When my publicist Inna Shamis told me back in November to clear my calendar and save the date for an appearance on Good Morning America, I could hardly believe my ears. I had never even been on local tv before and live national tv in front of millions of people a few days before Christmas was hardly the way I imagined making my television debut.
Now Inna knows better than anyone that our budget is super tight with no room for ANY extraneous expenses. So when she strongly recommended hiring a media coach, I reluctantly listened and went for a morning of coaching with former MTV casting director Amanda Schatz Kitaeff. Boy am I glad I did. “More snap!”, she ordered. “Too serious! Smile like you’re on a third date.”, she chided. I felt like I walked away from that session with precious gems of media wisdom and felt ready for some real practice. With just under 2 months to prepare for GMA, Inna and I shifted into high gear and got bookings on no fewer than 5 local tv shows so I’d have plenty of practice before D-Day.
D-Week finally arrived and I was told I needed to be in the ABC studio at 5:30am for my 8:30 segment. That didn’t sound too bad until I started to count backward to what that meant in terms of the alarm clock. Figuring an hour and a half for driving and parking in NYC and an hour to get ready, that meant that I had to be up at 3am! Plus we were having snow forecasts throughout the week which could mean treacherous driving conditions. I was talking this over with my sister Sarah and we started brainstorming ways I might avoid looking like a zombie when I finally went on the air. The next morning, she called me breathlessly and told me she had a great idea. As a Christmas gift, she was going to put me up at the Westin Hotel in Times Square! That meant an extra hour and a half of sleep plus no bad weather worries. Aren’t sisters the BEST?
I had been to Times Square many times before, but driving past the ABC building the night before D-Day, knowing that I was going to be on those massive tv screens the next morning, was both absolutely thrilling and completely intimidating. I took a deep breath and decided to trust the pros at GMA. If they thought I could do it, then they must be right! I said a little prayer and then headed off to 32nd St. with my family for dinner at Kunjip, our all time favorite Korean restaurant. We finished off the night with some Pinkberry fro yo which was right next door, then said our goodbyes as my husband whisked our boys home for school the next day and I headed for the hotel to get some sleep.
The next day I arrived at ABC studios at 5:30am sharp with my big pink suitcase full of props. After checking in with security, I was led to the green room which was nicely supplied with breakfast goodies and plenty of hot coffee. At about 5:45 I got a call from Darcy, the amazing producer who booked me on the show. She sounded nervous and asked me where I was. Someone apparently forgot to tell her I had arrived and she was worried that I hadn’t shown up! She met me in the green room and led me to the hair and makeup ladies who were wonderful and soon had me perfectly coiffed and all decked out in falsies (eyelashes that is!). They even matched my lipgloss with my bright pink vest, a purchase inspired by Amanda’s advice to “dress more fabulous!”.
Next was set up and rehearsal with a short briefing with my host Sam Champion. In case you’re wondering, yes, he is every bit the charming Southern gentleman he is on tv and boy, is he ever handsome! There were a ton of people in the studio with the audience in the background and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir set up on the other side of the room. Right next to my table was the Food Network star Sarah Moulton with her selection of great holiday cookbooks. Still the atmosphere was relaxed and the crew and cast just seemed to go with the flow.
After a few last minutes touch ups to the table display, I was as ready as I would ever be. I took a few deep breaths to relax and get the jitters out and before long Sam was segueing out of one story and into mine. We were live! My book, The Wrapping Scarf Revolution, was having its close-up and we started talking and wrapping and bantering. This was the first time Sam had wrapped with fabric and it would have been a disaster if his demo came out terrible. He didn’t falter for a moment and wrapped like a champion (sorry I couldn’t resist!). After a commercial break, Sam was sweet enough to highlight my stuff one more time.
When the show was over at 9am, I got to mingle with the cast a bit and even met Ali Wentworth, the hilarious comedienne wife of George Stephanopoulos. I had met JuJu Chang at an event a couple of months back but was so happy to be able to congratulate her in person for landing her new job on GMA.
After the show, I got a call from my office with news that The Wrapping Scarf Revolution had immediately sold out on Amazon and the ranking had shot up to #2 in the Craft/Papercraft section. In fact, the book kept selling despite not being in stock and it took Amazon nearly 2 weeks to get it back in stock. I took that as proof that the segment was indeed a small success and am so excited to hopefully take my little wrapping scarf revolution to other shows in the new year. Did any of you happen to catch the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts!