Chapter 13- “The Home Run”

I remember being 10 years old, standing in front of my dads carpet store on Queens boulevard on a cold winter night in New York. Watching hopelessly as it burn down in ashes. It was tough for me to comprehend. My dad and uncle were watching hopelessly as firefighters put out the fire that had burned their whole life’s work to black. Just like that, the business that put bread on our table was vanished up in smoke, into the cold dark night. 

We’ve had our fair share of hardships to say the least. Each member with their endearing life story. I sit here writing this story because we have battled back and risen up time after time. Nothing broke my family down. Not war, not fire, not anybody. Not even themselves.  I come from a family of good-hearted people who are prone to getting fucked over because of their pure intentions and good will towards other people and life. I’ve been somewhat similar. But i’d rather be good and get fucked over than be bad and fuck people over. I believe in good people. I pride myself on being a force for good against evil. Though I question sometimes if i’m a part of the cure or am I a part of the disease

With my reborn passion for Acting, I was about to enter a world of savage wolves. Wolves that see a good heart as an opportunity to take advantage and grab what they can grab. Little did they know, i’m a fucking Jaguar.

The year was 2014 when a piece of shit called Erkan wanted me to represent the United States in his “modeling competition”. Some of the biggest names in Turkey have been through the path this man has offered them. Big names. He offered me the same path. He called me into his office one day after the competition and told me he was going to introduce me to someone. Knowing this guys reputation I had a feeling about where this was heading.

-“Seni biriyle tanistiricam”. 

-“Kim?”

-“Bak su buyuk oteli goruyormusun? O otelin sahibi. Tom Ford’un eski sevgilisi. Sen akilli cocuksun, o adami elinde tut.”

-“Elinde tut derken?”

-“Cinsel anlamda ne yasarsiniz bilmem. Ama ondan sonra dizi konusuruz.”

-“Erkan bey, benim yapicagim seyler var, yapmicagim seyler var. Ben oraya gelirsem, kaziya kaziya gelicem. Biriyle beraber olarak degil.”

-“Artik oyle gelinmiyor. Bak beni dinleyenlere, su an hepsi TOP.”

-“Evet. Top.”

 So basically there he was trying to pass me off to his friends.

I said “Listen man first of all im not gay. Second of all, if i’m gonna become a working Actor im gonna make it happen with talent, and hard work, not by fucking other people.”

In which he responded “Talent doesn’t get you shit anymore. Look at the guys who listened to me, now they’re at the top.”

And he was right, they are some of the most famous names in the Turkish industry. Now, I would have punched this guy in the face before I left his office, but he was 80 years old. I didn’t exactly want to finish my career before starting it by killing an 80-year-old scum bag with a punch. He wasn’t worth a spit. Needless to say I said thank you but no thank you. I walked out of the so fucking angry. I was so angry i started to cry. I thought about giving up. I was never gonna do the things he asked me to do. In the words of Sean Connery “Losers whine. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.” There had to be another way besides sticking my dick in other people. The good, long way.

 

A year after being offered stardom at a price, I returned after the Ayahuasca and started again from the bottom. I had a lot of trouble finding good people in the industry. Always did and still do. What can you expect in a world where your most valuable asset isn’t your talent, but your body. Even though I had a nice body I wasn’t planning on using it as currency. Ever since I was young, it’s all been about the art of Acting. From theater in school, to acting in front of a camera, I wanted to be one of the greatest. Little did I know the business was run by rich, dirty, old, gay men. Yeah, #metoo motherfucker.

 

One August day in 2015 my agency called me in to audition for a travel show. I raced to the audition and did the best I could. The next day I got a callback. They offered me a part on a new show that was casting. Nobody knew it then but that show would go on to break the rating record in Turkey. They told me I was a perfect fit and that I should consider the offer. I was skeptical because it was a reality show. Though it required good improv and Acting, it was still Reality television. So I said, no thank you. Because frankly, I knew being famous wasn’t for me. I told them I wanted small roles and just wanted to pay my bills with Acting.

 

– “For you to get a good part in Acting, you have to be famous.”

 

I was young and inexperienced. I didn’t know the good and the bad in the business. Things weren’t exactly going so well with my Acting career. Here was an opportunity to get myself and my name out there. I gave it a thought for a couple of days and said what the heck. A few days later I met the producers of the show. They were a known production company that were very impressed with my personality and offered me the part instantly. Accepting that role was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my professional career. I’ll tell you why I regret it later. I was cast and within one month we started shooting. The show became an instant hit, breaking all rating records in Turkish television. Little did I know that I would become the character the show was built around.

 

I remember the first time I went out in public after the show had aired. Thinking I was still virtually unknown, I got off the cab in a central area of Istanbul. I took 7 steps before a swarm of people surrounded me wanting to take pictures and selfies. People were going insane, girls screaming, people trying to grab me, hug me, kiss me, all the while i’m thinking “Holy shit, what the fuck!” One time a girl fainted. Literally, she fainted when she saw me. It wasn’t just girls. It was kids, it was grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, young men. From the age of 7 to 70 people were watching the show. I didn’t know it then, but more people knew me than I ever knew. They liked me. Very much. Which was nice. I knew the show was doing well, but the magnitude of it all took me by surprise. We were being watched not only in Turkey but by all the Turks in Europe as well. 

 

That day I stepped off the cab I realized something I already knew about myself. That I really don’t like that much attention. Specially not that much. So I started walking really fast. Trying to get away and being as nice as possible to people. Then I started running, so people wouldn’t stop me. I’m trying to get a cab fast as I can and people i go by are going “Holy shit is that Eser West?” Imagine the busiest street of a crowded city with a population of 20 million and 90% of them watching television. All the while your show airs for 4 hours a day 6 days a week. It got to the point where I would have crazy fans of the show waiting outside my gated community. I hated my privacy being invaded like that. The show went on for 9 months. Nine months of fucking hell.

 

Now if I tried to write what I lived and went through in those 9 months, i’d have to write another book. I can tell you I learned a lot. About people. About myself. About how evil people are and how nasty a human being can get. How low they can be. I saw first hand how fame changed people and how me being famous changed people around me. I don’t even wanna get into it. Everyone I met in that show and I mean everyone is a fucking idiot. I met the lowest quality of people I could ever meet there. After the hardest, most painful, dreadful, awful, disastrous 9 months the show finally ended. Yes, I won. 

 

Amongst people watching the show was one of the biggest pop stars in Turkey, Hande Yener. I was leaving set one night and the coordinator came to me and said “Hande Yener wants you in her music video, she is gonna call you on Sunday.”  I used to listen to Hande Yener when I was a kid. I turned to him and said “okay cool”, then walked away.
She called me and invited me to her house. The next day I went over, knocked the door and there she was, Hande Yener. Hande and I would become good friends. She started telling me about the music video. She played two of her new tracks for me “Mor” and “Vah Vah”. She told me that she couldn’t decide which one to do with me. After listening to it back and forth I honestly couldn’t decide myself because they were both good songs. Eventually she chose “Mor” which means “purple” in Turkish. “Mor” went on to win the “Music Video of the Year” award and broke click records on YouTube with over 100,000,000 views. That same year the show I was on also won “Best show of the year” award.

 

Do you remember when I mentioned I drank Ayahuasca and had a vision I was on “Beyaz Show”? Well here is what happened. One day I came into set and the producer told me that he was sending me to “Beyaz Show”. That was a crazy moment. I was mind-blown. My vision in Ayahuasca was about to become a reality. Out of the entire cast, they chose me. That didn’t settle so well with the others. Once they announced I would go on the talk show, I saw the true colors of everyone. The guy I called “my bro” didn’t even congratulate me and the ones that did, weren’t sincere. Well, fuck them! On March 13, 2016 I was a guest on Beyaz Show and the vision I had in Ayahuasca became a reality. I wore black shoes, blue jeans, black shirt, and told everyone that I saw this vision in the Amazon and that i knew this was going to happen. I just didn’t know when.

I knew someday that it WILL. I didn’t just believe it. I lived it visually if not physically. That’s Ayahuasca, deep stuff. You wouldn’t understand if I told you. Its something one must experience themselves in order to comprehend the complex realities simultaneously in different dimensions. Truth is I can talk about it all book long and it still wouldn’t make sense to you. You probably won’t even bother with giving a thought to trying it yourself  Ayahuasca is a calling. It’s something that finds you. It’s certainly not for everybody. It’s some seriously deep shit. One of the most powerful plants available to mankind. It’s an absolute gift from mother earth.
Within 1 year of returning to Turkey, I had achieved something. Now my next step was very important. I had to make the right choice to progress. The fame didn’t mean anything to me. I wanted to be involved in good productions. I wanted to work. I wanted to Act. After the show ended, there wasn’t a soul on the street who wouldn’t recognize me. But like I said, that didn’t mean shit. I was once again an out of work Actor. Until one day I got an offer from the biggest producer in Turkey to go on the biggest show in Television. Survivor.

I said, “Thank you. But no thank you”

 

(to be continued)

 

 

 

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