The Food Network lobby is a happening place. A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting for the elevator, and a golden-blonde woman was pacing in the waiting area. When she turned around, it was Sandra Lee, aka Aunt Sandy. She was obviously awaiting a meeting (probably about her new show Sandra's Money Saving Meals), and I knew she would not be joining me on my elevator ride to the 1st floor.
But this reality of sharing the lobby with talent, or passing them occasionally in the halls, means that odds are higher than normal, of taking an elevator ride with them. Usually this Food Network Lobby elevator:
Even though I must admit that talent doesn’t get much more approachable than ours, personally, the ever looming elevator situation is always nerve-wracking. I could go on a tangent about the socially awkward situation that is the elevator ride on a normal day (filler conversations about the weather, the weekend, etc..). But now imagine adding to the elevator ride someone who you stare at constantly for your job (screening their shows, re-touching images of them, cutting their promos), but who you've never actually met. It's like having a co-worker who doesn't know you're a co-worker. It gets downright awk-ward.
My first elevator encounter was with Alton Brown. He warmly smiled at me politely letting me onto the elevator first, as I tried, probably unsuccessfully, not to stare.
The next time I stepped into an elevator, was with a guy in board shorts and a t-shirt, who turned out to be Danny Boome. My friend and I were talking, and since we were the only three in there, I’m pretty sure that he was listening to our conversation. I wanted to include Danny, and also tell him that our department was creating a new promo for his show at the time. But neither one of those things happened.
The last talent I was in an elevator with was Sunny Anderson. She was talking to a coworker about the SOBE Wine and Food Festival where she had been the week before. I rode down to make sure that her car was waiting for her after a promo shoot. Sunny ended up giving me a gigantic hug to thank me for being her "stand-in" at the shoot earlier in the day, which consisted of uncomfortably, and noticeably uncomfortable at that, standing in for Sunny on set before they started filming. This is so the crew can adjust the set lights and props, but it usually feels like it takes an ungodly amount of time...especially for someone who prefers to be behind the camera. After the hug, Sunny took off in her over-sized sunglasses to go shopping for some dishes down the street.
Okay, so in retrospect, maybe my elevator experiences weren’t that bad. But I want to pose the question to you, have you ever walked into an elevator, only to realize that you were standing next to your favorite star, or even your favorite Food Network chef?! Let me know how you handled it, I could use some inspiration for the next time!!!!