This time last year I was packing for my first nationally syndicated television show appearance. Like most of my epic adventures, the opportunity came randomly. A celebratory visit to see family in New York City during a peak airfare priced weekend left me with two extra days to occupy myself in Manhattan. After all, it is typically most cost effective to fly mid-week.
So, I did what any lady looking for entertainment on a budget would do; I booked free studio audience tickets! One call to my best NYC friend and I was booked for a girl’s day out in one of my favorite cities in the world.
Part of my ticket request process was to email a photograph, after which a producer called from The Dr. Oz Show. I initially declined their inquiry about appearing on camera. They were looking for people who did interesting things in their sleep like sleepwalk, or who fall asleep in strange positions. Not this girl. A day later, another producer called to ask if I experience back pain. Now THAT, I can relate to.
Before losing the weight that I blogged about in my previous post, I experienced a season of chronic back pain. One physician recommended a sleep apnea test, so I asked him what the cure for sleep apnea was. When he replied, “weight loss”, it seemed obvious to focus my energies on addressing my weight’s effect on my body instead.
Nowadays, I rarely experience back pain, but the producer’s call was timely. I took the call after a long day on the computer, so I had enough back pain to warrant a discussion. After trading several calls and emails with a producer, I was asked to appear on the show.
My travel plan was ambitious, but it was successful. I arrived at JFK airport at 7:35am, and by 9:00am, I had dropped off my luggage and was meeting my friend near Columbus Circle. Since my friend and I had also scored tickets to a studio taping for The View, we spent our time waiting in line to catch up on each other’s lives, husbands, daughters, and happenings. I was micro-sleeping during most of The View’s taping due to my early flight, but I did notice that Whoopi Goldberg seems much kinder in person than she appears on television.
We had less than an hour to get from The View to The Dr. Oz Show, so I stopped to order a latte from a barista who’s Brooklyn accent was so thick that when matched with my southern accent in conversation, we sounded like we were singing a song! He could not understand why I insisted on sugar-free syrup in my latte, but still wanted whipped cream on top (which contains sugar). For some reason, this completely threw this man off his coffee game, but it served as comedy relief for me.
Upon arrival at ABC studios, I was whisked to a private green room once my friend was secured in the VIP guest waiting area. For a few hours, I was treated like television royalty. Wardrobe arrived to steam my outfit and shine my boots. I was summoned to hair and makeup where I gleaned personalized makeup and contouring tips from an amazing artist. I sat and listened to the hairdresser as he talked about what made a little Italian boy grow up and want to style hair for television. Back in the green room, I ate hummus and veggies while listening to the sound of ocean waves piped into the room through invisible speakers. A parade of producers came in to chat along with the show’s attorney.
Before long, they were fitting me with the microphone. “Count to ten, Christina. And use the same volume of voice that you will be speaking in.”
In Lenora’s Bequest: Lessons Learned From Watching My Sister Finish Well, I wrote about my beautiful sister’s influence on my life. She was the one who first told me to DVR the very show that I was about to be filmed for. For years we discussed episodes and evaluated the medical advice. I thought about how funny she would have thought this moment was, so I decided to pray, and to have fun!
Backstage I saw Dr. Oz, who waved to me along with the intern assigned to me. The intern told me that she “had been me” earlier that day. They all rehearse but let the outside guests “wing it” to get our natural reactions on camera. Brilliant, but scarey! Make-up stopped in backstage and I received the Visine eye drops that I had requested earlier (early flight = red eyes). My Italian hairdresser returned to touch up my hair. “You are beautiful Christina,” he said, “have fun!”
And so I did! My role was to talk with Dr. Oz and his sleep expert about my experiences with their sleep remedy. I was then to model the best sleep positions for people who experience back pain. Dr. Oz is genuinely nice and is a consummate professional. I would vote his producers to be the best in daytime television. They seem to really enjoy what they do, and they are all extremely busy! I was most impressed by their work ethic. They inspired me to take mine to the next level. There is always more to do and learn.
You may watch me at work on the show right here!
After a day in media-land, I was thrilled to sit down with my friend and have dinner in a classic Manhattan diner. We checked this television adventure off our list, and then enjoyed a cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce with sweet potato fries!
Adventures are all around us, every day. One of my favorites was the day that I randomly visited a nursing home. I went in and held the hand of a stranger during their group activity session. The woman smiled at me and gripped my hand tight. I don’t know whether she could speak or not, -but there was so much behind her eyes. I wondered what she had experienced in her many years and I said to her, “God bless you.”
It’s your turn to find your next adventure and HAVE FUN!