Have you ever had a celebrity run-in?
Having been in media for my whole career I have had the opportunity and pleasure to meet many. I am completely and unashamedly star struck so it was the best part of the job.
Usually the interviews come as the artist is plugging a book, tour, record or some local appearance. There is sort of this unwritten rule that as a reporter you should not gush when meeting a celebrity. You aren’t really supposed to ask for an autograph. You are there not as a fan but as a reporter.
It is not seen as professional. I do get that to a point. Still, I put myself in their shoes too. Would I want to be interviewed and questioned time after time by a reporter who appeared not to care or be disinterested? Or would I prefer that the interviewer know my work and be excited to talk about it? I went with the latter.
I tell you these stories not to name drop but perhaps as a cautionary tale on how NOT to act. To be honest, though, even my idiocy worked out rather well and I would do it all again the same way.
Always—always go with your gut!
Case in point: Tom Cochrane (of Life is a Highway fame).
He came to the radio station and we were warned by his publicity people not to mention anything about his father who had recently passed.
I didn’t do it on purpose but before we went on the air I offered my condolences for his loss.
I think perhaps my dad had recently passed also so we chatted a bit about grief. By the time we went on the air, he was warm, open and honest, talked about his dad, sang for us and signed my cd saying “thanks for the great interview."
It likely wasn’t so spectacular but we had connected. That taught me never to just take someone else’s opinion of someone or their directives as truth. Feel your way through.
As an Elvis fan a 15 minute sit down interview with his daughter Lisa Marie Presley when she was promoting her first CD (To Whom It May Concern) was a dream come true.
I was beside myself. I was so nervous I could not feel my hands or feet.
The suggestion was “don’t ask about her dad.”
What???? I had waited my whole life to meet her and while I knew it was about HER music — I was not ignoring her dad!
How ridiculous would that have been? I tried to do a balanced interview. In fact, I had my Elvis purse with me. Not for any other reason than I ALWAYS have an Elvis purse and how phony would I be to pretend I was not his fan with his daughter?
Nope, I went in full gush! That was one question “does it feel weird when you see fans with your dad’s picture on their purse or T-shirt?"
The answer was no. She is totally used to it and grew up with it. Then we talked about family. I teared up trying to tell her what hers had meant to me and then I pulled it together.
And she got it! We ended up having a great chat and although I didn’t know it until later — everyone waiting outside the room said there was a lot of giggling. Again, just be real.
Not all celebrity meetings go quite so smoothly.
I got to go to Toronto to meet Michael Bolton one year. I have always loved his voice and once he lost the long hair, loved his look too.
When he walked into the room in jeans and a leather coat, I went weak in the knees. I said something lame like “before we get down to business, I love you."
We had the most amazing conversation. He is super funny which doesn’t always show on stage. We laughed a lot and he totally got me — he knew I was crazy about him. To back up, I got super dressed up. I think it was a suede suit, panty hose and heels. As we got up to leave, I could feel my panty hose sliding down my butt.
With every step, they slid a little more and by the time we were at the first door, I could feel them at my knees. There was a long way to go.
Michael is still talking saying “think of me when you play the new single”.
“I will” I called back as I am now taking baby steps so I don’t end up with them around my ankles. Longest walk of my life (praying he had looked away!)
My most recent celebrity crush and interview was Kiefer Sutherland when he came to Barrie to promote his musical career and CD (Not Enough Whiskey).
I love this guy. This one I did solely and completely for me.
He turned out to be the nicest and most gentle celebrity I have ever met. You can tell he’s Canadian.
We had chatted first by phone and then he invited me to meet at the venue a few days later. I was beside myself.
When I saw him leaning up against a wall backstage, I was trying to keep it together.
I remember thanking him for all the years of entertainment and then I choked up. Some people just mean a lot to your life and he was one of them. Instead of making me feel like a goof, he drew me in for a hug and picture.
Another wonderful 15 or 20 minutes just chatting. When it was time to leave . . . another hug and I remember grabbing his hand and saying something like “all blessings to you” . . . I have no clue why that came out and as I am saying it I am thinking “what does that even mean?”
This is Jack Bauer from ‘24’ fame. “Dammit Kiefer — we are outta time would have been less stupid.”
I think he understood I was sincere and just really wished him well. I hope! I still cringe.
So, my point is two-fold. If you find yourself making small talk with celebrities (and its harder than you think) just speak from the heart. Be sincere while not scaring them with your admiration. Don’t overstep your bounds but don’t let your moment pass either.
Never let others who have met the star before colour your impression. Have your own experience.
If you are wearing panty hose hike them way up prior to the meeting! This is good advice for any meeting.
All blessings to us all????!!!!