When my good peoples at Double 7 asked me to write about my experiences in Hollywood on a weekly basis, my first thought was "I live in NY! I'm not Hollywood." Then it dawned on me,I spend a great deal of my time on airplanes, taking meetings, auditioning, and sipping Henny's and coke poolside at The Standard hotel while sneaking peeks at the young ladies in bikini's. To the average cat that sounds like some real Hollywood living, kinda...I mean almost. I have a "team" that consists of high powered agents, managers (both business and personal), a cool publicist, attorney, and a celebrity liason on both coasts who makes sure I'm taken care of at all the cool restaurants and clubs. I've been stopped by tourists before for the quick photo op and even signed an occasional autograph (usually say something cool like "one luv" or "God Bless" ). But then there was that time when I had a big "celebrity Birthday party" thrown in my honor at a Manhattan hotspot and the chick at the door almost made me and my friends stand in line while she let Jessicca Simpson in (whom I've still NEVER met), that wasn't too cool. And most times when someone does send a limo to come pick me up my name is spelled wrong on the placard in the window. Not really household name stuff. Oh, and then there was the dinner party last week where the mouthy light skinned chick form Jamaica asked me what other job I had to "sustain my acting thing"...huh? You wouldn't ask a full scale Hollywood cat that would you? I guess one could say I'm almost Hollywood, more on the outskirts of fame than actually famous. That's cool I guess. There's money in that, not to mention the occassional groupie (as long as I get to her before Constantine from American Idol).
No Hollywood star, full blown or almost, is complete without the flashing lights and general carrying ons of the pushy paparazzi. After all, if they didn't snap your shot, where you really there? Being on the outskirts, I'm usually only photographed when with my truly famous friends or completely unexpected places like the grocery store in the valley or jail (looooong story). But whenever I'm going to a major event and don't want to worry about whether or not my presence was documented, I bring along my own personal Mamarazzi©. The mamarazzi© consists of my mom and my auntie Vickie armed with winning smiles, disposable cameras, and no shame in stealing pics with any and all celebrities big and small. Of course they're not card carrying memebers of the paparazzi and usually like to be in the photos themselves, but they do manage to catch the coveted shot of Sam Jackson waiting on his limo to pull up or Lucy Liu having a laugh as she exits the ladies room.
Much like the paparazzi, the mamarazzi© sets out their plan of action well before they arrive at the event. They make sure they are equipped with enough cameras and usually take a small power nap in preparation of the big night. Unlike their competition, they have the luxury of arriving with their very own invites and often times in the limo with me. This gives them a leg up on those ususally annoying shot seekers because they can and do use the fact that their son/nephew is in the movie which softens their subjects up a bit. My mom, smartly, uses the time before the lights go down at a premiere or opening to scan the audience for celebs that she plans on getting shots of at the afterparty. If she doesn't exactly know what they do or their names, she'll do her research which usually consists of asking me or anyone around who the subject is and then expertly jotting it down for future use. Not afraid of pushing or shoving to get the right shot, the mamarazzi© can be aggressive and sometimes downright pushy! But just as said subject is about to reach their brink of patience the mamarazzi© charmingly smiles and gushes about how proud they are of their son/nephew and immediately the person melts as they are reminded of their own family. My mom and aunt's penchant for taking pictures of everything used to annoy me to no end as a child and quite honestly those habbits sometimes still drive me a bit batty. But nothing can take away the pride I feel when my family shows off the fruits of their labor at gatherings and my mom brags about the fact that she is on a first name basis with Bruce Willis. Even as I eventually plant both feet in Hollywood and will no longer be considered "Almost Hollywood" but rather at the forefront of it, my family will always be around to remind me that these moments are to be cherished and most importantly documented. Long live the mamarazzi©! If you don't have one to follow you around, I'm sure I can lend you mine for the right invite.