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My Oprah Casting Call (Part 5)

I notice that “Shy Girl” is next and hope that she has conquered her nerves and is able to blurt something out. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried.

She stands up, puts her hand on her hip, and begins to howl. “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo!” 

This howling is so loud that my eardrums begin to hurt with the vibration (I talked to people one the other side of the parking lot, and they heard her). She stays at this volume for her entire pitch, doing her best “Sha Na Na” from In Living Color impression (I loved the original, but this, not so much). I stare at her with disbelief - how can this be the same shell-shocked girl that was so nervous that she was going to read her pitch off her phone? 

My only explanation for this sudden outburst was demonic possession - I’ve honestly got nothing else. 

She finally screeches to a halt and our group is done. We get up to leave and I realize that I haven’t handed in my carefully prepared media kit, as the whole handing-in-the-application process was so flustering. I wait to be the last out of the tent and hand the “casting agent” my idea for a blog to go along with the show. She takes it and puts it with my application. 

As I walk out I realize that, to steal a line from my friend Joanne Simonds Moore, this entire experience was a lot like bad sex. There was a big build up, a lot of promises made, some sweating, some howling, and in 45 seconds the whole thing was over, leaving me filled wondering what just happened and with a definite sense that I would regret the whole thing in the morning.

I walked back to my car with Dwayne still rapping into his camera and Del stubbornly keeping up with my brisk pace. I just wanted out of there. My little voice had become a loud scream as I realized that what they said they were looking for was not really what they were looking for. It just did not feel right.

We all end up being stuck at the light to cross the highway, which was just enough time for Del to interview me for his YouTube show (I will post the link later so you can see what I was dealing with here). I honestly don’t even want to think about what that is going to look like. 

I get in my car and call my husband - and truthfully, I’m almost in tears at this point. The entire morning has been too much for me, and while I am one very resilient girl, the absolutely insane, chaotic energy put me into overload. 

As usual, my husband is the epitome of calm and kindness, even with a severe chest cold that had kept him from being able to come with me. He tells me to go easy on myself, to not worry, to be proud of the fact that I did this, and that he is so proud of me, no matter what the result is here. I feel better instantly, and also feel so lucky to have such a wonderful man as my husband.

Now calmer, I realize how hungry I am and head off to find something to eat. I’m definitely seeking comfort food, so when I see an IHOP I pulled right in.

I just ordered pancakes when the waitress notices my “OWN Show” wristband and asked, “Oh, did you just do the try-outs for Oprah?”

I concede that I did. Instantly, she changes from “friendly waitress” to “huffy witch,” as she gives me the stink-eye and says that she “just found out about it that morning.” She clearly wants to be a star and is bitter that I had the audacity to have gone and tried out without her. Impressively, she keeps this attitude up the entire time she serves me, no matter how nice I try to be to her. That’s commitment, folks.

I eat my pancakes and phone my parents, who both agree that I am not, in any way, a reality show kind of girl, but that they are so proud of me for having the courage to do this. After all the madness of the morning, I am truly grateful for their unconditional support, let me tell you. 

On my way out, I am stopped by a delightful man named Tim and his super-cute friend, Kristen. Basically, they are a Will and Grace team and are completely adorable. They inform me that they are auditioning at 3:00 pm that day and would love some advice. 

I am happy to give them the inside scoop. After all, I figure that if this is the right opportunity for me, then I will get it, no matter who I help. If it is not, then I am glad I helped someone else get the chance.

So, I give them an overview of the “interview” process and also what I wished I had known before I pitched. I also hear their pitches and realize that Tim’s hilarious personality makes him a shoe-in. He is like Graham Norton with a huge heart, and I honestly think I may have met the winner of the competition.

Kristen is totally adorable and personable and wants to do a show on animal rights, which I can 100% get behind. I recommend that she start her 45 seconds with a short, compelling story about the experience that caused her to want to be an animal advocate, and then launch into her pitch.

She looks at me and says, “You are like a media coach!”

Hey, I am just glad to have used the experience to help someone.

I wish them both my best and head for my hotel. 

Upon entering the room, I realize that I am beyond exhausted and flop into bed, setting my alarm for 2 hours later in order to wake up and meet Kellie and Cliff for lunch. I sleep straight through my alarm (I never sleep through an alarm) and wake to find that Kellie had just called, so I hurriedly call her back. They decide to come and get me for lunch.

We end up at Buca di Beppo for hours - laughing and eating yummy Italian food and being complete fools. It was one of the best afternoons I have spent in ages.

That evening, my dear friend Gina McNew - a radio host and the incredible woman behind “It’s Hip to Be Hot” drives out to meet us for dinner. As we have been friends by phone and internet for 2 years, I am delighted beyond belief to finally meet her in person. At this point, the OWN show folks are supposed to call us between 7 pm and midnight if we are to be called back for the next day, and I am finding myself at complete peace that this is not the right opportunity for me, that I am not getting a call back, and I am 100% wonderful with it. 

We have a fun dinner where Kellie, Cliff, and I regale Gina with the adventures - and misadventures - of the day, and finally head back to the hotel around 9:30 pm.

Before turning it, I call my hubby and then my parents, who continue to be incredibly supportive of me and of my courage to go and do this, even if it isn’t the right experience for me. I am so at peace with the entire thing and go to sleep.

As I predicted, I didn’t get a call back - but what shocks me more is that my IHOP buddies Tim and Kristen did not either. I am not quite sure what in the world they were looking for here, but it isn’t what I thought, that is for sure! 

The next morning on my drive home, I call my sister and as usual, we laughed and were our silly selves. But - to my surprise - there was also an extra-special message for me that day.

My sister had been cleaning out her bedroom drawers and found - for the first time in years - a note I had written her when she was in 6th grade and got cut from the cheerleading squad. Apparently, I had told her I was so proud of her and loved her so much - and that she was “too good for the cheerleading squad.” 

My sister pauses after telling me this, and then says, “You know, of all the days for me to find this note. I think I am supposed to tell you that YOU are too good for the reality show.” 

If I was waiting for a sign from the universe, this was certainly it.