Trip of a lifetime - part four

The first day of filming in Cape Town for the JD Williams shoot took place here on location at The Castle of Good Hope. The fortress is a National Monument which dates back to 1666 and is the oldest existing Colonial building in South Africa.

Evon and I had been picked up at 4.30am and arrived when light had barely broken. She and I were the first to be called for shooting - she for TV, me for Content, which I had learnt was the name given for anything that wasn't TV ie. social media, magazines, etc.

The sun rose and quickly the courtyards within the fortification became like melting pots capturing and holding the early sunlight. I was photographed in shade initially, but the second shoot for me was in full sunlight. I had my own personal brolly holder who came to shade me between shots. 

This was my spot.

And this was my backdrop. At the time we were shooting there was no shadow for me to take refuge in. My biggest worry was that the heat was melting my lipstick almost as soon as it was applied!

After my shots, I got changed and Louise and I did a bit of personal photography for our Instagram stories. I definitely could do with some lessons from her with regards to posing as she is such a blooming natural. Maybe that's the answer though, just to be natural.

Louise Boyce has been modelling for 20 years and most of those for JD Williams as part of their stable of full time models. She is a consummate professional who is also blessed with the most amazing bone structure and perfect teeth - she's everything we have come to expect in a model. Best of all, she's very down to earth and approachable. I did quite a bit of hanging out with her on this trip, including a very long breakfast where she shared her (now revealed) secret that she was 12 weeks pregnant. No-one could have guessed as she was fit as a flea and able to work the long hours needed to get the shots. See her blog here - Mamastillgotit

I sometimes worry that my constant gushing negates the validity of my comments, but I shall forge on regardless. Elisabeth Hoff was the photographer who captured my likenesses on this shoot. I'm unashamedly suffering a girl-crush about this woman. I did, at one point, shout across a crowded dining table that she reminded me of my Sindy doll who was the most beautiful thing in the world to my childhood self. My grown up self loves this living Sindy doll with as much fondness. Elisabeth is a total perfectionist in her art, and as such isn't to be messed with. Her entourage ran, fetched and carried at her bidding, aware that magic was in the making. She made me feel at my ease, saying the right things at just the right moment, helping my anxieties to melt away. She even stepped in at one point to disagree about an outfit that had been chosen for me as she didn't feel it reflected who I am, refusing to photograph me. She then rifled through wardrobe, pulling together something that was indeed totally me. I can't wait to see the shots.

Inside, more magic was being spun around the next wave of models. Hair being styled and sprayed and make-up skillfully applied to enhance all that nature has bestowed.

And this is where the technical stuff happened. Orchestrating all of the different shots from the filming was the production team, overseen by the client. It's just as you've seen, "Quiet, please. Action!" ringing out, time after time until the take is in the bag. 

In between shots, we all found ways to while away the time. I had taken a book to read - "Bonkers: My Life in Laughs" by Jennifer Saunders which was brilliant and totally absorbing. I must admit that the whole, Dahling, Luvvie thing became quite infectious and something that I played up terribly on the final morning at breakfast when our large table of models was being visited by stylists as they came to say their goodbyes. We were being watched (blatantly so, in fact) by a couple nearby, and so just to give them full value for their money, I switched onto full Ab Fab mode, with lots of air kissing and cries of "oh we must work together again dahling, and soon!" - goodness knows if they saw right through it, but they just couldn't keep their eyes off us.

Once all of my shots were done, I made a foray around the castle, dodging into the shadows to get out of the now scorching midday sun. 

I found these plaques honouring the brave men who fell during battles for their countries, all tucked away in this tunnel. The castle is still protected by South African troops who can be seen exercising throughout the day within the castle walls. Filming and photography were interrupted a couple of times as the sound of marching approached and soldiers strode through the middle of the set. 

Being the oldest woman on the set often had me playing the mother hen role, but sometimes I was touched by the kindness of the team as they would keep an eye out for me too. Richie Lattin is Content Director for TBWA Manchester and as such seems to be around quite a lot, filming for social media, organising as well as giving hands-on help with the set, overseeing choreography and is very much evident at the happening side of things. He is kind and considerate to me as one might be to an ancient aunt. He understands me and my insecurities, my dance limitations and my readiness to put myself down and yet still believes in me. Unlikely as it is that he may actually read this, I'd still like to say "Thank-you Richie for making me feel comfortable and part of this other-worldly situation".

I do hope that I've not bored you to death with my glorified holiday snaps. I'll be back with part five, the finale, soon and in the meantime I wish you a lovely weekend.

                                                                    Anna x

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