What an ambitious title I've set you all up for!
I can't help but feel a little bit jealous towards the incredibly LUCKY audience members who get to be on Oprah's Favorite Things episode. For those of you who missed it last Friday- no worries, she's doing a second show airing tomorrow (Monday Nov. 22nd). I then have to remind myself of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I once had to be a coveted member of her guest audience.
It happened a little over 5 years ago while I was living in Chicago. I knew her show was filmed there before I moved there, but after years of unsuccessful tries of calling and calling into the constantly busy hotline, I had pretty much accepted that it was IMPOSSIBLE to get tickets. Thankfully, I met a friend at work who shared in my dream of one day getting tickets and as it turned out, she knew something I didn't: you can sign up online for last-minute cancellation tickets. She did, and surprisingly got a phone call on a Monday for 2 tickets on that Wednesday! She graciously offered the other ticket to me, and we quickly arranged to get the day off from work and go crazy like we'd seen so many of her audience members go!
Our day began early (I think we had to be at the studio at 7:00 a.m.!) but when we got there, the line was already quite long....plus outside in Chicago in February. They had a white long tent set up for us, but it was still cold. We didn't know what the show topic was, nor did anyone else in line, but we didn't care. We were about to enter into HARPO studios! After a long wait in line we were finally greeted by some very nice members of her staff who directed us through hallways after hallways (lots of pictures adorned the walls of Oprah and her past guests), and finally a staircase. Up the stairs was a nice, large waiting room with pretty glass windows all around for us to enjoy nice city views. We were then handed cards to fill out that gave us some clues about what the show was going to be about...I can't remember exactly what they said, but something like "What do you consider your biggest fashion blunder?" and then a short bio about Lara Flynn Boyle and Ashanti? We were confused. It then allowed a space for us to ask a question to each of them, which I can't remember what I wrote now either. After about another 20 min. of waiting they started calling us by name to enter the studio. This is where it got really exciting because we got to see all of the cool backstage stuff, like cameras and lights, and people wearing headsets who looked really important. The set was covered up by a big black curtain but we could see a long red carpet sticking out and large Oscar statues! My friend and got really excited as we thought we were going to see some Oscar nominees, but we tried to keep our giddiness to ourselves and absorb one cool thing going on at a time.
After waiting again, a really cute and perky woman came out to rev us up. She told us a bit about how Oprah runs things, when we should clap, get excited, etc. Then the curtain went up and the set was all glitzy. Then very casually, Oprah came out wearing all black without any shoes on! She took a seat on the stage just like she was at home, never mind a hundred of us strangers staring at her. She then told us that the show we were about to see is based on making stars in celebration of the upcoming Oscars (click here for pics of the episode).
No one had said a word about Jessica Simpson also being a guest until someone came out and whispered something in Oprah's ear, which prompted her to tell all of us that Jessica was unexpectedly sick-actually really sick, like green in the face, and throwing up in her dressing room. Jessica thought it was food poisoning, (which I know is unbearable) but Oprah still seemed a bit miffed that she wasn't going to be able to come out. This then resulted in us all doing some more waiting, but Oprah didn't leave her seat. She instead chatted away with us...chatted about things I don't remember anymore, but I enjoyed seeing such a relaxed side of her (still with her shoes off). Eventually Lara Flynn Boyle came out (she looks just as teeny tiny as she does in all the pictures) and the show began. They mostly had video clips to show us from the lives where the women were picked from for star treatment makeovers, but about the middle of the show they all came out in the red carpet looks where they received tickets to the Oscars. Lucky!!!!
At the very end of the show it was announced that Target was their sponsor, and in honor of the upcoming Oscars they had a gift bag filled with "Star Goodies" for each of us to take home. I was picturing something small but was happily impressed with an EXTRA large red Target tote filled with things like a digital camera, hair extensions, fancy hair clip-ins, a full line of hair products, a Michael Graves bar set with martini glasses, and lots of munchies for us to host our own Oscar party. I did, and had such a blast sharing my gifts and experience of the show with all my friends...especially my friend Liz, the one who was kind enough to share one of her tickets with me.
Overall I enjoyed the show, after all who doesn't like to see a good makeover? But most of the time I was sitting there I was really taking in the fact that I was in a studio where Oprah's show was being filmed. I knew I'd never forget that day, or that moment of when I felt like Oprah looked right at me in my green and blue tweed coat (I had to buy something new to wear on Oprah day, right?!). Whether or not she actually did doesn't matter, nor does the Oscar tickets, or thousands of dollars in gifts that the Favorite Things guests get to walk away with. What matters most to me is how I was able to experience a place I had always dreamed of getting to...in a city of lights, feeling like a star. Lucky.