This was one of the most amazing experiences ever! It is still sinking in. But let me back up, the road getting here wasn’t always clear – at least to me.
It started on a Monday night with an email. A woman named Emily who claimed she worked at The Queen Latifah Show wanted to “chat about my story”. They were filming their Earth Day show and wanted to “highlight women who are making a difference in their community”.
Sounds cool! But me!? Really? They are probably emailing TONS of women, I bet they didn’t even read my blog, just saw a few keys words and shot off an email to see who’d respond first. I let the email sit for a day. I asked some of my Green Sisters if they’d gotten similar requests. No one had. Hmm. OK I’ll bite. So I emailed her back.
We spoke on Thursday afternoon. She asked me how I got started, what prompted me to start Upcycle It!, that kind of thing. She told me again, that they were highlighting women making a difference, that she was speaking to a few other people and she’d let me know later that day. OK, whatever, we’ll see. I’m a little more convinced she’s for real, but still feel like I won’t get picked. At one point she asked what other “green” things we do around the house. We recycle, compost, use cloth napkins. Then she asked if we had an electric car. Oh no, she’s not going to think I’m “green” enough. You don’t need an electric car to be green, there are tons of other things you can do. I had to convince her I was committed even though I drive a minivan that gets a pathetic 20 MPG, if I’m lucky! I talked about why my husband and I didn’t have an electric car –we have 3 kids and a dog and I’m constantly driving them and a friend or two places, so we really need a larger vehicle and the electric vehicles out there at the time just didn’t work for us. But I’d love to have one. Did I convince her? I hoped so.
Two hours later the phone rang again. It was her asking if I could come out there Sunday to tape the show Monday. I screamed when I got off the phone! I couldn’t believe it! My kids were so excited! My 12 year old is very into fashion, makeup and being on TV or movies. She kept calling me a movie star. Yea, I’m a cool mom!
As I started telling people, I started to wonder if this was a scam. I know, how paranoid am I? But I had recently read an article about a female reporter who was almost lured to Russia under the guise of reporting the Olympics only to discover last minute that it was a human trafficking scam! OK, I need to do some checking on this. I double checked the email domain name. Yup looks like the same one they use on the QL website. But scammers can fake that. OK, what to do…. I couldn’t find a phone number, so I emailed the generic “contact us” address of the show and asked if this was legitimate. I figured I might not get a response since I’m sure they get 100’s of emails daily but it was worth a shot. Well, within about a ½ hour, I had a response. This was for real! OMG!
The next few days were a whirlwind of getting ready to be gone for a few days, my amazing Mother-in-law came up and help with the kids, and the most important thing – figuring out what to wear! So I’m doing all this and I still am not really sure what’s going to go on. I emailed my contact and asked if I’d be interviewed so I could prepare. She told me that they were honoring a few people, that I’d be in the audience, Queen Latifah would point me out and might ask me a quick question. Oh, OK. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. All this traveling across the country for 2 days and like 10 seconds on camera. But she said that they’d be able to mention my blog name and hopefully get me a bunch of traffic. Woo Hoo! What every blogger wants! Plus how cool to be flown out to LA for all the work I’ve been doing for the last 4 years.
Sunday morning. Oh did I mention that the night before my flight I slept on the floor of a mall? Yes, I was at a girl scout Pajama Palooza with my 12 year old. It was a lot of fun, but needless to say I did not get much sleep. I came home, showered, changed and headed to the airport.
When I got to the studio the next morning, they brought me to where the audience waits. Watching the taping of the show was fun. I’d never seen a show filmed before. Someone was supposed to come get me after the first segment or 2, but there I was 3 – 4 segments later. Did they forget about me? They changed their minds. Ugh, they are running out of time and I’m not even going to be on TV at all. I’m starting to get a bit down. Finally, someone came to get me and took me to hair and makeup. VERY COOL! What they can do with makeup and hair is amazing!
I spoke with the associate producer who told me that Queen Latifah would be saying a few words about Upcycle It! and might ask me why I started it. So I was fitted for a microphone. OMG, I’ll get to talk. Please don’t sound foolish. She then told me that sometimes Queen Latifah likes to give her guests something. If that happens make sure I really react. That on TV it may not look like people are reacting so go big. Got it. So back to the audience we go.
Then Queen Latifah starts to talk about me, “We have someone in the audience…” then I sort of blanked out. I have no idea what she actually said. My brain completely slowed down and I could only process one thing at a time. Am I smiling? Smile. Where is the camera? Is it on me? Should I wave? Don’t forget to breath. Oh God, what is she saying about me? You need to listen and smile at the same time! All I heard were a few words – “Kristina…” “started a program in her school district…” “Let’s bring her on stage”. OK, I have to get up and walk. So I hear, “bring her down” and I get up. Please don’t fall please don’t fall….
I am directed to the stage and I step in between Danny Seo and Queen Latifah. She then asks why I started this program. I start to say that I have 3 children, say their names, then I have no idea how I answered the question. Again, hoping I made some sense but I’m really thinking I said the Beauty Pageant equivalent of “End World Hunger”. She then asks how it feels knowing that I’m making a difference. It feels great. At some point in there I tell her that it’s easier than you might think. And she looks at me and says “Really?” I say “Yes it is.” When did I say that, did it make sense? I have no idea now. So then she says that someone else noticed what I was doing, again I’m totally paraphrasing here since I was totally in a fog at this point just trying to remember to smile, breath and not fall over! She tells me that Ford wants to give me a home electric charging stations. Great? What am I going to do with this. This is weird. What’s going on? But I’m on TV, big reaction. Great! She asks, ”Do you own an electric car?” “No”, I say, “but it’s still cool.” Then I’m thinking, wait a minute…
The next thing I hear is “You do now!” and out rolls a gorgeous red Ford CMAX Energi I about died. So surreal I can’t even explain it. Like an out of body experience. We walk over to my ….. MY car!!! And I’m gushing about the color – it’s my favorite gorgeous deep red. Now tears are forming. I get in and I’m saying how comfy it is. Danny is saying something about how great the mpg’s are. The audience is going nuts. I just comment on how comfortable and nice it was and how I loved the color. I just could not express how incredible this was.
I am still speechless. To be noticed and recognized in such an amazing way for what I have been trying to accomplish for years, there are no words. There are times when I think to myself, “What the heck am I doing sorting trash in my garage!” Volunteering hours of my time. Am I making a difference? Does anyone notice and care? I guess they do! When I told people I was going to be on the show, they were truly happy for me and said how hard I work and how much I deserved it. I’m tearing up again. I don’t do this for the recognition, but I do hope that people notice and that I am making a difference.
And can we just talk about an electric car!!!!!! YEAH! So happy to be able to use this new technology. I can’t wait to test it out and see how long I can go without going to a gas station!
Thank you Queen Latifah!!! Thank you Danny Seo!!! Thank you Ford!!
Top and Bottom photos courtesy of The Queen Latifah Show