Continuing the saga from Friday of an innocent American who moved to London and was ensnared into the grips of advertising by cheeky British humor

I could discern sound-stages in the dark evening, and as soon as we pulled up next to one, I was greeted by my contact and an assistant wearing a headset and carrying a clipboard—she was introduced to me as the person who would lead me everywhere I needed to be and when, and I was not to stray away from her. After my coat and purse were taken (maybe that should have worried me, but it didn’t), my guide led me to the Green Room, where she seated me amongst the other candidates and handed me a brief form to fill out. As I did so, a nice American guy sitting next to me struck up conversation about the toothbrush, and we pleasantly chatted for a few minutes, during which I commented on the giant cardboard toothbrush directly in front of us and am pretty sure said something not so nice about my London dentistry experiences…

After that, I was escorted through a labyrinth of corridors and asked to wait outside a door until the light above it turned from red to green. I excused myself to use the loo down the hall really quickly, then resumed my station at the door, where the assistant enthusiastically chatted me up about the toothbrush. I recall saying lame, yet true things, like it being a toothbrush that “makes me smile” and is the “laziest way to brush.”

Once given clearance to walk through the door, I stepped into an abyss of black…everything was black, except for a few makeup tables with that classic mirror with light-bulbs all around the perimeter. I was seated at the other and introduced to my own makeup artist. Well, “la-tee-da,” I thought. As this blonde removed some shine from my face and brushed my hair into smooth corn-silk, she also asked me loads of questions about the toothbrush—I admit at this point, I was wondering what was going on, as everyone seemed just way too excited about this toothbrush and getting me talking about it. As soon as any suspicions entered me noggin, however, I dismissed them with plausible explanations—they should be excited about the brush, shouldn’t they? I mean, that’s what it was all about! And they could have been helping me get warmed up for the audition, after all.

So after chatting some more about Sonicare and being left alone for a minute as my makeup artist was called away, I sat there at the mirror, making note of the Max Factor makeup and wondering if I’d done my own face up okay enough for the audition, when, WHOOSH!!! Away slides the wall (with the mirror and makeup table attached!), and all I know is I’m just sitting there on a director’s chair with nothing in front of me but a large white room full of clapping people. I see a television camera and a man who introduces himself to me as the director, and in stark shock I gingerly step down and approach the 30-40 people really whoopin’ it up for me. Such a rush.

As they revealed the locations of all the hidden cameras, they seemed to fear I would bristle (pun intended) at the surprise at my expense, that I might bite down and curse them through clenched teeth or turn my head and spit (dental allusions intended), but no…all I could do was flash a toothy smile and try to process what just happened, chalking it all up to a good joke and feeling deserving of a plaque (last pun intended, promise) if they hadn’t already offered me a stipend and free toothbrush. I was then left wishing the blond actress really was a makeup artist, as they next sent me up to pose for still shots…with the toothbrush. I was directed to look at it “lovingly,” use it as if it was an entirely different object (I didn’t dare do what honestly first came to mind *blush* [INSERT YOUR IMAGINATION HERE], so I defaulted in a panic to swinging it like a baseball bat), and throw my head back in laughter. Oh, the fake, fake laughter. Never did I feel like a bigger dork and further from a feasible contender for America’s Next Top Model (besides that trifling fact I’m 15 years too old to be one anyway). But whatever. It was great fun.

And what could only have made this entire episode funnier for me was: 1) the social media rep in the room while I had my photos taken was a recently placed LONDON RELOCATION CLIENT! and 2) the fact that the first face I saw when that black wall slid away was my friend Emily’s! Emily is a fellow American expat who I met and became great buds with through London Relocation’s London Living network and who works part-time as a movie and TV extra (she’s in the latest Harry Potter as a witch in the Ministry of Magic—how cool is that??!!). Anyway, she had coincidentally enough happened to text me that day from the set of her latest gig, a toothbrush commercial, to which I basically responded, “Go figure! I’m auditioning for a toothbrush commercial today. Is it Philips Sonicare?”—figuring she’d also trialed the toothbrush like me. To which she responded, not to me but to the director, that Houston might have a problem. She was not there as a toothbrush trialler, but an actor, so if I caught sight of her, it might have blown the whole charade. They therefore had her sit out that round, and had taken my purse from me to prevent Emily and I from communicating :). Gawd, did we two laugh about this afterwards…

So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. If you’re in the States or have already relocated to London from the US and haven’t seen the ad, behold a snippet of the experience. Looks like I didn’t make the main cut, but my friends did spot me in the lower right corner at minute 2:41 into the video and, who knows, there might be other commercials or web ads showing my mug. Plus, I get a royal kick out of just seeing the actors and sets again and other people getting fooled, as well as proving to everyone I told about this surreal night that I wasn’t making it up!!!