How the Short Girl Got the Spokesmodel Gig at the Auto Show

Chellie Campbell

How the Short Girl Got the Spokesmodel Gig at the Auto Show
by Chellie Campbell

Excerpt from From Worry to Wealthy by Chellie Campbell

Back in my previous lifetime when I was an actress, I had to put myself outside my comfort zone all the time at auditions. Actors probably spend more time on job interviews than they do working. Someone said to me once that all my experience in the acting profession must have helped me get used to rejection. Oh, yeah. You never like it, mind you, but you get over thinking that the world will end because one audition went badly, or they liked you but they wanted a tall blond instead of a short redhead…

One audition I went on was for models for the Los Angeles Auto Show. You know, the tall beautiful spokesmodels in the gorgeous gowns who stand next to the cars and talk about them? Well, this wasn’t exactly my type, but I went to the casting call anyway because I needed some work.

This job was for Oldsmobile, and I decided I was just going to charm the man running the show into hiring me. So I kept smiling and joking and being personable as he selected out the girls he rejected saying “thank you for coming,” and kept a smaller pool of us to the side.

Finally, there were about five of us left. The other girls were all so tall! (I’m 5’4”) He gave the four other girls the hiring forms and asked me to come into his office. He said, “I’m not sure what to do with you. You’re not really the type we usually hire for this job.”

“I know,” I said, “I knew that when I showed up today. But I have a different take on what this job is all about. You want to sell cars. If you hire me, I’ll sell cars!”

He laughed, shook his head, grinned at me, and said, “Okay, you’ve got a job!” He gave me the hiring forms, and I said, “I need the information on the cars you’re going to have at the show.” He was surprised, but gathered up a bunch of brochures for me to take home.

I studied them and memorized the stats. On the weekend of the show, I stood by the cars, smiling and greeting everyone who passed by. When someone looked interested, I’d lift up the hood and explain about the engine. I’d sit them in the driver’s seat and have them feel the luxurious leather and notice the rich interior. I made them feel good sitting in it. A lot of them asked about purchasing, so then I’d send them over to the guy who hired me. He was so happy!

At the end of the Auto Show, he offered me a full-time job working for him selling cars. That still tickles me.

In order to get the gig at the Auto Show, I first had to sell this man on hiring me. I didn’t think of it as “selling” then, I just thought of it as “convincing” him to give me a chance. Convincing, persuading, selling — it’s all the same. Women are natural persuaders. You convince your kids to pick up their room, to do their homework, to get good grades. You persuade your husband or partner to take you out to dinner or go with you to the movie you want to see. You’re talking people into things all the time! Convincing someone to try your product or service is the same thing.

The reason I was able to convince the man at the Auto Show to hire me was because I knew his bottom line goal: he wanted to sell cars. He thought the way to do that was to hire tall, beautiful girls — I just showed him there might be another way. He took the gamble, and it paid off for us both.

Chellie Campbell is the author of bestselling books The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and most recently From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress. She is widely quoted in major media including Redbook, Good Housekeeping and more than 50 popular books. She has been treating Money Disorders like Spending Bulimia and Income Anorexia in her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops for over 25 years.