SHATTERING LINES • TV Spots Didn’t Grow My Self-Esteem

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I never really wanted to be a movie  or a TV star, especially now as an adult. I admit that it would be fun getting dressed up, however I can do that now without being in front of the big screen. As much as I have come out of my shell over the years, I am still too shy to be the center of attention.

I had my 15 minutes of fame twice, and let me tell you, it’s definitely different than every day life. I didn’t have a script to go by, or someone telling me what to say or when to smile, so my time in front of the camera was interesting to say the least.

My first experience in front of the camera was back in 1999. I had just graduated from high school, and was very shy and definitely didn’t have a very high self-esteem or outlook on life. To celebrate my graduation, my mom sent in my picture and information to the Monday Makeover segment on KMOV Channel 4. I didn’t know she had sent anything in until she received a letter saying they had accepted her submission.

I remember traveling to St. Louis for my day of beauty. After we arrived at the station, my mom, dad and I met with one of the KMOV Channel 4 segment managers. He drove us across St. Louis to the salon so I could get my hair cut and colored, chatting with us along the way, and giving us a rundown of what the day would hold.

We met with the cosmetologist/colorist, who highlighted my hair and whacked at it with scissors and a razor, giving me an update on my shaggy hairstyle.

Then, at last came the makeup to seal my look. Makeup can look good, or it can be too much, and on me....well, let’s just say, I will never forget the color they used on my lips. It was bright and very over the top.

As I finished getting my makeup done, I lined up with three other Monday Makeover participants. The station filmed four of us that day, so they could air throughout the month of June. I was the last one to be filmed, but I didn’t care because I was excited to meet Robin Smith, who, along with the segment manager, explained what they did to update my look. Everything went well up until she asked me if I liked my look, and I smiled awkwardly and said, “yeah.” 

The makeover aired several weeks later, the day I returned home from a vacation to Virginia. It was cool to see myself on TV, but I couldn’t stop thinking how awful the lip color looked, as well as my dopey smile. In fact, my oldest niece, Tiffany, made fun of me for awhile for my lipstick and my smile.

The second time I was on TV was the day before I had my second kidney transplant. A reporter from KMOV and Jeff Bernthal from KPLR Channel 11 visited my family and me at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to do interviews on my surgery.

I definitely didn’t feel very good, and I was pale, sick and my face was all red. The reporters interviewed me, as well as my mom, dad and my sister, Dawn, who was donating her kidney to me. I was so nervous, not so much about being on TV, but because of the surgery. 

I don’t remember what either reporter asked me that day, I just know I was scared to death and thinking that I just wanted to get through the transplant. I thank God that everything went well and today I am healthy.

I still have my 15 minutes of fame on VHS tapes, which are now sitting in a drawer in my living room. Every now and then I get them out and look at them, but I  don’t crave the attention of being on TV. 

Honestly, I am happy with who I am. I like my life the way it is, working as a reporter at The Journal-News and being a children’s author. I like the simple life. I don’t need a lot of money or fame. God has blessed me beyond measure, and I owe it all to Him.

I think Christian music artist Francesca Battistelli sums it up the best in her song, I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes. Make no mistake, He knows my name. I’m not living for applause, I’m already so adored. It’s all His stage, He knows my name.

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