Sliding Doors

by in View All Posts, May 11th, 2009

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!!!!

Happy Monday,
Sommer, Creative Services

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Comments (8)

  1. Lana says:

    Sommer, too funny! Ok, my story isn’t about an elevator, instead – the women’s bathroom.

    So I was recently at a concert in Hollywood. I’m standing in line at the women’s restroom, just right at the door. None other than Steven Tyler (yup, from Aerosmith) walks by me and right into the restroom. Woops! I said, “Steve, I think you missed a turn. Walk up those stairs over there, …” pointed him in the right direction and got him goin’ where he needed to be. He smiled and said thanks, squeezed my hand and off he went. He wasn’t embarrassed in the slightest.

    I’ll tell ya tho, it would have been even funnier in an elevator. “Steve, goin’ down?”

    I think people are just people, no matter if they make their livings behind a desk, on a stage or in front of a camera. It’s been my humble experience that stars feel uncomfortable when the people around them are uncomfortable.

    Next time just ask, “Hey _____ ! I’m Jane Doe from the X department. So what’re you doin’ in town this week?” Easy shmeezy, just like that. :)

  2. Pearl says:

    You’re funny!

    I can only imagine how stressful it must be trying to be “cool” on the outside, but jumping up and down on the inside!

  3. Liz says:

    I merely THOUGHT that I saw Alton Brown in the Phoenix airport once, and nearly passed out.

  4. Nila R. Perez says:

    At least, in your case, you get to “run into” PLEASANT celebs. I get the impression that all the talent at FN are generally nice, gracious people. I live in a neighborhood where many celebs happen to either live or walk around, so I am no stranger to spotting famous faces and like most New Yorkers, take this in stride, but I once had the experience of running into an elevator at the Waldorf Astoria hotel and finding myself next to a woman in a fur coat who looked familiar but I didn’t catch on immediately as to who she was. She was also scowling down at the floor, which made it more difficult for me to look at her face (without being obvious). I inwardly shrugged and decided that whoever it was, I was not going to try to figure it out and that it might come to me later. She finally did look up (to check what floor we were on) and I realized it was Joan Rivers. She caught my eye as she stepped off (we were both getting off on the same floor, coincidentally) and I nodded/smiled to her in silent greeting and she actually scowled at me and then looked again to the floor and walked off. Now mind you, I was never a big fan of hers to begin with, but neither did I particularly dislike her, either, but this one chance meeting, coupled with her attire (a huge mink coat and I very much dislike fur coats) served to turn me off of her completely. Maybe she was having a bad day that day–who knows? However, it certainly left me with a bad impression of her forever.

    Nila R. Perez
    New York City

  5. aloha says:

    AHHH!!! u r so lucky!!!!

  6. Peg Flemming says:

    I used some frequent flyer miles to move up to first class on a trip from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale. A gentlemen sat next to me and immediately starting talking. He told me he had played football and baseball and a lot of funny stories about his kids. He just kept talking and talking. I was in the middle of a good book and just wanted to read and did not know how to tell him nicely I wanted to read. Just as the plane was ready for take off the engines died and we had to turn around and return to the terminal for a new plane. When we both got off the plane I sat down by the gate to read my book. Almost immediately I had about 25 men stop to ask me if I knew who that gentleman was. I said “no” and they told me he was just the greatest athlete in the last 10 years – Bo Jackson.

    When we finally were able to get on a new plane I said “Well, I guess I am about the only person on this flight who did not know who you were.” He was very nice about it and when we landed he actually stuck by me and helped me with my luggage. A number of people came up to ask for his picture with their children and he very nicely said “Not in the airport, how about outside after I have my bags”. Needless to say he had someone picking him up so he pretty much left the airport upon retriving his bags.

  7. Sommer says:

    I love how all of these stories take place in confined spaces. These are hilarious!

  8. Dan S says:

    next time you see Alton, tell him for me I am ready for a throwdown with HIM. cooking with charcoal BUT not with pots, pans or other TRADITIONAL goodies. I can boil water in a paper cup with charcoal, cook eggs without pots pans skillets or griddles

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