A few hours of work, soggy lunch, and a glimpse at the back of Mark Feuerstein’s head—that’s what I expected to get out of being an extra on the set of Royal Pains, but my experience last Thursday was much different.
The day began at 9 a.m. when I reported to holding at Westhampton Beach High School. As an alumnus, I never imagined I would return to my high school for the filming of a major television show. It felt so strange seeing the cafeteria transformed into a studio and salon.
I watched young actors circling the room, handing out business cards and trying to make a name for themselves. Left and right, models were getting their already-beautiful hair and makeup done-up to perfection. And there I was, a Dan’s Papers intern with no acting experience trying to blend in.
I approached the wardrobe station confidently. I spent all morning putting together what I thought was the perfect outfit to meet the standards of Royal Pains.
Of course, I was completely wrong. The wardrobe expert was not too pleased with my normal-sized jewelry and soft color palette. He exchanged my white shorts for a purple and turquoise pair of floral shorts, gave me a large and bulky orange bracelet (apparently, contrast is key!) and adorned me with probably the largest and heaviest earrings I’ve ever seen. I think my ear lobes are still a little stretched out.
Once I was transformed from bland to cool (I was playing a hip restaurant patron), it was time for my hair and makeup check. Though most of the extras, even the guys, were given a makeup re-do, mine actually passed the test. So did my hair, at least after being solidified with what seemed to be an entire can of hairspray.
All dolled up, I sat down at an empty table and awaited further instructions. As I waited, Chris and Dylan—two more East Enders who also had no acting experience—happened to sit at my table. I divulged my secret to them, telling them I was actually a Dan’s Papers intern, and the three of us remained together as outsiders.
All of the extras waited dreadfully until noon with no hint as to when filming would begin. Soon the staff appeased the eager crowd with something I never thought I’d see in my high school cafeteria—real food! As we ate our bountiful plates of chicken, potatoes and fresh veggies, we saw Scott Disick and Royal Pains lead Mark Feuerstein walk right past our table. I knew Scott’s appearance meant the Kardashians were coming.
We finally departed at 1:30 p.m. and only learned of our destination as we pulled into the parking lot of Docker’s. Filming took place from 1:30–8 p.m., a majority of which was used to shoot a brief scene that lasted only a few minutes. It really made me realize how much work goes into a single episode, especially after seeing the 50-some-odd people working backstage.
In a huge stroke of luck, I was seated with my new pals Chris and Dylan, along with one other extra. We were only two tables away from the show’s stars, Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo and Brooke D’Orsay! I tried not to stare and attempted to sip my flat ginger ale, which was meant to pass for champagne.
In the next scene, the cast “spotted” Khloe Kardashian and Scott Disick at the restaurant. Khloe was instructed to laugh and after only a few minutes of filming, Mark Feuerstein ended the Kardashian filming by shouting, “That’s a wrap for Khloe and Scott” and started his own round of applause. The cast laughed and everyone joined in clapping, giving the Kardashian duo the goodbye they probably hoped for.
Throughout my entire 11.5-hour day, I was filmed for no more than 3 hours—all of which was used for one scene. But despite my minor appearance on camera, the day went better than I could have ever expected. I met new friends, enjoyed a great meal, and was paid to be in the presence of famous actors at a beautiful restaurant.
I’d definitely be an extra again, but not for a little while. I went home with a quite the headache, a major royal pain.