Vanity Fair Magazine
In person, Avis Portman was as petite as the audience could imagine her. At the height of 5'2, it was a surprise that she didn't come off as smaller. Curled into her plastic chair, you would still think that there was room to spare. As I approached her, she didn't seem to stir. It seemed like a classic diva symptom but when she lifted her head, it was clear that she had earphones on. Flustered, she immediately sat up to greet me. In that moment, it was clear why she had charmed America.
We were at a small café, ready for the interview that the public had been wanting. It's been four months since the end of the Oscars and the two major winners hadn't granted a single interview to any media outlet. It was an intriguing story to say the least without adding onto the fact that they had been caught by the paparazzi publically kissing after the ceremonies.
We ordered our food. There was no hint of any diet of any sort as she ordered a hamburger complete with soda and French fries. Seeing my surprised expression, she said, "It's healthy American decadence."
I followed her by ordering the same thing. Then as the waiter went away, we got into the details.
"Absolutely," she says in response to my question about whether her life's trajectory amazed her. "It shouldn't have turned out this way. I'll be the first to admit to that."
Intrigued, I asked her to elaborate. She obliged by saying, "I wasn't meant to do this. I feel like in my other life, I would have been a teacher or any other more ordinary occupation. I'm not the stunning beauty that could take breaths away nor do I have the acerbic wit that can make people notice me because they have to. I'm the girl in the corner that's there who sees how everything happens." She says this as she squirts ketchup all over her burger. Some of it splashed onto her hands and she calmly wipes it off.
"It's rare to see modesty in people especially in this business."
She shrugged. "I think it's rarer for people to truly believe their own bravado."
Exploring Avis Portman's childhood is not an easy task. It's difficult to get anything out of her. After multiple probes, she admits, "I don't necessarily get along with my mom."
That point is corroborated by Annalise Donnelly, her famous best friend. "Her mother is one of the most difficult people that I've ever met in my entire life. She's ridiculous."
She continued, letting out a nervous chuckle. "I don't know how much I can tell you without Avis killing me but she has this way of making everything seem so overwhelming. I can't even explain it. It's definitely due to her that Avis got where she is right now. Not that Avis isn't enormously talented or anything but she pushed her daughters until they could barely keep up. In their household, it was always Avis versus Autumn and most of the time, Autumn ended up winning."
When asked about her friend's statements, she immediately denied it. "No, no, no. It wasn't like that at all. It was more like my sister is one of the most gorgeous people that I've ever met in my entire life. She was destined to be the star of the family and most of the time, it was me trying to play catch up to her."
"It did bother me, "she admitted, her green eyes having a slight mist to them now. "She went to college instead and now she's taking over the world in some other way. It hurt our relationship a lot. We were distant for a while but we talk now. I make it a point to text her once a day and she's listens to me a lot whenever I need someone to talk to."
Her sister agrees. Before I had met her, I checked out her previous body of work. It wasn't anything significant, a few parts in movies playing the daughter or friend. Even so, you could tell the beauty. Despite that, it still didn't prepare me for when I actually met her. She was the complete opposite of Avis and not just in her looks. She had a dominant force of confidence that didn't quite come across in Avis.
"We used to be absolutely terrible to each other. She didn't come to my graduation and I didn't go to the party that was held when she landed her first big role," she said. Dressed in a UCLA hoodie and uggs, they still managed to look chic on her.
"Avis is one of those people where you don't really know how to react to her. She's quiet but she manages to surprise you. I can't explain it. I remember one time when we were in middle school, we were at the mall and trying on clothes for the first day of school. I really wanted this horrible dress. It was all patched up and looked like it cost only ten dollars but it actually cost eighty. My mom refused to buy it for me and I can't blame her, looking back. Of course, I cried about it at the time. I was such a spoiled bitch," she said, laughing. She continued, "Anyway, a week went by and it was the first day of school. I went back to my room to get dressed and on my bed, I found that dress. At the time, I thought my mom got it for me because she got tired of me complaining but now I realize it was Avis."
"What made you and Avis speak again?"
There was a long poignant pause before she said, "She was there when I needed her."
When questioned about her relationship with Wesley Finch, she blushes. "He's my boyfriend."
It was a simple statement that was nearly two years in the making according to Wes himself. "We met on set and while I can't say that it blossomed, it definitely sparked."
Their romance caused a storm. It was scandalous enough whenever a pair of celebrities was caught in the act but since life seemed to imitate art, the public fascination intensified. To the surprise of everyone, the couple made no qualms about keeping it secret. Whenever I'm on the checkout line at the supermarket and scan the magazines as I wait, there's inevitably a picture posted of the two of them doing the mundane, always together and always showing some sort of physical affection.
"She and I didn't get off to the best start," he said chuckling. The tall lanky star could barely keep his legs contained and always threatened to sprawl them across the floor. "It was my fault. I was an absolute asshole to her."
"No, it wasn't anything like that," he said. "I didn't hear rumors about her but we did have mutual friends and problems rose from them. I don't want to get into that since it's not my story to tell but it consisted of me trying to unleash the anger that I felt towards her because of them."
It was an unexpected start to a love story. He saw my surprised and couldn't help but grin. "Yeah, it wasn't all roses and sunshine. There was no love at first sight but there was a corny moment somewhere. I fell for her the minute I kissed her."
He elaborated. "You know that scene in the movie where Henry and Leslie have sex in the kitchen? I can truthfully say to you that I felt something for her then and no, it wasn't the horny side of me coming out."
I remember that scene. It was fraught with raw sexual tension and it wasn't surprising to hear that there had been some in the making of it.
I notice a change in his demeanor. Although he wasn't unfriendly, he seemed to loosen up when he spoke of her. There was a twinkle in his eyes that hadn't been there before.
I ask him whether this marks a change for him and he turns serious, "It's only been four months but if you really think about it, it's been a lot longer and I'm including the time spent with my ex girlfriend in between the Oscars and our first kiss. We're not sure where it'll lead but it's definitely something to look forward to."
It sounded like a movie that one of them could have starred in and I echoed that sentiment to him. He nodded yes. "It does have those elements. No one would ever believe that even though we only dated for a month initially, I could have fallen so deeply in love with her."
That catches my attention. "You two dated on set?"
He confirms it. "Guilty. We had a little something. I thought it meant forever but she thought differently. I was going too fast for her. Usually it's the girls who are in my position."
I couldn't resist asking a ridiculously sappy question. "What does Avis Portman mean to you?"
He reveled in the humor. "My existence." But you couldn't tell if he was being completely serious or not.
I get the chance to meet both of them together a couple days later. This time, it was in a Starbucks. They had arrived a little earlier than I did and had chosen a table in the far back, away from any prying eyes. It was unavoidable that they could avoid any stares. Eyes would glance at them but they seemed to ignore them. Before approaching them, I ordered my coffee first making it a chance to observe them first. They were the quintessential adorable couple. Either constantly holding hands or making playful banter, you could tell that they simply fit.
I finally approached them. I was five minutes late but they didn't seem to mind. It was a change from other celebrities who seemed to be on a constant time crunch.
"Do you two have any plans for the future?"
Wes pulled out his devastating grin. It was nearly impossible to resist it. "Why do I feel like this is a trick question?"
I shrugged. "It is if you want it to be."
Avis laughed. "I'll answer it. I'm in the middle of play production right now. I should really be in New York but I got pulled here."
"Why choose a play over the millions of other offers you've been getting?"
"Because I've always wanted to do it," she said, her green eyes becoming more clear and direct. "This time, I wanted to do something for myself. Dancing used to be a release of mine before things got in the way of it. This is me returning back to it."
"What about after?"
"I don't know," she said. In that moment, Wes was looking at her with a soft expression in his face. "I'll probably take a break, maybe for a year or so. I've been working even before I could walk. My agent hates that I'm doing it. He's typically business man who just wants to make money but I'm ready to take more control over my career. I don't think I'll be completely left behind by not working."
"What about you Wes?"
"Hmm," he said, absentmindedly. "I don't have any plans right now. I may travel, explore different kinds of cuisine. I'm a huge foodie so it sounds like fun to me. I've always wanted to do something behind the scenes. I don't know. I may just leave Hollywood for a bit and go indie."
"We're so goal oriented," Avis deadpanned.
I took the plunge. "What about you two?"
They both couldn't help but laugh. "Such a typical reporter," he said.
Avis simply gave me an amused look. I shrugged haplessly. "I only follow orders."
"I don't know. What will happen for us?" Avis said, turning to him. She said it in a lighthearted tone.
He took it more seriously and said, "You tell me."
I felt like I was observing some private moment but I couldn't turn away. The conversation ended when Avis whispered something in his ear causing him to smile and seal it with a kiss. Somehow, Henry and Leslie found each other.
This story is finally, completely, 100 percent finished!
I'm seventeen now and it's weird to think that I started this when I was fifteen.
I'm so sorry for leaving this story on the back burner. It's a weird feeling to know that it's finished. The story of Wes and Avis is complete and I don't think it's something that I could ever continue in a sequel. I think they're meant for each other so any squabbles that they have wouldn't be worthy of a story.
Thank you to all the readers who have stuck with me. I would especially like to thank Written!
Love with all my heart,