I arrived a few days ago, wanting to have a little time in London to just enjoy before starting a typically intense shoot schedule. The sun was shining, it was uncharacteristically hot out, and I saw my phone’s step counter go higher than it ever has since I moved to the US a year and a half ago. Now the weekend is gone and just as I’m ready to start Shoot Week, the heavens have opened. So I’m sheltering in a crowded coffee shop waiting for the rain to stop so I can trolley my three bags to my hotel. And no, I can’t afford a taxi alternative, not in this city.
If the rain seems an ominous start to the week, well just remember that this is a little island in the Atlantic where rain is the norm. But there are other ominous things going on. Firstly, never before in any of the eighteen cities we’ve done for Elska before have so many people cancelled last minute. And they really strung us along until the very end, so that only this morning did I wake up with a string of bizarre and creative excuses. At least they did write to cancel though rather than just not showing up. We also still are waiting for five stories to come in (they were due yesterday), but most of those did ask for an extension.
Really it’s not so bad, and besides, there’s a reason I always book more guys than I need, to allow for cancellations. In London’s case I had booked twenty-two, so we’re still doing well. The real problem is that, just due to bad luck I suppose, all of the men who cancelled were men of colour. In an ideal world, I would just go with the flow, but I’m aware that publishing a London issue with all white guys sends a bad message. It may not be my fault or my intention, but my work, my brand, my reputation will suffer. So now I’m going onto Grindr and Hornet and other apps and messaging specifically men of colour, which makes me feel really uncomfortable, like I’m reducing a person to their race. But it’s not really about me and how I feel; it’s about how someone of colour might feel to open Elska London and not see anyone like themselves.
Anyway, as I’ve sat here, messaging around, someone from Instagram responded to my call, and I’m gonna rush over to meet him right now. It begins.