My Week of Celebrity Stalkings—I mean, Sightings
It's been a whirlwind week of interaction with celebrities for me while I've been out on the road promoting HOW TO BE POPULAR. Now that I'm back home for a little while, I'm ready to spill all to you….
So here goes my list of Celebrity Meet and Greets, in chronological order:
Celebrity #1: Stephen King
I met Stephen King at the cocktail reception for him, John Irving, and JK Rowling (yes, I met her, too. More on that to come) following their readings to raise money for charity at the HARRY, CARRIE, AND GARP event at Radio City Music Hall.
(If you would like to more know about what went on at this event, insert the words HARRY, CARRIE, AND GARP into the blog search engine Technorati and you will get many finely written accounts which are exactly the same as what I would have written were I not anxious to skip that part and get right to the actual celebrity stalking–I mean, sightings).
I will admit that by the time I got to the fancy after-party at the Rainbow Room where the authors were being feted following the event, I was feeling way too shy and intimidated by their brilliance to introduce myself to any of them.
Instead, I grabbed two innocent children (hi, Kate, hi, James) and forced them to go up with me to Mr. King (the first of the three we spotted) to ask for his autograph. I figured no author could say no to such sweet faces.
And I was right, Mr. King did not say no. Then he went off to greet more of his many fans.
Kate and James seemed to feel that if I'd TOLD Stephen King that I was Meg Cabot, author of the Princess Diaries, he'd have stuck around and asked for my advice on It 2, which of course we all (okay, well maybe just me) hope he is writing.
But what if I'd said that, and he DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT???? Stephen King is the king of horror. I can't assume the KING OF HORROR watches movies about princesses, much less reads books about them. In fact, I am sure he probably DOESN'T.
So, sadly, I guess Mr. King is just going to have to write IT 2 without any input from me.
Celebrity #2: John Irving
I didn't get to meet John Irving. That is because there was such a crush of adoring fans around him, I could not get through it, though I tried all night. He looked really nice, though, and he seemed to be having a fabulous time.
Celebrity #3: JK Rowling
First of all, it's pronounced Rolling, in case you didn't know (as in, rolling down the hill).
Second of all, I was still too shy while being introduced to her to say who I was or what I'd written (not that that would have made a difference because it is highly unlikely she'd have heard of either me or Mia Thermopolis).
Third of all, I've attended a lot of functions where I've met a lot of people all in a very short period of time. So I recognized the look of absolute confusion and exhaustion on Ms. Rowling's face as I shook her hand and gushed that I'm a fan.
It was because of that dazed look that I did not offer my advice on HARRY POTTER 7, although I have quite a lot of it.
Ms. Rowling seemed very nice–and a bit shy herself! I guess most authors are, given the fact that all we do all day is sit in rooms by ourselves, making stuff up.
That is why we're writers and not professional stand up comics. Though some of us who shall be nameless might secretly aspire to be the latter.
Celebrity #4: Cyndi Lauper
Some of you might be aware that I went on the Today Show on Friday (more on that below). Cyndi Lauper was the musical guest on the show, and while I planned on stalking her while I was in the NBC studios, I did not get the chance, because she was already doing a sound check outside when I arrived to the dressing room at the NBC studios (the same building where I met Stephen and JK!) where I was getting my hair and makeup done by the extremely soothing Rosemary (hi, Rosemary).
Cyndi walked by the dressing room several times, but she was “in the zone,” focused on her performance, and not paying attention to crazy authors waving and screaming, I LOVE YOU!
Can I just say, though, that Cyndi has an amazing voice, and even her SOUNDCHECK gave all of us in the dressing room chills?
Also, she is surprisingly petite for someone with such a big voice.
Celebrity #5: Matt Lauer
OK, so a lot of people I know have crushes on Matt Lauer, the Today Show host who interviewed me (if you missed it, you can download the segment here).
The truth is, Matt's pretty cute, and very charming both on and off camera.
And for those of you who saw the show and wrote in asking why that clinical psychologist I was on with said that if parents want to help their kids become more popular, they should buy them the right clothes, I'm pretty sure she misspoke.
Obviously that is so NOT something I believe, and so NOT the message of the book I was on the show to promote. I think if a child is being judged by his peer group by what he wears (and let's face it, we have all been there), that peer group sucks and he's better off not hanging with them. Because what if that child's parents can't AFFORD to get him or her nice clothes?
I am speaking from experience about this: none of my friends in middle and high school had the “right” clothes, because we were all poor professors' children. The popular girls were the ones with the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans carrying Pappagallo bags (the equivalent of today's Juicy Couture and Prada). We were the ones in Lee jeans carrying Jansports.
Now, I am not saying that even if our parents had bought us the right jeans and bags, we wouldn't STILL have been ostracized. Because we would have. We were nerds, and the popular kids, who were jocks, could sense our lack of upper body strength (from lifting objects no heavier than the latest Piers Anthony novel) and weak eyes (from reading said Piers Anthony novel under the covers by flashlight), and accordingly scorned and ridiculed us.
But the fact is, I'm GLAD that happened, because I'm STILL friends with a lot of those kids. Why? Because we share a common bond of a) having been tortured by the popular kids, and b) loving books.
And THAT is what my novel HOW TO BE POPULAR is about: that the people you share common bonds with are the ones who'll be your friends for life–NOT the people who looked down on you because you don't have designer jeans.
The fact is, trying to be friends with people who despise you because you don't conform to their way of thinking, acting, or dressing is a waste of time and energy. Because as everyone knows the only way to truly be popular is to be yourself (for proof, see my article in the August 6 edition of PARADE MAGAZINE, available here).
And as someone who went from being totally unpopular to being popular enough to be invited to a cocktail party with Stephen King, John Irving, and JK Rowling (even if I'm not quite popular enough for any of them to actually have had the slightest idea who I am), you can trust that when it comes to popularity, I know what I'm talking about.