Oops I did it again! By now you all know that I have the gift of gab. Often a 15 minute phone interview can turn into an hour off the record convo if the chemistry between my subject and I is right (remember these folks are all talkers too!). The pressure I feel at meet and greets to get an impression made in as little time as possible is particularly extreme. Things were no different on May 9th when I once again descended the steps at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ to meet one of my idols, Wendy Williams.
The first year of my career a co-worker introduced me to Ms. Williams’ show which was broadcast every afternoon on New York’s 107.5 WBLS. “You have to listen to this woman” she told me one day. “She talks about ‘Baby Mamma Drama’, and gets the craziest advice calls.” I remember being hooked instantly. How dare my suburban uppity white surroundings keep this show a secret from me for so long! Within weeks Wendy became “a friend in my head” and I would look forward to her company on my tedious traffic plagued ride back to the burbs. I started quoting her to others and was excited to find my equally uppity white male cousin (who shares his July 18th birthday with Williams) was also a fan.
I read Williams first book many years ago. Usually the world’s slowest reader, often starting a book and never finishing it, I devoured Williams’ text in the course of one day. My heart was broken when she left the radio. Her hit talk show is never on when I’m at home or awake, and I am left to wait until summer (when I have a lot of vacation time) to watch repeats. Still I have the utmost admiration for her and continue to consider myself a fan.
Back in February I had what I thought was an opportunity to meet her when I covered an event she was rumored to be attending. She never materialized, at least not that I saw, and I left that night feeling a bit disappointed. So when Brent (AKA our very own Housewife Guy) told me she was going to be signing books at our fave mom and pop book shop I was raring to go!
When Williams arrived, in some of the highest heels I’ve seen, she wobbled down the steps to her awaiting fans holding on for what seemed like dear life. Once she was safely down she let out a boisterous “How you doin?” and the crowd went wild. She was casual in skinny jeans and a fitted red top. With minimal makeup on she still looked stunning and very lithe in person. I made sure to glance at her diamond ring which I’d heard her talk about. Now I happen to have a decently sized diamond for the average woman, but this ring ate my ring and all its cousins. It’s quite impressive.
William’s latest book, Ask Wendy, is based on the questions she’s received and the advice she’s offered over the course of her career, so in keeping with the theme she started the signing by taking questions from the gathered group. Everyone seemed too nervous, but one woman, who boldly told us about her vile sister in law who has torn her family apart. After that there still were no takers so I raised my hand and asked about dealing with mom guilt while trying to get the work/family balance right (and shamelessly plugged our little website).
After telling me that basically there is no way to achieve that balance, the signing commenced. Williams, like Bethenny Frankel and Teresa Giudice, was friendly, open to taking pictures, and brief chit chat. Here’s where I flubbed again. I introduced myself and delivered my business card, my main mission for the evening. Then I talked a wee bit too long. “Well Tara,” she looked at me a bit sternly, ” I have your business card.” Translation: “Move it along…now!” So I may or may not have gotten a bit scolded by Wendy Williams yesterday, but hey she’s the Queen of Media, she can do whatever she wants…and she has my card! Hey Wendy, call me, maybe?