“I Never Thought My First Time on TV Would Be… in a Bikini!”

One Betty recalls her first big, er, break.
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“I Never Thought My First Time on TV Would Be… in a Bikini!”

One Betty recalls her first big, er, break.

-Faye Brennan

TV camera

Sometimes I say yes to things without really thinking them through. Like when my friend Jene Luciani, Style Expert and author of The Bra Book, said she needed a model for an upcoming TV segment on swimsuit trends, I said yes. I thought it’d be fun, and how many chances do you get to be on TV, right?

I didn’t think much of my decision until just a few days before the shoot when reality sunk in. I was going to be on NBC’s LX-TV New York. In a bathing suit. Which could very well be a two-piece. And I had been eating crap and hadn’t worked out in days. Holy $%#*.

Was I crazy?!

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Now, a disclaimer before you go to the next page and think, “What does she have to be afraid of?” Like every other woman on the planet, I have a few hang-ups about my body. I wasn’t always in the shape I’m in now. In fact, last year I lost about 20 pounds as a side affect of having major surgery. All of a sudden, I had a new, smaller figure I was unfamiliar with. While the weight loss did boost my confidence, it did not quiet the critical voices in my head. I’m still the person who likes my long legs and arms, but thinks my butt looks flat in clothes and hates my stomach. Other people may not notice these things, but I do, and I’m allowed to have these insecurities.

Naturally, I was thinking about all of them right before the video shoot. After all, all I had to do was stand there and occasionally shift my weight from side to side as Jene talked about the bathing suit I was wearing. I was “modeling,” simply there to look good, although I am in no way a model. I figured the least I could do was fake it.

So, the day before the shoot, I did a serious workout – about two hours of strength training and cardio to really loud music to get myself in the zone. I paid $55 for a custom airbrush tan (no lines… anywhere) and ate my last bite of food at 4 p.m. By the time the shoot started at 10 a.m. the next day, I was ready to eat my own hand.

I entered the suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel where us “models” were supposed to get ready and Jene handed me my bathing suit – a retro-style, navy blue and white polka dot bikini. Oh, and sunglasses. That’s it. So much for wishing it’d be a one-piece!

The suit fit me well, but I primped and nitpicked in front of the mirror for the next hour while waiting for the crew to arrive. All the other girls were applying body makeup – I didn’t even know what that was or where you could get it. I started applying bronzer to my chest and stomach as if I knew what I was doing. I didn’t.

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