Two years later I was fortunate enough to meet and shake paws with the bracelet’s live counterpart. Minus one head of course. I was working on a campaign for a Korean department store at the time, which was being shot in New York. Some clever ad people thought it a stroke of genius to have model clad in Prada sit on an antique chaise lounge, surrounded by three peacocks - alive - and a white tiger - alive. They only know why ... But regardless of the absurdity of it all, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly as we all considered meeting a white tiger kind of special.
And special she was. Her name was Crystal, she was from Ohio and really just a cute small town toddler (because that’s what three year old tigers apparently are – toddlers). She was quite beautiful though and looked friendly enough. I wanted nothing more than to stroke her and see if she would start purring like our little Julian at home. No such luck at first. I wasn’t allowed to touch her. Not for security reasons as in ‘do not touch tiger, tiger might bite and you might lose your hand’, but because of a NY state law. Don’t ask why, but if you ever want to touch a tiger you have to take him or her over to New Jersey. Unfortunately Crystal wasn’t in the mood to see the garden state and take a trip across the Hudson with me.
1. mmh 2. mmmh 3. mmmmh 4. stroll on the deck with favourite chew toy 5. cheeze!
Eventually though her caretaker gave in. The long wait and all of our begging and pleating had worn him out. We were allowed to come closer and pose for pictures with her. Once next to her one thing led to another...
1. almost touching 2. friends 3. in deep conversation 4. touch down! 5. model, antique chaise lounge and crystal
After our little session, it was time for her big shoot. The model didn’t blink an eye as Crystal was walked onto set and propped up on the chaise lounge next to her. Poor tiger toddler didn’t take it so well though. Her equivalent of peeing in your pants was to pee on the antique chaise lounge. The prop department fainted slightly.
The fun and excitement didn’t stop there. After a few more attempts of getting her to sit still, look left and then right, Crystal had enough. A bit of up-roar was in order. ‘Roooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr’ she shouted and stood up on her hind legs. It was almost a slow motion movement as she reached up with her right paw and smashed the antique chandelier, which was conveniently dangling within reach above the chaise lounge. Crystal met crystal and Crystal won. The prop department was beyond fainting this time. Frantic calls to check insurance values were made instead and a few hasty sips from the hipflask taken.
I am not actually sure if the latter is true, but I would have done that, say if the tiger had peed on the Prada turban instead.
In the end it all worked out of course. Beautiful pictures were taken and we finished our day with a beer over sunset outside. Crystal had found a new favourite look-out spot in the meanwhile. High above on top of the stairs, leading to an upstairs office, she lay, watching us with sleepy eyes and a satisfied little smile – she knew the fashion industry was fickle, but she also knew that we would always remember the day with her.