Growing up, I used to think that smoking a cigarette, especially, the long, slender variety was glamourous. I mean, Bette Davis looked so sophisticated in Now Voyage when she smoked and countless of other Hollywood great ladies. They were always lighting one up in every single movie they were in. I watched them and promised myself that one day, I would be like them, standing in a room, elegantly dressed, looking like a Hollywood star and smoking a long, slender cigarette. All eyes would be on me. I would be the center of attraction. Women would envy me and men would desire me.
Well, I got my wish. I became a model turned low-budget actress seen at several parties with gorgeous leading men, producers, directors and writers. I was engaged a few times but never ended up going down the aisle. That didn’t bother me. I liked being single and able to date any man who tickled my fancy. Life was exciting and glamourous. Then, my world changed forever when I met Danny Coleman, son of a millionaire father and a showbiz mother. He was unlike any of the men I have known. Unlike them, he didn’t fawn all over me like a lovesick puppy. In fact, I got the impression that he didn’t like me and that really bothered me.
Whenever we were in each other’s company, he was very reserved and polite. That only made me mad. I wanted to throw my glass of wine or champayne or whatever I was drinking in his face. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t he attracted to me? As far as I knew he wasn’t married and I know that he was straight. So, what was the problem? Was I too beautiful or too popular or too showbusinessy? What really got to me was that I was attracted to him.
Finally, it got to the point where I couldn’t stand it any longer. So, at a charitable gala, I treaded my way over to him, exchanging greetings and smilings with the other guests, although I was seething inside. He was by himself, leaning against a post, dressed too casually for my tastes in a tan suit and black turtleneck sweater. However, that didn’t stop my pulse from racing or my heart from beating at an alarming rate. Before I reached him, I saw that he noticed me and was watching as I approached him. I knew I looked great in my sky blue satin gown with its spaghetti straps and the delicate pearl necklace around my neck. I had my hair down in a 40’s style, adding to the glamourous vintage look. Most of the men there couldn’t take their eyes off me. My date, a producer of independent films were somewhere trying to hire a director for one of the scripts which landed on his desk months ago. He had already promised me the leading part.
I finally reached Mr. Coleman who looked so cool and detached which irritated me to no end. I wished my pulse and heart rates would return to normal. “Hello, Mr. Coleman,” I had to at least be polite, cordial.
“Hello, Miss Darrow. You’re looking as glamourous as ever.”
“You make that sound like a reproach rather than a compliment. Do you have a problem with glamourous women, Mr. Coleman?”
“Not really. I’m more partial to beautiful or attactive women who don’t use their looks to get what they want. They rely on their talents and brains.”
That got me bristling and my hands tightened into tight fists as I fought the urge to slap him across that ruggedly handsome face of his. I could feel my face getting hot. One of my ex-flames once told me that I was exquisite when I was angry. Somehow, I don’t think my red face and flashing hazel eyes weren’t impressing Mr. Coleman. “Are you insinuating that I use my looks to get ahead in the film industry?”
“Granted, you are a very beautiful woman but I don’t think acting is your thing.”
“What do you know about acting? I bet you couldn’t tell the difference between a-a method actor and a character actor.”
“Which one are you?”
“A method actor which means that my acting style will work for all types of roles.”
“I have seen how you are at charitable events and how passionate you are about the different causes. I think that’s where you should dedicate your time and your talent.”
That stumped me for a moment. He wasn’t the first one to suggest that I leave acting and go into charitable work. One person even suggested that I create my own organization. I resisted the idea because I loved acting and there wasn’t any glamour in philantrophy. I raised my chin a fraction higher. “I don’t see why I can’t do both.”
“I have a suggestion,” he said. “Why don’t you work at my film center as a producer or director or be the host of short feature films about non-profit organizations to help them to inform and inspire people to support them?”
I had to admit that it was a great idea. I have often felt that there are so many great organizations out there that need exposure so that they can get the support they need. “So, you want me to give up acting to work at your film centre?”
“Yes. I know that you like the glamour and fame but there’s so much more to life than that. And I must tell you that I don’t like to see a woman smoke. It’s not healthy and it definitely isn’t sexy.”
“Is that why you’re not a fan?” I asked tossing my head.
“I’m a fan but not of your acting.”
Whoa. That was blunt. Too blunt. It almost knocked the wind out of me. “This is a big decision for me, Mr. Coleman. I love acting. I have a big leading role lined up.”
“Well, think about it and let me know what you decide. For the record, I think you would be more effective behind the camera than in front. Now, how about I buy you a drink and we discuss other things?”
I agreed and we ended up spending the rest of the evening together. I left with my date but dumped him the following day. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get the part he promised me. I ended up working at Mr. Coleman’s film centre and we became a couple. I quit smoking because as he pointed out that if I wanted to be with him, I had to give up the habit. I chose health and him over glamour. I have been cigarette free for seven months now and Mr. Coleman–Danny and I are engaged. Our wedding is next year May. This time, I know that I will be walking down the aisle.
And I’m the director and producer of the new and exciting feature film series, Destiny Calls which showcase the people behind charitable organizations, what drives them and how they impacted lives. I’m behind the camera and my sister, Lorna is the host. I never thought that I would love being behind the scenes but I do. Destiny called me to this new role and I’m thankful that I answered. The next story is one I’m really looking forward to filming. It’s about a former teenage smoker who recently started Vapesmoke Free, a ministry at her high-school to help teenage girls to quit smoking and vaping. I have been cigarette free for a year now. If I can do it, these girls can too.
Smoking is not glamourous. It is dangerous for your health. Get the help you need today to quit.