The night before I laid out my outfit three different ways. First in a long line across the hotel room, in correct order of putting-on-ness. Then in alphabetical order. Then finally draped over a chair in formation, like I'd been flattened by a truck – dress splayed, tights dangling beneath, boots waiting below, bra and knickers in the right spot; I even balanced the earrings on the top of the chair. Just in case I couldn't remember how to get dressed by the time morning rolled round.
Yes, yes, the nerves again. I know you long-time visitors are bloody sick of hearing about them, but I still get frazzled before Big Unknown Events. I learned from the kickboxing grading that being ultra-prepared helps, so I slept better knowing that the clothes were in position and there were two alarm clocks and a wake-up call keeping them company.
I woke up by myself at the crack of dawn. Got dressed and then it was 6.15. Two hours to kill before I was due at CBS. I perched on the edge of the bed and practiced not slouching. All the different advice I'd been given played on a loop. Be calm. Enjoy yourself. Don't say anything stuuuupid!
Finally it was time to go and I walked with Christine the Most Excellent Publicist to the CBS studios, past the snow and stinky horses at the bottom of Central Park. We were taken to the Green Room, which was actually blue. It was full of televisions and coffee and food but I decided it would be best to not touch anything, knowing my tendency to scatter breakfasts on my chest.
We chatted with the charming Green Room man then the makeup wizards spruced me up in three minutes flat…. zing! Then I paced and wrung my hands and let the terror and excitement buzz through me. Then the lovely producer arrived to go through the segment and I asked many panicky questions.
"I can do a mock interview right now if you like," she offered, perhaps smelling my amateurism. But I said we'd best not, because if I answered questions now I'd use up all my brain juice and have no words left for the real thing!
The rest of it is a blur. It's like your wedding day, without the booze. I remember feeling like a goose for wearing a dress. If you wear a top and a skirt or trousers you can discreetly pull the microphone up the front of your top then attach the big lumpy battery thingo at the back on your waistband. But with the frock I had to dive right under it to pull the wee mic through, then they pulled the cord behind me and hooked it onto the belt of my dress, which meant I had walk across the set with the dress all hitched up in back, like when you see some lady come out of the loo in a restaurant and she hasn't pulled her skirt down properly and everyone whispers, Dude, poor lady's got her skirt tucked in her knickers. Shame job, as we used to say at my high school. Shame job! This was American Telly and they no doubt saw dress-wearing ninnies all the time, but still, thank goodness for 60 denier tights.
I sat down on the hot seat and looked around. It was so unreal. I wanted to laugh but stuck with shaking like the proverbial shitting dog. There was a teleprompter and cameras and bigass microphones and people with headsets and now a dainty lady sitting across from me, smiling in a calm and reassuring manner. This was Maggie Rodriguez, the anchor. We chatted for a few seconds and then she cleared her throat. Holy crap this is happening what's her name again what's MY name? Concentrate, concentrate!
She asked me a question and I said something and my heart went brrrrrrrrrrrrt and I tried to tune out everything but her voice. I was full of wit and juicy soundbites the night before, in the hotel bathroom talking to myself in the hotel mirror – interview style, not Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver style. The real effort felt fine, competent with no real clangers. I was just getting into it when Maggie reached out to shake my hand.
I untangled the mic and restored my dress to the correct position. Job done, baby! Time to breathe again!
My only regret is that aside from the Green Room pic, I forgot to get photographic proof of the occasion. I walked back up to the CBS building right before I left for the airport and took some pictures through the window while some dude rolled his eyes at me. It's mostly a reflection of the Crate & Barrel store across the street but you can sort of see the spot. Top class!
I've been a rubbish blogger this week as I attempt get back into the swing of things at work and training, but wanted to say thank you for your comments and emails! Also a huuuuge thank you again to Christine and Pam and Jeanette and all the HarperCollins vixens for everything you've done for the ol DG book. You rawk!