Thursday, November 29, 2012

Howie Who?

I am usually overly prepared for any celebrity interview I conduct for Starpulse down to the point of studying facts about their life and career and coming up with obscure questions that will make them laugh and remember who I am- a true professional. But every professional screws up sometimes. Here's the story of my little hiccup and how I bounced back like a champ.  

My Starpulse colleague texted me last year around Christmas time asking if I could cover an interview for her. No problem I said, who will I be chatting with? Her response: Howie Day (well at least that is what I read via her text message). Great, I loved Howie Day! He was an amazing singer, liked life on the edge (he supposedly dated Britney Spears after the two met in rehab) and was even from Maine- I would have loads to talk with him about. I told her I would handle it, got the name of his publicist and began my intense research on Howie Day, from here on just referred to as 'Howie.' Howie's publicist called me and said we would be meeting at Starbucks at 5:00 pm that Friday, where I would conduct the interview and even get a few pictures with him. I was getting excited about the interview, had all my questions ready and even had a fantasy that we would meet, connect on the Maine thing and become best friends.

The day of the interview, I drove to the Sherman Oaks Starbucks where we agreed to meet, as giddy as a school girl. (What does that expression even mean, anyways?) I walked in, ordered a latte and sat down as I didn't see Howie inside yet. I waited and waited and still nothing. At about 10 minutes past 5:00, a girl and a guy walked in, both of whom I didn't recognize, so I naturally just looked away and kept waiting. Until the two came up to me and asked if I was Erin. I was confused but confirmed my identity with the strangers. The girl apologized for being late and introduced me to 'Howie', standing by her side. Howie? Howie who? The girl then asked if it was okay to do the interview out on the deck where we had a little more privacy. I had no idea who this elusive Howie character was but followed the two outside. My mind was racing at this point! Who was this guy and what the hell was I going to ask him? I had all my questions prepared for Howie Day and unless he lost 15 lbs, shrunk a few inches and had major reconstructive surgery, this was not him. I was going to have to pull something out of my butt and handle this interview smoothly. Maybe I can start out with a few generic questions about who his influences are, what his Christmas plans were and what's up next for him and I would figure out by then who he was.

As we sat down, I looked at him closely and did recognize him a bit, but from where? Was this Howie Day? I thought I would throw a Maine reference out there right away, to see if he caught it, or batted it away. I think I said something like, "it's a bit chilly outside, but not as chilly as Maine!" Wait for it, wait for it.....his response: "That's true, it gets a bit chilly in Florida too, where I am from." Dammit, plan failed. Now what? Generic question #1 failed as well and just when I started to feel a sweat bead roll down my forehead, he threw me the biggest puzzle piece ever, and I solved the mystery with two words. Backstreet Boys. Ding, ding, ding- light was Howie D. from the Backstreet Boys. Although I felt like the biggest idiot, I finished the very successful interview, got my picture with the former boy-bander and drove away with a great story to tell. And sweat stains the size of Russia.

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