It’s not every day my legs are described as “toothpicks” by a member of the morning show media, but it sure is flattering when it happens. I think I even giggled a little.
So Friday morning rolls around, I take a shower and throw on some hideous but warm clothes for the walk to NBC studios. I took the elevator to the hotel lobby to meet Lindsay, a Today producer, and while I was there, Courtney Dawson walked into the lobby to meet Lindsay, too (click on our photo to enlarge). Courtney is also in People magazine and is on the cover. It was nice to have a few minutes to talk before we left. Courtney is so warm and kind. If she was nervous about her appearance on the show, she didn’t show it.
Lindsay picked us up a little before 8 and walked us over to Rockefeller Plaza. Al was finishing the weather (it was about 10 degrees) and walked in right behind us. I felt comfortable being there from the moment I walked in the building. No one made a fuss, everyone was laid back and nice, the security guards were friendly. The lobby, however, is very breezy and on a day like Friday it was hard to stay warm. In fact, much of the first floor of Rockefeller Plaza, as well as the tunnel connecting it to other buildings, is windy and cold. I guess that’s one reason why New Yorkers walks so fast.
In the “green room,” which is not green, were several guests waiting for their on-air spot. There was coffee, fruit, vegetables and pastries laid out and two large TV monitors on either side of the room. The green room has several comfortable couches in a part of the room where the lights are muted and soft. Further in the green room are three dressing rooms and three chairs for hair and makeup. The lights there are very bright. A woman, who I later learned was MSNBC’s legal analyst, was having her hair blown out and makeup applied quickly because she was going on in four minutes. That was the day the Britney drama hit the news and therefore some of the show’s original top stories were changed and new interviews brought in. It was a little chaotic.
Courtney and I were brought to a dressing room and we changed into our on-air clothes. We laughed and talked like old friends, comparing weight-loss battle scars (aka skin issues) and exercise regimens. After we changed, we stood outside our dressing room until the hair and makeup people were ready for us. I looked at the name on the hand-written tag on the dressing room next to us. I whispered, “Courtney, look who’s in the dressing room next to us.” She turned around and saw Bob Saget’s name and we smiled like little kids.
When it was clear, I sat in the hairstylist’s chair while Courtney climbed in the makeup chair. I wish I could remember the name of the guy who did my hair. He was a hoot. His regular job was at the David Letterman Show, but they needed help at Today that day so he filled in. I’m guessing the television industry is like a small town. Everyone seems to know everyone.
He asked if I wanted my hair blown out or left curly. You mean I get to decide for myself? Cool. Leave it curly, I told him.
Meanwhile, Bob Saget entered the room drinking coffee and talking to a producer. I didn’t realize how tall he is. Nice looking, too. Age has been kind to him. He took a seat next to me in makeup (Courtney was done) and just talked like any normal person. Soon my hair was done, Bob’s makeup was done, and it was my turn in the makeup chair.
I hate having eye makeup applied. Between the bright lights and mascara, I’m a near mess in the makeup chair (same thing happened at Oprah). It’s like chopping onions. My eyes water badly, but I can’t let tears roll down my face or it would ruin everything and we’d have to start all over. Edna was fast, though, and gave me a great tip on lip moisturizer, like a reward for my not smearing her artwork.
After that, I met Marnie from People Magazine’s public relations. We’d talked on the phone a few times, so it was fun to finally meet her. She’s very nice and down to earth. Not star struck or fake. She’s the kind of person I’d be friends with in real life.
Lindsay went over the script and assured us that the interview would be like having a conversation with a friend. All the questions were straight-forward, no surprises, but I was getting a little nervous (OK, a little more than a little nervous) and tried too hard to remember why I started to lose weight, when I started my website, why I started a website, all those things that are rote at any other time anyone asks.
While I’ve only been on television once, I’ve dubbed my temporary amnesia Television Head. It’s like a senior moment or brain fart, only it happens just before you go out on national television. I learned if I just tune everyone out and spend a moment clearing my head and simply remembering who I am – literally who I am as in my name and where I’m from – my memory comes back in full swing and I’m good to go. It’s like having to turn off your computer when it freezes and waiting 10 seconds before you turn it on again.
With my shit together, we were off to the studio. We waited at the large doorway leading in to the studio until the segment on American Gladiators was over. I think this was around 8:50 a.m. or so. Matt and Meredith were on the couch with the host of the revived series. Matt’s wife and son, Jack, were backstage, too. She’s gorgeous and Jack is adorable and seems like a really nice kid.
Courtney, Lindsay and I went into the studio during the break. It’s not a very big space, but it’s bright and cheery and it feels like you’re in someone’s living room, only with cameras everywhere and a huge crowd peering in the windows. Like the green room, it’s a laid back atmosphere but extremely well-organized. Things happened quickly, they have to on a morning show like that, but never did I feel rushed or made to feel in the way or not welcome. There was also no feeling of ego in the room. The director, the camera and sound guys, Meredith, Matt, Giada, and Natalie all interacted and worked together like a family.
My microphone was hooked up (the sound guy thankfully had warm hands), Lindsay showed me how I was to enter the set during my segment, and within a few minutes, I was chatting with Natalie Morales on live television. It really was like having a conversation with a friend, just as Lindsay said it would, especially when Natalie called my legs “toothpicks.” Cameras? What cameras? Crowd? What crowd? It was just me, my old size 30/32 pants with an embarrassing hole in the crotch, and a few people chatting about weight loss.
….to be continued