autograph

MEETING ZARA LARSSON

At the beginning of 2016, I was scanning new releases on Spotify and came across a song that had a great beat and featured an awesome voice! Lush Life, by Zara Larsson,  immediately was added to my playlist and became my go to jam on car rides.

Soon after my discovery, Zara visited Boston for radio promo. Despite my best attempts, I was not able to “win my way in,”  However, I hoped that with her talent, a tour back to Boston would be scheduled soon; giving me another chance to meet her.

Fast forward to the end of 2016 and Zara Larsson announced that she would join Clean Bandit and Starley on a North American tour! I was so excited. However, with the amazing lineup, tickets for the show went very fast. So fast, that I didn’t get one! It was the radio promo scenario all over again. Despite my previous disappointing experience,  I was determined to meet her.

On the day of the concert, I arrived at the venue with minutes to spare. All the performers were delayed in soundchecking due to radio promo! The delay worked in my favor and provided an opportunity to see Grace, Luke and Jack from Clean Bandit and Starley, who were all extremely sweet and a pleasure to meet.

With only an hour to spare, Zara Larsson emerged from her tour bus. As she entered the venue, she smiled and waved. She noted she would stop after; but I was skeptical knowing from experience that even the nicest performers aren’t always able to keep such promises. Not feeling confident in the promise, I began to pack up my bag before the performance even started. I was ready to head out when I heard, “Hey Girl!” I looked up and saw Zara walking over to ME! She signed her new album as other fans began to gather. She was just as gracious with them. Before she returned to her bus, she asked me if she would see me inside and I explained that  I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the sold out show. Without hesitation, her and her team handed me a ticket. I accepted and Zara took one  last photo and headed back on the bus.

zara watermark

The concert was one giant dance party and was one of the best concerts I have gone to. Zara glided through riffs and kept up with her backup dancers.

The encounter and performance left me in awe and made me an even bigger fan.

Thank you to Zara Larsson!

Advertisements

The Force Will Always Be With Me

This past week the world lost two amazing women; Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.

Although, I never had the honor of meeting Debbie, I did meet Carrie. That experience will be one that I will always remember and cherish.

It was a late night at Harvard University and Carrie Fisher was being honored with The Cultural Humanism Award for her work; especially as an activist. The steps of Harvard’s Memorial Church were lined with Darth Vaders and Imperial Soldiers patiently waiting for the arrival of Princess Leia.

Carrie and her sidekick, Gary, a loveable French Bulldog, arrived to the venue with only minutes to spare.  She was not able to stop to greet the crowd on the steps on the way in, but promised to come back to us on her way out.

After accepting her award and sharing her talents as a storyteller with the crowd, she came out to greet us. Gary came running out behind her; tongue hanging, as he chased the rats that were almost as big as he was. “Gary get back here,” Carrie chuckled turning to us with a request to follow her.  She explained that she wanted to meet with all of us, but away from the crowds.  Like the Pied Piper, Carrie led us off campus and about a block to her car.  On the way she stopped for a selfie with a young woman in a wheelchair dressed as Princess Leia.

As we continued the walk, Carrie hugged an awkward glass trophy; while balancing a bag and a few other items. She made light conversation, periodically asking how we all were and making sure no one was left behind.

Steps away from her car, she lost her grasp of the trophy. It quickly slipped out of her hands and broke into many pieces on the ground. She did not get mad or upset at the loss, but quickly made sure everyone was okay. As she picked up the sharp trophy pieces, she told us not to be upset because it was only a thing and that everyone’s happiness and wellbeing was of much higher importance.

Before she hopped in her car, she gathered the group for a picture (that’s me to the right of Carrie) and signed autographs. We thanked her and waved as she pulled away.

carrie-fisher

As I look back at the photograph taken that evening, I can’t help but smile and feel so lucky to have met her.

Carrie was a wonderful person that left an impact no matter where she went; whether it was showing girls their strengths through her roles or using life experience as opportunities to learn, teach, and grow. I can’t think of a better way to honor her than to live with the same amount of positivity that she exhibited that day at Harvard.

MEETING GIULIANA AND BILL RANCIC

 I rarely watch reality television and am selective about the television I do watch.  From the first advertisement, I realized that the show Giuliana and Bill was worth watching. 

In 2009, I was surfing the channels and saw that Giuliana of E! News and Bill Rancic of The Apprentice, were starting a reality show on Bravo. I had been a fan of theirs for many years and couldn’t wait to see this new show.

I loved how candid Giuliana and Bill were on the show. They allowed people into really difficult parts of their life knowing that in doing so, they would help people battling the same obstacles such as Breast Cancer and Infertility.  Through the many episodes, I laughed with them, cried with them and rejoiced when they finally had their first child, Duke.

 Although their show has ended, I continue to follow their careers and cheer them on. Just a few months ago, I found out that both of them would be in Boston for a Gala. I was ecstatic at that news and knew that I had to meet them.

 I arrived early to the Gala venue fearing that I might miss them. Within 30 minutes, a car pulled up and they both got out. I called over to them and they looked over surprised that I had recognized them. A smile stretched across their faces as they waved me over. We talked about school, Boston, and life as they signed my book. Before I could ask for a picture, Giuliana asked me first! She kindly asked the doorman to take it. Once the picture was taken, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. I left feeling so excited; as if I had just met up with long time family members or friends.

giuliana and bill

 Some people say that you should never meet your idols, because they only disappoint, but Giuliana and Bill Rancic proved the exact opposite. Their warm reception, interest in me and generosity with their time, only made me love them more and made me so happy.

MEETING ADRIENNE BARBEAU

A few weeks ago, the Tony Award winning revival of Pippin rolled back into Boston. I was so happy to have this wonderful show back in town and my excitement went through the roof upon hearing that Broadway veteran, Adrienne Barbeau, would be joining the cast. Barbeau would be playing Berthe and would be here for two weeks!

As many may know, Barbeau originated the role of Rizzo in the original Broadway production of Grease. She starred in over 20 horror movies including The Fog and Creepshow, and played Carol in the hit TV series Maude. To me she is a legend and I knew meeting her was an opportunity I couldn’t miss!

The first weekend the show ran I traveled into Boston to try to meet her after the show. The minutes began to tick away as each cast member exited the stage door. I stood and watched for over an hour. There was absolutely no sign of Barbeau anywhere. The last person to exit the stage door was John Rubinstein; a Broadway vet himself and the original Pippin. He graciously signed and took pictures with me and the rest of my graphing crew. As he hopped on his red bike, we asked him if he had seen Adrienne and he explained that unfortunately, the theater was completely empty; and I realized I had struck out.

Determined, I returned again the next night only to strike out yet again.  I knew she was inside and had done the show.  However, I never saw her exit the building.   I finally decided to try her at the matinee the next day; hoping that maybe a time change might produce a different result.

I arrived for the Sunday matinee and the pattern seemed to repeat itself. The show’s cast members slowly trickled out the stage door and after an hour, John Rubinstein exited. I was about to give up when a pair of pink rimmed glasses emerged from the door meeting a round of applause. I couldn’t believe it; it was finally her!

As she emerged from the door, thirty energized teenagers turned the corner to meet her. I started to get nervous. Often crowds like this are bad sign for graphers as they scare even the nicest of celebrities away. Barbeau wasn’t fazed by the crowd. She began signing away. She signed playbill after playbill personalizing each. Then she proceeded to take photos with those same people.

I was one of the last in line. She smiled as I handed her the cast photo of Maude. She signed it for me and posed for a photo. As she finished up, she thanked everyone, waved and continued up the road. I was on cloud nine!  I had finally met her.

IMG_2474 - Copy

I returned again at the end of the week with an original Grease Playbill and waited patiently as the actors arrived to the theater. One after the other they disappeared behind the stage door. After a short wait, Barbeau came down the street with those signature pink glasses. I asked if she wouldn’t mind signing my playbill.  She smiled and took it.  As she put pen to paper, her eyes softened as she let out a chuckle as if remembering fond memories. I thanked her and then she disappeared behind the white theater door.

After, meeting Adrienne not once, but twice, I am an even bigger fan than I was before. I can truly say that she is one of the most down to earth celebrities I have ever met and I don’t think I will ever be able to express how much her kindness was and is appreciated and how much of an honor it was to meet her. Thank you Ms. Barbeau!

REMEMBERING 2015

As I flip through my photos with, I can’t believe what an incredible year it’s been and that it went so quickly!

If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it is to be more content with the process. Not every night out will be a success. But for every unsuccessful night, there are those amazing nights when you meet some really incredible people and everything works out. Those are the moments when I realize why my hobby is such a passion.

My hope for next year is that I will continue to have those memorable nights meeting the people who inspire me. To 2016!

Here are just a few of the highlights from 2015:

MEETING GISELE BUNDCHEN

Gisele Bündchen has graced many magazine covers, walked numerous worldwide runways, and not too long ago was the highest paid model. Fame of that magnitude could quickly inflate anyone’s ego. So waiting at the gate that afternoon for Gisele, I had no idea what to expect. I learned quickly how little Gisele fed into her fame and how down to earth she was.

My graphing day began early with the rest of my graphing crew.  The expectation for the day was to meet Michael J. Fox. However, after waiting over an hour, we learned through sources that Fox had cancelled his appearance in Boston. Disheartened, but always resilient, we decided to continue the day’s adventures by following a tip regarding David Ortiz’s return flight to Boston.

While waiting for the anticipated Ortiz flight, I passed the time scouring Twitter. While scrolling, I stumbled upon a tweet from someone saying that they were on the same flight as Gisele headed back to Boston. After doing a bit of research, I realized that David and Gisele could quite possibly be on the same flight.

We sat poised at the Ortiz flight gate. The doors opened and our eyes scanned the crowds of people flooding out the doors. There was absolutely no sign of Ortiz. This adventure was set to be another bust, until a tall woman glided out. Even without makeup and not at all glammed up, Gisele was recognizable and unmistakably a  natural beauty. She was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and a loose bun on top of her head. If it weren’t for the paparazzi, she would have slid by without us even knowing.

I stood somewhat starstruck, as autograph dealers pounced. They pulled out football helmets and stacks of printed photos and pleading with her to sign as she walked through the “port”. She did, but you could tell it was only because there was no where she could escape to. I still get overwhelmed with situations like this. I watched as they swarmed around her. My heart ached for her a bit. Being attacked like that after a long flight was her “normal.” When I hop off a flight like that, I can barely function let alone sign my name; the crowds would overwhelm me.

I debated whether to ask for a picture, but after some thought, I figured this may be my only opportunity to meet her. Once I gained enough courage, I worked my way to the front of the crowd. Right as she was about to walk out the door, I asked if she wouldn’t mind taking a photo. Having just broken free from the crowd she was ready to bolt out, but when she heard my request, she swiveled and her face softened into a smile. “Sure Honey,” she said as she leaned in for the selfie. I snapped the photo and thanked her for stopping. She waved and hopped in her car.

IMG_1712 (2) - Copy copy

I stood still. I couldn’t believe that I had gathered enough courage to ask Gisele and that she had seen a fan through the crowds of dealers and stopped just for me.

Even now as I reminisce about the experience, I remind myself that she did not need to stop for me. She was on the way out the door.  But she did, and she gave a fan a glimpse of how nice and down to earth Gisele Bündchen really is.

JOINING IN ON THE CONVERSATION: “ENTITLEMENT”

After reading a recent Atlantic article about Justin Bieber and listening to Bieber’s snapchat, I wanted to add my perspective to the conversation surrounding “entitlement.”

I often hear the argument that if celebrities really appreciated their fans that they would stop to give an autograph or in recent years take a selfie. However, many people often forget that a celebrity is human. Although they might have a tremendous appreciation and respect for their fans the timing of the autograph or selfie request might not be right. Fans need to remember that there may be other emotions and factors at play when each request is made. Maybe the celebrity is having a bad day or just received unfortunate news and may deny a fan a selfie or autograph. In most cases a denial should not be seen for any more than what it is, a “not at this particular time.”

A few months back, I met one of my favorite actresses. She was very sweet, but was in a bit of a rush. After standing with her, I noticed that she had been crying. She explained that she had received a phone call with upsetting news. However, she was committed to taking photos with her fans, but in each photo she had her hat pulled over her eyes hiding her tear stained face. I came back a few weeks later to see the play she was in and happened to catch her after the show. She was back to her comedic and happy self.; the remnants of that difficult day nowhere to be found. I sat outside the play’s venue with her and talked about Boston and theatre and we took a great photo. This experience helped me to realize how different a day can make an interaction with a celebrity, and that sometimes a denial or the apprehension to take a photo with a fan may be result of a bad day and not in anyway be a reflection of the way they feel about their fans. It is certain that fans have the right to ask celebrities for an autograph or selfies, but in the same vein celebrities have a right to deny; after all we are all only human.

Another thing that all fans should keep in mind is that nobody asked anyone to wait outside for hours on end in crazy weather; we do it because we have an affinity for the artist. As much as a selfie/autograph seeker doesn’t want to have to wait hours in the rain, a celebrity doesn’t want to have to stop in those conditions either. “But I waited for hours in the cold for you,” is not a valid argument and does not mean that anyone is “entitled” to the graph, it just makes the person who uses it sound a little nuts.

“Entitlement” however is not owned by artists either. Just because a celebrity gave a good show today, yesterday or many years ago does not mean that they will maintain a fan base because they are “owed” that.  Taking the few minutes before or after a show to acknowledge loyal fans that have waited sometimes hours in all the weather elements to “thank” them with an autograph or a selfie is appreciated.

So as I pack my bag as a grapher, I keep in mind that although I hope to get a graph and a picture with all the celebrities I set out for today, I remind myself to never lose sight that this is a hobby not a job, it should be fun, and that celebrities are human; my hope is that the celebrities such as Bieber remember the human side of their fan base as well.