The Cherish Assignment

This is my nickname for The Cherry Alignment – a 2012 Annabel Schofield novel which has attained a perfect five star status on Amazon. Her novel is a labour of love that she truly laboured over for a decade. It’s a true passion project because the protagonist’s sister is based on Annabel’s own who worked on several James Bond movies. The Cherry Alignment is a milestone in literature. It is a cerebral, witty, kinky and poignant analysis of the entertainment world written by a model who utilizes narrative structure to cunning effect. This is the novel that should have been the publishing sensation of 2012 instead of Fifty Shades of Grey. All of the attention that was lavished on the “E.L. James” novel was perverse because the BDSM portrayal was inaccurate and promoted a misogynistic fantasy. It cost too much money to purchase the Secretary rip-off, but it costs too little to purchase The Cherry Alignment with it being an eBook of the Kindle kind. Annabel’s novel is important because it comes from a serious autobiographical place. Had it been published in book form with a marketing campaign that screams feeding frenzy, the Me Too movement would have happened much earlier.

As tempting as it would have been to have the protagonist be named Anastasia or Anna, Angelika is the chosen one because Annabel Schofield was what you would call a fallen angel…hence the K replacing the C in what would otherwise be Angelica. What I like about her novel is that besides having chapter titles, she lets you know when something happened – something that you don’t usually get with memoirs. Celebrities take their lives for granted, and they expect their fans to be omniscient. Annabel is one of the few diamonds in the rough industry of publishing. At first, the odd-numbered chapters take place in a Los Angeles hospital circa 1999. The even-numbered chapters are as follows…

2) Jamaica: 1982.
4) New York: 1984.
6) New York: 1984/5.
8) Dorset: 1966.
10) New York: 1985.

I’ve removed the 1999 L.A. hospital chapters of the contents page (with the exception of the penultimate and final chapters) so that you can fill in the blanks…

11) Los Angeles: 1986 summer.
13) Los Angeles: 1988.
15) Los Angeles: 1991.
16) France: May 1991 (the Harvey Weinstein chapter).
18) London: 1993.
20) London: 1994 summer.
21) Europe: 1994 – 1996.
23) L.A. movie: 1996.
25) Los Angeles: May 1996.
27) L.A. home office: 1999.
28) London: 1999.
29) L.A. Hospital: January 1, 2000.
30) L.A. Hospital: December 31, 1999.

The above photo is from the November 1984 issue of the Italian edition for Cosmopolitan. God only knows the amount of pearl necklaces that she wore which were literally liquid assets. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because it’s too good to be spoiled, but what I will say is that Annabel Schofield lived like a rock star. Her debauchery is made all the more believable because of her beauty and music taste. They say sex, drugs and rock & roll, but Annabel’s wide taste in music allowed her to get down and dirty with different demographics. The Cherry Alignment is more exciting to read than Erika Leonard’s masquerade with her Christian Grey franchise because Erika was writing a fantasy that she could never really live out due to her mediocre looks whereas Annabel comes from a place of experience. Ironically, Annabel doesn’t spill all the details.

Although word-count doesn’t restrict eBook authors like print authors, Annabel didn’t spell out everything because her sex life was too prolific to do justice to. With her, the storytelling comes first and she arouses with what she doesn’t say. Like a horror film, sometimes all we know is the aftermath. It’s because of this restraint that there’s more of an impact when we’re finally subjected to a graphic detail. Overall, sex is a side dish to the entrée which is glamour, social climbing and drugs. Dancing is often the foreplay to sex. It’s an injustice that Annabel didn’t succeed in pitching her novel as a cable TV series. It’s a pity because the sordid reality of The Cherry Alignment makes the quartet of women in Sex and the City look like D’artagnan & the three musketeers by comparison. Despite being an abstract autobiography, The Cherry Alignment is not written in first person like Fifty Shades of Grey was. As a companion piece to Annabel’s novel, check out her blog.

The above exercise photo is from the same issue of Cosmopolitan as the pearls photo. Annabel has had one Hell of a career. She once modelled in a photo shoot alongside fellow actresses Courteney Cox and Terri Garber. As an actress, Annabel has been blessed to have been cast in the same productions as Ron Perlman, Anton Yelchin, Bill Pullman, Ralph Macchio, Dean Stockwell, James Earl Jones, Martin Kove, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Berryman, Jack Palance, Peter Boyle, Charlton Heston, F. Murray Abraham, Oliver Reed, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Mickey Rourke, Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Short, Ben Savage, Mary Steenburgen, Charles Grodin, John Rhys-Davies and Kane Hodder. Annabel was in the music video for an Arcadia song called Goodbye is Forever. Arcadia was the side project of Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor. If you compare Annabel’s career to another British model/actress of her generation, Annabel Brooks, there isn’t much competition. Although Brooks was born in 1958, and Schofield was born in 1963, it was the latter who had a head start by having her first screen credit in 1982 instead of 1987.

Brooks had a few more credits but she had worked with less stars and is less famous. Symbolically, these ladies were born on the fourth of a month i.e. Brooks in January, and Schofield in September. Their acting careers ended in the early noughties. Using six degrees of separation logic, Schofield was in Eye of the Widow with Patrick Macnee, who was in Waxwork II: Lost in Time with Michael Des Barres, who was in Nightflyers with Brooks. Coincidentally, Brooks was in a film called Cherry 2000. Which brings us back to The Cherry Alignment. A Frenchman once referred to Annabel Schofield as Cherie. In his film review for Fifty Shades of Grey, Mark Kermode compared it to American Psycho – a 1991 novel which is referenced in Schofield’s novel. Despite being literally fit, she spends less time talking about exercise than Bret Easton Ellis did. When talking about the below photo on Facebook, Annabel typed: “This was in Greenland on an advertising trip for an Italian knitwear company. Jill Goodacre and I look like lesbians! Still married to Harry Connick – haven’t seen her in years. LOVED her! Lesbian `80’s Harry Potter! Now there’s a costume for next year….”

As an 18-year-old model in a Jamaican hotel circa 1982, Annabel resisted the temptation of a posh English woman who was a bisexual model. Near the end of Chapter 2, the suspense is handled in a way that the novelist formerly known as Erika Mitchell could never adapt…let alone be adept in. As a 20-year-old in a New York nightclub circa 1984, Annabel kissed her model roommate and told her that she loved her….albeit in an intoxicated state. They hugged for a long time. When Annabel left New York for Los Angeles, her brunette roommate moved to London because New York was unbearable without Annabel. In 1988, the brunette gets married, and Annabel sensed that she would never experience that sort of happiness again with another human. Like other rejects of romance and miscellaneous lost souls, she numbed herself to the pain by taking drugs and subjecting herself to distractions so numerous and varied that she could never be reminded of what she lost. During the Cannes Film Festival in 1991, she sleeps clothed in a single bed with her brunette friend despite her male love interest sleeping in a bed across the room.

When making a film in Los Angeles circa the spring of 1996, Schofield writes about wanting to kiss the female make-up lady for being so gracious towards her. The film that Annabel is referring to is Midnight Blue. Director Scott is Skott Snider, star Emilio Davine is Damian Chapa, actor Dwayne is Steve Kanaly, Dutch makeup lady Janine is Elisabeth Dietrich-Fry, and Mexican hair stylist Tom is Phillip Pico. The unnamed character actor playing Annabel’s father is Harry Dean Stanton. He flirted with her but she didn’t mind because he is one of her favourite actors. After she quit acting, Annabel worked behind the scenes on films starring Heath Ledger (on the original version of The Brothers Grimm), Dwayne Johnson (Doom) and Reese Witherspoon (How Do You Know). In a 2016 interview for the defunct Zombie Hamster site, Annabel said something about Midnight Blue which makes it sad that she disowned the film in her novel and on social media: “I knew the producers from a previous film, but I had to audition. I did love the script though, and I just really wanted the role! Also, the chance to play two characters AND do a Southern accent is a scary concept. It’s pretty rare to get to speak such elegant, well-written dialogue.” 

The top black and white photo in the below image features herself alongside Catherine Bailey. Here are Annabel’s Facebook comments about it: “That was in Wales for German Vogue. That girl and I were not very fond of each other but had to play lesbians. Oh what we do for Art. Ha ha! It was South West – pretty near where I come from (Llanelli) but further west. 1985.”

About the colour photo with Cat Bailey, I’ve combined Annabel’s comments on FB and Instagram: “What I guess was the pinnacle of my European modelling career, the Versace campaign shot by David Bailey. Here with his soon to be missus, Catherine. I think in the next frame we head-butted each other. It was always amazing working with Bailey, but the wife and I were not exactly besties!!”

About the other B&W photo with Cat, Annabel said: “Now this is a sexy look – shot in Wales by Bailey for German Vogue, I have cropped out the naked Catherine Bailey sitting next to me (for propriety). The accompanying text proclaims us to be lesbians on holiday, doing a bit of semi-clothed rambling. Like you do…”

Annabel’s Instagram comment for the below photo on the left: “I look like a mad lesbian here! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. xxx”

When some guy on Facebook asked her what occasion that she would wear that outfit for, she typed: “When you were trying to hide your anorexia from your family at Christmas and were about to come out as a lesbian. Perfect.”

Her Facebook comment for the photo on the right: “Another in our occasional series, “Clothes for Goth Lesbians” Here I am looking very comfy indeed, with a lovely birds nest on my head. Shot for Lei by David Bailey. I’m surprised he ever booked me again after this…..”

The below photo of Annabel and Felicity Dean was taken in 1989 during the making of a film that was released in 1991. On Instagram, Annabel’s caption was: “Wrawr…On location, Marbella late eighties for “Eye of the Widow” with the lovely Felicity and do me right pussies….#setlife #actresses #polaroids #pussies #goodtimes #eighties”

On Facebook, Annabel told Felicity: “The best time of my life! And so in love too xx”

This photo reminds me of something that she said about a 1997 film called The Protector. When talking about the star, Matt McColm, she typed to her friends on Facebook: “He refused to do the love scene with me – and sent his stand-in to do it as his fiancée thought I was a man-eater… if….”

ln January 2015, she talked on Facebook about her dog being rejected for a TV ad by Portland’s Petco. Nick Sheppard, guitarist of The Clash, said: “As you live in Portland, surely a beard and prison tattoos are required for either of you to appear commercial…”

Schofield replied: “lol Nick. I’m thinking lesbian in lumberjack shirt with Labrador.”

At this juncture, I should point out that Annabel is a true connoisseur of pop culture. If you go to the Facebook page for her novel, you will see that she could easily have been a film or music critic on a professional basis. I bring this up because I often wonder how familiar that she is with the grunge scene. It’s possible that there was more that she enjoyed from Seattle’s scene than Nirvana. Unlike Tawny Kitaen, also a model/actress, Annabel never embraced that flannel and boots image since she isn’t so much a trendy person as she is someone who avoided looking dated from era to era no matter what music reached her from ear to ear.

In the below 2013 photo, Annabel is next to Stephanie Quick. Since the latter worked on True Blood, the photo has a meta vibe. The TV series contained some lesbianism, which brings us back to Annabel since she had co-starred in two 1997 movies featuring an actress who either played bisexual women or lesbians: Shauna O’Brien, who was the go-to actress for softcore lesbian porn. These movies were Midnight Blue and The Protector. In the aforementioned interview for Zombie Hamster, Annabel claimed that she knew the producers of Midnight Blue from a previous film. After scouring the Internet Movie Database for credits, there are no such common denominators (including production companies and distributors). If anything, there was a connection between Exit in Red (1996) and The Protector since Hank Paul was an executive producer for both. Crystal Sky Worldwide was the distributor for the former but a production company for the latter. Midnight Blue and The Protector do not share the same casting director, so it seems like one lady had earmarked the other.

Annabel wrote, directed and produced a film called Flash! Going by the IMDB, it was made in 2003. It starred a man named Ian Dewberry during his “Ion James” days. She claimed that he was a con artist. On Facebook in January 2013, she typed: “He was actually the male star of a film that I wrote, produced & directed. I basically wrote & cast my male fantasy (and evidently many other women’s, also!) Physically, he was exactly what I’d written…….and there I end the tale!”

Alas, she goes on to say in a future comment in the thread: “No – it didn’t get a release. A long and tragic story – 2 years of work for me and then my producer completely screwed up – meaning, I was left in a ton of debt and the film was not released. Sorry – BTW – he’s a very bad actor! xxx”

They say that you should write what you know, so the film is about models. The promo premise (or premise pitch) is as follows: “Flash! is the story of eight very different people who go on a catalogue modelling trip from sophisticated Los Angeles to the remote mountains of California. Amelia is a jaded top model, Nina is a Midwestern innocent on her first trip, Fernanda is a bisexual supermodel, Ellie is the calm, sensible stylist. Warren is the outrageous gay hairdresser, Alex the shy assistant, Steven – the smarmy client and Gary, the photographer on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Sharing a cabin together, each finds out a little bit about themselves over the course of 10 days. Some will fall in love, one will change his life, another will be out for whatever and whomever she can get.”

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