Aug 28, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Since Thursday, Aug. 11, Raven DiSalvo-Hess has been constantly online looking at herself, and telling everyone she knows to do the same.
It’s not ego, but a constant tracking — and voting — for an online contest to win a walk-on role in the Emmy-award winning AMC television show “Mad Men.”
“This is the most stressful thing I think I have ever done,” said DiSalvo-Hess, a Skaneateles native and self-styled ‘jill-of-all-trades’ who currently works part-time at Paris Flea on Jordan Street. “It’s just so out of my hands.”
But she has reason to be nervous: she’s currently ranked 10th in public popularity out of more than 5,000 entries. And if she remains in the top 20, she will make the semi-finals and get a chance to go to Los Angeles to be on TV.
The Banana Republic Mad Men Casting Call Contest invites fans of the show to submit a photo of themselves “showing their best Mad Men and Mad Women style.”
“Mad Men,” a drama set in 1960s New York, follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell. The show has won three consecutive Golden Globe awards and back-to-back Emmy awards for outstanding drama series.
Photos entered in the casting call contest are posted on the “Mad Men” website and voted on by the general public until Sept. 9. The top ten male and the top ten female submissions as determined by popular votes will become semi-finalists.
Matthew Weiner, the creator and executive producer of the show, will choose the grand prize winner from among the twenty semi-finalist submissions based on whether the photo reflects the “Mad Men” style (60 percent) and originality (40 percent). Two runners-up will be selected from the remaining nineteen semi-finalists based on the same criteria.
The grand prize is a round-trip, four-day stay in Los Angeles, a walk-on role on the show and a $1,000 Banana Republic shopping spree. The two runners-up each will receive a $1,000 Banana Republic gift card.
DiSalvo-Hess was one of the first 100 people to submit a photo, she said. In the picture, she is wearing a grey vintage skirt, gold elbow-length gloves, vintage hat and jewelry, and seated in the backseat of a 1960s Volvo. Her “decade-appropriate” name for the photo persona is Beatrice ‘Trixie’ Morgan, whom DiSelvo-Hess sees as an elite, upper West Side city girl whose father is probably a banker.
“We did 160 photos in two different outfits in about one hour,” DiSalvo-Hess said of her submission process. “I had been studying up on my Irving Penn pictures to see how women posed in the 60s, what they did.”
In the end she chose 10 photos to post on her Facebook page, and one to submit to the contest.
“I’m not an aspiring actress, just a lover of the show,” said DiSalvo-Hess, whose undergraduate degree is in literature and classics.
“I find the show visually very appealing, the characters are believable and have many facets to them. I feel nostalgic for something I never experienced when I watch it, like the great American dream of starting at the bottom and working your way up,” DiSalvo-Hess said. “The show is also very historically accurate in its writing; that accuracy fascinates me. And all the people are so good looking in the show — that doesn’t hurt either.”
As of press time, DiSalvo-Hess/Trixie Morgan had more than 1,300 public votes in the contest, about 700 votes behind the leading female entry.
Visitors can vote every day for their favorite photo in the contest, just not more than once for the same person in a 24-hour period.
DiSalvo-Hess was born and raised in Skaneateles, as was her father, and she is well-known around town. “It has become this hilarious Skaneateles activity to vote every day for me,” she said. “But it’s really sweet of everyone.”
If she does win the walk-on role, DiSalvo-Hess does not foresee an attempt at an acting career in her future. Her interest in the television/film industry is more in the backstage aspect, the clothing and wardrobe, the overall production process, she said.
“It would be so spectacular if this did translate into something else like a retro fashion model, though,” she added.
Voting for the Banana Republic Mad Men Casting Call Contest continues until Sept. 25. Winners will be determined “on or about September 30,” according to the show’s website.
To register and vote for DiSalvo-Hess, a.k.a. Beatrice ‘Trixie’ Morgan, go to madmencastingcall.amctv.com and browse by popularity to find her photo.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.