It’s the night before the show and I’m feeling sticky. That’s because I had my show spray session two hours ago and it’s still drying.
I have black sheets spread over the bed and black towels as I’m afraid the tan will come off and the hotel will charge me for the damage. I’m also wearing super baggy scrubs to bed and hope I don’t move in my sleep as I don’t want wrinkles or white spots showing up in weird places.
THE TORTURE WE GO THROUGH
I swear, the most torturous part of preparing for a show is not the workouts, cardio or the diet. It’s the tanning session.
Basically, you pay $125 to stand naked in front of a stranger while they blast you with a freezing cold orange liquid that doesn’t exactly smell like flowers. It smells like chemicals.
Once they spray every little bit of your body (and I mean EVERY bit of your body), you then have to stand with your arms out in front of fans while it dries. The room is also usually freezing as they have to open the windows to let the fumes out. After my first show, I learned to pump up the heat in my hotel room before my session so that I can warm up when it’s done.
My competitors are also going through this torture and as we stand there freezing and covered with goose bumps, it’s an awkward connection.
Still, in our nakedness and shower caps, we bond. We ask each other how many shows we’ve done and what we plan on eating when it’s all over. It brings the whole surreal experience back down to earth.
THE GREEN GIRL
I’m always envious of the girls who are naturally tan as they can get this over with quickly. Me? I’m glow-in-the-dark white so I have to go through the ordeal three times. Plus, my body PH balance doesn’t mesh well with the Jana Tan chemicals – so it doesn’t seep in properly and then it turns green the next day making me look like the Green Girl in Wicked. Thankfully, the Jana Tan people are pros and fix it by re-spraying and buffing me like I’m a vintage car.
Even though it sucks, it’s got to be done. When I’m orange and glowing, I’m no longer Michelle Ponto the writer and social media strategist, but I’m suddenly an NPC competitor.
Just like the skimpy bikini, it’s all part of the persona.