Stacey heads to good old Bellairs with her mom for Take Your Daughters to Work Day, and gets recruited for the store's upcoming Fashion Week. She's not sure she wants to do it, since she didn't have the greatest experience with modeling in the past (a reference to the tv show???). Mrs. Maslin, the woman in charge of Fashion Week, talks her into it. When Stacey shows up for her orientation, she's pretty surprised to see Cokie Mason there as well. Apparently, Cokie had been "discovered" by an agent named Dylan Trueheart. What's even more surprising is that Cokie's being pretty friendly, and she fills Stacey in on who a lot of the other models are. First, there's Sydney. No last name; just Sydney. She has lots of professional experience already, and is kind of a snob. She also used to date Roger Bellair, son of the owner of Bellair's. Next, there's Harmony Skye..,and her annoying, pushy stage mother. Then, Cokie points out Cynthia Rowlands, who (at 16) is supposedly past her prime as a model and is thinking of quitting the business to be a regular kid. Finally, there's Blaine Gilbert, a Stoneybrook resident who also has a ton of professional experience, and who's mother works for Bellair's national office.
On day number one of modeling, things are chaotic. The girls are supposed to be doing a sportswear fashion show, and backstage is crazy. Sydney seems like the only one who isn't getting caught up in the insanity. Stacey notices that she's also one of the only girls (other than Stacey herself) that eats healthy food instead of subsisting on diet Coke and cigarettes, and avoids the petty gossip that goes on backstage. Speaking of gossip, no one is exactly thrilled with the fact that Harmony has been given a lot of the best stuff to wear, thanks to her mother's pushiness. Things aren't going so well for Harmony by the end of the day, though; she drinks a cup of tea, and immediately gets very sick. Her mother is convinced that she's been poisoned, but Mrs. Maslin convinces her not to go public about it by pointing out how it could hurt Harmony's career if she got a reputation for being a risk. Mrs. Skye backs down on the poisoning theory...but Stacey doesn't. As soon as she can, she talks over the incident with the BSC. Basically anyone and everyone involved in Fashion Week is a suspect at that point: Cynthia, Blaine, even Roger Bellair. There's no real evidence that points to any particular person, though.
The following Monday, Stacey is participating in her first catalog shoot. Things go well until someone shreds the pajamas and bunny slippers that Sydney, Harmony, and Blaine were supposed to wear in a group shot. Claudia (she's working with the art direction) thinks Dylan Trueheart should be added to the suspect list; he might be doing these things to make his client (Cokie) look good. Both girls decide to keep their eyes open to see if they can learn anything new. Stacey finds something new on her next trip to the bathroom; someone's written "Mirror mirror on the wall, who will be the next to fall?" on the mirror in lipstick. Later that afternoon, the photographer discovers that 8 rolls of film were exposed and are useless, and another girl finds a spider in her shoe. Blaine is also locked in the freight elevator, and has to be rescued by one of the lighting guys. On Wednesday, the pranks continue. Harmony falls off the catwalk when a light flashes in her eyes, distracting her. Another girl breaks out in a rash after using some foundation from her dressing table, and there are more creepy notes written in makeup. One says "Pretty is as pretty does, until pretty dies." Another says, "Beauty kills," and a third says "Model behavior can be hazardous to your health."
As scary as things are getting, Stacey decides not to tell her mother about everything that's going on. Instead, she decides to investigate the possible poisoning of Harmony. That means staking out the beverage table to see who the other tea drinkers in the group might be, just in case someone OTHER than Harmony had been the target. Stacey lucks out when the woman who usually supervises the cart asks her to keep an eye on it while she goes to get some more diet soda. Stacey is there when nearly every model comes by, but none of them take tea. Stsacey even makes a point of offering it, but there aren't any takers. So...that bit of sleuthing leads to nothing.
On Friday of fashion week, there's a photo shoot on the roof of the building. Stacey and Harmony are in a shot together, and Harmony suggests that it might be nice if they posed over by a railing. When the girls lean against it, the railing gives way and they both fall. Luckily, it's a short fall to another part of the roof, and neither girl is hurt. Harmony actually apologizes to Stacey, though...much to her confusion. Then, as the girls are climbing back up, Stacey notices some screws laying on the ground nearby; someone had intentionally tampered with the railing. Stacey gets to thinking, and she thinks she's figured out what's going on. She enlists the help of her friends to set a trap the very next day. They hide in the bathroom...and catch Harmony getting ready to write another lipstick message on the mirror. She's been behind everything all along. Harmony doesn't particularly like modeling, but has felt she has to go for it since her mother wants it for her so bad. She figured that if Mrs. Skye thought that modeling was dangerous, she'd pull Harmony out forever. The girls in the BSC decide NOT to tell anyone that Harmony was behind everything, as long as she cuts the pranks. Harmony also gets up the courage to talk to her mother, and modeling is done for her. Modeling is also done for Stacey; she just can't see herself in that world as a career.
Subplot: Buddy Barrett and Lindsey DeWitt are caught almost smoking, leading to the Great Stoneybrook Smokeout. That's a day where smokers sign a pledge promising not to smoke for a whole day, and kids sign one promising not to start. Some of the Stoneybrook smokers include Frankling DeWitt, Watson, Mrs. Hobart, and Aunt Cecelia.
Thoughts and Things
- I wonder why no one got suspicious of Stacey offering tea to everyone when she was minding the beverage cart? I would have.
- Harmony Skye=stripper name
- Stacey would have LOVED "America's Next Top Model!"
- Dylan Trueheart is a really stupid name....this book was full of those.