A Model's Tale

Chapter Two: On Set

"This is gonna be a blast." Kimber Benton, the Holograms' chief lyricist and keyboardist sat back in her chair in the big dressing room turned over to the band for the duration of filming, letting out a contended sigh. "And your fashions are outrageous, Shana...people are gonna love them!"
"I hope they match up to the other designers." Shana Elmsford, the group's bass guitarist frowned. "I'm not used to the commercial scene and I haven't had much experience. Even with Regine's help, it's still a daunting prospect."
"Ah, come off it, Shana!" Kimber protested. "You won a rock fashion award, made a fashion book, and worked for Liz Stratton! Not to mention all the clothes you've done for us!"
"Liz Stratton was hardly a plus. I quit." Shana frowned. "The woman's ego was impossible. And it's been a while since that award - two years or more. I dunno, Kimber. I still have butterflies."
"Seems they've gotten complete morons to model them, too." Aja Leith, the group's lead guitarist observed from where she was touching up her make-up. "I spoke to a couple of those so called big-name models, Lilianne Courtes and Chantal Blake. Big names, sure, but Lilianne is all looks and no brains...while Chantal is all ego. As if we needed more ego on set, with Pizzazz and the other Misfits here!" The Misfits were Jem and the Holograms' bitterest rivals.
"We can handle the Misfits." Kimber shrugged. "And the models too, if need be. Relax, both of you! It's gonna be a breeze!"
"Where are Jerrica and Raya?" Shana glanced around her. Raya was the group's percussionist and Jerrica Benton, Kimber's sister was the band's manager, though few knew that Jerrica was also secretly the band's lead singer Jem.
"Went to see to technical stuff. I dunno." Kimber replied with a careless shrug. "They'll call for us when they want us, I..."
She paused as there was a knock on the door.
"Come in!" Aja called.
The door swung open.
"Would I 'ave the fortune of being in the dressing room of the lovely Holograms?" The voice was familiar and Kimber shot to her feet with a loud shriek of joy, flinging herself on the newcomer.
"Shawn! Oh Shawn, what are you doing here?" She demanded. Shawn Harrison, leader of a band in his own right , as well as being a dabbler in the acting profession, and of British birth laughed, returning the hug. Though they had struggled to get it together in the past, these days their relationship constituted a long-distance romance.
"Me and the boys are playin'. I wanted to surprise you." he said now.
"Well, you succeeded! Oh, this is outrageous, I can't believe it!" Kimber exclaimed. "It seems so long since we last saw each other!"
"Too long, love." Shawn told her. "But we'll be in this area a while yet, so don't worry. We'll 'ave plenty of time to catch up."
"Great." Kimber grinned. "This is gonna be twice as much fun with you here!"
"Glad you think so, Kimber!" Shawn laughed. "C'mon, come walk round the set with me, will you?"
"Sure." Kimber nodded. She turned to her companions. "See you guys later!"
And with that, she was gone. Aja and Shana exclaimed looks.
"That's our Kimber." Aja said dryly. Shana nodded.
"It's nice for her, though." She said. "She and Shawn have been apart for a fair while."
"Yeah. Their relationship is like Craig and mine - quality and not quantity." Aja agreed, naming her long-distance boyfriend Craig Phillips, who these days lived in London. "Only I'm not sure Kimber's quite mastered the patience aspect yet."
"You know Kimber. She wants everything right now." Shana shrugged. "I think I'll head out onto the set too, actually. Regine won't be here till later today, but I ought to take a peek at the setup anyway. See you later?"
"Okay. I'm gonna sit and be mundane. Paint my nails." Aja grinned. "Just don't let yourself get too wound up, okay? Kimber's right, your fashions are the best. Noone's going to outclass you so don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
"Thanks, Aja." Shana dimpled. "Bye!"
Across the set, Saffron was just making her entrance, pausing in the doorway to survey the chaotic set. Though her career was taking off and she was one of the hottest new names in modelling, she never failed to feel apprehensive when it came to a big deal performance like this one.
"A reputation is easier to break than to make." She mused as she made her way slowly towards the main stage. "This has to be perfect. No matter how much I miss the girls this week, I have to be a pro."
"Saffron, darling, so glad you could make it!" Chantal descended upon her, her tone sugary and false, and her expression one of disdain. "Nice of you to join us at all, in fact."
"I had business to attend to and I got a bit behind on time, that's all." Saffron shrugged, her tone level. Noone in the profession knew about her children, for she was afraid of allowing them too much in the public eye so young.
Chantal snorted.
"Well, I suppose not all professional models can be professional." she said finally. "No doubt you'll pick it up...eventually."
And with that she had gone, leaving her colleague seething.
She turned her back on the retreating figure, almost walking straight into the exploring Shana as she did so.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" She exclaimed. "I didn't see you!"
"I'm just as clumsy." Shana smiled. "I'm afraid I was dreaming a little."
"You're Shana Elmsford!" Saffron realised. "One of the designers!"
"Yes, though it's the first time I've been recognised for being anything other than a Hologram." Shana replied with a grin. "Can I ask your name?"
"I'm known as Saffron in this business." Saffron dimpled. "I'm much looking forward to working with you - your designs are terrific."
"Saffron! Of course, I knew I knew your face!" Shana exclaimed. "You're a model...and a big deal from all I've read. I had no idea you'd be modelling my designs, now I'm more nervous than ever!"
"Don't be. I'm not the star, I'm just the clothes horse." Saffron looked amused. "It pays the bills, but I'm no big celebrity. I don't sing or act or dance, I just strut up and down. You have the talent."
Shana blushed.
"I'm sure there's more to modelling than that, but I appreciate the compliment." she said. "This is the first time I ever tried to promote my fashions independantly from the band so I'm a bit nervous...afraid I'll be shown up."
"I think you and your group have a lot of flair. I was so impressed when I learnt you did the outfits and not some outside designer." Saffron replied. "I'm clumsy as heck with a needle and thread, so I've any amount of admiration for people who can create."
"It's a relief to meet you, actually, and find out that you're a normal human being." Shana admitted. "Aja put the frighteners on me some by describing some of the other models..."
"Let me guess, Lilianne and Chantal." Saffron grinned. "They can be a trial but you can get round them. It's all a matter of hitting them both where they live, that's all. Generally their appearances."
"I'll try and remember that." Shana nodded. "Hey, wanna go get a coffee? Everything's kinda slow round here at the moment while everyone arrives and all of that."
"Sure. Well, a drink anyway." Saffron agreed. "I don't drink coffee...this line of work is pressure enough, I don't need anything else to wind me up further! But I reacted badly to it when I was pregnant, so I gave it up and never went back to it."
"You have kids?" Shana looked surprised. "With your figure, I'd never have guessed!"
"I exercised and I eat healthy food." Saffron grimaced. "Listen, Shana, I oughtn't have mentioned that, I wasn't thinking. I don't talk about my girls in professional circles, I don't want the press poking their nose in and wrecking their lives. To them I'm just Mommy who happens to be a model, and I want it to stay that way. This is my career and it puts food on the table, but too much emphasis is put on appearances these days and I want Cerise and Kat to grow up as well-balanced people. I don't want them obsessing about how they look."
"I see. That makes sense." Shana smiled. "Sounds to me like they're lucky to have a mother with a sane head on her shoulders. Don't worry, I won't say anything. How old are they?"
"Almost six." Saffron replied. "They're twins. They're with their aunt at the moment - with the long hours here I figured it was the best plan, but I'm gonna miss them."
"You're no way old enough for six year old kids!" Shana's eyes opened wide.
"I got married and divorced too young. I'm twenty-five now." Saffron replied. "Take it from me, Shana. There are some things in life that you should never rush." She shrugged philosophically. "I'm lucky that, in the end, things worked out pretty well for me."
Shana did not reply, but she cast her companion a thoughtful look. Saffron was perfectly dressed and impeccably groomed, the picture of a professional in her field.
"But her feet are right on the ground and that's where they should be." she decided. "I like her...I hope we can work together more if this fashion thing takes off. A sane mind in this crazy business is something that's getting harder and harder to find!"

At the far side of the studio, Giselle Dvorak, or 'Danse', the chief dancer for Jem and the Holograms' act had made her appearance, a thoughtful look on her face as she crossed the floor towards the Holograms' dressing room. Aja cast her a grin as she pushed open the door, coming to take a seat.
"Hi." She said. "I thought you guys weren't coming in for a couple of days."
"I know. We're not." Danse returned the grin. "Wow, it smells of polish in here! Can I open a window?"
"Yes." Aja nodded. "Sorry. Kinda got up late, I'm running a bit behind. What's got you in here so early?"
"I kinda wanted to talk to Jem. She not about?" Danse moved across to push open a window, taking a seat. Aja shrugged.
"She's somewhere, but I couldn't tell you where. She's busy as anything today and she and Raya shot off to organise something." she replied. "Why?"
"Well, it's to do with the dancers for your set." Danse replied. "See, I have a friend who's kinda been down on her luck lately. We went to dance school together and she's one heck of a dancer, but she's not had a good time of it all told, and I was basically wondering if it would be okay to bring her along."
"I don't see why Jem would mind." Aja responded. "Why all the caution?"
"Well...Eboni's never been much of a conformer." Danse sighed. "You gotta understand, Aja, that she's had a pretty bad run of things. She didn't have a very affectionate family, and her marriage has gone down the tubes for one reason or another. She's down on money and up to her ears in debt...we go back a long way and I hoped maybe this could put her back on the right track. Do you think it'd be okay?"
"I reckon so." Aja nodded. "But if you've any doubts, ask Jem yourself." She indicated the doorway. "Here she is."
"Ask me what?" Jem lounged against the doorpost, looking expectant.
Carefully Danse explained. Jem exchanged looks with Aja, then,
"I know what it's like to be down on your luck financially." She said. "Sure, Danse, bring her. If she's a good dancer she'll fit right in, don't worry."
Danse dimpled.
"Good." She responded. "Thanks, Jem. I'll go tell her right away!"

Chapter One: Meredith
Chapter Two: On Set
Chapter Three: The Misfits
Chapter Four: Old Rivals
Chapter Five: Kimber
Chapter Six: Saffron's Story
Chapter Seven: Enter The Dancers
Chapter Eight: Blast From The Past
Chapter Nine: Kimber and Eboni
Chapter Ten: Visit From The Backers
Chapter Eleven: Chimera's Secret
Chapter Twelve: Danse Takes A Hand
Chapter Thirteen: Decisions
Chapter Fourteen: Saffron's Advice
Chapter Fifteen: Closure


(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. Eboni, Saffron, Chimera, Sakura and all other characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)