Last week on a walk through New York’s Rockefeller Center, home of NBC, I stumbled upon a live broadcast of Access Hollywood. Arianna Huffington was the guest and she promoted her book and discussed two of my favorite things, sleep, and sex. The dormant rebel in me thought, “I could wave my hands in the air in the background” or “I could hold up a sign of my Website for some spontaneous grassroots marketing” but the good girl in me stood politely behind the barrier, a few feet from Billy Bush (host and first cousin to our former President George “Dubya” Bush).
I didn’t realize I was in the shot until I noticed the cameraman sneering at the woman next to me, as she incessantly tinkered with her phone. I nudged her and said, “Hey, you’re on live TV and they’re pissed off that you keep looking down.” She had no idea, just like I had no idea and we both looked up and laughed on command.
After the taping wrapped, Billy Bush leaned across the barricade to take selfies with the spectators. I asked for one, even though I sweat my makeup off and looked in the wrong direction at my own camera. As I walked away, a fellow onlooker said, “You can see this episode online.”
So I did. Here’s the clip:
I watched it once noting how I appeared more than I had anticipated. I estimate I was on the air about 128 seconds out of the total 229-second clip. This accounts for roughly 56% of the whole clip; quite prominent. I’m a writer, not a mathematician, but I might have earned my first IMDB credit. I wish I wore red lipstick; it would have popped me out the crowd much better.
This tiny obsession forced me to do some introspecting. Do I secretly want to see myself on TV?
When applying to college, I was forced to declare a major. Mine was broadcast journalism. I walked around promising to be the “next Barbara Walters” without any idea what it took to get there. More importantly, I lacked the real verve it required to “fan this spark into a flame.” I didn’t want to move to Iowa to start working for a small newspaper. I didn’t want to fly to Iraq to cover news stories. I didn’t even want to cover local happy news. I wanted to talk about myself and have everyone listen. I don’t think they call that journalism. (Note is memoir writing ego-journalism?)
After college, I followed a paycheck rather than a passion, which was exactly what I did with my relationships. I chose the one who wanted me rather than the one I wanted. My career seemed to be composed of a string of jobs which found me and eventually I shifted into the driver’s seat of my journey. Or so I thought.
It’s moments like this when I wonder, “Do childhood inspirations weigh heavier when rekindled in adulthood, with a seasoned, more directed passion?” Maybe my Access Hollywood experience started a ripple in my career trajectory. This is my year to discover and uncover where I’m going, my year to make it happen. In one day, my life could change from “I always wanted to…” to “I finally did…”