Monday, November 11, 2013

My Day with David Gandy (by Melissa F. Viro)

The proverb goes "Be careful what you wish for. You just might receive it." Did I wish for this? Yes. Was it as wonderful as I thought it would be? Unlike the meaning of the proverb, my answer is, it was above and beyond everything I ever expected. But, best of all is that the proceeds of this bid go towards bettering someone else's life.

This whole adventure started when it was announced that one of the items on the Blue Steel Appeal auction was to spend a day with David Gandy on the set of a Lucky Brand shoot. Right then and there I decided I was going to bid on this. The day the auction went live I gave myself a limit and started bidding. In what seemed like no time my limit came up and I stopped bidding. I was really excited how high the bidding got to, because that meant more money for Blue Steel Appeal.

As most of you know, I wasn't the original winner of this prize, but little did I know that soon enough I would be. One day back in April I arrive at work and I do what I always do each morning, I go through my emails. Thank God that that day I wasn't into the deleting everything in sight I actually paid attention to each email address and subject line. And what was sitting there waiting for me to open an email that said "The Real Comic Relief has sent you a message. "Immediately my heart started pounding and I became glued to my chair, I could not move! I sat there for a while with a million thoughts going through my head. My next actions were quick: open email, respond, answer next email that came in about a second later from Ebay click "YES" and it was done. I was going to meet David Gandy. Was I freaking out? Oh you better believe it. Did I alert anyone in the office, Nope! First to hear the news, Lorena, my fellow blogger and the mastermind behind this amazing web/blog that I'm fortunate and very happy to be a part of. Next, why the best-friends of course. The same ones who come over and pretty much demand that "The Book" be out and waiting for them upon arrival.

So what felt like forever and a day, September finally comes around and all of a sudden I have an itinerary in hand and I'm off to L.A. I won't bore you with where I was the week before and how my flight was delayed for 7-8 hours on the way home and how I was home for less than 24 hours before I boarded a flight back to the west coast. Needless to say I was running on fumes and a bit of adrenaline at this point. Five hours later I land in L.A. and I'm walking towards the baggage claim to look for my driver. I know, right! I had a very nice man named Clarence waiting for me with a sign and everything. Now, those that really know me know that upon hearing his name I was immediately quoting lines from Airplane! I'm a movie geek and I do that a lot. I'll tell you one thing, David knows the looks that people like us, who happen to quote random movie lines, get when we do that. We arrive at the hotel, The Mondrian on the famous Sunset Strip and of course I am as giddy as a school girl. I hadn't been back to L.A. since the early 90's and I'm staying on the Sunset Strip, home of the now gone but never forgotten Tower Records and the famous Chateau Marmont and Sunset Towers. I check in and go up to my room on the 11th floor I open the door and boom huge room, gorgeous wood floor, floor to ceiling windows overlooking the strip, I'm in a junior suite for Pete's sake. It took me a minute to take it all in. Fly to L.A., private pick up at LAX, junior suite on Sunset Blvd., yeah I needed a drink, badly! To say I had a good night's sleep is an understatement. I kept on waking up to check my phone to see that I hadn't missed the alarm or maybe forgot to turn it on. The alarm was on every single time I checked, but it was already 7am so I decided to just get up and do the morning thing, plus coffee was needed lots and lots of coffee. 

I was scheduled to be picked up around 11:30am by Melissa Cabot, she is the VP of Brand Marketing for Lucky Brand and she was my contact since I found out I was going to meet David. I miraculously have an appetite, so I go down for breakfast plus 3 cups of coffee. Now that I'm extremely wired I take a short walk on the strip and enjoy the beautiful California weather. Back at the room I wait a bit and I pass the time texting with two of my best-friends and a few other friends who actually knew where I was and what I was going to be doing. I could actually feel their excitement for me all the way in L.A.

I finally get that call, Melissa is about 10 minutes out and that's when the nerves start kicking in. I grab my stuff, by stuff I mean my big blue book and I head downstairs. A few minutes later I meet Melissa outside of the hotel. No driver, she came to pick me up in her own personal car and we're off to the studio . I have to say Melissa is one of the nicest people I have ever met, I'm usually really quiet when I first meet people but not this time we talked the whole way over. She asked me how I came to know of David Gandy and that leads to me telling her about this blog and she asks me if he knows it's me that he's going to meet and I tell her that I really don't think so.  I felt like I'd known her for years. We were talking so much that I really didn't notice that we were at the studio until we were parking. We maybe parked a block away and walked right over to the studio and yes my hands shaking and all sweaty, gross I know. You really couldn't see much from the outside, it's just looked like any modern building. We walk in and immediately I'm being introduced to people and I really wish I would have been able to remember everybody's name. It doesn't happen on a normal day, so it definitely wasn't happening today. We pass several studios until we get to the one Lucky is using, we walk in and to the right is all the clothes and a make shift dressing room, a bit ahead of it are seamstresses and some sewing machines and as I scan the room a bit more there he is casually sitting, legs out crossed at the ankles, barefoot and casually flipping through a magazine. Yeah, stomach turns and decides it wants to do gymnastics at that precise moment. I stop of course and Melissa walks towards him to let him know I'm there, they say hi and he starts walking towards me, hands in pockets, smiling. How my knees did not give out on me I have no idea but I held on to my book for dear life like if that was going to keep me from falling. He extends his hand and we say hi, and he motions for us to go over to where he was sitting, I will my legs to move and they do, Thank God! I looked extremely calm on the outside, inside not so much. Along the way more introductions and Melissa takes my lifeline, the book, but I'm pretty much okay by this point. We sit and start talking and he immediately puts me at ease. All nervousness has gone. He shows me the Escapism video (yup I got to see it the day before its release), we talked about that and the cars for a bit, he showed me the renovations being done to his house, which was really quite cool. He told me how they woke him up early that morning to discuss renovations, I think he said it was like 4am L.A. time when they called to discuss something about where the boiler was going and about a skylight. While we're talking about the renovations Patrick Wade who is the Creative Director for Lucky comes and sits at the table with us and I get introduced and David tells me before I arrived he was looking at an Architectural Digest where Patrick's house was featured. He opens the magazine and shows me the editorial and I'm speechless with how beautiful his house is and David says he's borrowing ideas for his own house from this. 

At this point I want to stop and say that while talking to David he looks you straight in the eyes when he talks to you, it might seem a little unnerving but I didn't feel that, it was quite a breath of fresh air because not many people do that. And yes ladies they are a very unique color of blue, my description would be that of a Caribbean blue. Okay I digress, we talk a bit more and he asks me if anyone knows that I was there and I told him only a few people, that it wasn't something I wanted to announce that I wanted to just be me until the day it happened. I think at that point he may have asked if he could tell Laura and I was like sure. Or if I had told Laura and I said no, I don't quite remember.

On our way to see what's going on on set he asks me if I mind if we take a picture and have it posted and of course I say it's more than okay and that is the picture we took that you all saw. It was funny because Melissa took the picture of us with his blackberry and we were cracking up because it took quite a few times for her to get right. I guess we're all use to using our IPhones.

We make our way over to where Missy is on set and we stand by the monitor where the pictures that are being taken pop up and I tell David that It would have been nice to have the dog that was on set the day before on set today, but it wasn't so I go ahead and tell him about my two dogs and of course like the proud momma I am I show him pictures and go on and on about my dogs. 

We move back a bit and sit on these director’s chair and we talk some more. And while we're talking he's leaning over towards me with his foot on the chair and I'm seriously trying to pay attention to what he's saying but he's so close and I'm feeling like I'm having a hot flash. I don't think I should be having one of those because I'm not that old but yeah I'm sweating and nodding at whatever he's saying but please do not ask me what he was saying at this point, for god's sake he was just sitting so close. I do want to say that I thought I was only going to get about 15 minutes one on one with David. I got a lot more than that and I don't think he will ever know how much I appreciate that. We went from subject to subject with so much ease. He's the type of person that I love to have a few drinks with and just talk and pick their brain . Someone you'd take the time to get to know.  It was just so easy to talk to him, comfortable. He's just a normal guy.

To add to how much time I got to spend with him, we had lunch with the crew. Did I eat much, nope. I think I had my fill at breakfast plus the 3 cups of coffee. While having lunch I found out that David and I have something in common, Movies! I'm a geek when it comes to films being a former film student and all, but there's much more to it than that. What we share is a thing that may annoy our friends but to us it's a perfectly normal thing to do. We quote movie lines and we both seem to have that one friend we do it with, and no matter where we are we get lost with this friend doing that until we notice the stares from other friends; those stares being "WTF are you guys doing?!" If you remember what you read about the movie Airplane! up top, this is what I was referring to.

After lunch David asks if I drink coffee and "I most definitely do" I tell him, I'm still wired from the three I had in the morning. We make our way to the in house studio barista and had ourselves a macchiato. On the way I asked David if while he was in Miami if he's ever had Cuban Coffee. I was surprised that he hadn't since he's said how much of a coffee drinker he is. He asks me about it and I explain to him that we call it Cuban speed. He laughs and I go on to explain that it's an espresso but served with the sugar already in it. And when I say sugar I mean a heck of a lot of sugar. WARNING: Do not drink Cuban Coffee before going to bed, you will not sleep! Sorry, I had to get that out there. Of course, I told him that next time he came to Miami he had to try it and if he wanted to I would be happy to make it for him. I know how forward of me, but I had to just throw that out there. While we waited for our coffee we talked about our family and siblings, funny actually no matter who's older be it the sister or brother, the brother will always find a way to mess with his sister.

We get our coffees and we go sit outside. The studio has a nice terrace out front with patio tables with umbrellas. David sits fully in the sun and me under the umbrella. I'm from Miami, I get enough sun all year round and I had just been in Vegas spent 3 days poolside I did not need any more sun. We talked clothes and shopping habits and how you really don't need to spend a ridiculous amount of money to look good, shop smart that's what it's all about. And wear what you like and what looks good on you.

We make it back inside and David is needed on set, so he goes and changes and I'm excited because I get to see him work. I make my way over to the set and what was so cool was that I got to talk to about everyone on the crew, and I have to say they were so nice to me. They made sure I had a good view of what was going on the whole time. Even the CEO of Lucky made an appearance on set and I was introduced and he was very nice and gracious. On the inside I was like "holy crap the CEO of this company is here!!" On the outside I was, again, calm, cool, collective. I've always enjoyed anything that takes place behind the scenes so this was a treat for me.

Models are on set, pictures were taking, set was moved around, love this stuff. I know for everyone on set is a normal day but I was enjoying watching was goes into a photo shoot. What amazed me the most was when David and Missy were being photographed how the most subtle change in head position, pose, where the eyes were focused changes the whole the dynamic of the picture. I know that personally I would never be able to do that without looking ridiculous.

After a few wardrobe changes and some solo shots of David he is done for the day. He tells me he's really looking forward to getting back to his hotel for some gym time and hopefully some time for himself. We talk movies again before we leave, some 007 talk and favorite all time movie talk which of course, I don't have one I have like a hundred. Before we leave he signs my book and then he does the nicest thing ever, he lets me record a short video of him saying Happy Birthday to my dear friend Natalie.

It's time to say goodbye and I wasn't expecting this, but I received a kiss and hug from David. I had a brief conversation with the photographer and two other people from Lucky that I'm laughing just thinking about it, sorry I won't say what we talked about but it was funny and then I'm out the door and my day is over. And, what a day it was. One I will definitely never forget. It is unforgettable for many reasons but the main one is David, once you get past the looks and everything that makes him his brand there is a perfectly normal and down to earth man there. A gentleman? Definitely. An absolutely nice, approachable and just plain sweet person.

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