with colours and new styles.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, it was a great experience. Every decade of our lives has new opportunities and with those come ways to rediscover ourselves. I'm pleased for you that you're back on track with your passion for fashion and love to hear that you too enjoy colour play too. Well done!

      Best wishes,
      Anna x

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  8. How wonderful Anna, I felt I was right be your side. I think this memory will stay etched in your mind for many years. How wonderful you all look. Thanks for sharing today Anna. xxx Jacqui Mummabstylish

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    1. It was great fun Jacqui and I just loved meeting these women who were new to the scene like me. We had a brilliant time, yes an unforgettable one too!

      Cheers,
      Anna x

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  9. What an exciting adventure! How interesting it was to see behind the scenes; all the work involved. Gel nails are something I haven't tried either and don't think I will but fabulous that you got the opportunity.

    What amazing memories you'll have - and the photos to prove it!

    Well done Anna you should be very proud of yourself.
    xxxx

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    1. The time away was just like another existence for me Vronni being so far removed from my normal life, but golly I did love it! All the pampering first then getting to prance about in front of the camera was right up my street. Great memories and yes, I'll always have these shots to look back on.

      Cheers,
      Anna x

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  10. Wow, what an amazing experience and grand adventure you've had and are having, Anna! I can't even imagine all those people swirling around you - I would definitely have immersed myself in a book. You look gorgeous, as do all of these wonderful folks! Thank you for this wee glimpse into this exciting time for you!

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    1. It is amazing to see how many people are involved in a big production like this. I was a tiny cog in a very large wheel, but loved to observe the goings on between my shots. The hair and make-up guys did a wonderful job of waving their magic wands over us all - I hardly recognised myself on the final day!

      Glad you enjoyed it all!
      Anna x

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  11. What a lovely time Anna. and good to meet so many new friends. You can see through the pics what good fun this was xx

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    1. Yes, it's lovely to make new friends at this stage in my life - it's a real bonus of these experiences. And oh what fun we had!

      Love
      Anna x

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  12. What a fun and interesting experience Anna, you really were in your element and that joy shines through. It was wonderful to see the creative process in action and how many people are involved. This is a lifetime experience to remember.

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    1. You're right Jill, I was having a ball in front of the camera and I won't forget that in a long time. It's a heck of an opportunity to come my way.

      Cheers,
      Anna

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  13. lovely post, thanks for sharing all the exciting and amazing details and the magic!! and so lovely that you've met some fab ladies, have fun and make friends!. What a fabulous experience!
    besos

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    1. Thanks Monica, I'm so happy to be able to share this wonderful experience with my readers. All of the ladies were so upbeat and had a great sense of fun too - yes we had a ball!

      Cheers,
      Anna x

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  14. Whew! What a rush! It's amazing how much of a team effort it is to get a campaign together. So interesting. And how special you and the other talents must have felt - everyone was focused on making you shine. It's seldom we get a whole team to help us do that. Although you shine in your blog ALL THE TIME. Thanks for sharing these behind-the-scenes photos, Anna. I look forward to seeing what's next!!

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