The Room of Sighs


I was tall, slim, and twenty-one.


“Are you a model?” I was often asked.


The John Robert Powers Modeling Agency was the most successful in New York.  Their

models were in demand and appeared on billboards, in store windows, magazines,

catalogues... aII manner of advertisement.


One winter day, I decided it time I call the John Robert Powers Modeling Agency to

request an appointment.


No appointment was necessary, I was told.  All I had to do was drop by, sign in, and be

interviewed by the powers that be.


I put on heavier-than-usual make-up, a tight-fitting black dress, a fur coat, and shoes

with three-inch heels.  I was ready for my interview with John Robert Powers.


As I opened the door to the agency and walked in, I thought I heard what sounded like

sighs... of relief.  I signed in at the receptionist’s desk in the middle of the room, but it

wasn’t until I was seated and looked around that I realized I was in a room with some of

the most beautiful young women in New York City.  I sighed, silently.


I watched as the door behind the receptionist’s desk opened and a tall, slim, beautiful

blonde walked out.  She was smiling as she stopped at the receptionist’s desk, wrote a

check, and left.  Again, I sighed silently.


The front door to the modeling agency opened.  All the beautiful young women in the

room held their breath, then sighed... with relief.  No competition here.  This one could

never be a John Robert Powers model.  She signed in, sat, and looked around the room

It was her turn to sigh.


As the front door to the agency opened again, I, along with the others, held my breath,

but there were no sighs of relief this time.  Just gasps.  The room became quiet as we

watched this exquisite human being walk to the receptionist’s desk and sign in.  We

glared at her as she looked around the room, smiled, and took a seat.  No need for her

to sigh.


Names were called.  Beautiful young women went in the door behind the receptionist’s

desk.  They were smiling as they came out, wrote their checks, and left.


At last, it was my turn.  A man and a woman awaited me in their office.


The man was not John Robert Powers.

The woman asked me to take my coat off and walk across the room, which I did.


The man and woman each raised a right arm, placed a right elbow in a cupped left

hand, and tapped an index finger against a cheek.


After about seven cheek taps, the man looked at the woman and said, “She has



“Yes, she has potential,” the woman said, still tapping, “but she bounces when she



The man told me l definitely had the look of a model, but not the walk of a model, which

I could learn by taking their $250 course, and to please give the receptionist my check

on the way out.


I thanked them, put on my coat, and bounced past the receptionist’s desk on my way to

the front door.


The receptionist shouted after me, “Miss, miss. Stop!  You have to give me the $250

check now if you want to take the course.”


l looked around at all the beautiful young women seated in the room, waiting for their

John Robert Powers interview.


“l’m not taking the course,” I called back.


The receptionist gasped.


The beautiful young women gasped.


As l closed the door behind me, l heard a big sigh of relief.


It was mine.

Joy Wessel is a writer living in California.

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