True Hollywood Story: My Life on TV
Well, that might be overstating things. To be 100 per cent truthful, “star” would be much too strong a word. I was more of a commentator, which, as a rung on the television food chain, is a pretty long climb down from presenter and host. You know the type: one of those “experts,” a talking head who interrupts the narrator during those celebrity documentaries to drop some witty insider’s point of view on scandalous stars. I was part of Hollywood’s Greek chorus (via satellite from New York City)!
I did MTV, VH1, E!, CNN and CMT. I made appearances on network morning news shows, “The Fabulous Life of…” and “E! True Hollywood Story” (including the Tara Reid, Heather Mills McCartney and Janet Jackson editions), and once was asked on-air by Anderson Cooper whether Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher had staying power as a couple. (I was right; he was wrong — for now!)
I’ve never considered myself to be particularly videogenic, so the only thing that really qualified me to comment publicly on such things was the fact that I worked for entertainment bibles like People magazine, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly. If anyone should know, it would be me, right?
Once I went on a first date with someone, and as he later told me, the following afternoon, he went home, turned on the TV and started tidying up. That’s when he heard my voice. At first, he thought I was leaving a message on his answering machine (yes, this was back when people had land lines and little boxes that took their calls), but when I wouldn’t shut up, he realized that he was listening to me on TV.
Another time, a strange woman approached me near 30 Rock in New York City, shouting, “I’m your biggest fan!” She demanded a hug and an autograph and walked away beaming as if she’d just gotten up close and personal with Seal (to whom a number of TV viewers have compared me). Even Mary J. Blige, who you’d think would have better things to do than watch bad TV, got into the act. I once showed up for an interview with her, and the first words out of her mouth as she stood to hug me were “I’ve been seeing you all over the TV!”
It’s been five years since I’ve worked as a full-time journalist in New York City, half a decade since I’ve been in front of a camera that wasn’t a cheapo digital or attached to a cell phone, and apparently, it’s possible that she still does. A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from a friend in South Africa who had just seen me on the Janet Jackson “E! True Hollywood Story.”
Stage Mom: Help! Make My Daughter a Star!
Then this morning, I received an email from a woman in Charlotte, N.C., who had just seen me on the Tara Reid “E! True Hollywood Story,” which was filmed seven years ago. I won’t give the details of her “sad (rather pitiful)” story because neither did she. But here are the facts: She has a 9-year-old daughter who “can act” and “can pick up on things very quickly,” and she wants me to help make her a star.
I have no idea how she got my email address (maybe I met her 20 years ago when I was a summer reporting intern at the Charlotte Observer), or why she decided to contact me. Perhaps her interest was piqued by my commentary on Reid — “A party just isn’t a party unless Tara Reid is dancing on a table” — and she wants a similar life for her little girl. It’s too bad she doesn’t know Will and Jada Smith, who excel at turning pre-teens into stars. Look at what they’ve done for their oh-so-cute but only marginally talented kids Jaden (who’ll turn 13 next month) and Willow, 10.
As for me, if I actually had star-making powers, I’d be using them for the greater good: my own.
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