Yesterday I started to write a post about the time when I filmed an episode of "Richard Simmons Dream Maker". I meant to save it and finish it but instead of hitting 'save', I hit the publish button.
So here's the story....
In 1999 a former friend of mine had seen the commercials asking for people who deserve to have their dreams come true. I had undergone 2 cancer surgeries, a year of chemo and radiation and the demise of my marriage to Richard and former friend thought that it was time that something nice happened to me. She contacted the show and told them my tale of woe and they invited us to come out to watch the taping of the very first episode.
I was told that we were simply going to watch a tv show get taped and that I should dress nicely. We were all going to meet at former friends house and drive in to Los Angeles together. I thought something was up when a town car arrived to take us to the city, but former friend always did things in a big way and it really wasn't that unusual for her to do something out of the ordinary like that.
The town car dropped us off in the back of the studio with 100's of other people and we had to sit and wait to go in just like everyone else. As our group was going through the door they asked us if we exercised and I told them that I pretty much never exercised. They asked me if I would be interested in exercising on the show with Richard Simmons and before I could even answer...my party, (former friend, Tori and my mom) has disappeared. They had a couple of other people that they had picked for this segment and we were all hustled to a segregated waiting room. We all sat there trying to make small talk and then Richard Simmons came in to say hello and to get us all jazzed up and ready to get our bodies moving. Richard Simmons is every bit as happy, charming, sparkling and short as he appears on television. He gave all of us hugs and said that he'd see us shortly. A couple of minutes later a page took all of us from the waiting room and ushered us down a hall and through about 10 doors and stopped behind a heavy theater curtain. The page told us we had to be very quiet and we stood there and listened as Richard Simmons was talking to the audience about the importance of exercising. Then all of a sudden the page was opening the curtain and shoving me on to the stage. I expected the rest of the group to come out with me but they just stood there waving me out there. I was totally Bambi in headlights. The lights were so bright and I was so confused that I seriously considered bolting in the other direction...then I saw my sister sitting in the audience and she was already in tears.
Richard Simmons and I did a couple of stretches and then he admitted that I wasn't there to exercise. With tears in his eyes he told my cancer/surgery/chemo/divorce story and then told me that it was time something nice happened to me. He put his arm around me and told me to look to my right. A curtain opened up and Jose' Eber (http://joseeberatelier.com/jose/index.html) was sitting there looking as cute as a button in his trade mark hat and pony tail. I have always adored Jose' Eber and I couldn't believe he was sitting right in front of me. I don't really know what Richard Simmons was saying at that time...the only words I heard were "Glam Make Over". When he got done talking he asked me if I had anything to say so I looked at Jose' and I pointed to my sister and I asked him if he could look at her and say..his trademark quip..."Shake your head, darling." (with his french accent he says, "Sake oo head, dahling") He obliged and I just melted.
After that the lights dimmed and the cameras were off. Jose disappeared and I was literally run to another part of the studio. They had a room all set up with every beauty product known to man kind and there was a wardrobe lady who had a rack of clothes for me to pick from. Sadly, former friend told them that I was a size 9 and at the time I was closer to a 6 petite. Most of the clothes on the rack didn't fit. I did find one beautiful black dress that fit even though it was a tad low cut for someone who wasn't able to go without a bra. All of the shoes were size 7 and I wear a 5 but I found a pair that I could buckle tight enough that they wouldn't fall off of my feet when I took a step. They told me that I was going to get to keep anything that I picked to wear...including a new prosthetic breast and figure flattering underwear! The only thing I wasn't able to keep was jewelry.
After I found an outfit to wear I sat down in a beauty parlor chair and a team of beauticians surrounded me and they were all talking to Jose' in French. I had no idea what they were saying but I trusted that they all knew what they were doing so I just sat back and enjoyed the attention. In the following 90 minutes my hair was cut, colored and styled and I had a whole face of movie star make up. (The guy who did my make up looked like Pocahontas. I am not kidding.) I was in complete awe as to how beautiful they made me look. The pictures I posted really don't do any justice because I really don't like to have my picture taken so I freeze up when ever a camera is pointed in my direction. I doubt if there will ever be another moment in my life where I feel so glamorous. It was all I could do not to flit around the dressing room singing, "I feel pret-ty, oh so pret-ty.."
I carefully put my new outfit on and the wardrobe lady draped me in jewelry and rushed me to the spot behind the curtain. Richard Simmons made a speech that I didn't hear one word of and then just like in a beauty pageant the lights went on and the curtain went up and the crowd roared. I took a couple of precarious steps forward. I was afraid to take any more steps than absolutely necessary for fear that I would walk right out of my shoes. As I stood there, Richard was crying and I could see my mom, sister and former friend in the audience crying, too. Richard told the audience that I was going to get to keep everything I was wearing and that I was going to get to go on a Beverly Hills shopping spree and that I would be able to keep up my new look with Jose' Eber. It was an amazing moment in the spot light and then just like that it was all finished.
I was rushed back to the dressing room and my mom and sister came back to greet me. We all posed for pictures with Jose' and here is a word to the wise. If you ever get a chance to take a picture with Jose Eber...DO NOT TRY TO TOUCH HIM. It is an automatic reaction for most people when posing for a picture to put an arm around the person in the picture with them. All of us just about got clothes lined when we did this. He never said anything but he made a huge gesture when he thwarted any bodily contact with each one of us. We wanted to take pictures with Richard Simmons and his people kept promising that he would be up to the dressing rooms shortly...but he never did. The powers that be told me that we had to collect our goods and leave the dressing room so I changed back in to my street clothes. When I came back from changing my clothes I discovered that whom ever cleaned up the dressing room when I was gone had "cleaned up" my new prosthetic breast. We asked everyone we saw if they knew who picked it up but no one would tell us who the culprit was. We also asked about the promised hair upkeep and the shopping spree and oddly no one knew anything about that either. I knew that I was never going to see the new prosthesis again but I figured that the producers would contact me about the other promised gifts.
On the way home I found out that before the filming of the show Richard Simmons was out in the crowd offering money to the person who could come up with the most songs with the word 'dream' in the title. My sister managed to wipe the floor with the competition and used her winnings to take us all out to dinner that night.
It was a fabulously fun day and I just wish I had a video camera strapped to my head because my portion of the episode never aired. We saw several parts of the episode that was filmed that day but my story never made the cut. We tried to contact the producer on many occasions to get an air date and to see what happened to my shopping spree and none of us were ever able to get through to a real person. I even tried to email everyone on that staff and no one ever replied to me. I also called Jose' Eber's Beverly Hills salon and they said that they didn't give discounts to anyone. Ever.
I often wonder about the person who walked away with my new prosthetic boob and my shopping spree.... What IS the well dressed woman with 3 boobs wearing these days?
Labels: Brush with greatness