Lori Kalinski — Chief Marketing Officer 8:29 am
The movie studio had recently been purchased by a global investment firm. Everyone was promised they’d keep their jobs, but when dealing with ‘the powers that be,’ you never really know.
Lori Kalinski braced herself for the new boss’s visit. Realistically, it seemed like more of an inspection after a string of high-profile flops at the box office. What was supposed to be an ordinary day at work turned into a frenzy.
After getting settled into her office, she went straight to the lounge for a strong cup of coffee because she knew what kind of morning it would be.
“I just had a brief discussion with her,” Matthew said, also coming in to the lounge room for coffee. “She’s in a real mood.”
It was understandable that meetings with the new CEO would be tense. People from global investment firms don’t mess around when it comes to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Lori winced. “Just what I needed. Could she have picked a worse time? I swear she’s doing this on purpose.”
“The impression I’m getting is that she’s here with a wrecking ball. She asked me detailed financial questions for literally 30 minutes straight.”
“Just to give you a hard time? Or was it genuine curiosity?”
“She had the precision of a serial killer,” Matthew warned. “Trust me, I’m sure this lady knows everything already. She just wanted to see if I knew the exact details from memory.”
Lori nodded, “Makes sense. To be the boss of an investment firm takes a real expertise with numbers. Especially as a woman.”
“Speaking of women, I hear the new boss is making some female employees dress up in superhero costumes for merchandise testing.”
“Yep, I helped arrange that for later this morning. With the price they paid for this studio, they’re looking to recoup every dollar, however they can. And she wants my input on how female buyers will respond.”
There was a boyish, mischievous expression on the guy’s face, and the only thing Lori could do was return the same expression.
“Don’t even say it,” she said, shutting him down.
“So… you think the rumors are true?” he asked anyway, unable to resist.
“I don’t have to think — I know the rumors are true,” she reluctantly confirmed.
He went wide-eyed and whispered, “How do you know?”
“Remember, I was part of the delegation that went to New York to meet with our new corporate overlords.”
“Did she try anything on you?” he whispered in an eager, yet shocked tone.
She laughed. “Only in your imagination. Sorry to burst your bubble, but no. Nothing like that.”
“Any details you can share?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m not someone to spread gossip. Especially about the new boss.”
“How long have we been friends? You know I can keep a secret.”
She paused, then relented. “All I’ll say is this. We had a group dinner at a fancy French restaurant, which she paid for. Strictly business. Afterwards, we all split up for the night and I overheard that she was going someplace interesting with her secretary. That’s all I’m willing to divulge.”
“God that’s sexy,” he sighed.
“Either way, you’re really lucky if that’s true.”
“Why is that?”
“Look in the mirror, Lori. You’re fucking hot. If those rumors are true, then your job security is practically guaranteed. Shit, you might even get another promotion. Maybe she’ll put you in charge of this studio.”
She laughed. “Unfortunately, I’m not get-an-immediate-promotion kind of hot. There are levels to hotness.”
On cue, Matthew’s phone beeped and he checked his text message.
“I’ve gotta run to a meeting,” he said, grabbing his coffee. “And hey, you’ve got brains and beauty. Use that shit. If you’re able to get the big promotion to run this studio, take me with you. We’ve always made a hell of a team.”
The man winked as he walked away, and Lori said ‘have a good one’ to her friend. As they both knew, the movie business was a cutthroat world. It’s a ruthless line of work despite the glamorous presentation.
She stood there thinking of her friend’s advice. With all the reshuffling going on, other executives and managers were plotting on how to nab top positions or maintain their status. Maybe it was time she played the game, too?
Shanice Williams — Job Interview 9:03 am
There was an air of nervousness in the room. Job interviews have a funny way of feeling like you’re in a police interrogation, but that’s the price you have to pay if you want a good job.
“What’s your salary expectation?” Dillan asked.
By Shanice’s estimation, everything was going well. Being invited back for this second interview was a positive sign.
As a graphic artist and a young black woman, working at a prestigious movie studio like this would be a dream. It was better than a dream, it was a chance to leave a mark on this world. She had a lot to offer as a visual artist.
What she hadn’t expected, however, izmit rus escort was that landing a full-time job in this field was next to impossible. Sure she expected roadblocks here and there, but a job hunt can become depressing after months on end. It was a miracle that she even made it into this building and she thanked her lucky stars.
“I’m flexible on salary,” she said with a rehearsed smile. “But overall I think 50 thousand a year sounds reasonable for an entry level position. Again, I’m flexible.”
“I see,” the man said, jotting down notes. “Are you also flexible in terms of hours? Can you work overtime, if requested?”
Shanice brushed off any concern. “Not an issue. Graphic design is my passion. I’m a worker bee, always have been.”
There was a knock by the side of the open door and a sophisticated older woman approached, choosing to remain in the hallway with a cup of coffee in hand.
“Mind if I take over this interview?” the woman asked. “I couldn’t help but overhear, and, well, I like what I’ve been hearing.”
Dillan sat upright. “Sure, of course, Ms. Kalinski. Shanice, it was good to meet you.”
It felt like a new phase of a job interview and Shanice gave the man a cordial handshake after they both stood. The woman with coffee stepped into the room to collect the resume and art portfolio.
She left the room with the statuesque woman and they headed down the hall for an unknown destination.
“Do you know who I am?” the woman asked, looking forward as they walked.
Mentally, Shanice chided herself for not knowing. When doing research for this job, she saw this woman’s picture online a few times, but never caught the name or job title.
“I heard him call you Ms. Kalinski. I’ve actually seen your pictures before. Sorry if I don’t know the details. This is something I should know.”
“Don’t be sorry. My name is Lori Kalinski and I’m the Chief Marketing Officer. It’s a big responsibility which holds great authority.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Shanice said in awe of who she was dealing with.
The woman turned to her and winked. “The pleasure will soon be mine, I’m sure of that.”
A conference room was empty and they entered, closing the door for privacy. Ms. Kalinski put her coffee down on the table and briefly looked through the applicant’s resume and portfolio. They both remained standing.
“Beautiful work,” Ms. Kalinski said, eyes on the pages. “I can always tell when someone is here for a paycheck, or if they have a true passion. This speaks of true passion.”
Shanice beamed at the recognition. “I’ve been an artist my whole life. Thank you.”
“Mmm Hmm. Everything looks good.”
As her portfolio was being casually examined, Shanice felt her life flashing before her eyes. This was her best work. And the woman glancing through it could be the key to a bright future.
“I have plenty more,” Shanice interjected herself. “I mean, if you need to see more, there’s more.”
The attempt at being proactive seemed to have backfired, as Ms. Kalinski instead closed the portfolio and looked right at her.
“No, that won’t be necessary. I’ve seen enough.”
Shanice gulped. “Oh, I hope you like what I offer.”
“Love it,” Ms. Kalinski said briskly, before getting to the point. “My job is to ensure this studio makes a lot of money. I’m in charge of the overall marketing strategy. Understand?”
“Yes, I understand, Ms. Kalinski.”
“Good. Are you aware that we have a new CEO from a major investment firm?”
Shanice nodded, thankful for online research. “Yes, I’ve read several articles on that.”
“Figures. You seem highly-prepared. I like that. And what are your impressions of the new CEO?”
“I know she’s extremely intelligent, respected in the industry, a natural leader. I’ve already read that her firm deals with billions of dollars annually, so she must be something special.”
“Do you think the CEO is beautiful?” Ms. Kalinski asked with the utmost seriousness.
“Well, yeah, she’s obviously beautiful,” Shanice tensed, thrown off-guard by the politically incorrect question. “I’m sure everyone thinks so.”
Ms. Kalinski slowly nodded. “Would you do anything for the CEO if hired?”
“Yes, absolutely. 100%”
“Would you do anything for me?”
“I’m a team player, if that’s what you’re asking,” Shanice replied affirmatively. “Unlike most people, I mean that literally. I played softball in high school. I know teamwork.”
The boss’s eyes went up and down Shanice’s body. “Hmm…. I can see that you’re still in great shape. Look, I really like you. You’re a talented artist. You have the right passion and drive. Ready for some straight talk?”
In a state of curiosity, Shanice nodded. “Absolutely. It would be a dream to work here.”
“I’m willing to hire you today, assuming you can prove yourself to me. Forget HR and all the other bullshit. But there’s a major caveat.”
Shanice sucked in a deep breath. “Yes? What’s izmit escort the caveat?”
“If you follow me, you’ll be unpopular,” Ms. Kalinski said. “Your colleagues will think you’re kissing my ass. They’ll wonder how a young black girl with minimal experience gets to be around the big players. They’ll resent you. New friends in the office? Good luck with that.”
The whole thing sounded like an extreme over-simplification. But then again, Shanice had enough office experience to know that corporate life could be nasty. Her father worked at a big agency for decades and told her plenty of stories, too.
“And if I chose to follow you?” Shanice asked, rising to the challenge.
Ms. Kalinski smiled. “Then I’ll teach you the business. Negotiations, meetings, formalities. You’ll be an expert when I’m done with you. All I ask in return is total devotion and loyalty.”
Naturally, she thought that she was a diversity pick. Someone to bring a little more color into rooms so that the studio can highlight its inclusiveness. Could she live with that? Sure, as long as she got to live her dream.
“Did I win the lottery today?” Shanice asked in a cheeky tone, which was her polite way of finding out why she was being blessed.
“It all depends,” Ms. Kalinski said. “For starters, do you have experience with other women?”
That was the exact moment Shanice got the hint of what this was all about. There was no way a manager would ask such a question in this day and age. But then again, today was anything but usual.
“If I’m understanding this right…”
Ms. Kalinski nodded. “It’s a plain question. Answer it.”
“I’ve never dipped in that side of the pool before.”
“Would you be willing to?”
“Yes?” Shanice accidentally replied in the form of a question. “I mean, yes.”
“Life is about seizing opportunities. If you’re serious about working here, then follow me. We’ll see if you can survive the pressures of corporate leadership.”
The studio area was bustling with people from the wardrobe and makeup department. Women in their 20’s were being dressed as characters for the studio’s many film franchises. For anyone new to the world of movie productions, it was a place of wonderment. Shanice could hardly believe her eyes.
They went inside a busy dressing room which had a variety of film wardrobes hanging on racks, and an array of different makeups in front of mirrors.
Ms. Kalinski summoned two men and one woman to come over.
“I’d like you to meet Shanice Williams, my protege,” Ms. Kalinski said to them. “Give her a look. She’ll be a model this morning.”
A model? Shanice stood awkwardly as the team took measurements and assessed her figure. She’d never modeled anything before, but her athletic attributes gave her the necessary confidence.
Eventually the team decided on a science fiction look, with an outfit that consisted of raggedy, post-apocalyptic white cloth that wrapped tightly around the body. There was a belt with prop gadgets and other accessories meant to be useful in harsh terrains and battle. It was akin to something out of a Star Wars movie.
“What do you think?” Ms. Kalinski asked.
Shanice hid her inner-fangirl and kept calm. “I watch these movies with my friends and I’d force my sister to come. I think that outfit is awesome”
“Would you like to wear it?”
“It would be an honor.”
“You’d have to get naked,” Ms. Kalinski said, suppressing a smile. “Don’t worry, it’s normal. The crew has seen it all. And I want to see how you handle pressure.”
Forcing her jaw not to drop, Shanice kept composure. Naked? It was a dressing room, after all. But with a well-dressed prominent woman standing in front of her, flanked by a professional team, nudity was the last thing she expected when coming for a job interview.
“Let’s go for it,” she blurted out, wondering if her mind and her lips were on the same page when she agreed.
All she had to do was stand while the makeup and wardrobe staff peeled off her clothing. As a regular gym member, Shanice was used to being naked in a locker room with women of all ages and statuses.
Her clothes came off under the watchful eye of the woman she’d hope would become her boss. It was a nerve-wracking experience when Shanice was down to her white bra and panties. She was barefoot, too. At the moment, she was the only person in the dressing area who was in undergarments, as the other women already had their outfits on.
Shanice tried not to gasp when hands unclipped her bra and pulled her panties down. Her mocha skin was on full display and she noticed a few people in the room take glimpses of her. Her black nipples turned hard and she was glad she shaved her crotch a few days earlier.
The crew expertly dressed her in the outfit with precision speed.
“Have a look in the mirror,” Ms. Kalinski said when it was done.
When Shanice saw her reflection, she could hardly believe it. It was empowering to see herself as a character kocaeli escort she had long adored. She kept composure as Ms. Kalinski told everyone to go to the studio area.
The CEO — Corporate Presentation 10:46 am
Ms. Meyers was a petite 5’2″ blonde, firecracker of a woman. After conquering the financial world in her mid-40’s, she set her sights on Hollywood. Once a nerd, always a nerd. She grew up watching sci-fi and the chance to lead the charge gave her a huge rush.
So when Ms. Meyers requested an update on merchandising, she was thrilled to see a row of 10 women in the studio area. Each woman represented a female character in the assortment of movie franchises she now owned.
“I can see the profit margins already.”
The CEO’s voice was feminine and could be described as high-pitched, yet it was able to garner firm attention. She was flanked by studio executives, members of the makeup and wardrobe crew, and her longtime assistants.
As she kept her eyes sharply on the women and the outfits, she heard the echo of voice around her discussing brand appeal, apparel sales, and business marketing. These outfits had been tested by focus groups, she was being told, and people liked them.
“Reports say that merchandise has been in a slump,” Ms. Meyers said. “Do you really think this will turn things around?”
The Chief Marketing Officer chimed in, “We have a number of big movies slated for next summer and winter. This is what the audience will see. I firmly believe that we’ll see a massive increase in merchandise sales and my analysis confirms that.”
“And the box office? That’s where the real money is.”
“We expect an upward trajectory compared to previous years. Our biggest franchises will be showcased with the top-tier directors.”
Ms. Meyers gave an approving nod to the CMO. She’d known Lori Kalinski for a while and they’d met several times before. In all honesty, she thought Lori was kind of a bitch, but then again they both were. It’s almost expected if you want to reach the top of the corporate ladder.
She also thought Lori was attractive, sexually speaking, but had never gotten mutual vibes in return. The fact was, if Lori Kalinski ever made a move, Ms. Meyers would have gladly entered into a long-term sexual relationship with her.
Business and sex, nothing more. Love never factors into the equation. As far as Ms. Meyers was concerned, love makes people weak. Love gets in the way of making money.
She walked down the row and meticulously inspected each woman’s outfit like a dictator inspecting the generals. Her success in finance had always come from her strict attention to detail. This was no different.
“Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,” Ms. Meyers said to her personal staff and movie studio execs. “I like what I’m seeing. Excellent job.”
She did her best not to ogle at these women who modeled outfits. It was unprofessional and the last thing she wanted was for salacious rumors to swirl. She prided herself on a stellar reputation, though certain people ‘in-the-know’ were aware of what got her going.
A guy named Jeffrey chimed in. “If you think this looks great, wait until you see how our actresses look on film. We have a private theater and we’d be happy to screen whatever you want.”
It was almost torture for Ms. Meyers to contain her wicked delight. If these models looked delicious in their sci-fi outfits, how must famous actresses look on the big screen?
“That would be awesome,” the CEO replied like a geek. “Maybe tomorrow night we can all sit down together and have a screening.”
Her smile was broad and highlighted the gentle touch of lines around her eyes and mouth. The group seemed charmed by her big smile, which even made the models smile as well. To them, she was a lovable, petite powerhouse.
The meeting was over and the studio execs went back to their offices. The models went back to the wardrobe department to have the outfits undone.
“I’m glad you were happy with my presentation,” Lori Kalinski said.
The team around the CEO kept their distance, as they always did, whenever the boss had a business discussion. It was how she trained them to behave.
Ms. Meyers nodded. “You’re living up to your reputation.”
“Likewise. You have such sharp eyes. Speaking of which, did any of the outfits grab your attention?”
“A few of them did.”
“How about the black girl?” Lori asked. “Her star fighter outfit is expected to be our biggest costume and merchandise seller. It’s also attached to our biggest movie next summer.”
“Did you have a hand in that?”
Lori glowed with pride. “My team did the testing for brand appeal. And the model might soon be an employee of mine. She’s actually a talented graphic artist.”
“Oh really? Do you normally have artists dress up?”
“No, but I thought she had the perfect figure and I wanted to make an impression for you.”
If the CEO hadn’t known better, she’d think Lori Kalinski was actually flirting. Maybe her instincts were wrong? Maybe this exec had a few extra tricks up her sleeves. Whatever it was, it worked.
“That one certainly left an impression,” Ms. Meyers replied, unsure of where this was going, but liking it anyway.