Shines in the city of darkness.
By journalist Lasse Jangås, New York.
Some weeks ago the girl from Tromsø, Inger Lise Ebeltoft, lived a life with no concerns as a Top model in New York. Then two planes came into the neighbourhood.
The time has passed eight on Manhatten. The darkness is over New York, and like it was not dark enough for people at this time at day, the sun has left them as well.
The view from the hotel room is still good ! Inger Lise Ebeltoft (just called Inger by friends) has called and politely apologised that she is late. She is looking for a new place to live, but she is on the way even though.
We meet in the reception where Inger Lise compensate for the gloomy atmosphere when she introduce herself. Finally a real smile in this city, finally a person that also moves her eyes when she laughs. She has been witness to a terrible tragedy , but she is still able to smile !
Maybe it is because she is in love, maybe just because she has realised that someone has to start!
“Come on we will take a Taxi to Bendix “ she says in a bubbling way !
Now we are sitting here on Ebeltoft’s favourite restaurant, on the corner of 21 and 8th Avenue in Chelsea. A very little place, and not high class in any way, with a very laid back service and without the license to sell as much as a Budweiser ! On the wall there is a sign that she likes a lot, it says “ Be Fat.” She orders vegetables herself, Ebeltoft is a vegetarian !
“Before the tragedy I worked everyday from nine to five with around ten castings a day all over town, now I am only working 2-3 casting a day “she says ! “Some of these castings will lead to a job, some not, sometimes I will stand in front of a camera every day, sometimes only once a week! “
This is her third time in New York! Eileen Fords model bureau also represents her in Los Angelas, Miami, Paris and Canada. Other agencies represents her in other countries. She used to live in Italy, South Africa, Germany and Paris in her sex year long model career.
“Casting is to show up, smile and to play a role I think the companies would like. Sometimes you have to be modest, and then I will be that “the 25 years old says with a smile.
-That sounds easy !
Inger Lise : “You have to be on top all the time, and that is not always easy. Nobody is on top all the time! In February I went from a job on the Maldives via Dubai to Amsterdam – there the plane was late and we had to stay overnight, and then on to Paris the next morning and directly to the studio, and you still have to look fresh !”
Any room for a bad day ??
Inger Lise : "In some periods it shows that you not are on top, but you get experienced, and if you are lucky you will get off for a while !"
Talks a lot
Actually she says a lot, Ebeltoft loves to talk.
“Yes, I guess I am, I always get so happy when I am talking with someone from back home” she says !
She still feels very strongly for her hometown Tromsø. “ I am home every summer and Christmas, and I am still very very fond of Tromsø! "
Back in Tromsø the photographer Rune Stoltz Bertinussen took the first pictures of her, when she was just 14. 5 years later she won the Miss Norway competition and was qualified both to the Miss Universe and Miss World competitions. “ I remember it very well, I was stammering a lot during the interviews, but the competitions were a nice help for my future career."
Difficult with friends !
The year after she moved to Italy, and lived a very lonely life, where she was having problems getting friends. “ It was a lot of travelling for everyone, and that made it hard to start a friendship. But two of the girls from the Miss Universe competition – Miss Israel and Miss Finland, I am still in contact with and …… Ebeltoft interrupts herself and waives and shouts at the door behind her. Some friends are on the way inside ! When they hear Inger calling for them, they come and greet her, and talk like friends do, when they are not at home !
She has less contact with her friends now, since she is homeless and has to travel between her jobs in New York and her boyfriend in Philadelphia ! The old apartment in New York is full of dust since she slept with her window open on the night to the 11 September ! In Philadelphia there is probably more glamour with the boyfriend ! The Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix had a big part in the Oscar winning movie “ Gladiator” he is the brother of departed River Phoenix.
My Israeli “ family” Inger says with a smile, when the friends have left us on Bendix!
So you are not lonely here ?
Inger Lise: “ No I have very good friends here. When I was without a place to live, I think about 15 of them called me and offered me to live at their place” Most of my friends here are very eccentric . Artists, actors and photographers.”
No models ??
Inger Lise “Most of my friends from the modelling environment have gone to Europe after what happened. But I don’t want to move from fear ! Besides, I have my boyfriend here !
You are getting close to the retirement age ?
Inger Lise: “ Ha Ha , some places I have to lie about my age, but here in New York I have no problems. But I have started to think about what I want to do afterwards ! I have thought about movies, bit I rather would like to study. Languages or psychology !”
I guess there is no hurry, and I guess you have earned well the last couple of years ?
Inger Lise : “Last year it went well, but not as good this year ! But I have been young, and used a lot of money, travelled a lot “
She smiles a bit more !
Inger Lise :“ I have to be careful now !”
While we are eating , a policeman is walking around on the street outside ! Even under a cosy dinner, it is impossible to forget what happened ! There are plenty of policemen on the streets now, people should feel safe, but it is not from the street level that people feel the threat.
Nothing is normal in this city now !
Inger Lise : “ I woke up when the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center, five blocks away ! We had been at a concert late at night, but when we heard the crash, it felt like it was the building we live in. I jumped out of bed and saw people running in panic on the streets ! At the same time my mother from Tromsø called me “ take your passport and papers and run, the smoke is dangerous !”
She speaks a bit faster now, but still in a controlled way !
Inger Lise : “ When I came out on the street, I saw people jump from the windows in the building. I just ran and ran and ran – like Forrest Gump – to the south point of 7th Avenue and East Village."
When she was told that terrorist were behind, she burst into tears !
Inger Lise “In East Village, I got a shower in some friend’s apartment, and just continued crying while people were talking about war and more attacks !”
The city of emotions !
On 8th Avenue evening has become night ! The traffic is still hectic in the city that never sleeps ! You can still hear sirens from police cars, fire engines and ambulances. The heroes are still working on Ground Zero, that is still on fire ! On the streets there are less people, they are still all in a hurry! Behind the curtains plenty of people will lye awake . This is the city of emotions. Grief, Anger, powerlessness and Fear !
Inger Lise : “Yes I am scared, but I believe in God, and that helps a lot !”