Vic smiled up at me from the cheesy director's chair.

"There's my girl! Wow, they did you up real nice." He clapped his hands together and wiggled his bushy eyebrows. Veronica folded her arms over her chest and gave him a glare, which caused him to stand up and step aside so that she could sit.

"Alright, Lyra, what you're about to do here is record a quick segment on yourself. It shouldn't take more than a couple minutes- we plan to only include about 30 seconds of it in the episode- but we want to give the audience a starting point in their attempts to gauge your personality."

"Right." I nodded. "An 'All About Me.'"

"You can write out a short script for approval by our producers, and then we can run it on the teleprompter while you're bring filmed, or, if you prefer, you can just speak off the cuff, and we'll let you know if anything needs to be tweaked afterwards." 

I didn't like how she talked about the whole process. I mean, I understood that these types of shows took a lot of production and a lot of polishing, but they talked as if you weren't a real person, like you were just an actor or a lesser image of yourself. Everything had to be styled, approved, even reshaped if it didn't fit the mold they envisioned. This was something I hadn't considered back on my couch in Chicago.

"I'd like to just speak off the top of my head, if that's alright," I said, mentally rebuking myself: Of course it's alright, Lyra, she just said it's alright. Stop asking permission.

She nodded. "Of course. Then, all that needs to be included will flash on the screen while we're recording, just so you remember. That's just stuff like your name, where you're from, what you do... the basics."

"I'm sure she won't have any troubles remembering her own name, will you, sweetheart?" Vic interjected. I smiled and shot him a thankful look, while Veronica just seemed to get annoyed. I was beginning to see a really passive-aggressive aspect to their relationship. 

"Right," she continued, "Even so. Make everything short and to the point, but include detail where you believe it's necessary. Remember, you want the audience to like you from the beginning, or else your stay with us won't be very long. Try and project as genuine an image as you can."

I wanted to laugh out loud at the contradiction in her words. Say what we want you to say how we want you to say it, but be genuine. Be yourself. I bit my cheek. I seemed to be doing this a lot, since I had arrived in California. Thinking things to myself, and then fighting them back into silence in order to convince everyone that I was pleasant. Everyone here probably thought I was so boring.

"This is Emmanuel, and this is Stephen. They're the cameramen for today," Veronica said, pointing to the two men that had just entered the room and begun to fiddle with the recording equipment. They nodded their heads at me in acknowledgment. "If they tell you to sit or put your hair a certain way, it is in your best interest to do it. They're quite experienced with how differently things can be perceived on TV."

I wondered how much differently a middle finger can be perceived on TV.

"Okay, Ms. Pratt, we're ready," the taller man called. 

"Thank you, Emmanuel. If you have any concerns, page me, but I can't stick around for right now." She turned to me and Vic. "Good luck. I'll be seeing you again on Monday, but you have my number and my email, should anything come up. Now, I'm off. Victor," She nodded in farewell to him, and with that, she turned and her heels clicked out the room and back down the hallway.

I turned to Vic and imitated her humorless tone, "Victor."

He laughed and put his hands on my shoulders, turning me around and steering me towards the red armchair set up in the center of the room. The other man, Stephen, straightened some cushions on it and angled the stage lights so they were facing it.

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