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Over the years, I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to go to more than my fair share of celebrity meet and greets. As a little kid, my mom would always take me to free mall events, like photo opps with my favorite costumed Disney characters, or performances out in the halls. As a teenager, I started going to bigger shows with my friends, hanging out after gigs for autographs, and attending outdoor events like TODAY show tapings and GMA concerts. And as an adult, I have had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet and interview talent through private work events as a VIP, reporter, and journalist. You may be over-the-moon excited to finally be meeting a star who means the world to you, so nervous you can barely breathe, or anywhere in between. But the advice still stands: be prepared.
It could be an actor, a musician, or a professional athlete. When the opportunity presents itself, you have a decision to make: do you want to be viewed as just another fan or would you like to take a shot at developing a professional or even personal relationship? But if you have the opportunity to actually engage meeting your favorite celebrity conversation, there are ways to make yourself memorable.
To be honest, I feel a bit like Forrest Gump at times, having been thrust into situations with people far from my humble roots. I grew up in Pekin, IL Pop. I never met any of these stars from my hometown…but if the truth were known, I had a pretty bad crush on Laurie Partridge. But my mistakes have taught me a few things. I encourage you to follow these tips the next time you meet one of your heroes. Be authentic and sincere. Remove the stars from your eyes and be yourself. Who knows what might happen next.
Kids have a way of leveling you at the most inopportune moments. Back inI was invited to a private lunch with a musician named Brent Bourgeois. Dedee and our daughter Taylor ed us for lunch. Taylor was 3. We were sitting at a table in a trendy Nashville restaurant.
Brent was to my left, Taylor was at my right, and Dedee was sitting at the end of the table next to Taylor. A couple of record company executives were across from Brent and me. I was young and nervous but decided to bluff my way through the meal. Utter claptrap. Brent was kind.
The executives were busy fiddling with their Tandy Zoomers, a brick-sized precursor to the Palm Pilot. I was playing the part pretty well, I thought, laughing it up with Brent. Then Taylor spoke up. All at once, it was as if the restaurant itself inhaled and drew every sound from the room. Perfect silence. With meeting your favorite celebrity, Taylor turned back to her chicken nuggets. Dedee lost it. I mean, she was gone. She jammed her napkin to her mouth in a vain attempt to stifle her uncontrollable laughter. The executives lifted their he in unison.
At last, something more interesting than their PDAs had captured their attention. Brent smiled and politely turned to his pasta.
It took but a glance in the mirror to prove that Taylor was right. A rather long hair stared back at me from my right nostril. I tried several times to pluck it out, to no avail.
It was long enough to be seen but too short to grab onto. I jammed my hands into my pockets searching for something — anything — that could help. I smiled. I withdrew my hand. It clutched salvation. First, I tried grabbing the hair so I could cut it off at the nostril. No dice.
Still too short. So, I stuck the knife into my nostril, pinched the hair between my thumb and the blade, and yanked. You ever wrap Christmas presents?
You know how to make a straight ribbon curly, right? You pinch the long, straight ribbon between your thumb and the scissors, and you zip it along the length of ribbon. You have a beautiful curly mess of ribbon. I looked back in the mirror. I now had a long, curly hair hanging from my nose.
13 tips for meeting your favorite celebrities
The good news was that the curl made it easier to tuck it back up inside the nostril. One last check in the mirror and I was good to go. Dedee was still laughing when I came out. The execs were back to their Zoomers and Brent had called for the check. Taylor was sticking her fingers into the ketchup on her plate. The meeting adjourned and we went our separate ways. Thankfully, things have gone better for me in similar situations since.
But now with the perspective of many years, I can honestly say that in spite of the embarrassment…the meeting really was memorable. Questions: How have you learned to engage with a celebrity or VIP? What about any embarrassing stories or lessons learned the hard way? Tell your story in the comments below. Get each new post in your inbox. And never any spam.
Get my future posts before anyone else. Subscribe below and I'll you thoughts on work, family life, and more The answer to that question determines how you should handle the situation. Or maybe you heard that she recently returned from Maui, a place you visited last year. Common ground makes for a good conversation starter. Avoid questions that everyone else asks.
Not a good way to set yourself apart. He tells the story of meeting a young Fidel Castro at a function. Castro appeared to be physically fit, so MacKay asked how he stayed in shape. So, Harvey mentioned that he had been a champion bowler during his college days. A little bit of internet research can help you find unique topics to bring up.
Remember the movie Hitch? Kevin James plays a guy who is going out on a date with Allegra, the woman of his dreams.
Four ways to meet a celebrity without embarrassing yourself
Tonight is about Maggie. Be authentic. Insincerity gives off an awful smell that is meeting your favorite celebrity noticed. Ask them about a passionate hobby. Years ago when I managed a radio station in St. Dedee thought they were lovely and asked about them. Amy walked Dedee through how they were made which led to a wonderful conversation about her kids and our girls.
Meanwhile, Gary and I talked golf. We had a great time telling lies and half-truths. What is it? I stared at the mirror. My pocketknife. Hair does the same thing. A Powerful Ending.
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