The Crazy Things You'll Hear as a Working Woman in Hollywood

January 27th 2015

Jessica Glassberg

This was my seventh year writing the opening of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. 

For the 2013 Awards, it was just over two months after my daughter was born and one of the first times I left the house. I arrived at the show’s security line with my laptop and a portable breast pumping station. 

SECURITY GUARD: What's in the bag?
ME: (whispering) oh, that's a breast pump.
SG: What?
ME: (whispering louder) A breast pump.
SG: A what?
After a beat.
SG: What's it for?
ME: To pump... my breasts...for milk.
SG: (confused) Not a bomb.
ME: No, not a bomb

That was my first welcome to the world as a working mother. It was mostly a blur as a result of infant induced sleepless nights, rushing to a random unlockable closet to pump my aforementioned breasts, and writing up quick responses to what I was seeing on the red carpet and rushing home before the actual telecast started so I could be with my baby girl and relieve my utterly engorged breasts.

This year, I was ready for a little break from my 2-year-old and to be around a group of adults.

So, I arrived at The Shrine Auditorium and checked myself into security (pump-free this year).

SAG Awards Badge

After getting organized, I reported to the production truck to get my writing done for rehearsals where we time out the whole show.

Golden Globes Truck

My job on the show is to watch the celebs on the red carpet, see if we can get some great shots of them and then I write a three to five second commentary on each of the clips acquired. It’s high pressure and high exhilaration. 

After rehearsal, I met with the show’s producers to get feedback on any issues they have with the tone/timing of what I wrote. Then we did a little catching up since I hadn’t seen these people since the last SAG Awards. I discussed being home with my daughter and forced them to look at a few pictures of the most beautiful girl in the entire universe.

It was at this time that I’m asked, “So… do you have a real job?” I swallowed. Hard. This wasn’t the time to get on my soapbox and talk about how staying home with my daughter IS a job… 

Or was it exactly the right time? I should have…I wish I did. Instead I said that my “other” job is freelance writing which allows me to have time at home to, ya know, grow a person.

Later, after a little trip to the red carpet with another coworker:

SAG Awards Red Carpet

And studying the impressive abs on the Actor statue…

SAG Awards Statue

…When he says, “Well, your figure doesn’t matter anymore. You’re a mom.”

So, I’m a mom… so I have to just let myself go? I should go set up shop on a couch where I can referee my kiddo as I become grafted to my couch? Is that what being a mom means?

That didn’t seem to be what being a mom means to SAG Award winners Patricia Arquette who dedicated her award to her kids: “Enzo and Harlow. You are both perfect. The perfect kids for me.”

Or Viola Davis who tells her daughter stories at night and thanked all of the people who “love me exactly how God made me. And that’s my beautiful husband, Julius, my four-year-old daughter at home, Genesis, and my mother May-Alice Davis.”

And even though there were a few sarcastic jabs (like “She has been more than a mother to me…not much. But definitely more.”), you could see that when Carrie Fischer presented the Life Achievement Award to her mother Debbie Reynolds, there was a lot of love.

So, is motherhood the reason there were no women nominated for directing, writing, or cinematography Oscars? Is motherhood the reason more projects directed, produced, or written by women aren’t optioned in general?

For me, motherhood is going to push me to set an example of what it means to feel happy. I am happier when I know that not only does playing games with my daughter develop her intellect, but that it also develops her sense of wonder and creativity. I am just as proud when my daughter counts to ten as when I hear her request Paul Simon’s, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” or when I can tell her… 

“Did you see that shot of the 'Boyhood’ cast on the red carpet?”

And the announcer said: ‘The "Boyhood" cast looks great, considering they aged 12 years while I said this!’

I wrote that line.”