In 2013 I moved from Syracuse to New York City and lived in a “Craig’s list discovered” 2-bedroom apartment. My roommates were an aspiring film director and a movie actress. Here’s the actress, Elaine Hendrix:
Here she is again:
Despite playing bitchy, superficial, airhead roles Elaine, in real life, was a sweet, kind, down-to-earth woman (and a big animal rights activist). Isn’t that how it often happens with actors? Personalities thrive in their opposite roles? (Side note, a regular at my bar told me his worst, most cuntiest customer was Jennifer Lopez. In a restaurant she had a hissy fit because her food was cold, went into the kitchen, and screamed in the chef’s face. (But remember how charming and likable she was in Maid in Manhattan?)) I digress.
Despite “living” with Elaine, I rarely saw her. She was doing an off Broadway play called “It’s Just Sex” (I know I know) and she met a guy on set who she ended up staying with the majority of the time. One afternoon, though, I did share a bottle of white wine with her and her mother. We couldn’t find a bottle opener so I opened it with a knife. Yea. Look at me now:
At some point in the summer my aspiring director roommate sent me a picture that Elaine posted on her Twitter: it was of her posing seductively in lingerie. Of course I saved it to my phone and sent it to my closest friends. Look who I’m living with?! Yes, yes she does tuck me in each night.
After “It’s Just Sex” finished its run, Elaine invited me and my roommate to a cast party at a bar in the neighborhood. I remember her and I, at one point, bumming cigarettes off of Micah (see “Micah..and the trans bathroom debate” post) and talking on a street corner. Of course, as usual, I was grilling her with questions about her life, plans, and philosophical stances on various issues. And I remember one thing standing out…she told me that after 1992 (when she was struck by a car while riding her bike, which ended her dancing and modeling career, which she had been dreaming about since she was a little girl) she made the decision to pursue acting. At the time she KNEW that nothing would stop her from finding big roles. There was NO DOUBT in her mind she would support herself through acting. I could feel the conviction and determination in her tone. A little gear in my brain went ‘click.’ So many people have given me bullshit advice about writing and my life choices that it was refreshing to hear someone say, “Just know you’re gonna do it and work hard. That’s it.” And hearing it come from her was powerful…because she did it.
Back inside the bar, later, I sat next to Elaine’s closest friend in the show. Of course the friend asked to see pictures of my bulldog, Hank. Yes, I have many of those. But while I let her scroll through them she came across the picture of Elaine in her underwear. “What’s this? OH MY GOD! You have a picture of Elaine in lingerie?! Saved on your phone?!”
“Uhhhh, let me explain.”
“Oh my god that’s so funny. I promise I wont tell.” Not tell my white, hairy ass. Looking around, I saw that Elaine was gone. I would never see her again. So her last memory of me is probably of a nosy, aspiring writer with a picture of her wearing lingerie on his phone.
Look at me now, one more time: