Last Thursday, I was at work, minding my own business…
…when my co-worker, Carl, said, “Hey, BBC Breakfast is tweeting about Malia Obama. Apparently she’s only 12 years old and 5’9″.”
“I was 5’10” when I was 12,” I said.
“They’re asking if anyone was a tall young girl. You should answer.”
So I logged on to Twitter and did this:
Seriously. They were awkward. And I never got asked to dance (except at Ginger Butler’s 12th birthday, by her older brother Marshall, who was my height), because the boys were all a foot shorter than me.
Anyway, I respond to famous people and big companies on Twitter all the time, and people rarely answer back. (In fact, I’m currently harassing American Airlines on Twitter in reference to a very stupid new rule they’ve come up with about charging full price for babies to fly, but that’s another story for another day.)
I went on to Tweet a couple of random things regarding work stuff and a quote on leadership someone had shared. I made some phone calls and had a conversation with a lady in the office about my growing belly. I poured a cup of coffee and wrote a news article for our website.
Then I checked my email. And found this:
Eh, come again?
After a brief moment of panic (“Should I respond? Maybe I should just ignore it and pretend like I didn’t get it.”), I replied with something like this:
“Hi there, left my phone at home today,” (it’s true, I had), “but you can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Two minutes later, *ping*. An email.
Lord have mercy.
I emailed back with my work number, and told Lisa I could talk if she called during my one-hour lunch break. What I was really thinking was that they probably wouldn’t be that persistent…she’d probably let it go now, and I could say it just hadn’t worked out.
But then, five minutes into my lunch hour, the office phone rang. And there was Lisa. Asking me how tall I was, how old I was, how I’d found growing so early awkward, how I felt about it now.
Then she asked what I was doing Friday. And I said nothing. And she asked if I’d like to come on the show.
The national news show. The international news show.
At first I thought about bowing out gracefully. But then I remembered who I am: the girl who likes a good story, the girl who needs a good story to tell.
So I said yes.
At 6:30 Friday morning, just as I was pulling on my very carefully selected outfit, I got a text message:
“Your car booked for 6:30am has arrived.”
I looked out my front window and saw a dark-haired man in a brown suit sitting in a parked silver Volvo in my driveway.
I finished the last touches of mascara, kissed a sleeping Simon goodbye, and went out to get in my car.
The man had a thick foreign accent, and it was early, and I didn’t know if I should speak to him or not. What do people normally do in these situations? What do famous people do? Would Victoria Beckham speak to the driver? Probably not. Would Drew Barrymore? Maybe.
I played it safe and asked a few questions, but mostly fiddled with my phone and checked my lip gloss in my compact, and closed my eyes and listened to the Chris Moyles show on BBC radio. I wondered if he had to listen to BBC radio because he was driving for the BBC.
An hour later, we arrived at the BBC studios in London. They’re in a place called White City which, to me, sounds very similar to the Emerald City – magical. The studios themselves – rectangular brick buildings in the middle of a less-than-charming London neighborhood – are a bit less than magical.
My driver used his iPhone to ring the producers, then let me out at the stage door.
“Clayton will be waiting for you,” he said.
I walked through the door like I knew what I was doing, and found Clayton – a young, refreshingly normal looking guy in jeans and black t-shirt. He showed me the green room, which I was disappointed to find was not green at all but a bland cream color. Then he pulled me through to the makeup room, where a sweet 40-something lady named Terri or Tina or Tonya transformed me from mildly made-up pregnant girl to glowing, ethereal beauty.
She lined my eyes with a black pencil, whispering to herself as she went, and then, as yet another producer came through to get me and take me to the stage, she mumbled, “just some gloss,” and patted my lips with pinky balm.
“Lovely rosy lips,” she said, and I told her thank you.
“Okay,” said the producer to me and Terri McGlone, the 6’1″ 16-year-old beauty who had joined me stage right. “When they go to the weather report, we’ll get you on the sofa and mic you up.”
Just as she said, when Susanna and Charlie passed things over to the weather man (who was standing no less than 10 feet from the signature red sofas), Terri and I took our places to Charlie’s right, threaded microphones through our shirts, and waited nervously for our turn to talk about being tall girls.
I can’t embed the video, but if you click on the link above, you can watch a 3-minute segment. I’m trying to get a recording of the whole thing, because I said something a lot more intelligent and awesome at the end of the interview.
In the meantime, here’s a nice stillframe for your viewing pleasure:
And then it was over.
After all the buildup, and the car, and the makeup – just 20 minutes and I was in another car, on the way to the train station. (Yeah, the train: apparently when the BBC is done with you, they’re done.)
Ohh! But not before I caught a glimpse of one Mr. Robert Plant in the BBC hallway!
Yeah, the former Led Zeppelin frontman wasn’t looking much like this anymore. But he still inspired giddy giggles and gasps from me as he sauntered past with an unknown lady friend.
So, lessons to take from this experience?
1. Twitter is crazy.
2. Sometimes storytelling potential is reason enough to say yes.
3. My Tara blouse by Loyale Clothing is almost always the right thing to wear.