Project Live Your Life will be back later this month. We’re looking for inspirational people doing cool things to become part of the AE brand. Get inspired to enter Project Live Your Life by reading a photoshoot testimonial from Damon, a travel filmmaker and YouTuber from Fort Wayne, IN living in NYC.
Bruised feet and band-aids. You wouldn’t think I’m talking about the American Eagle Outfitters’ Project Live Your Life contest, but I am. What looks so glamorous in Teen Vogue and in your local AE storefront is actually hours of jumping around in shoes two sizes too big, yelling at strangers on the street so you look dynamic in pictures, and okay, let’s be real, amazing amounts of FUN.
When I received the email that I had made it through the final steps of the AE Project Live Your Life selection process, I was actually up in my gym just working on my fitness (Fergie reference). Good thing, because little did I know how much running around and hopping in and out of various outfits I’d be doing during Back to School photoshoot week.
The day I walked in to the studio to get fitted for my outfits was the first realization that this was about to be an awesome experience. As I got dressed in my first few looks, the stylists Preston and Lauren would often say “LOVE!” as they threw on a few hand-crafted bracelets, cuffed my denim jeans, and topped me off with a hipster beanie so that I’d have “a moment.” While this was happening, the tailor was behind the stylists pinning the necessary trims and adjustments. The clothes were then passed along to the seamstresses and other tailors, conveniently located next to the craft services. While all that was happening, Laura, my favorite behind-the-scenes photographer, took pictures of the A-list celebrity treatment. Trust me, I don’t think that one Drake lyric, “Nails done, hair done, everything did” resonated with me as much as it did that week.
The actual shoot days were even more exciting. Our call-times ranged from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and those of us from NYC took the subway to the studio, whereas the out-of-towners were shuttled from the hotel. As tired as you were, you couldn’t help being so enthusiastic to be a part of the entire experience. Once at the studio, the entire cast would eat the catered breakfast and go on coffee runs. Next, the producers would notify those who were shooting first to go through hair and makeup, then wardrobe, then hair and makeup one last time for touch-ups. And that wasn’t even the end of touch-ups. As you were on set, the hair and makeup team were so attentive that they wouldn’t let one sweat drop fall.
Shooting was, of course, the real celebrity treatment. One time, when I should have been giving the Zoolander face for the two photographers, I was actually just counting the amount of people in the crew around me – 14. A FOURTEEN PERSON crew for me – two stylists, one hairstylist, one makeup artist, two photographers, one behind-the-scenes photographer, two guys controlling traffic, one general producer, one prop guy, one guy handling the music and snacks, one guy coaching you through the shots, and one lady whose job was to hand the photographers a fresh, empty SD card. That makes fourteen people, not including the crowds of New York City tourists stopping to wonder what was going on.
If you think that is impressive, I haven’t even told you about the video shoots (my personal favorite) and the massive wrap-up party on top of a NYC skyscraper.
So, if you want to have an amazing experience like this one or if you’ve ever wanted to be in an ad campaign or in a magazine, the American Eagle Project Live Your Life campaign is the easiest way to get your foot in the door. Think about it, essentially all you have to do is annoy your friends and family on Facebook and before you know it, you’ll get to “hang tight” on set! Good luck!