Alternate title: A Beginner’s Guide to Giving Oneself Ulcers and Insomnia
Remember how I’m an introvert? And that one time I wrote about how I don’t do things I sometimes secretly want to do because they make me nervous and I’d rather just stay comfortable than do something scary even if it could, potentially, also be cool or fun or rewarding or whatever? Yes? Okay, I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page about how much I don’t want to be the center of attention, and don’t like people looking at/listening to me, and don’t do scary things, because it’ll make you extra proud of me for being brave. And that’s why I blog, really. Just want you all to be oh-so-proud of me.
I got quite the unusual email about 2 weeks ago. I even had to read it through a few times to make sure I was understanding it correctly and that it had in fact been sent to me on purpose, because it just didn’t seem right that the sender of this email actually meant to invite me to do a segment on a local lifestyle TV show. Me. On TV. Me. Surely you can understand my confusion.
This gentleman from Savers, who was very nice but also very likely confused about who he was contacting but was too polite to backtrack and tell me to get lost, wanted to know if I would like to represent the company on Fresh Living, a local Utah show, by thrift shopping at Savers for 3 fall outfits (without spending more than $50 per outfit), and sharing them on the show.
I had about 5 days before the segment was taping, and spent a good 24 hours sitting on and stewing over that email, alternately telling myself, “Hey, this could be kind of cool! How flattering that someone saw my blog and thought that I might not be a total PR disaster on television!” and “Are you insane? Tell him no. SAY NO NOW.” Jeff (who, I believe I’ve mentioned before, definitely leans in an extroverted direction) seemed shocked that I would even consider turning it down, and insisted it would be cool and great and I should say yes right away. My mom responded to my panicky text message about it within 10 seconds with a very confident “do it, it’ll be good for you” (as if I am in need of a strong dose of medical-grade extroversion) (perhaps I am—she is always right). So, with much nervousness and apprehension, I replied with a yes.
Which gave me roughly 4 days to gather 3 models and 3 fall outfits, thrifted from Savers, to present on the show. Finding the outfits was cake—one nice thing about this offer was that, well, I already love and shop at Savers often (if DI had called on the other hand—boo, hiss, a pox on you, DI!). But the models. I am not exaggerating when I say that I couldn’t think of anyone I know—not a single solitary soul—who would be interested in modeling an outfit on TV. No one. This was the source of the majority of my self-induced ulcers (I am mostly kidding about the ulcers, but sort of not, because I have had mysterious stomachaches for like 2 weeks now, so I’m going to go ahead and call them ulcers because it sounds suitably dramatic for this post).
Jeff’s receptionist at work came to the rescue—he mentioned that I’d be doing the segment without telling her that I was desperately seeking modeling help, and she said something like, “Oh, that sounds fun, and I’ve modeled before! Does she need models for it?” YES, YES ACTUALLY I DO, thank you for asking. She rounded up her younger sister and a friend, and just like that, I had my 3 models, ready to go.
So the morning of the taping arrived. I had about an hour in the morning to get things ready before my mom was set to arrive to watch the kids so I could head up to Salt Lake to tape the segment. About 10 minutes before I had to leave my house, I got a text saying the receptionist’s friend had backed out and wouldn’t be coming to do the show. OF COURSE SHE BACKED OUT, because of course the one time I convince myself that I can manage to do something bold and big and scary, it all falls apart at the last minute. A very good reason, I was telling myself, that I should stick with my normal routine of never doing anything new!
I called my sister to see if she could step in at the last minute—busy working. With great trepidation, because I knew there was no way she’d actually want to do this, I called my sister-in-law Nicole to see if she could fill in. By some miracle, she had the day off from work, and was feeling extra nice that day, and said yes. I knew she didn’t want to do it, but this is what family is for: guilt-tripping people into doing things they don’t want to do by calling them in an emotional tizzy and almost breaking down in tears of desperation on the phone. She had something like 15 minutes to get off the treadmill (I am very grateful that she answered the phone mid-workout!), get showered and ready, and get out the door to make it to the studio in time for our segment (and of course she looked amazing when she got there despite the time crunch, because she is one of those people who doesn’t ever not look amazing) (try standing next to her in a family photo sometime if you’re in the mood for a real gut-punch to the ol’ self-esteem).
One last model mayhem tidbit: all 3 of the outfits I had purchased were practically baby-sized, since all 3 of my planned models are itty bitty petite little things. So I had 3 size 1 outfits, and one last-minute sister-in-law model who is my size. I put Nicole in the outfit I had been planning to wear (it was, in fact, from Savers [lucky!], although I’ve had it forever and didn’t buy it during the same shopping trip that I bought the models’ outfits), and I just grabbed something else to wear.
Somehow, everyone arrived in one piece and in relative calm at the studio. (Can you believe you’ve read 9 paragraphs already and we just got to the studio? Brevity, thy name is Rachel.) The experience at the studio was so much different than I had expected. I thought we’d stroll in, be ushered around like a bunch of hot shots (ha!), maybe chat with someone on the show’s staff about how the segment would go, what questions I’d be asked, what I should say (or not say), etc. Here’s what actually happened: we got shuffled around from one spot to another for a good 20 minutes, then were left outside alone for a while longer (“A cameraman will show up soon, just hang out here!”). Someone gave us a 10-second brief on where to look (me: not at the camera; models: into the camera), then all of a sudden the show hosts arrived out of nowhere and we got a 30-second countdown from the cameraman before he started taping. It was all over in like 3 minutes, and afterward, I honestly could not recall a single thing I had said. Truly, I spent the entire drive home trying to remember what I had just said on TV and couldn’t come up with anything except remembering that I’d said “stuck her in” at least twice (like, “We stuck her in this cute jacket!” Why, why would I say it like that? Twice, no less!), and could distinctly recall bumbling over some wording near the end. I was dreading watching our segment when the episode aired later in the day, but after I saw it (and then rewatched it 3, 4, 5 times), I decided, all in all, it wasn’t so bad. I wish I had planned out more specifically what I was going to say about each specific outfit (I had an idea of what I wanted to say in terms of an introduction, but hadn’t really planned out exactly what to say while walking through the outfits, and it showed), and I really wish I’d gotten a chance to talk with someone beforehand about what questions the hosts would be asking. I was too nervous to come up with anything coherent on the spot when they asked questions (case in point: my little brain-fart moment near the end—thankfully, the hosts must be very used to smoothing over bumbling guests by this point in their career, and they stepped right in and rescued me very gracefully).
All in all, I think it was a good experience. Prepping the outfits was a lot of fun, and if I were to ever do something like this again, I think it would be a lot less stressful now that I know more or less what to expect from doing a TV segment. I think if I hadn’t had to deal with getting my own models, I would have had like 80% less stress overall. And so far, only 1 real-life acquaintance has mentioned seeing me on the show, so I can rest easier knowing that almost no one watched it :-)
Next stop: Ellen.