By Nicole Guanlao
I don’t usually get star-struck. I didn’t hyperventilate once when I was working on the red carpet at this year’s Video Music Awards preshow in Hollywood (OK … maybe I did once when Chace Crawford and Miley Cyrus were 2 feet away from me). I was surrounded by music’s biggest stars, and I managed to refrain from being a wide-eyed and giggly superfan. This definitely was not the case last night during the taping of “A Night for Vets: An MTV Concert for the BRAVE.”
“A Night for Vets” was created to thank the courageous soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect our country. I was honored to help out with the show. Of course, I was still surrounded by celebrities like Ludacris, 50 Cent and Whoopi Goldberg, but there was one major difference between this event’s celebrity guest list and the VMAs’. Not only was I among some of the music industry’s biggest stars, but I was also amidst CNN’s finest! I knew it was going to be hard to keep my composure when Robin Meade of CNN’s “Headline News,” international correspondent Michael Ware and Anderson Cooper of “Anderson Cooper 360″ were in the room. As an aspiring on-air reporter myself, I’ve always admired journalists like them. I knew that I just had to meet them (especially Anderson), and show day was my last chance to do it.
Before rehearsals, Garth Bardsley, Robin’s floor producer for the show, asked me to accompany Robin and her crew up to the dressing room, and of course, I jumped at the offer. As we walked over to greet her, my heart beat faster, and I kept thinking of ways to stay calm even though my insides were in knots. Garth introduced me to Robin, and her huge smile and sweet personality made me forget I was talking to such a successful journalist. As I accompanied Robin to her dressing room, I picked her brain about the journalism industry and asked her how she got her start. She was more than willing to share her knowledge. She even told me to never let anyone get me down and go after my dreams. (Thanks, Robin!) She even asked me for advice on what boots to wear: a pair of black high-heeled boots with rhinestones or black platform knee-high boots? My vote was for the boots with the rhinestones, but she opted for the latter. Either way, I thought she looked fantastic!
During this whole time, I was keeping my eyes and ears out for info on Anderson’s arrival. Of course, I admire him as a journalist, but it doesn’t hurt that he is a complete dreamboat (swoon). I’d already informed Anderson’s floor producer, Sean Lee, of my admiration for the “AC 360″ anchor. I even made sure he and I were BlackBerry Messenger friends so he could “BBM” me as soon as Anderson arrived and had some time to talk.
Imagine my excitement when I heard on the walkie-talkie that Anderson arrived and was about to go down the escalators! Can you guess who conveniently had some important e-mails to read on her BlackBerry by the escalators? Yep … that would be me! I ran to my co-worker, Pete Griffin, and exclaimed, “Anderson is here! Anderson is here!” My nerves were getting the best of me as he approached, so I just put my head down and let him walk right by me.
A few hours later, I was still reeling from my failed attempt at meeting one of my favorite journalists, when I got a BBM from none other than Sean Lee. He told me that it was the perfect time to grab my camera and introduce myself to Anderson. I started to get nervous and excited again when I realized that I didn’t have a camera. I searched the Nokia Theatre for anyone I knew who could snap a picture, and my co-worker, Chris Harris, saved the day. I saw Anderson in the distance, and I nervously approached him while finding the need to verbally remind myself of just how nervous I was. Just as I was about to say, “Hello,” another Anderson fan cut in front of me, so I had to compose myself again, try to think of what to say, and remind myself not to laugh my high-pitched giggle.
When Anderson was finally alone, I took a deep breath and introduced myself. Our meeting was quite a blur, but I do know that I could not stop smiling. I remember telling him how much I looked up to him (by the way, he has the nicest blue eyes ever). I think I told him I was “super-super-excited” to meet him because I was a huge fan, but I’m not 100 percent sure — although I am well-known for linking the words “super” and “excited” in the same sentence about five times a day. I ended our conversation by shouting, “good luck tonight!” and then I giggled and walked away.
Our meeting lasted less than five minutes, but I will never forget it. I even snagged a photo. Take a look! Aren’t I glowing? Get that glow yourself and watch Robin, Anderson and many more stars on “A Night for Vets: An MTV Concert for the BRAVE,” which airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET!
UPDATE! OMG…. I landed on Robin Meade’s podcast! Didn’t I tell you she was awesome?!