The industrial sized fans that we brought in refused to work properly. The female model Audrey's hair wouldn't billow aesthetically and our hairstylist Korine was constantly brought on the set to set things right. Korine complained incessantly about the humidity in the shophouse, wrecking her blowdried and gelled efforts. The makeup artist Ying was equally vocal.
"Well, the makeup already looks quite greasy, so there shouldn't be a problem with it melting what. Sudah, lah. Let's just go makan," my assistant Nirmala said in her usual brusque fashion. I agreed and she immediately started to spread the word. Packets of chicken rice were distributed around. Absent-mindedly I took my packet and I sat next to Nirmala and the photographer.
"It's fine, we'll get this shoot wrapped up by four o'clock," he said in a reassuring tone. Nirmala snorted, "I hope so, the fans are really jia lat you know." The male model that Paul picked sat next to us and he looked mildly interested in what we were saying.
"The shoot will end by today right?" he asked in slightly British-accented English.
"It's hard to say," I told him. "Nothing seems to be working out logistically."
He looked at me, flashed a gleaming smile and extended his hand. "My name is Marc," he said.
I shook his hand. It was damp. "I know, I hired you," I replied.
"I notice that people tend to forget faces in this industry," he said. "Either that or they remember them too well."
He was a smooth charmer, this young punk. "How old are you, Marc?" I asked. "Eighteen, nineteen?"
"What's your surname?" Nirmala interjected.
"I'm actually twenty four," he said, smiling. "My name is actually Marcus Holden. I'm one of those Pan-Asian faces you see around. My father's got English ancestral roots, mom Chinese-Australian."
I looked at his face, this time with greater attention to detail, and noted the perfection of the jaw, the sharp nose and the high bridge of his smooth tanned forehead. He had dark liquid eyes that slanted at the edge - evidence of his Chinese roots.
"You are very handsome," I murmured absent-mindedly.
"Thank you," he said disarmingly. "You are very beautiful yourself."