Authors: Melissa Senate
Tags: #Young Adult Fiction, #Social Themes, #General, #Lifestyles, #Country Life, #Friendship, #Fiction
Table of Contents
For my three beautiful cousins:
Peri Cohen, Francesca D’Alli, and Angie D’Alli
ASHLEY BEAN TALENT MANAGEMENT
1000 WILSHIRE BLVD.
LOS ANGELES, CA 90017
Date: March 8
From: Ashley Bean
To: Theodora Twist
Re: Acceptable Answers to Interview Questions
Please memorize the following for the
press junket tomorrow. If a reporter presses you, repeat answers.—AB
POSSIBLE QUESTION: Are you a virgin?
ANSWER (Adopt serious, thoughtful expression): As a role model for teens, I really think it’s best not to discuss such deeply personal matters.
POSSIBLE QUESTION: Is it true that you and your mother don’t get along?
ANSWER (Adopt pained expression): Like many teenage girls and their mothers, we don’t always see eye to eye. But we always love each other.
POSSIBLE QUESTION: Is it true that you and Lara Miles hate each other?
ANSWER (Adopt reverent expression): I have the utmost respect for my costar as an actress. I learned so much from everyone while making
POSSIBLE QUESTION: Is it true that you’re dating
ANSWER (Adopt slightly embarrassed expression. Giggle nervously): Bo and Brandon Bellini and I are just good friends!
At first the reporter is all nicey-nicey: “I loved the film—and you’re great in it, Theodora! . . . Oooh, I love your shoes—Choos, right? . . . You’re so poised for sixteen!” But then she morphs into the Devil. “Is it true that Lara Miles dubbed you the Jailbait Diva because of your relentless flirting with the very married Cash Dayton?”
Well, I wouldn’t say
relentless. That’s a joke, by the way. I have two gorgeous seventeen-year-old boyfriends. Why would I flirt with anyone, especially someone more than twice my age—even if he is a mega-yummy A-lister? If I said
to my male costar at the craft service table and he got an erection? That’s not flirting. That’s being sixteen and hot.
I’m about to say this (well, the first part) when I remember I can’t admit that Bo and Brandon are my boyfriends. One Bellini brother would be okay. Two, apparently, makes me a little too PG-13 for the tweenies. The Bellini Brothers are the new It boy band, identical twins with identically great voices, identically great faces, and identically great bodies. They’re also just identically great. Truly nice. Like me, smarter than anyone gives them credit for. And they’re mine, all mine. The three of us have been dating for a month and I’m crazy about both of them.
“Honestly, I don’t know where these kinds of rumors start!” I chirp good-naturedly to the reporter. It’s a deviation from Ashley’s memo but she’d approve.
The reporter—an anchor for a TV entertainment news show—rolls her eyes at the cameraman filming us. Does she think I missed that? She’s sitting less than a foot away from me. And people say
wear short skirts? Every time this woman crosses her legs, I get a glimpse of thigh cellulite.
“Come on now, Theodora,” the reporter says. “Rumors are running rampant. Here’s your chance to tell
side of the story.”
At least she’s keeping me awake. It’s eight p.m., and I’ve been in this chair—in this tiny, airless meeting room in a swank L.A. hotel, the revolving door of reporters spinning every fifteen minutes—since nine this morning (and all day yesterday). Just to wake myself up (I have a hot date in an hour with Bo and Brandon—but we’re just good friends!), I think about saying
Lara Miles is a jealous
shriveled prune with bad breath!
But you can’t say that at a press junket. If there isn’t a television camera capturing your every facial expression, there’s a tape recorder picking up everything you mutter under your breath. The whole point of the thirty-plus interviews I’ve given over the past two days to newspaper, magazine, and television journalists and reporters is to promote my new film,
From the title you can tell it’s not a teen flick. Which is why I’m sitting here in a dress I’d normally reserve for a funeral, trying to be good, as Sasha, my personal stylist, and Assholia, the film’s stylist, hover around me, sucking all the air out of the room. (Okay, that isn’t her real name, but believe me, it fits.) You should have heard their cat fight over my dress. I’m contracted to wear House of Ruchioux for all non-red-carpet TV appearances. But their designs are way too risqué. Ruchioux doesn’t do
’s stylist got creative with sticky tape and a clothespin and voilà—no cleavage!
is my third movie, but my first
film. Meaning: the first in which I’m not running around in a tube top, shaking my tits so that everyone with a Y chromosome will shell out ten bucks for a movie ticket. Granted, there is a bikini scene, but what else does a teenager wear at the beach?
The first thing I told Ashley when she signed me as a client was that I wouldn’t even
for one of those stupid teen flicks about a supposed geek (take off her glasses and guess what—she’s gorgeous!) battling Miss Popular. I consider myself a serious actress, and thanks to
, so will American audiences, and the world, when the film opens internationally in a few months. Ashley supports my “vision” one hundred percent. Her mantra is “Start as you want to continue,” which means no “why don’t those mean girls like me?” scripts. She doesn’t even bother sending them to me.
My goal? An Oscar. Yeah, I know I have to learn my craft and all that, and I am. I pay attention. I spy. I listen closely. I work my ass off. Sometimes I surprise myself by how good I am, and sometimes I wake up in a sweat, wondering when this dream that’s become my life is going to
disappear. Ashley tells me not to worry about that. I’m hot right now. And if I work hard, if I’m “smart about my career,” I’ll be thanking the Academy within five years. She’s been right about everything so far, so I listen to her.
premieres next week, which means I’ll have to do the talk show circuit. I hate doing talk shows. I’m supposedly on your television screen as me, Theodora Twist, but it’s not me. Take the past two days, for example. Everything that has come out of my mouth has been scripted, except for
Question: What was it like working with
’s Academy Award–winning director?
What I say: Great. One of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Real answer: Napoleon complex. Total dictator.
Question: What was it like working with the greatest living actress working today?
What I say: Amazing. I learned so much from her!
Real answer: I thought
was the greatest living actress. (Just kidding—though I
win a Golden Globe for my first film.) Real, real answer: Is it my fault Lara Miles hated me on sight because she’s not twenty-five anymore—which I won’t be for another nine years? And can’t the greatest living actress afford breath mints?
What I say: It’s a powerful and moving examination of life and love for one extraordinary family ripped apart by adultery, by divorce, by scandal. For me, as a sixteen-year-old, it’s about what happens when your parents have affairs—how does that affect your own relationships with friends and boyfriends? It’s a film every teenager and their parents should see together.
Real answer: It’s about nothing. If I wasn’t in it, I wouldn’t see it. No sex, no car chases, no violence. Just a lot of weepy people talking about their feelings. In other words, it’ll be up for awards.
Question: You’re only sixteen—do you have an on-set tutor?
What I say: Yes. Nothing is more important than an education.
Real answer: No way.
Question: Is it true that you and your mother don’t get along?
What I say: That’s so silly! (Then I smile appreciatively at my mom, who was flown in yesterday for the junket—thankfully for only one day—so that we could be photographed and interviewed together as part of the
publicity machine.) My mom and I are so close. We’re friends
mother and daughter.
Real answer: Let’s put it this way—my mother’s favorite thing to say to me is “If your father wasn’t already dead, he would keel over at your behavior, young lady!”
Question: You went from being an Oak City, New Jersey, eighth grader to reading for the part in a major motion picture, stealing every scene you were in, and becoming—two films, one Golden Globe, and two Teen Choice Awards later—America’s reigning teen queen actress. How were you discovered?
What I say: I was shopping for back-to-school clothes at the mall when I was spotted by a major Hollywood talent agent, who saw me go through a whole range of emotions while just looking for cute shirts that fit. (Adopt embarrassed expression. Blush.) I got boobs early! (In other words, I can call attention to my chest if I do it the rated-G way.) When you’re going into eighth grade and wear a 36C, shopping isn’t too much fun.
Real answer: One Saturday afternoon, I took the bus into Manhattan (which my mother had forbidden me to do), got a free makeover at Saks by acting like I was going to buy some makeup (like I had twenty bucks for a tube of mascara?), and attempted to steal a lipstick, my usual Saturday entertainment. A security guard posing as a bored husband caught me, but I fake-cried my way out of it. Ashley Bean just happened to be shopping in New York City that day. She was so taken by my act that she handed me her business card and told me to have my mom or dad call her. Did my mom yell at me about shoplifting? No. Did she call Ashley Bean? That night. (She was both tired of dealing with me
of the box office. Which I suppose is her way of saying she always believed in my abilities.)
Ashley advised me to change my name, replace my metal braces with invisible ones, have my home-bleached-blond hair professionally colored, do something about my eyebrows, and up the padding on my Miracle bra, despite the fact that I was only thirteen at the time. She sent me on some auditions and shazam, I’m a movie star making more money a month (thanks to a seven-figure spokesmodel deal with Girlie Girl cosmetics) than all the dads in Oak City combined—including my own. Theodore Twistler (Twistler’s my real last name) was the number one car salesman in Bergen County until he died of a heart attack when I was twelve. He was such a good salesman that even I would have bought a dumpy Chevrolet from him instead of the Hummer I have my eye on for when I get my license.