I tossed and turned that night, processing the reality of my situation; I was completely dependent on the agency for financial support and to make matters worse, they had mysteriously taken my passport upon my arrival. Frustrated and confused, I spent the next morning seeking solace at Yoyogi park not far from my home. Instead, I found Rockabilly groupies dressed to the hilt in 50′s attire, Elvis impersonators, and dancers a la “Greece” lining the park entrance. It was no surprise that their dancing skills were not enough to ease the tension. I came into the modeling business hoping to find myself, but was standing there, months later, wandering and emptier than I had come. The joke was on me; the surreal scene before me caused me to question my own purpose and lack of meaning in my life. Depleted but not defeated, I managed to stand my ground when it came to nudity. Although I struggled to find myself, I knew with clarity that I was not “that” girl. With the last ounce of courage I could muster, I determined I would try to make this work. I slowly headed back to the apartment and made a call to my agent in San Francisco.
“Elvis” by David Salas courtesy www.sojournposse.com
“They want me to do a nude job, and I will not do this,” I informed them sternly.
“OK. Let me get on the phone and work my connections. I’m going to try to get you on a plane to Taipei this week,” my agent said with cool indifference. ”Just put them off as long as you can until I can work out the details with a new agency. Don’t tell them you spoke to us and don’t give them an answer yet. I’ll call you when I have your flight arranged.”
“OK,” I said nervously -sensing this would not end well.
Within moments the phone rang again. It was the Pueblo agency.
“Hello Alison. I need to know your decision about the job we discussed. I have to get back to the client right away,” said the familiarly hollow voice on the other end.
“I’m just not sure what I want to do,” I stammered and lied.
Short and unhappy, my agent in Japan continued to push for an answer as I did my best to dodge her insistence.
“If you will not do this job, I will have your passport ready and flight booked for you tomorrow and you must leave immediately,” she declared.
Backed into a corner, and at the mercy of an angry “madame”, I had no choice but to decline the job and tell her to go ahead and make arrangements for my departure. Shaken, I set the phone down and sobbed quietly in my dingy room as I struggled to construct a way around the situation. Jackie, while young, had a good head on her shoulders and offered to help me in any way she could. I knew my plan would necessitate her help and I thanked her for her kindness. After numerous unsuccessful attempts at contacting my agent in San Francisco to update them with the news of my forthcoming departure, I prepared to dodge a few bullets on my own. I was in the game alone while my agent sat comfortably on American soil. With only a few dollars in hand and no passport, I would have to rely on my guardian angel, my mother, and the goodwill of strangers.
I began packing my bags that afternoon and awaited a flight that I would secretly pretend to board the very next day. I hoped my plan would work.