Have you ever been in a long line at the grocery store and passed the time by picking up one of those gossip drenched semi-trashy tabloid magazines? Scandals, weight loss, and flashy clothing galore. There’s a regularly written article from Us Weekly Magazine that always cracks me up. It’s titled, “Stars, They’re Just Like Us!” and is essentially paparazzi photos of famous people being, well just people. For example, it will have photos with captions like “They wear yoga pants and Nike Frees!” or “They splurge and chow down on a Butterfinger!” and “They walk their dogs and pick up poo!” It’s completely ridiculous and I bet much of the public so readily eats up this so-called news. Yet even as I sit here with my judgy pants on, I too become a sweaty mumbling spaz with a bad case of hot flashes when I have a celebrity sighting.
With that being said, one of the benefits of SoCal living is the opportunity to see some of America’s rich and famous in the flesh. Whether it be through concert events, movie premiers, meet and greets, or just out on the street. These last few weeks have been filled with celebrity encounters and I feel like my starstruck meter is maxed out. It started when Kaitlin and I decided to attend a music festival in northern SD called Kaaboo. Prior to this, I was a music festival virgin. Attending a music festival has always been on my list and have actually been dying to go to Stagecoach (think Coachella’s southern sister with a full blown country star line up) but have never been able to bring myself to drop the cash on these types of events. Between tickets, parking, accommodation, food and drinks, music festivals can rack up several hundo to attend. But now that we live here and wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel or parking with public transport we decided, why the heck not? The frugal immigrant child in me began searching for discounts and through the help of Craigslist, we scored big time and bought three day wristbands at a fraction of the cost, saving us $150 each.
Because this was the first time this festival was being held, the line up was not mind blowing but still fairly decent. The headliners included No Doubt, Zac Brown Band, the Killers, and Snoop himself. But there were also some really cool smaller acts like Ben Harper, Grace Potter, Michael Franti, Brett Dennen, Foster the People, The Revitalists, Counting Crows, and Train. It was held at the Del Mar Race Track and there were three main stages with several smaller venues throughout the facility. From what I read and was told, this festival is much different than Coachella in that they focus on a cleaner environment (no dirt, no port-o-potties, and some air conditioned areas) which honestly I really appreciated. It also was more than just music and they considered themselves an all around art festival, meaning they featured art in all forms such as paintings, culinary presentations, and comedians. My one qualm was the price of the food and drinks, but that’s to be expected. I quickly learned that a few protein bars in my purse and a little juice box wine smuggling could help our pocketbooks a bit. Would I go again? Definitely. I have always loved live music and it was pretty phenomenal to be surrounded by such talented individuals for three straight days.
In addition to this musical weekend, Kaitlin and I headed to Los Angeles a few weeks ago for an event that I had been stalking for months. With my eclectic biracial background, I have never really had a true doppleganger. I mean I guess I’ve been told
I resemble Vanessa Ann Hudgens a time or two (maybe because she’s part Filipino as well) and when I was in Nashville some one swore that I was Selena Gomez. But I think those Southerners just weren’t familiar with “the likes of me ‘round these parts.” Seriously, I never felt more aware of my not white, but not quite black, tannish yellow hue than when I visited the South. But I have dark hair so to a Southerner that instantly makes me Selena Gomez, right? Ha not that I am complaining. I mean I don’t see that resemblance at but hey, Selena’s a fox, so I’ll take it. Geeze, my tangents are really starting to spiral out of control. But back to my faux doppelgänger.
When I first moved to San Diego, a girl I had just met (who is now a friend of mine) said, “I don’t know if you’ll think of this as a compliment or not, but you remind me so much of that funny girl who plays a doctor on Fox. Ya know, the Indian one? Not necessarily your looks but your voice and mannerisms…sorry if this is weird, but do you know who am I am talking about?”
Instantly I knew who she was describing because this was not the first time I had been referred to Indian American actress and comedy writer, Mindy Kaling. In fact, in high school a friend started calling me Kelly in reference to Kaling’s role as Kelly Kapoor, a character from the American version of the hit television series, The Office. If you have never seen The Office before or are unfamiliar with this character, 1) shame on you and 2) click here. Kelly is a ridiculous but hysterical character that plays the girly office chatterbox with the voice of a ten year old and the mind of a pre-teen. Kelly Kapoor is the type of person that would eat a parasite to fit into the perfect party dress or make a fake Facebook account to stalk a boy. With that being said, I wasn’t sure if I should be thrilled or insulted when I started to get more and more references to Mindy Kaling. However, as Mindy’s popularity grew outside of her character from The Office, I started to research her a bit more and found that she is a very intelligent Dartmouth graduate, a clever and witty comedy writer, a fashion guru, and just downright hilarious. And in my senior year of college I purchased her first book titled, ready for it…Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Between this book and becoming addicted to her new show that she writes and stars in, The Mindy Project, I was hooked. My love for Mindy Kaling grew and felt flattered to be her faux doppelgänger.
So when I heard that she was doing a meet and greet tour to launch her second book, Why Not Me?, I was beyond stoked. And of course, because Mindy lives in Los Angeles, I knew there had to be a signing near me. After a three hour drive north (darn LA traffic!) we joined the other fans at 7 am to huddle on the sidewalk in a line that snaked around the Barnes & Noble at The Grove in LA to get the coveted wristbands that would allow entry into this free but exclusive event later that night. We spent the rest of the day shopping at adorable boutiques and eating at my favorite breakfast diner in the world, The Griddle Cafe, in Hollywood (check this place out…eye candy galore with an adorable all male wait staff and incredible stuffed pancakes the size of pizzas. Ummmm, what’s not to like?)
The book signing began as a Q&A between Mindy and her good friend and fellow actress Tracey Wigfield. The setting was the top floor of the Barnes & Noble and Kait and I were lucky enough to have scored wristbands that allowed us onto that floor where we were packed like sardines, all on our tiptoes just in awe of THE Mindy Kaling. The rest of the fans watched from TV screens on the floors below us and even outside the bookstore.
After that we shuffled into a crazy long line to get our books signed and snap a photo with Mindy herself which I thought was a really generous move on her part. There was a TON of people there. But from the way she talks and previous interviews I had seen of her, you can just tell Mindy really cares about her fans and is honored to have so many women identify with some her life experiences that she shares in the hysterical collection of essays in her books. As we waited, I started to get really nervous and fiddled around as I tried to come up with the perfect words that would make Mindy realize she needed me in her life. I mean for years people have been telling me we are so alike. This shouldn’t be hard, right? As we got closer I started to feel my palms getting sweaty and I knew I would only have a short time to say anything, if at all. I thought back to her books and television shows. Darn it, she always said how much she loved McDonald’s. I should have brought her a McMuffin. Oh wait, a girl five people ahead of me did just that. No! Now they will be best friends and she won’t remember me. Ok, umm maybe I’ll tell her how I identified with her so much as we both shared awkward ugly duckling childhoods with extra poundage and sideburns that would forever be preserved in our middle school yearbooks. No wait, I won’t have enough time to say all that. Crap, it’s almost my turn. As I approached her, I blurted, “Omg, can I give you a hug? Everyone says you’re my doppelgänger!” And then Mindy says,
“Oh my God! There’s no way that’s true. You look like a model!”
WHAT??? I was in a daze and everything went kind of hazy after that. I remember mumbling some other words that didn’t make sense and finished with a popular line from her character as Kelly on The Office and randomly finished by shouting “fashion show, fashion show at lunch!” Which I know makes no sense to people who haven’t seen the show or that episode of The Office. In fact, it didn’t really make sense in this context either. Really Miriam? Why did you just say that? Mindy just sort of looked at me funny and the next thing I knew I was being shooed off the stage by the security guard. But at this point, it was really hard to dwell on my idiotic mumbling. Because when one of your celeb idols calls you a model after having The Griddle Cafe pancakes as your last meal, you could pretty much die right then and there and be happy. Okay, so I am being a tad dramatic. But really it was incredible and Mindy if you’re reading this, the offer to be the assistant to your assistant, or fan mail opener/sorter, or Starbucks/Mickey D’s runner is still on the table :]
An experience like this never would have happened if I didn’t make the leap and flee from my old hum drum life back in Fresno. Not that it was terrible there by any means, but all I know is this is just the beginning of my adventures. I have four more weeks left in San Diego and have no idea where God is taking me next. I am a nomad with no job lined up and my attempts at breaking into the San Francisco travel nursing scene keep hitting road blocks. But other applications are in the works (even out of state) and while I’d be lying if I said I was completely ready to leave the sunshine of San Diego, I am excited to see where my feet land next. Also, shout out to all my peeps in the photos below that made the long journey south to come visit my new digs. Even with the excitement of SD living, it’s always so, so good to see a familiar face.
Tomorrow I’ll be heading to the craft store to make my Halloween costume as I will be hitting the Bay Area for tricks and treats this Halloween with my best, Melanie. But if you need some Halloween costume inspiration, check out my Halloween post from last year here. Hope everyone has a spooktacular and safe Halloween weekend!
Cheers and keep on wishin’