Good Morning America
As some of you may have seen, I was on Good Morning America recently, and even after all these years of ‘fame’, it still amazes me to be on those shows. I flew to New York from Paris, and had a really lovely weekend with two of my daughters (one of them is getting married, and we’re planning the wedding, so there is lots to talk about. But even without the wedding, I love seeing my daughters, and a weekend together is a real gift). And after a nice weekend, I had the show to do on Monday morning. And the show may seem early—-but that’s nothing compared to what you have to do in order to be on it.
I had to be at the studio just after 7:30 am, which meant I had to leave my hotel shortly after 7 am. And you can’t just roll out of bed, and turn up at those highly professional shows (or any show) in jeans, with uncombed hair. They want you to arrive “camera ready”. In ‘real life”, when all I’m going to do is sit at my desk all day, a quick bath, my toothbrush, and a quick swipe at my long hair with a hair brush, and shoving it into an elastic band will do it. I have confessed to you before that when I’m working, I don’t get all dressed up and wear make-up, so my morning process takes all of about 20 minutes, and then like the seven dwarves, it’s off to work I go……well that’s not how it happens on national TV. You have to show up at people’s breakfast tables, or before that, looking put together and gorgeous. So the first order of the day is hair and make-up. And hairdressers and make-up artists want two hours each, so they’re not rushed, to get you ready for national TV. So in this case, that meant 4 hours before I walked out of the hotel fully dressed, combed and made up at 7 am. The hairdresser and make-up artist arrived at the hotel where I stay at 3 am…..and I was still tired and jet lagged from arriving from Paris on Friday night…..ohhhhh 3 am felt really early. I almost always go to bed at that hour—-but get up at that hour??? I was not looking or feeling fresh as a daisy when they showed up. I was still half asleep. And when the alarm went off at 2:45 am before they got there, my dog opened one eye, looked at me as though to say “you must be kidding”, and went back to sleep. So the day began very early. Too early even for food and coffee. But fortunately both the hairdresser and make-up artist are really nice, and we’ve worked together before, so we chatted as they worked. It was still dark outside, which makes you feel even more like it’s the middle of the night. And the make-up you have to wear to look awake and alive on TV is more make-up than I normally wear. And it takes time. And my hair is very long, so once shampooed, it takes a long time to dry it. So we were busy for the next four hours. By then, we had coffee, some muffins, and croissants. And by 7 am, when I was dressed and ready to go, it felt like the middle of the afternoon. We’d been busy since 3 am.
I arrived at the studio and was startled to see fans and press outside. They took some photographs, asked a few questions, and asked for autographs, which is very flattering, but still gives me that “Who? Me???” feeling, and I always feel like an impostor, pretending to be Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep or Madonna as we walk into the building, after encountering the press and fans outside.
A producer showed me to my dressing room, where they offered food and I declined. I just can’t face food that early in the day. A technician comes in to hook up a mike under your clothes (and if you forget you’re wired after that, which is easy to do, you wind up saying something you shouldn’t, and a gazillion people hear you somewhere in the studio.). Two people from my publisher came to be with me, and the woman who handles PR, and suddenly the dressing room winds up very crowded, as the make-up person fiddles with your make-up for a last time, and the hairdresser touches up your hair and sprays it again. It’s a whole process of being fussed over, which I usually don’t love.
And then, finally, they walk you into the studio, and set up where you’ll sit. By then I’m usually a nervous wreck, but Robin Roberts is SUCH a lovely person, that she makes it effortless. I have always been very daunted and more than a little overwhelmed that I am on ‘live TV’ with millions of people watching. What if I faint, throw up, or want to blow my nose??? You just have to keep it together for as long as you’re on the show, which isn’t long. They allotted 4 minutes to me on that Monday, and that can feel like an eternity sometimes, but if the interviewer is good, it’s over before you know it. Robin Roberts is a terrific interviewer, she asks interesting questions, never throws you a curve ball, and makes me feel like a welcome guest, not a hostage. We talked about my new book, which came out the end of March. It’s called Betrayal, and it’s about an embezzlement. I hope you REALLY like it. I worked hard on it, as always, to make it interesting and accurate in all the details. So we talked about the new book for a few minutes, and they even showed photos of my Chihuahua puppy, and she looked adorable.
Often on those shows, I have been upstaged by someone more exciting than I, or an oddball celebrity, or someone the audiences just love. Last summer, Lady Gaga was on a show that I was on. And I have to say she was fantastic!!! They interviewed her, and she played a song. She was wearing a checkered suit, with matching hat and sunglasses, and towering platform shoes. She played the piano beautifully, looked adorable, and nothing I could do or say would have been as ‘cute’. It’s tough to compete to HUGE musical talent, beauty, and youth. She was a knockout!!! Another time, I was on TV with the OctoMom, the woman who had given birth to octuplets (8 babies at once, literally like a litter of children). She had just written a book, and she has 6 other kids, so being on TV with the mother of l4 kids was definitely an experience. (She made my 9 kids just seem like beginner’s luck). And this time I was upstaged by a 4 oz puppy that was described as the smallest puppy in the world. It fit in the palm of any one’s hand, and the owner of it was waving it around, showing everyone, and the whole place was totally fascinated by the tiny little dog. We all were, it was incredibly sweet, but I felt sorry for it. The tiniest puppy was soooo young to be out in the world. And then finally, my interview began.
As always, Robin was incredibly nice to me, the interview went well, and shortly after nine o’clock, we were back on the street with the fans and press photographers again. And I disappeared into a waiting car and went back to my hotel, where I put on comfortable clothes, and felt like me again. Being on TV is always an experience, and never one I am fully comfortable with, but thanks to Robin Roberts, the interview went really well. And late that afternoon, I flew back to California. So that was my moment of stardom in New York. It will always feel strange to me, to be on TV and have to be so focused on ‘me’. I hope you saw the interview, but if not, you know all about it now. And it was definitely fun thanks to Robin. And if you happened to watch me, heartfelt thanks.
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Love how you describe the “behind the scenes” that is so interesting and just fun.
Dear Ms Steel,
Unfortunately I did not get to see you on telly but I am sure you did great.
Please come visit South Africa you have so many fans here in the “Rainbow Nation”.
I think you are a rare person that is beautiful all the way through. When I started working at a bank in 1978 (I was already over 40 years old). I have always enjoyed reading and most of the girls there would lend and borrow from each other and that was how I was introduced to your books. I found myself reading your books first. I couldn’t get them fast enough so I started getting them at our local library and they would let me know when a new book was due and put me on the waiting list. Thank you for giving so much of yourself for others. I retired from the bank after 15 years.I don’t have all of your books in my collection but I am still working on that. I started out with the hard covers but I might have to go to the paperbacks because I certainly have more time than money. Your home is so beautiful and I enjoyed your “style show”.
I Googled ‘Paris White Dinner’ which brought me here to your account on the annual event….can’t wait to go sometime…esp after reading about your experience.
I also read the post on your darling Nick. Loved ‘His Bright Light.’ I lived by Grace Cathedral and remember seeing the flowers being taken in and was just so immensely sorry. Then in 2008, the same thing happened to my brother. I left The City for Carmel-by-the-Sea and am relocating to France this year.
I’ll find the GMA interview online..haven’t had a TV in 20 years! But you are amazing so am sure it was wonderful! 3AM hair & makeup…impressive! All best to (as Gregory Peck said about Audrey Hepburn) …a wonderful lady.
Thanks for the inside story about your appearance. Wouldn’t be my favorite part either.
Dear Mrs. Steel,
I am a big fan of you.
I was born and I’m living in Aruba.
Here in Aruba, I have a very busy live. I’m working a full time job, have a husband and 2 boys to take care of.
When I was young I always love reading, but after my marriage and 2 sons, I did not had the time anymore.
From March of 2002 to September 2006, I went together with my family to live in Holland. There I registered my self in a book club and I started to buying your books and after reading a few of your books, I fell in love with your writing and I decided to buy your DVD’s too, at that time every week they where playing one of your movies on the Dutch Channels, I saw a lot of the movies and liked all of them.
I’m very glad to find your webpage and blog.
I was trying to make a webpage, because right now I’m taking a computer technician course and you have to make your own webpage in order to receive the level 2 certification.
I was making my page and I put reading as one of my hobby’s and so I went to look if you might have a webpage and I’m glad I found your page.
I’m making a webpage with my own stories and I like how you put your stories in your page, it’s like a Diary, I think I will make my page like a Diary too.
Anyway I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful stories.
Thanks for sharing your nice stories.
Greetings from Bernadeta Figaroa.
Hi Danielle ~
Saw you, LOVED you (you looked fantastic, so the early rise was worth it girl!)
Thanks for the behind the scenes play-by-play – I never tire of hearing about that kind of stuff. In fact, it’s even better than being able to see you on TV! Although, as a fan, I always jump at the chance to catch you on the telly. (((hugs)))
U r my best. Read almst all ur novels. Keep it up. I lv u. From kaduna state, Nigeria.
I didn’t see the show, but the way you tell the story is no wonder you are a wonderfully successful writer. I enjoyed every word. It made it seem as if I was actually watching the program.
Okay that is alot of prep work to be on that show! WOW..I didn’t see it but I heard about it. I am eager to read your book. The last one I read was Happy Birthday and I loved it! Best wishes to you! Love your blog too!
Thank you for sharing the ‘behind the scenes’ stories in your life!! We (your fans) LOVE it!
I’ve read many of your books, and still have many more to read. I just finished ‘Betrayal’ and it was a such a great story!
Hope you continue writing many, many, many more books!
I definitely watched Good Morning America that day. You were amazing. I love the way you describe getting up at 3:00 am to have your make-up and hair done. You really are a trouper. Thank you for all of your wonderful books. My husband just bought me “Betrayal”. I can’t wait to begin reading it. I am currently reading “Hotel Vendome”, and I love it!!! Thank you once again for your books. I have all of them.
I love the way you develop your characters and keep moving the stories! I appreciate your accurate research and descriptions of details and sense of humor. Betrayal was great! I did not realize it takes 4 years or more to write a book!
I have been a fan for so long, I feel like I know you. As a child I didn’t like to read, thanks to you that has changed. Once I have finished one of your novels, I am sad it is done. I am anxious to start another book. Thank you for your wonderful stories and for continuing to give us books to read. I am always so happy when a new book comes out.
Thanks you from Toronto, Canada.