The Redhead Plays Her Hand
Gallery / December 17, 2013 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital
Grace’s star is on the rise with a new TV series, but then the director asks her to lose fifteen pounds. When she goes public with her struggles with weight, she suddenly develops a huge fan club of people who are happy to see a curvy actress speak up, and she becomes a flashpoint in society’s ongoing conversation about what’s beautiful and what Hollywood’s responsibility is to portray women of all shapes and sizes.
Meanwhile, Jack is voted the Sexiest Man Alive and becomes a little too enamored with the star lifestyle. But while he can have anything he wants, he can’t have the one thing he really needs: a public relationship with Grace, which his manager says will hurt his career. When Jack begins to spiral downward into parties, booze, and Hollywood brat behavior, it’s time for Grace to set him straight—and maybe dare to walk the red carpet together, hand in hand.
All rock stars say they just want to play music and all actors say they just want to practice their craft, but like with any good drug, they quickly become addicted to the fame. Like any addiction, they can’t see the dark side of that fame until it is too late, and if they are not careful, the dark side of that stardom they wanted so badly can destroy the person they were.
In Alice Clayton’s Redhead series, thirty-three-year old Grace Sheridan and twenty-four-year old Jack Hamilton, the newest It boy in Hollywood, are moving on with their relationship after getting their first ugly taste of that dark side during Jack’s movie premier of Time. Since Jack first met Grace, he has resented his agent’s claim that his fans would balk at his unavailability so they need to keep their relationship quiet. Jack wanted to walk the red carpet with his Crazy Girl and he wants to go out in public with her without being attacked by paparazzi. Jack has always been quiet and reserved and this loss of privacy is adding a burden to his life that he never expected. The fact that he has to hide where he lives, especially since he lives with Grace now, is pushing him to the edge.
“What’s wrong, where are you?”
“Somewhere on Santa Monica. I’m stuck in traffic.”
“What the hell are you doing on Santa Monica?”
“Bloody photographer at the market…I pulled out and started heading back up the hill, and he followed me. Followed me no matter where I went, and I didn’t want to come home yet, so I kept driving. And so did he. And I ended up getting turned around in the hills and came back down and then—“
Jack, hey, slow down. It’s okay. Where are you now?”
“It’s not okay! This is fucking ridiculous! Grace, you should have seen how close this guy was behind me. He was a maniac—just to get a picture? It’s insane!”
In The Redhead Plays her Hand, Grace is reprising her critically acclaimed role as Mabel from the off-Broadway play onto the small screen. This is a dream come true for Grace. After she ran from Hollywood in her early twenties, she thought her desire to perform was a thing of the past. But she has lost all the weight she had packed on with a dedication to exercise and dieting, and she has returned with a determination to finally succeed. But at her first pre-production meeting, she gets an order from the producers that floors her; the producers need her to lose another 15 pounds before filming. With her already stringent regiment of exercise, she fears she won’t be able to eat again to meet their requirements.
“Grace, come on, you’re beautiful, I—“ Michael started, and Holly interrupted him.
“Here it is. The exact note is: ‘We need her to have a little more cheekbone, a little more jawline,’ she read looking over her glasses at me as she finished.
“A little more cheekbone,” I repeated, mentally tallying how many miles I was already running a week and wondering how many more I could squeeze in.
And these pressures facing Jack and Grace aren’t unique. Holly is one of the best agents in Hollywood. There isn’t a client in her roster who she hasn’t had to criticize for some imperfection or flaw.
“Um, I was kidding about the large purse.”
“That’s funny because I wasn’t kidding at all,” Holly countered. “We talked about this.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, but—-”
“But nothing, Grace. I love you. Is this weird for you? Yes. But not for me. This is my job. Does it suck that I have to tell girls all the time to fucking lose weight? Yep. Do I have to tell girls who just a year ago were voted Best Looking in their high school yearbook that they’re too generic to make it in this town? All the time. I hate it, but this industry isn’t changing any time soon, and other than that I love what I do. So suck it up.”
When a trip to the grocery store makes the headlines on TMZ and you find out the person that you are just isn’t perfect enough, the price for fame might just be too high and the pressure of stardom can destroy the strongest soul.
Learn more or order a copy of The Redhead Plays Her Hand by Alice Clayton, available December 17, 2013:
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.