So now for something exceptionally cool.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I went to Los Angeles for an unexpected project. What I didn't mention was that the project included meeting, interviewing and photographing actor and author Molly Ringwald.
I've been a fan of Molly's work ever since I first saw her in The Breakfast Club back in the 80's (and I have a particular fondness for her character in Pretty in Pink). Molly's book, Getting the Pretty Back was recently released in paperback, and Molly has been busy with promotional efforts, so when BlogHer mentioned that they could make an introduction, making it possible for me to talk with Molly in person on the topic of agelessness, I leapt at the offer.
I was put in touch with Molly's publicist, we picked a date for me to fly to L.A., and I bought my tickets. We arranged for Molly to meet me in the lobby of my hotel. On the day in question, I went downstairs about a half-hour before our agreed-upon time, to make sure I could find a quiet but light-filled location to set up my microphone and take a few photographs of her. When I found a suitable place, I approached the man who was working behind the front desk.
"Hi," I said, "Um, this might sound a bit odd, but Molly Ringwald will be here in a few minutes, and I was wondering if you guys would have any problem if I interviewed her over there?" I pointed to a discreet corner at the far end of the lobby. "The entire interview shouldn't take more than about 20 minutes, and I promise that I'll return everything exactly as it is when I'm done."
He smiled. "Of course," he said immediately. "Whatever you need. Can we get you anything?"
I smiled back. "Thank you so much. No, I think I'm good. I promise to get out of your hair as soon as possible."
About 30 minutes later Molly arrived, looking every bit the movie star that she is, and I mean that in all of the really great ways. She greeted me graciously, and we exchanged a few pleasantries. I've said before that when I'm about to photograph someone, I like to try to connect with them to form an initial impression, and with Molly, the thoughts that instantly came to mind were words like "elegant." "Intelligent." "Artistic." "Warm." And honestly, "unaffected." She gamely answered all of my questions, and you can read her fantastic insights about getting older here. And then, even after I turned the microphone off, we stayed and chatted for almost an hour longer, talking about things like motherhood (her daughter is Alex's age), the writing process, and even living overseas. By the time she left, I found that I genuinely, and without any reservation, really liked her.
After she was gone, I pushed the seats and tables I had moved around for the interview back to their proper positions, grabbed all my stuff and went back over to the front desk to thank the receptionist for his indulgence.
"I really appreciate your help," I said. "I put everything back where it was."
"Not a problem," he said, returning my smile. And then, dude lost all composure. "Man," he breathed, "she is beautiful."
I laughed. "Yes, she is really, really lovely," I said. And I meant every word.
* * * * * * *
By the way, to prepare for Molly's interview, I purchased 2 hardback copies of her book (the paperback wasn't available yet at the time). After the interview, to thank her, I gave her a signed copy of my book; and then I asked if she would mind signing the copies of hers that I'd purchased: one for me (obv), and then one to give away here on Chookooloonks. She did so without hesitation. And so, simply leave a comment below, wherever in the world you might be, for a chance to win a signed copy of Molly Ringwald's book! I'll pick a commenter at random and announce the winner in Thursday's post. Also, once you've left comment, click over to BlogHer to see more images of Molly, as well as read what she had to say about youthfulness and agelessness. Seriously, she's so awesome.
Images: Shot with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens. aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/160, ISO 200.
Song: La vie en rose, as performed by Josephine Baker