|Pamela meets RHOBH Taylor Armstrong.|
By Pamela Emerzian
Living in California comes with many benefits: it’s the home of beautiful weather, mountains, beach, desert and two of the most popular of the Real Housewives’ franchises. Real Housewives of Orange County (the original, flagship show in the series) and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (one of the newest and also my personal favorite.)
I live in the Central Valley which is approximately 4 ½ hours from the City of Angels, a city that is always moving and shaking – no, that’s not an earthquake reference. Being one of the major entertainment hubs in the United States, there is always plenty to do in LA. Mr. E and I plan 2-3 mini vacays down south per year with an itinerary jam packed with activities.
Last February Real Housewife Taylor Armstrong had just written her book Hiding From Reality ( released shortly following the suicide of estranged husband, Russell Armstrong). When planning my trips, I always check out the area’s book signing schedules. I had a choice that weekend. Carrie Fischer, appearing at Book Soup, or Taylor at Barnes & Noble. For me it was a no-brainer, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to meet a Bravolebrity in person.
|Almost as good as $25k? A surprise Dana Wilkey sighting!|
Once we were in the city, I got ready for the big night. Any on-looker would have thought I was preparing to go on national television based upon the way I agonized over my hair, makeup and apparel. It actually was a strong possibility, I knew that Bravo would likely be filming at the event. I chose a tasteful leopard tunic with my favorite Lucky Brand jeans and finished the look with full on Housewife inspired statement accessories.
This particular B&N is at The Grove, the same shopping center where you can find Mario Lopez broadcasting live and interviewing celebrities each night (shhh it’s really filmed early in the morning) on Extra. Reality is, you never know who you will see at The Grove. Kris Kardashian herself had been there earlier that day.
I ordered Hiding From Reality from Amazon so that I would be prepared, and though the book was good, I should have waited. I found out on arrival that in order to have a book signed, you actually have to purchase it at the signing. Duh, it makes perfect sense. I bought a second book and dashed up the stairs to the scene of the main event.
My wonderful husband (really how many guys would do this?) and I stood in line with about 30 people ahead of us. Suddenly there was a low murmur. Was it Taylor? No, better, it was a bonus! Dana Wilkey (the one with the $25,000 sunglasses and fu*k you shoes) appeared in support of her friend – or perhaps for publicity (one can never be sure). She was wearing a tasteful, fitted black and gray dress, fabulous nude patent leather sling backs with silver butterfly embellishments, and a matching clutch. Personally I think she may have dressed in the dark because the nude/pink accessories clashed horribly with the dress. Maybe, some of the $25k would have been better spent on a stylist?
Despite the fashion blunder, Dana was extremely welcoming to fans, posing for many photos as we all excitedly whipped out our camera phones. Because I’m a big chicken, my husband kindly approached her and asked if she would mind taking a picture with me. She was very gracious, as were other fans who held my space in line. Many of these Hollywood types are very petite. I’m 5’8 but in the presence of Housewives, I may as well be 6’5. I felt Amazonian as compared to cute little Dana Wilkey. She was very nice and even told me I was pretty (blush..thanks, D!)
|Kyle rounds out an evening of Bravoleb bliss!|
Still buzzing about the surprise Dana sighting the line started whispering again. Like a game of telephone the news began to pass that someone recognized Kyle Richard’s publicist in the mob. She confirmed that Kyle was on her way up. My husband knew his duty and immediately approached Kyle on my behalf. She agreed to take a photo with me, score 2! knew that she had a book out also, Life is Not A Reality Show, so I ordered, er, asked Mr. E to run downstairs and buy a copy so that I could get it signed but, unfortunately B&N didn’t have it on hand.
Finally, the guest of honor made her grand entrance. Taylor arrived to polite applause and a smattering of cameras flashing. She had her publicist and daughter Kennedy in tow. I thought she looked great. She wore a simple black tunic & leggings with cute boots and a statement necklace. She set up her things at the table while Kennedy basically ran free about the venue. I kept wondering why Taylor wouldn’t be more concerned securing supervision for her daughter.
True to claims previously made by TBB, you really do need to plan exactly what you want to say before you approach the signing table. You have approximately 90 seconds once it’s your turn. The problem, I couldn’t think of a damn thing to say. My ‘normal’ life seems so far from what she deals with and has dealt with in her extraordinary one. My kid’s birthday parties cost about $200; not $60,000 so I couldn’t talk about shopping, and the subject matter of the book was so grim I felt weird even saying something about that.
I had been far to nervous and over thinking things, because Taylor couldn’t have been friendlier. She greeted me and I sputtered something about how I enjoyed the book. She thanked me and then advised me that Adrienne Maloof was in Vegas. No, I hadn’t asked. I smiled & nodded. Gosh, I’m lame! This just showed me that sometimes, we aren’t the only ones who can’t think of something fabulous and relevant to say. Celebrities can struggle with what to say to 500 different fans in 30 seconds of conversation, too. Two photos were snapped and I was offered a cookie. Yes, Taylor’s mom had made freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for each of her book signings. A nice personal touch.
And, just like that, it was over. I posted my photos on Facebook which were met with varied responses from my friends and family. People who were fans of the show were excited. Others declared their hate for Taylor and love for Kyle. I think the remark that bothered me the most came from my very best friend since the third grade:
“If you are at the Grove, keep your eyes open for ‘real’ celebrities because these people you are meeting don’t count.”
I explained to her that the only television I really watch is reality TV and chances are if I saw a “real” celebrity, I wouldn’t recognize them. I love Bravo and the people on it. These personalities may not count as stars to other people but they are my kind of celebrities and I couldn’t have been more thrilled than to have had the opportunity to meet a few.
Pamela Emerzian is a mother of 5 living in Central Valley, California. She is a Bravo super fan who also loves to write. Follow Pamela on Twitter @Its_MrsE