Three years ago, Chuck and I were invited to the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago for the official announcement that the production of The Steve Harvey Show was coming to the Windy City. I saw lots of media types there and all of the NBC employees had puffed out chests over this exciting news and, rightfully so. Larry Wert, former President and GM of NBC5, had worked long and hard to bring Steve to Chicago. During his comments, he jokingly added that he had to throw in a fur coat for Steve's wife Marjorie to convince her to make the move to our colder clime. It was a joyous occasion that involved a lot of backslapping, photos and congratulations.
Steve exudes charisma, he's like a rock star with everyone gravitating to him like a magnet. I have pics of he and I chatting, but I have no idea what sort of babble came out of my mouth since I was completely smitten, too.
He's a workaholic, as most of you know, who works as a comedian, television host, radio personality, actor, and author. He hosts The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey, and Family Feud almost simultaneously. And besides his hosting duties, he's written several books Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Straight Talk, No Chaser and A Conspiracy Of Wizards: The Cloven Accord, Book One. Where he finds the time, I can't even imagine, although he's been quoted as saying, "By failing to have a vision, you are stripping yourself of every possible blessing, relationship and opportunity." Steve clearly has lots of visions and, from the looks of things, plenty of blessings, too!
A couple of weeks ago, by serendipity, I received a very exciting call to appear on this top-rated national show and I had to pinch myself. The executive producer had also cast me in the premiere of hometown reality show, Chicagolicious, a few years earlier. So many coincidences! The title of the segment for my Harvey Show appearance is My Fair Lady and my role was similar to Professor Henry Higgins who turns a girl who's a little rough around the edges into a lady.
To see their production team in action was like watching a lunar launch--precision, timing, attention to details--it was astounding. The day of the first shoot (there were two), I was picked up in a limo that seemed to stretch a block long. It made me feel quite special and also amused my darling doormen.
The shoot took place at the Intercontinental, which is a glorious old world-style hotel on Michigan Avenue. There I met my willing "victim" Wendy Gross. Wendy's brother and a couple of her childhood male friends submitted her for a makeover and she couldn't have been more delightful. I took her through a series of "classes" that included instruction in fine dining, elocution, fashion, the art of conversation and etiquette do's and don'ts.
She was darling as is, a sort of rough and tumble NY sports writer with a very strong penchant for the NY Giants. Her everyday (and every night) attire consisted mainly of sports jerseys and cut-off jeans. I made it clear that we weren't looking to change who she is as a person, but rather, just filing down the rough edges.
The true test came when she was my guest at a "dinner party" I hosted in the Grand Ballroom. Her entry made guests gasp. I returned to shoot the studio segment with Steve a couple of days later with a live audience. Steve's advice, as always, was spot on and very insightful. The audience loved it and Steve mentioned that this was one of the best makeover shows they've ever done!
I want to thank my friends who joined me at the dinner party: Jennifer Sutton Brieva (with her friend Jodie Wilmot), Paul Iacono, Rochelle Trotter and Katie McLenaghan. They most certainly dressed up the shoot! Thanks to the show's expert staff-- all the producers, makeup artists, hair stylists and more--who made this moment in time one that I will never forget!
The segment will air on Tuesday, February 3, (Channel 5 in Chicago) at 2 pm and 3 am. Hope you watch and hope I don't suck. :-)
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