Thursday, April 03, 2008

My Surreal Life: I Had Lunch With Jessica Alba Today

I spent five hours at Kira's middle school today. It was their Open House, and for two hours before classroom visits they had a World's Fair with food booths, games, jugglers and live music. I had volunteered to set up and work the PTA bake sale, so there I was in our makeshift booth made out of lunch benches, with my frosting-smeared shirt and plastic gloves hustling brownies and cupcakes for three-hours to hoards of adolescents and their parents.

But before that? I had lunch with Jessica Alba.

Slightly more exciting than selling baked goods to middle schoolers, but equally nerve wracking.

I had been asked to interview her by Genlux magazine, who had me previously interview Hayden Panettierre and recently Alicia Witt. No problem! These phone interviews had been relatively easy, chatting for forty-five-minutes about Versace and celebrity beauty secrets while I sat in my office clad in faded sweatpants and my torn Gap t-shirt, the phone receiver nestled comfortably in my unbrushed hair.

But then I was told that this one had to be in person, that I would be sitting down, one-on-one and face-to-face with Jessica Alba, she of the perfect Revlon skin and the Maxim's Hot 100 List. Did they know who I was? Were they aware that I often ventured out in public in my pajamas? My first reaction was to try and get out of doing it altogether, but halfway through my story I could tell they weren't buying my "mysterious ailment that prevented me from leaving the house" and they really got suspicious when I got to the part about my ten-pound goiter.

To make matters worse, the lunch would take place in a trendy restaurant on one of the hippest streets in L.A. Why, this is the block where some of the biggest celebrities have crashed their cars and had public meltdowns that led to immediate trips to rehab. So much pressure! I felt like I would be expected to charge up in my minivan, run over the valet and fall out into the street while simultaneously flashing my panties and chugging from a quart bottle of Vodka.

(To prove what a serious journalist I am, I'll have you know I prepared extensively for the interview. And by 'prepared' I mean getting a manicure and going to the mall to buy a killer top and a new jacket.)

But in spite of all my nervousness and worries, it went surprisingly well. While somewhat guarded, she was sweet, down to earth and surprisingly easy to talk to. And here's one thing I noticed: People are very nice to you when you're sitting with Jessica Alba. I believe at one point we had three waiters standing by our table, and halfway through our meal the owner came over to ask if I'd like my quesadilla re-made, since it had gotten cold during the course of the interview. Baskets of bread and bottles of water appeared magically at the table. I'd like to take Jessica with me to my local Starbucks and see if that snippy barista still rolls her eyes when I ask for more foam on my cappuccino.

My favorite parts of the interview were where we talked about her pregnancy, and about babies, and about raising kids in this city. I told her stories about my girls, and at the end of the interview I gave her two cards Kira and Kiyomi had made for her. She seemed genuinely touched and read both of them carefully, and brought them out to show her friend who came to pick her up when we had finished. Of course, I told the girls all of this and thought they'd be thrilled, but Kiyomi's only reaction was, "But wait - and you still didn't get us her autograph?"

I haven't even listed to the tape yet, which I have to admit I'm dreading since it will inevitably have me cringing at the sound of my voice and the inappropriate giggling. How many times did I say 'um?' Just how insincere and pandering did I sound when I said, "I love your hair!" Could I have been more dorky when I asked her friend to take a picture of us? At that creepy juncture I may as well have asked to exchange phone numbers, given her a lock of my hair and invited her over for a sleepover.

I'll let you know when the interview comes out. And if I've changed my name.

But at the end of the day, this much I know for sure - I sold a helluva lot of brownies.

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  1. What a surreal life you lead. And to think, the closest I ever brushed to fame was a trip from my Nebraska home town to California in 1986 where I brushed up against the lead singer of Journey as he was leaving and I was entering a Mexican restaurant.

    I want some of those brownies.

  2. I think I need to find a reason to visit you and hang out with you for a few weeks.

  3. OMG - I love her. I have since 'Flipper.'

    (The 'new' one, not the original. God I'm not THAT old. Alrite, I am.)


  4. That is so cool!

    And why is it everyone hates the sound of their own voice? I can't stand to hear myself talk either.

  5. Wow. Just wow. Why doesn't my PTA have any celebrity-knowing volunteers? Think of the silent auction items you could gather!

  6. Did you know that in 18th century Swiss mountain communities iodine deficiencies were so common that the attractiveness of young women was often assessed by reference to the shapeliness of their goiters?

    Beat that Alba!

  7. How exciting! and I'm glad to hear that she was friendly and nice---some tabloid mags suggest otherwise. (not that I read them or anything.....)

  8. She seems like a sweet girl.

    (No one has ever offered to re-heat my quesadilla, that's for sure.)

  9. That is too cool. Glad to hear she wasn't one of those snoooty types.

    Make sure you let us know when the issue comes out!

    (I'm a fan of Alicia Witt, too. Ever see her as d-girl in Sopranos?)

  10. I like the description of running over the valet with a minivan and the rest. We minivan moms are just such safe drivers (or boring, whatever) that we never make headlines.

  11. Hey, I'm no Jessica Alba, but you can interview me anytime and you don't even have to brush your hair or change out of your pjs. I'll even tell the Starbucks bitch to smile and give you more foam already!!

  12. How does one recover after an experience like that?

  13. I was going to leave a post, but then I read that "marymurtz" bumped into Steve Perry and have now forgotten what I was going to say.

  14. WOW. Do you remember Moobs's 2006 Tenuous Connection game? I feel like I actually have one now! Before you, the most awe-inspiring "connection" I had was through my father who caught a glimpse of Liberace at a shopping mall in Vegas.

    But seriously, I'd go out and buy a new outfit at the opportunity to interview you, SPM. And would totally be inviting you to a slumber party.

  15. Kay, why have I not come across you before, Ms. Sweatpantsmom? Lunch with Jessica Alba? I LOVE it! WHO has lunch with Jessica Alba???!! Glad it went well! Looking forward to reading it when it comes out!

  16. wow! that's even better than my friend, who once got to eat Jessica Alba's french fries:


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