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.