I disregarded the Chekov’s gun left by a random bar patron I’d exchanged pleasantries with early on in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and I will never forgive myself. The random bar patron/aspiring actor told me he'd studied under the notoriously eccentric acting coach Brandon Marlo. I assumed this thinly veiled reference was nothing more than a quick joke. Something along the lines of that Todd Craines name drop that happened during a conversation with Manager Simon Orsik. Something innocuous. Something that would never come up again.
"Har har. Brandon Marlo sounds like Marlon Brando. I get it. I see you, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," I maybe (definitely) said out loud. "I don’t know what you're trying to say about the legendary actor, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, but whatever. I’m not going to spend another moment thinking about it. My eyes are on the prize, and that prize is lightning bolts."
That would not be the last time I’d hear about Brandon Marlo.
I’ve played the game as much as possible since that fateful day I downloaded it. There was a five-day period I was without Internet, so I was forced to take a break. Even with that brief hiatus, I believe I'm faring rather well: I've resisted every urge to spend real dollars on the game. I am A-list. I've reached level 14 (and yes, I've been to Calabasas. It did not live up to my wild expectations). I've been on a bunch of lame dates and smashed a lot of hearts (I'm not kidding: There are broken heart icons next to approximately 40% of my game contacts' names). I was named Best Dressed by some publication. Like Bustle's Martha Sorren, I am ranked #1 and curious as to where Kim lands on the list. I am a model who, per Simon's suggestion, now wants to break into the acting world.
Guess who Simon booked as my acting coach this week? Ding ding ding ding ding!
Thursday night, Simon told me to go to Brandon Marlo's "suite" next to LAX for an acting lesson. Not his suite. His "suite." My stomach churned. I recalled the aspiring actor/barfly's warnings uttered only a few short weeks ago.
"Oh, fuck," I most certainly said out loud. "I have to go to this freakazoid's residence."
I don't know what this says about me, but the thought of hanging out in a stranger's apartment scared me more than the nude photo shoot. I took a deep breath, remembered that it's just a game, assured myself I'd never do anything like this in real life, and took the $8 bus ride to his LAX-adjacent apartment. (I may be on the A-list, but I'm not about to drop dough on a vehicle. I'm saving my money for this one gown I really, really want.) I scrolled over to the West Inn Apartments and entered the building. And this is what happened next:
The following thoughts immediately crossed my mind:
- He looks nothing like Marlon Brando. That's a relief. I wasn't prepared to be attracted to a character from an iPhone game.
- Is he wearing a patterned shirt? Or is his torso hair situation super bizarre?
- Ah, okay. He's wearing a shirt.
- Ew, winks are the worst.
- So we're really doing a one-on-one acting class in a bedroom, huh?
- This feels like a quintessential aspiring actor cautionary tale.
- Holy shit, did he just say I smell nice? Gross gross gross gross gross.
- You mean to tell me I have to use SIX of my precious energy bolts to accept his creepy compliment? What kind of fuckery is this?
- So my choice is to thank him for his creepy compliment or leave? Where's the "No thanks" button?
- Oh, wait. I don't get to leave for good. The option is "Come back later." LATER?! I HAVE TO COME BACK LATER?! Where's the "Come back never, find another acting coach, give this guy 1 star on Yelp" button?
- GET ME OUT OF HERE.
I ignored my instincts and stayed until I completed the relatively quick acting lesson. (A "highlight": I learned to cry on command... in a stranger's bedroom. Never forget.) Brandon Marlo didn't do or say anything too weird, but I doubt this was my last interaction with him. (Okay, fine. Thanks to a few game spoilers on the Internet, I know it was not my last interaction with him.) And I fear the next time I see him, he's going to up the "You smell nice" ante and I won't know what to do.
After the lesson, Simon called to check in/confirm Brandon Marlo did not chop me up into one million pieces:
I assume Bradley Cooper did the same thing the prep for Guardians of the Galaxy.
Circling back, the game really does reference Keeping Up With the Kardashians legend Todd Craines:
If only Todd Craines and Fancy Nancy were the acting teachers. Those are names this devoted KUWTK fan can and does trust.
Images: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood