Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I worked in TV for a few years (a few long, and sometimes unbearable years), in which time, celebrity citings were a part of my every day life. For the most part I would think, wow, this is so cool that Soleil Moon Fry is gonna be on today’s show, but it was a rare occasion that I got really excited about a guest. Work is work after all. It’s funny though how if I saw a celeb at work in the morning I didn’t care, but if I saw that same person out on the street or in a restaurant later on, I suddenly became filled with excitement. Oh my God, it’s Steve Urkle!

Of course there were occasions when we would have a guest that I admired or just had a mad crazy girl crush on. Some I’m not proud of, but you know, you can’t help your feelings, right? One of those embarrassing ‘crushes’ was non other than Mr. Constantine Mouroulis. Generally there was no chit chatting with guests, but the audio guy Brian knew I was crushing and felt the need to tell Constantine that I too was from NJ in order to try and initiate a conversation. He was very kind and sweet and as usual, I just smiled and turned red. No idea what, if anything, I said back to him and then he was off.

Other people I got quite excited about include the likes of David Duchovny (it’s Mulder for goodness sake), Jennifer Hudson, and of course Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews. Who wouldn’t be nervous and excited about that one? She’s practically perfect in every way. When we got off the elevator people were just lined up to see her, and many of us were brought to tears merely by being in her presence.

The one that topped the cake though is no surprise to anyone who knows me. Mickey Mouse you say? Not quite. It’s the queen of southern cuisine and mayor of Butter Town, Paula Deen! People would always wonder why I loved her so much, but that changed quickly as soon as they all had the privilege of meeting her in person. It’s like you meet her and you become an instant stalker. Not me of course, but I’ve seen it happen.

The first time I ‘met’ Paula Deen, she was doing a signing at BJ’s of all places. A few days prior, I had met her sons at another book signing where my crush on Bobby Deen certainly deepened. If you look at the picture below, I think we would make quite a lovely couple if I do say so myself. I never said I was a rational person. They were wonderful and sweet and I would actually be seeing them the next week along with their fabulous mother because they were all scheduled to be guests on Rachael (thanks to me and Holly). A few days later, I finally saw Paula Deen in the flesh with her husband Michael Groover aka Santa Clause. It was like a Dream Come True and a Nightmare all at the same time. Of course I was nervous and excited to meet someone I so admire. When she arrived, the crowd cheered (they damn well better have) and she quickly started her signing to ensure everyone got an autograph and a hello. The Nightmare came in when I finally got up to her and Michael and had NOTHING to say. Shocking I know. It was basically a 3 second encounter where she was handed the book by her assistant, said hello and they kicked you the hell out like a wicked awful assembly line. The thing that kept me positive was that I knew I would be seeing her the next week on the show.

So next week came and I of course was anxious all day. The first batch of guests came and I was fitting in a quick lunch before it was time for Ms. Butter and her son’s arrival. The receptionist told me as I was shoving food in my mouth, that the Deen Boys were in the lobby, which I merely took as a mean joke as that would mean they would have been VERY EARLY, ungreeted and confused wandering around the lobby. Long story short, they were indeed just hanging out in the lobby unattended. Not good! I made a B-Line for the elevator, apologized, brought them upstairs and ran back down to await Ms. Deen herself. I was so rushed I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that I was riding in a small elevator with BOTH the Deen boys. Yum! Paula arrived soon after, we directed the car in to the garage and out she came like a beam of sunshine. Inside I was a mess, but I calmly and professionally shook her hand and welcomed her, and simply told her it was very nice to meet her.

As to not babble on and on about the best day of my life, soon after I was formally introduced to her in the green room with an audience of close to 30 people. I couldn’t even look at her so thankfully I had co-workers to do the talking for me. She was so sweet and so gracious and we took a few quick pictures before I had to run off and get my ass back to work. After her visit, people understood where my love for her came from.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of attending her show in Savannah, randomly meeting the boys at The Lady & Sons, and working on her show for a few weeks when it came to NY. While it seemed like working on her show would be a dream come true for me, it was actually kind of a frustrating experience. First of all, I really wanted to be watching the show not working on the show. Secondly, it was hard to see her come and go off stage without getting a chance to say hello. Although, let’s be honest. We all know that if I did get a chance to talk to her, just like last time, I would be speechless and kick myself later for it. I did have one chance to say something, anything, when she wandered over to the craft service table babbly delightfully about the wonderful variety of yummy snacks. Of course, I was silent and just smiled and chuckled at EVERTHING she said. Thirdly, I don’t like the idea of Paula doing her show in New York. New York City is too big, and cold, and colorless. The show was so much warmer when it was taped at Uncle Bubba’s. On the up side, I did have a lovely chat on the street corner with Michael Groover; another fabulous person. Can you tell I really love that family?

Since I no longer work in TV, I fear my Deen encounters will be fewer and fewer. And now that I have a Real job with Real hours, chances of me running in to any family members in Savannah are very slim. I will keep my Deen love alive by watching her shows, reading her magazines, buying her boys’ books, buying her books, and pans, and knives, and dishes, and spoons, and t-shirts, and magnets…… Oh wait, I already have all of those. She truly is a delight ya’ll!

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