When I was young, I wore a lot of "bad" sneakers with no arch support. You know the kind: Converse, Keds, Vans, etc. In the summer, we wore rubber sandals that cost $1 at the drugstore. Again, no arch support. Bad for anyone. Deadly for someone with flat feet... me.
When I became an executive in television, it was very important to look the part. Most women wore high heels because, let's be honest, they make you look taller, leaner, more professional and more sophisticated.
In spite of always working in an office, I was often on my feet a lot. By the end of the day, my feet were so achey that I couldn't bear the thought of walking back to the car. If I had an evening event (e.g., drinks, dinner, a screening or an audience taping for a sitcom), I just wanted to die.
So why not bring a change of shoes? Why not just wear flats? Because I was a moron... and I guess vanity got the best of me.
Of course, now my feet have arthritis and bunions. The mere thought of putting a high-heeled shoe on sounds worse than having my fingernails pulled out.
The single best thing about being a producer is that I wear a tee-shirt, yoga pants and flip-flops (technically Birkenstocks) when I work at home. When I am in LA for meetings, I wear a tee-shirt, jeans and sneakers (with arch support). I absolutely love it.
After four years of working remotely from Hawaii, I got the offer to come back to LA for a bigger position and one last "tour of duty." After I excepted the job, the company needed a new headshot for the press release about my promotion.
The publicity department was very specific about the headshot being corporate, but not too corporate. I found a photography studio in our one and only shopping mall. I made an appointment and explained to them that I needed a corporate headshot, but it had to be of a certain caliber for publicity distribution... blah blah blah.
Meanwhile, I had absolutely no corporate clothing on the island. I needed something professional, but not stuffy. Not a suit, but not a flow-y dress either. I found a cream-colored dress that was just right at a store at the mall, but it was not easy. It was probably a size too small, but I squeezed into it because it was the only one and it was just the right look I was going for.
I made an appointment with my hairdresser, who has a become a dear friend. I told her that I needed to straighten my hair, not too straight, but not too glam either. She did my makeup too. I told her that I didn't wear much makeup. It needed to look like me, but not too much like me. I needed to look professional, but not too severe. I needed to look polished, but not too theatrical. Exhausting.
So off I go to the "portrait studio," where they took me into the back room as I waded through beach balls, umbrellas, oversized sunglasses, costumes of all kinds and a lot of little kid props. We found a director's chair, where I sat and tried to look casual, but professional. It took about an hour to find just the right balance of happy, but not giddy. Relaxed, but not too relaxed. Professional, but not uptight. The ridiculous-ness of this is not lost on me.
Between buying the dress, getting my hair and makeup done, getting to the photo studio and getting enough different options that the publicity department might find one they could use, the sun was starting to set and I was starving. I stopped at a health food store to grab a protein bar to hold me over on the drive home.
As I was paying for my over-priced protein bar, a man in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops comes up to me.
"Damn!" he said.
I looked over my shoulder to see who or what he was referring to.
He was staring at me. "You look like you just walked out of some fancy Century City law office. So either you're not from around here or that is the best Halloween costume I have ever seen."
I started laughing. I had completely forgotten it was Halloween.
In hindsight, he was right. I was wearing a costume and I was playing a role. I had been playing a role my whole life and now I was returning to the stage to play the role one more time... for a three-year run.
Meanwhile, my feet were already killing me and all I did was have my picture taken.