MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: How Am I Bored at a Glamorous Photo Shoot?

Ruth Morganto, 49, wanted to explore a new career but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Read what happens on Day 4 when she joins the MORE team to assist on an upcoming issue

by Ruth Morganto • Midlife Intern
ruth morganto image
Photograph: Ari Michelson

When I told friends I would be interning for More, some were surprised—and perhaps a little envious—because I’ve never had an interest in fashion or beauty. Which is why today is posing a serious challenge. The magazine is sending me to observe a photo shoot for real women with great hair. Even though I have a talented stylist, my fine, straight hair will never be great.  

Worse, the photo director wants to get a candid picture of me for the website, Unfortunately for me, More isn’t one of those magazines that Photoshops pictures until its subjects are barely recognizable. My real face will have to do.

At the shoot, Beauty Director Genevieve Monsma is running the show. She’s that stereotypical tall, strikingly pretty blonde that I expected to find everywhere here at More. However, she seems genuinely unaware that she’s the most gorgeous woman in the room. She’s so busy being engaging and efficient, she has apparently forgotten that the stereotypical gorgeous blonde is supposed to be bitchy. (At least, that’s how gorgeous blondes act on TV.)

Genevieve is focusing on making the models feel comfortable in front of the camera, since technically they aren’t really models at all. She’s chatting with them as they proceed through hair and makeup, then helping them relax for the camera and checking the digital photos to see if the women are smiling with their eyes.  (Yes, that matters!)

I must admit that I’m a little bored and a lot uncomfortable, so I find myself knitting to kill time and distract myself. Ari, the gregarious photographer from Los Angeles, compliments my project—a baby hat—and tells me about his interest in learning to knit. He’s amazingly creative; I can only imagine what he would concoct with yarn and needles. I have no plans for the hat, so I offer to give it to him when it’s finished and he sweeps me up in a bear hug. The item is soon on its way to California for his three-year-old daughter.

As a career counselor, I’m endlessly curious about the paths people take to arrive at their current jobs.  Not surprisingly, most people love to talk about themselves. So, instead of focusing on how awkward I feel in this strange setting, I interview the staff to learn about their paths to careers in fashion, hair, makeup and photography. Everyone loves their jobs, and all agree that their careers are evolving in unexpected directions.
I wonder in which direction my career is headed as the photo shoot winds down and my friend Jeanne and I head out for dinner.  After a long day of feeling like a fish out of water, a glass of wine is just what I need.

Next: I Can't Believe I Didn't Recognize the Editor-in-Chief!

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