… and five minutes later my appearance on National TV was over. That was it. How had it gone? I had no idea and wouldn’t know until the segment aired later in the week. The host and I continued to chat off camera about fashion for a few moments and then it was time to pack my props and quickly leave the studio.
The taping was the easiest part of a journey that began seven years ago, when I started working full time on my book Growing More Beautiful. The real beginning goes back years earlier to my last visit to New York City in 1988 when I was there to promote my first book, Clothe Your Spirit: Dressing For Self Expression. Coming back to Manhattan to promote my new book seemed to bring the experience full circle.
I like being on TV, talking on the radio, demonstrating painting techniques in front of a live audience. I was an actress until my mid-twenties and am very comfortable in the spotlight. It feels right and natural and always has. But I’ve never wanted to make it “big” or longed to be a celebrity. I’m too anxiety prone and too concerned with being judged to make preparing for an appearance like this fun. If you ever read an interview with a performer who says the same thing (Barbra Streisand comes to mind), I can tell you that this conflicting set of emotions is very real. It’s not stage fright exactly, but rather the perfectionist’s dread of not performing perfectly in situations you can’t control. The air is thick with tension until the moment the camera comes on. Then it’s fun. It’s really odd.
The reason I’m trying to make a big splash isn’t for my ego, but for the same reasons that have been driving me the last seven (really more like twenty-five) years. I want to share with women some ideas I think are life changing and supportive. And I want to draw attention to the work I love to do; color and make-up and wardrobe consulting. My dream isn’t to be on national TV, but to practice my profession.
I don’t know if my five minutes will bring me any closer to those goals. Hopefully a few women will catch the title of the book and be curious enough about it to look for it on Amazon. Maybe someone thinking about experimenting with her natural hair color will be encouraged by my brief appearance. Maybe my publicist can use the tape to interest other media.
I’ve learned not to expect too much but to enjoy the process wherever it may lead me. My first promotional appearance for Growing More Beautiful was when I spoke to the Santa Rosa Sewing Guild. I loved their enthusiasm, as I have loved the generous audiences at libraries and bookstores. You may remember my first television appearance earlier this year, held in the back of an appliance store, filmed with a hand-held camera and a quirky host who kept standing in front of me. I’ve enjoyed it all, stressed over it all, but can also appreciate the bit of perspective I’ve gained over the years. The dark-haired young woman who wanted to take the Big Apple by storm twenty-three years ago thought every little thing mattered too much.
On this trip I also felt supported by a Universal Force that clearly wants me to continue to do this. On my way to the TV appearance I almost didn’t make it. The UN was in session and Obama was in town. Streets were closed and my hotel was located in such a way that taking a cab to the studio was impossible. Jerry and I were unfamiliar with the subway system, I was dressed in my best outfit with full TV make-up on, my hair was damp and I was carrying a big suitcase of props: But what choice did we have? We got on the wrong train. We got off. I asked busy New Yorkers rushing to work how to get to where we were headed. They gave me conflicting answers. We finally got on the correct train fifteen minutes past my scheduled arrival time. No cell service down in the bowels of the Manhattan underground. I struggled not to cry and smear my mascara laden eyelashes. As my hands gripped the subway handrail, a pretty young girl wedged next to me commented “I like your nail color. What kind of polish?” Soon we were off and running, talking hair and makeup and her experiences in acting school. She is 18 and hopes one day to head to Hollywood. She was thrilled to hear I was from California, even the wrong half of the state.
The subway doors opened onto Lexington Avenue, I found the studio, and no one seemed concerned with my late arrival. This was NYC after all, where these things happen. A big celebrity had just arrived and needed attention. I quietly powdered my sweaty face, fixed my frizzy hair, adjusted my grin, and went out and knocked ‘em dead.
See for yourself. Here’s the link to my segment on Better TV, a living show that airs in 140 cities.
I was anticipating being totally inspired by New York street fashion, but as I scurried down the Avenues teeming with people I noticed that most of the women had adopted a uniform of street survival: skinny jeans or leggings, flats or boots, and a jacket topped with a big scarf. Occasionally I spotted a pair of boot cut jeans or an ath-leisure shoe. Very few trousers, wide-legged pants, skirts or dresses, and not much color. People were dressed for utility. Apparently surviving crowded streets doesn’t allow for frivolous fashion. I guess I expected to see Sarah Jessica Parker round the corner in one of her kooky outfits. Luckily the rest of us get to express ourselves in a more relaxed atmosphere!
The other big excitement this week was the wonderful feature that appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. For some great ideas, here are the links to the article Power of color and to Jennifer Robin’s tips on color and style. If you love color, you won’t want to miss this. Orchestrating the photo shoot with my beautiful clients Yvonne, Nancy and Julie was so much crazy fun we are still talking about it. Every decade was represented in our little group (40s, 50s and 60s) but the focus was on style not age.
All the details for the 2011 Fall Fashion Trend Workshop are available on the event page. Hope to see you there!