“In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” said artist Andy Warhol, uttering the greatest quote of the 20th Century. Okay, maybe “I have a dream” has it beat and possibly “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” but in the Age of Kardashian is there a quote more appropriate for our times?
I think not.
My 15 minutes of fame began when I interviewed Vicki Gunvalson, owner of Coto Insurance & Financial Services. But this was no ordinary interview with an ordinary safe money advisor. Vicki is the star of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and a film crew from the show was present.
When I walked through the doors of her Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. office, a producer met me and handed me a contract to sign. I ignored advice my lawyer father gave me long ago and signed the paper without reading the fine print, hoping later I hadn’t agreed to appear on “Naked and Afraid: Death Valley Edition.”
The producer then gave me a mic to thread under my shirt and told me what I’d be doing. “You’re going to walk down the hallway there,” he said, pointing, “and hang a left at the last door. When you get inside, tell Vicki, ‘the photographer is ready for you.’”
It’s not exactly Brando’s backseat confession scene from “On the Waterfront”, but you gotta start somewhere.
I leaned against the wall for a moment, considering my motivation, how I wanted to say my line, what word or words I wanted to emphasize and began remembering my first acting job. It was the spring of 1979. The Coneheads had debuted on SNL earlier that year. My youth director at the Oxford University Methodist Church, whose brother, Bob Pittman, was the founder of MTV, thought it would be a great idea to shoot our own version of the skit and named ours The Phoneheads.