Sure, I’m over the age limit to be a contestant on “American Idol.” And sure, my life long dream has always been to sing and perform on stage in front of a crowd of adoring fans. So when I was contacted a few weeks back by the wonderful folks at Disney to attend the red carpet premiere of the “American Idol Experience” in Orlando, I nearly fell out of my chair. They like me! They must really like me.
Maybe they heard me sing in a random YouTube video. Or caught a shot of me performing a Cheetah Girls number from “Disney Sing It” at one of Disney Interactive’s holiday events. Either way, yours truly will be on a plane tomorrow morning on her way to the Magic Kingdom where I will meet a handful of other lucky moms (whom I’m sure love to sing too or are huge AI fans), and straight out of a song from “Dirty Dancing,” I am positive that I will be having “The Time of My Life.”
While I’ve met lots of celebrities in my lifetime, the thought that I’m going to get the chance to be front and center watching some of my favorite American Idols perform is simply incredible. I never did buy tickets to see them when they were on tour, but I do watch the show every week with my kids and this year, I have to say that some of these kids are incredible. If you’re wondering who will actually be appearing and performing at the hottest ticket in Disney, then get a load of this unbelievable line-up…Paula Abdul, David Archuleta, Fantasia Barrino, Bo Bice, Jason Castro, David Cook, Bucky Covington, Diana DeGarmo, Melinda Doolittle, Simon Fuller, Josh Gracin, Justin Guarini, Taylor Hicks, Michael Johns, LaKisha Jones, Kimberley Locke, Sanjaya Malakar, Mandisa, Syesha Mercado, Ryan Seacrest, Chris Sligh, Carly Smithson, Jordin Sparks, Phil Stacey, Rueben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Brooke White and Ace Young.
I’ll be blogging, vlogging, facebook-ing and twitter-ing about my Disney red carpet experience with the American Idols, so keep coming back to RoleMommy.com and I’ll fill you in on the latest and greatest. Now it’s time to get a much needed pedicure and something cute to wear as I start brushing up on my favorite American Idol songs.
Gotta bolt…why do you ask? Simple…I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) fans hoping to learn all those things they never got around to studying in school can have their chance in February, when the network’s 31 DAYS OF OSCAR®takes viewers to TCM University. The annual festival, which boasts hundreds of Academy Award®-winning and nominated films, will become the ultimate classroom, with each day devoted to a different academic field, from economics and biology to music appreciation and world history.
Robert Osborne, TCM host, official biographer of the Academy Awards® and the Academy’s red carpet greeter, will serve as professor throughout the month, presenting more than 350 movies to educate viewers in 93 different courses. Today, Role Mommy got the chance to interview Osborne and he shared his insights on the Oscars, his favorite actors and actresses of all time, plus his most memorable Turner Classic Movies experiences. He says his all time favorite celebrity co-hosts were Kermit the Frog, Sally Field and Tracey Ullman, who, he says “made me laugh from start to finish.”
He also shared his picks for his favorite actor of all time – Carey Grant. He says, “He could do it all – he moved like an athlete and a dancer and was so smooth in his slapstick comedies.”
While he did name a few of his favorite actors and actresses (including Heath Ledger, whose life was cut short last year) and Meryl Streep, Osborne says “hopefully the key is always the writers – you have to have good writers to write the script.” He adds, “Don’t remake The Women. The original had great stars – you should remake some of those great stories and great books done and botched the first time they were done on the screen.”
More than 25 titles will make their first appearance on TCM during 31 DAYS OF OSCAR, including the delightful romance Enchanted April (Feb. 10); Alec Guinness’ hilarious comedy The Horse’s Mouth (Feb. 15); Louis Malle’s controversial Pretty Baby (Feb. 15); Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (Feb. 16); adaptations of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (Feb. 19), Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster (Feb. 23) and John Steinbeck’s East of Eden (Feb. 23); Kon Ichikawa’s anti-war classic The Burmese Harp (Feb. 24); and Jim Sheridan’s heart-wrenching My Left Foot (Feb. 25).
The 81st Annual Academy Awards ceremony airs Sunday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. (ET)/ 5 p.m. (PT) on ABC. More information is available at tcm.com.
I’ve always been a back door kind of person. When I wasn’t admitted into the graduate journalism program I had set my sights on, I enrolled in another program and within a semester, I back doored it into the department. When I didn’t get a job at a major television network right out of school, I took jobs at smaller PR agencies that handled several talk shows and within a few years, back doored it into the ultimate job as a primetime entertainment publicist at CBS. And when I couldn’t get a talk show producer to book a client or an actor from one of my shows on their morning show, I found another one who would take my calls, express some interest and the next thing I knew, I back doored it into a booking. I even back doored it into a book deal – after self publishing Peeing in Peace, we sold several thousand copies to Borders and with the help of a fabulous agent landed a book deal with Sourcebooks and most recently sold the rights to Brazil!
So how do you use the Back Door Plan to your advantage? Well, it’s not for the faint of heart. You are going to have to work harder then ever but just think of the gratification you’ll feel knowing that you didn’t give up and found someone who was willing to listen to your pitch. And when using the back door, you not only have to be persistent but you have to be humble too. Thank the person who let you in and perhaps see if they have a few minutes to spare so you can meet them in person or speak with them on the phone. Do not rely on email because it is way too easy for someone to ignore you that way – especially if they’ve never met you before.
If a back door contact doesn’t give you the time of day, then move on quickly, ask a few friends or colleagues if they have another person to recommend and go after that lead. Or, find them through Linked In, Facebook and of course use Twitter to send a direct message to that contact who might open the door and let you in. Another secret…I happen to be connected to lots of producers and reporters, so “Link In” to me (Rolemommy or BeyondPR) and then you at least have 1 degree of separation to your potential contact! If it’s a journalist you want to reach, then make sure you’ve read their work, comment on their article or share why you’re a big fan or theirs and then ask them their advice about your situation. What’s the worst that can happen? They could ignore you and not write back or they could be flattered that you reached out to them in an unconventional way.
What I’ve learned in my experience is that the more I kept the pressure on with regard to my clients, eventually, my back door contact would come through with flying colors and book them on their show. What I’ve also learned is that patience truly is a virtue – I don’t have much of it, but have been forced to wait patiently for producers to get back to me and sometimes, after I’ve armed them with all the materials they needed on my client, when they finally had a topic that made sense, we finally secured a booking. It took a while but it happened…and once my clients met the producer and wowed the host, they were asked back time and time again. That’s the key to true success – if you sneak in through the back door and they ask you to keep coming back, then you have hit paydirt.
A word of caution – if you hate rejection or if you’re the type who has always had things come easy to you in life (I am not friends with any of those women), then the Back Door Plan might be a difficult pill to swallow. But trust me, it works. And if you manage to land a major media appearance and it leads to increased product or book sales or boosts major traffic to your website or blog, then getting what you want by going through the back door isn’t half bad.
Have you ever back doored yourself into a job or opportunity? Share your story with Role Mommy – something tells me there’s a lot of us back door achievers out there and I’d love to hear how you did it too!
Tune into our latest Role Mommy on the Run podcast with our special guest host, Kristin from Spirited Woman, who called in all the way from the McDonald’s express line with her kids. And we welcome Amy at Selfish Mom who fills us in on an awesome charity contest being spearheaded by Quaker Oats.
One of my favorite friends of all time, Abby Peccoriello shares a hilarious take on all the people I’ve had the privilege of knowing during my journey building Role Mommy. It’s been quite a ride but at least I’ve finally found my purpose!
If you’re home bound this weekend, then do we have a great movie for you! One of my favorite actors, Oscar® winner Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in the new TNT Original movie GIFTED HANDS: THE BEN CARSON STORY, a true story about a frustrated young boy with problems in school who overcomes the obstacles in his life to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon. This JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION also stars two-time NAACP Image Award winner Kimberly Elise (The Great Debaters, The Manchurian Candidate). The film is based on the true story of Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, whose lifelong journey led him to become director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a best-selling author and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The movie premieres Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on TNT.
In GIFTED HANDS, Gooding plays Carson as an adult, while Elise plays Carson’s mother, Sonya, who inspired her son to study and work hard so he could rise above their inner-city roots.
GIFTED HANDS was adapted by award-winning writer John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) from the memoir penned by Carson and Cecil Murphey.
The film opens with Carson’s childhood in Detroit. The young Bennie struggles in school after his father abandons the family and his mother, who suffers from bouts of depression, is forced to be the family’s sole provider, despite the fact that she can’t read and has only a third-grade education.
Seeing that her son is having problems in school, Sonya soon realizes it is because he has troubles seeing. With a new pair of glasses and encouragement to spend time at a library, Bennie dives into the world of books. The joy Bennie gets from reading and the undying love and support he receives from his mother pave the way for him to overcome his impoverished background and graduate from high school, college and medical school. To fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor, he also must face down racial prejudice and other obstacles that threaten to derail him.
Along the way, Carson gets married and starts a family. But his home life becomes strained when his work starts to consume his every waking hour, especially as he faces the challenge of becoming the first doctor ever to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. In the end, however, Carson’s family comes to understand that his work is vital in helping other families, including a young couple whose twins’ lives are saved thanks to Carson’s remarkable skills, knowledge and courage.
Today, Carson stands at the top of his field as one of the most respected pediatric neurosurgeons in the world. He is living proof that, with perseverance, a devotion to knowledge and the loving support of family and friends, one can overcome any obstacles. Like his mother did for him, Carson now pours everything he has into helping young people overcome their medical limitations and fulfill their own dreams.
GIFTED HANDS is the 10th TNT Original to be produced under the JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION® movie banner. Past presentations include the critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning Door to Door, starring Emmy® winner William H. Macy; Miss Lettie and Me, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds; Wilder Days, starring Peter Falk and Tim Daly; The Winning Season, with Matthew Modine and Kristin Davis; the Emmy-nominated The Wool Cap, which re-teamed Door to Door’s Macy and writer/director Steven Schachter; 14 Hours, with JoBeth Williams, Rick Schroder and Kris Kristofferson; The Engagement Ring, a romantic comedy/drama starring Patricia Heaton; The Ron Clark Story, starring Emmy nominee Matthew Perry; and A Perfect Day, a holiday tale starring Rob Lowe.
To find out more about this fabulous offering from TNT then click here.
For our latest installment of the Girdle Chronicles, I’m here to offer you the easiest way to get in shape while following the Weight Watchers nutrition plan. It’s called Momentum and the program places emphasis on filling foods and the importance of tracking for greater success. Weight Watchers is also now featuring 10 minute videos from fitness expert David Kirsch that’ll help you get in shape. I don’t know about you, but if I only had to exercise 10 minutes a day and that would still trigger weight loss, I am totally there. Best of all – David even offers tips on working out at home and in the office so if you’re thinking of blowing off your workout, you’ve got no excuses! Just click on a video and follow this fitness expert who’s been a featured trainer on Extreme Makeover. Weight Watchers is also now featuring 10 minute videos from fitness expert David Kirsch
In the meantime, if you’d like to share your best fitness tip that’ll shed pounds quickly (I’m heading to Florida next week and need all the help I can get), please let us know and you can win a Weight Watchers cookbook!
Over the past week, I’ve seen my life flash in front of my eyes…twice. And when I share this story with you, you’ll either totally relate or say I’m a little too hung up on my stuff. The story begins last week. I was busy racing from the subway to a TV appearance with my clients and I remember instinctually reaching for my diamond bracelet. I’m always pretty paranoid when I hit the train and so, I check to see if my bracelet is on my wrist usually about 5 times before I get to my destination.
But this time, I was in a hurry, so I checked it once and didn’t give it a second thought. That is, until I made it to the show and while we were in the makeup room, I took my coat off, stared at my wrist, and almost had a heart attack. It was gone. Totally and utterly gone. I checked my jacket. Nothing. My sleeves. Nothing. I started frantically going through my bag when I looked up and confided that my bracelet was missing. I was on the verge of tears and my heart was beating a mile a minute and thankfully, my client and friend, Tamsen took charge, searched through my bag and found it! I guess when I had reached into the bag, the security clasp must have opened and it fell in.
And let me tell you, that moment of sheer terror gave me terrible flashbacks to when I lost my diamond wedding band when I was nine months pregnant. Unfortunately, my fingers were totally swollen and my daughter, who was three at the time, decided to present me with my ring, which I placed on my pinky while I cleaned the house. An hour later, after we were preparing for my daughter’s birthday party, I looked at my finger and the ring was gone. We searched through garbage bags, the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, you name it, but no matter where we looked, it vanished. I was beside myself but I think because I was thisclose to going into premature labor, I was let off the hook.
However, these days, if I lost my bracelet (especially during these tough economic times), I’d be thrown into a complete depression. In the meantime, while my jewelry is safe, I had yet another mini heart attack today. After purchasing an US Weekly (love Michelle Obama and her girls on the cover), a power bar and water at the Hudson Newsstand at Grand Central Station, I set my laptop bag down on a stack of magazines, paid the bill and then walked out of the store with my satchel on one arm, the magazine in the other and this unbelievable feeling that something felt a lot lighter as I walked to track 32. After I must have taken about 20 steps, it hit me. MY LAPTOP. OH. MY. GOD. MY LAPTOP!!! I ran like the wind, raced over to the register and thank goodness, it was still there.
All I can say is, I am very lucky that in both instances, I found my prized possessions. But it did make me do a lot of soul searching. I even asked the question on my Facebook account – would you rather lose a diamond bracelet or a laptop and so far, the overwhelming majority would freak out more if they lost their Mac Book pro than their 10th anniversary present. Are we all so caught up in technology that diamonds won’t cut it anymore?
Sorry, but as much as I love my computer, there’s something about a diamond tennis bracelet that gets me all giddy.
What about you? Would you freak out more if you lost a cherished piece of jewelry or a laptop?
Role Mommy: What did you do before you became a mom? Bonnie: Before I became a mom, I was a wedding & special event planner in New York City. I worked at the 92nd Street Y, a major NYC cultural center, where I planned events for notables such as Clint Eastwood, Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and so many others! I thought my life was busy then, but it is amazing how much busier life with kids can be! Role Mommy: When did you decide to reinvent your life? Bonnie: In 2002, we moved from New York to Westport, Connecticut for my husband’s job. When I became pregnant with my first child, I decided to stop commuting to New York and instead launched my own “stylish stationery” business from my kitchen table! Shortly after, our fashion-forward collection of wedding invitations and holiday cards was featured in Modern Bride Magazine and New York Magazine as a “Best Bet” and the excitement has not stopped since! In the past 6 years, my company has grown to 10 employees, 1000 stores world-wide (including high-end retailers such as Bloomingdales, Bendels, and Neiman Marcus) and I have had 3 children! It’s been a very productive few years, and there are a lot of great tools out there that have helped me realize my dream as a small business owner. For example, I have used Bank of America since I launched my business and they have a suite of products that helps keep my books organized so I can focus on what I love to do, design stationery and spend time with my children. Bartering with other small business owners is another wonderful tool that has helped to save us a lot of money. I recently offered to design a logo for a celebrity publicist, and in exchange she has been giving us some fabulous public relations tips! Role Mommy: How have your children influenced your career path? How many do you have? Bonnie: My 3 children have greatly influenced my career path! I had the courage to launch my own business only because I knew that I wanted to be able to have a job in which I could work from home. Although my business has grown & is no longer operating at home from my kitchen table, it is wonderful to be able to leave work for drop-off and pick-up, PTA meetings and school concerts. My children often spend time at my office & they understand where “mommy goes” each day. Role Mommy: What’s your favorite “Time Out” tip for moms (taking time for yourself) Bonnie: With 10 employees to manage and 3 children under 5 years old, there is very little time for myself . . . . The one “luxury” I have is a Saturday night babysitter! Before going out on Saturday nights, my husband & I rarely saw each other or spent time together without the children. Being able to go out for dinner “as adults” either by ourselves, or with friends, definitely helps us get through the craziness of the week. Role Mommy: What does your website offer moms or kids? Bonnie: My website (www.BonnieMarcus.com) offers an amazing selection of products for “moms on the go” – from fashionable to-do lists and teachers gifts to tote bags and flip flops designed especially for moms and moms-to-be. Role Mommy: What do you hope for your own kids? Bonnie: I hope my own kids will appreciate their mom as a business owner and an active part of the community, and that they will strive to be responsible adults as well. A nursery school teacher once told me that in the playground my kids like to “play office” – they fix the computer, take out the garbage, etc. It’s very funny what kids pick-up from adults around them. My older son always says that he wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up, while my younger son wants to be a “ninja turtle” . . .we’ll see what happens! Role Mommy: Who is your Role Mommy? Bonnie: I would never be able to pick just one! I absolutely love websites like this one where I can learn from and be inspired by other working moms. Just when I think I have “too much to do” I read a post about a mom who is doing it all with 6 kids! I am inspired every day from these amazing stories . . .