I’ve been at Sun City for 24 hours and all I can think about is food. The food I’ve already eaten, the food I’m yet to eat – I literally have food (for thought?) swirling through my brain.
So it doesn’t surprise me that the first shoot scheduled by Special Projects Fashion Director Robynne Kahn for this year’s COSMO SUMMER Swimwear, is Kellogg’s Special K. The three models – Mignonne, Avril and Dean – are up early, huddling over their cups of coffee and slowly turning blue. I’ve forgotten how cold August mornings on the Highveld can be, and this particular morning makes me grateful that my duties involve carrying the merchandise rather than wearing it.
With hair and makeup sorted, we make our way to the Royal Baths, situated on the hillside between the Palace Of The Lost City and the Valley Of The Waves. Everything is still deserted at this hour and the mock ruins around us take on a rather eerie quality in the rapidly rising sun.
I’m a fashion-shoot virgin, so as the crew starts setting up for the first shot of the day, I try to make myself ‘useful’. I soon realise, though, that the most useful thing I can do is stay out of everyone’s way – and preferably out of the shots, even as I try to take my own behind-the-scenes snaps. While Mignonne and Avril are working it at the pool, Dean swaggers around cracking jokes and claiming to be ready for anything. Then he tests the water into which he’ll be getting shortly, and his sense of humour takes a bit of a dive.
Instructions are dished out at a steady pace, and angles and lighting are checked constantly. There’s a never-ending blur of movement and activity; of touch-ups and adjustments; of moisturiser, hair mist, accessories, battery packs, cables and ladders. It’s a well-rehearsed dance of hard work carried out at a steady pace, and it’s a lot to digest – but before I realise it, it’s over. The models gratefully pull on some clothes, we pack up the gear and make our way back to the Sun City Hotel for a buffet lunch.
There’s a Kelso shoot planned for the afternoon, but due to an ‘unfortunate’ scheduling mishap, I have to make my way to the Gary Player Health Spa for a full-body massage. The adjoining gym, which is in the same building as the Gary Player Country Club, is full of people with far more energy than I could muster in a month, but I feel absolutely no remorse as I get ready for a de-stressing session.
My massage therapist is small in stature but clearly takes no nonsense from her clients: she warns me that she has ‘strong hands’ and that I must tell her when the pressure gets too much, because she doesn’t wish to kill me.
But in reality, the pressure is just right and an hour later I walk out of the spa feeling a little drunk. I assume it’s because the toxins have left my body and actual blood is getting the chance to circulate for the first time in months. Or something.
The security guard in the parking lot offers to walk me back to the hotel; it’s only 200 metres away but my brain has shut down during the treatment and I feel a definite need for adult supervision. I crawl up the stairs to my room, draw the curtains and have an afternoon snooze before the Asian-themed supper at The Orchid. Day one – done.