Friday, April 23, 2010

My Day With Britney Spears From Sketchers To Tears


The Day I Made Britney Spears Cry

My very first job out of college was as Associate Editor of a now defunct teen mag called SuperTeen. If you were a kid between 1996 and 1999, and loved Backstreet Boys or Hanson, there is a slight chance you may have read an article penned by me. That job was the coolest. Although it paid a measly $21,000 a year in 1997 (meaning it was bad even back then), it allowed me some pretty cool perks. 
In addition to lots of free beauty products, I had backstage access to countless concerts, Disney cruises, dinners at Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood sitting next to whoever was the hottest kid at the moment. I’ve interviewed everyone from Jonathan Taylor Thomas to Justin Timberlake. From Beyonce to BackStreet Boys, even Hanson—very not the nicest child stars by way, although Taylor wasn’t as obnoxious as Ike and Zac. 
Why am I telling you this? 
I got an email from Ian over at Daily Dose of Reality asking, “Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?” I’m guessing that’d be Britney Spears.  My final big assignment prior to a layoff, (the magazine was acquired by competitors and some messy crap went down aka eventually everyone ended up getting canned) I was to spend the day with Britney in NYC. Our offices, of course were in NYC, so we were always busy with press events, etc.
It was a Spring day as I waited on the corner of 18th and Park Avenue South for her to pick me up. OK, so Brit wasn’t behind the wheel exactly, her chauffer was.  Her label, Jive, often taxied their stars around in shiny black Cadillac Escalades.
I hopped in and slid up alongside her in the backseat and asked how she was. I hadn’t seen her in a few months. She had just returned from Japan—I think it was her first visit, but I could be wrong.  Killing time in Manhattan traffic, Brit showed me some little trinkets she snagged in Japan. I believe we bonded on our love for Hello Kitty and Sanrio as she showed me a light-up animated character connected to her cell phone. Nosey and always looking for something to chat about, I asked to see what was in her purse. I believe she pulled a few items from her wallet. I recall a pressed four-leaf clover for luck (I forget the story behind it) and a prayer she said kept her grounded and in touch with her faith.
Around this time, she was preparing for a big solo tour sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger. Hilfiger asked her to load up on some clothes. Whatever she wanted. Racks and racks of expensive designer fashions, all for free. I bitched to Tommy's brother Andy Hilfiger about how I couldn’t believe they still didn’t make any cute stuff in plus sizes for us bigger chicks. He apologized. Yeah, I’m ballsy like that.
I remember one puffy white jacket Britney tried on, I busted out with the lamest comment ever, “Gee Brit, for some reason I feel like if you were to fall into a swimming pool wearing that, you just might float.” Nobody laughed. Eek. I have a knack for saying stupid things, but don’t worry, it gets worse.
After the free Hilfiger shopping trip ended, we headed out to a photo studio loft in Union Square.  Upon exiting the Cadillac, Brit noticed a Sketchers store below the photo studio and tore-ass in there. Her very large bodyguard Rob, chaperone/family friend Felicia and I all followed her in as fast as we could.
While quickly surveying the store, I grabbed a cute pair of Adidas wannabe white platform sneakers and called to her, “Brit, get these! Get these! How cute are these?!” I was floored when she replied, “Oh yeah girl, those are cute! I have to have ‘em!” For some odd reason, I expected her to say, “Grab a pair for yourself, ya know since you found ‘em first.” Um, she didn’t.

Instead Felicia grabbed the platform Sketchers in Brit’s size and whipped out a credit card from her wallet. She joked with me about Brit being a shopaholic as her bodyguard grabbed a pair of Timberland looking Sketchers. This broke-ass editor left empty-handed of course. It’s okay; I’ve never been a big Sketchers fan anyway. I’m more of a Vans or Etnies girl myself.

Once inside the photo studio, Brit had her hair and makeup done while we sat around and chatted. Another editor was there at that point and we admired Britney’s Tocca candle and asked her what beauty products she liked, etc. Around this time, Brit was dealing with a lot of bad press and negative attention because of her fake boobage.  We knew enough not to mention that, yet I still managed to somehow screw that up.
During a few photos, Brit decided to go bra-less and when she went in to change into something else, I quietly mentioned to the photographer that anything too sexy would not make it into our magazines. Somehow she figured me out and the vibe seriously shifted from there. It was so awful, I wanted to die. I couldn’t apologize because I was too ashamed and didn’t know exactly what to say.
The next thing I knew, she was sitting in her makeup chair, getting hair and makeup touch-ups and sniffling. I could tell she was trying not to cry, cry. How could she possibly have heard me? How did she know what I said? I was so slick, so I thought. Maybe she thought I was making fun of her? Maybe she thought I saw her boob job scars? I had to make it better and had no idea how. Suddenly, the other editor kicked the weirdness up a notch and brought awkward to a whole new level.
I wish I could remember if I had told the other editor what had happened and she attempted to save the day, or if she just got all emotional herself totally at random. The next thing I know, Brit’s still in her makeup chair and editor lady is removing a necklace along with a locket or pendant type charm. She’s handing it over to Britney. I lean in to see what the hell is going on. She holds Britney’s hand and tells her that the necklace brought her only good luck and she felt it was time to pass it on to someone else. Uh, hello? This is Britney Spears, she gets free diamonds! Save your gold locket for your first-born.
Britney was gracious and they sniffled together as I stood there feeling like a total jerk. I began counting the minutes until I could finally go back to the office and hide in my cubicle writing up the “Day with Britney” story leaving out all of the juiciest parts. Thanks to Ian, I’m able to tell the real story.

Be sure to check out the image of Britney in her Sketchers that I PICKED OUT along with scans of the 1999 caption story. If you’re bored, click on the images to enlarge and enjoy. The story appeared in a tabloid style mag the new publishing company test-marketed. It failed. Why? Because even though I wasn’t the smoothest operator, I was their best reporter and I was now no longer contributing to their publications.  Trust me, I was the one editor who sweet-talked a 17-year-old Backstreet Boy Nick Carter into say anything other than, "Yeah, well ya know" or "I guess."  More on that another day.





63 comments:

Cheeseboy said...

Well, this is the most interesting post that I have read in a while an I have no real feelings for Brittney Spears one way or another.

However, I think these young stars need someone like you to tell them how it really is and not what they want to hear.

I'm more of a Vans man too. More comfort for the buck.

Hope Chella said...

Good stuff!

Copyboy said...

You know sometimes I forget you're not just another pretty blogger....you're also a full fledged writer. That's pretty impressive that you can add a "Britney almost cried" to your rez. Bet no one else can claim that. 'cept maybe K-fed.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

This is an exciting story. It sounds like Britteny hasn't changed. The fact that she wanted to go braless when her boobs were already the center of attention, and then cried that you suggested more respectable attire.. Poor girl. She was never grounded.
Thanks for another great post.
Robyn

Alison said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Zach and Ike Hanson were obnoxious?! Blasphemy!
There is no way my very first imaginary boyfriend(s) would be obnoxious.
I refuse to believe it.

TS Hendrik said...

Wow, you really are a good writer. You made Britney Spears interesting to me. That's a first.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I kind of don't understand why she cried. I thought it was a compliment what you said meaning that Brit looked sexy in her pics. Can you enlighten me?

Did you vote on the Battle of the Game Show Hosts: 1st round yet? (Tuesdays post)

Just The Cheese

Ally said...

Cheeseboy- thanks! Vans rule!

Copyboy-you make me blush, you know your my ad copy idol.

Robyn-Ha ha!!!

Alison-Hanson were the worst. I was so glad when their popularity faded. They just weren't very nice for good born again boys.

Toast Man-That's the thing, I don't know what I did! I'll never know. I'm guessing she just heard me whispering to the photographer and assumed I was making fun of her or something. It was just an awkward misunderstanding I think and I had no way of fixing it. I'm a spaz like that.

Mainland Streel said...

Wow, this totally brought my teen years back to me. I was a magazine whore. Though I don't think I read this particular one, the pictures made me think of all the pictures I patiently clipped out of those glossy pages, ha ha!

Loved this post! :)

CupcakeCutie said...

I LOVE Britney. Yes I am 27 years old, and yes I am aware she is a pop star who may or may not have any natural talent. But, she is one of my many guilty pleasures. I love this post! And this blog. :)

Caution Flag said...

This post is the best. Really. You are a natural story-teller (the good kind!)

Joe Cap said...

I'm having trouble understanding how that innocent comment...and a compliment too, as noted above by Toasty...could make this little Diva cry...
Lord help he if she ever runs out of money and has to get a 'real' job...

The Random Blogette said...

Wow! What a great story! That is great that you actually got to hang out with the teen stars. No better way to find out what they are really like, then having to spend the day with them. I have always felt kinda bad for Britney.

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

awesome!!! what was ole JT like? He's more famous to me than Britney I guess because I like him and I can't stand her.

Jules said...

This story is priceless and good for you for keeping it real. I cannot believe that the editor lady handed over her locket necklace. I'm sure it ended up in the trash from being in the hands of someone like Brit.

I admit that I loved her when the whole bubblegum pop craze was going on, but I saw her in concert last summer (lame, I know) and it was such a disappointment. Her performance was awful and the lip singing was atrocious.

Marlene said...

I'm crying. I saw the word Hilfiger several times in this article, and I see that the little bimbette has skinny knees, to boot. Life is so unfair.

The Cupcake Cauldron said...

You blow my mind almost every day Ally! HAHAHA, great blog today!!!

Mr. Stupid said...

That was an interesting story. I am surprised how that comment made her cry. Or maybe, she got the make-up into her eyes... LOL
Anyways, great post. I enjoyed reading it.

Have a good day...:)

Brittney said...

how cool is that!
I cant believe she started crying over something like that.. its nothing like what shes being called now! Poor Britt! lol!

Jerry said...

That's just awesome!

I am a Vans/Etnies fan as well. Go us!!

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Wow -Interesting stuff! And wha? Hanson is obnoxious?! They're from where I live -Sightings are seen every now and then ;)

Smileyfreak said...

Great post! :) Very,very interesting

bbcd mama said...

That's a really awesome story! And the fact that she bought something you suggested is just the cherry on top!

Sara said...

Hahahahaha, outstanding.

I mean, not that you made her cry, but just in general. I think she needed to toughen up at that point considering what people say about her now!

Babes Mami said...

I'm going to need you to write about a situation like this more often. These were THE stars when I was in high school, I didn't like any of them at the time tbh BUT Britney Spears is one of me and Babes jam choices now.

Lisa said...

Hey, I'm impressed! I think it's cool that you said what you were thinking and didn't try to kiss up to her.

PS - I'm a Vans kinda girl, too.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

That was a cool story. I have a few 'brushes with fame' myself but working for a teen magazine would have been crazy - to see those kids get everything they want. Sure gives you insight.

Amber said...

Great story, Ally. We tend to think that Britney is kind of a trainwreck now but apparently she's been emotionally unstable her entire life.

I can't believe she didn't give you those sneakers! What a jerk-face.

Scarlet of Moms Wear Your Tees. com said...

Cool story!!
I am following your blog now.
I'd love it if you come by mine, it is
http://www.momswearyourtees.blogspot.com

Midday Escapades said...

Visiting and following from Friday Follow. You are now officially the coolest person I know in Blog Land.

Wishing you a grand weekend and happy escapes!

~ Lynn
http://www.middayescapades.com

Brenda Susan said...

Thanx for coming by, I'm following you back!

mama-face said...

So cool...

Britney has FAKE BOOBS????????????? My world is shattered.

Yeah, why do the rich and famous get all the free stuff? hmph.

Joann Mannix said...

So, Ally, what did you think of the Britney Breakdown? I hate to admit it, but I was glued to the computer salivating with every bizarre Britney antic in those days. I miss the crazy that she was.

And by the way, fantastic tale. Can't wait to hear more.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

No freakin way!! You are like the closest thing to a celebrity I have ever met!

That is so cool. I long to make George Clooney cry!

QuixoticGirl said...

I had two posters of Britney Spears on my wall at this time! I loved her! Very enjoyable post to read! Loved it!

Teachinfourth said...

Wow, I've never made a celeb cry before. You most certainly have one up on me with that...

Amanda said...

Ok, this is the most legendary blog post ever, mostly because I was a sucker for those magazines, even though I was a smidge too old for them at the time. I'm fascinated..when we do we get more 90's pop music star stories?

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

How awesome is that! That's so cool! Remember back in the day when every guy wanted her, and every girl wanted to be her? Oh man, she was on top of the world!

cinnamonkejaro said...

Good to see this one again! I remember that day you took Britney out shopping like it wuz yesterday! I remember how we were so annoyed you didn't even score a free pair of cheezay Sketchers off her! xoxo, Eve

Babes Mami said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MiMi said...

What?! I WISH I met someone famous. The closest I came was when I was in NOLA and I saw Forrest Whitaker up in a balcony shooting a film that never went anywhere or made any money. I can't even remember the name.
However.
I DO remember camping outside his trailer with the big red star on it so I could meet him.
Did I get to?
Heck no.
The guy in drag that wore the chiquita banana fruit hat chased me off.
I would have stayed, cuz I'm sure I could've taken him, but I was skeered to touch him.
And this comment went WAY off track...

Lady Hill said...

I'm a vans girl myself. I think I've read every article I've heard you talk about so far. I don't know if that's really cool, or really lame that I read them.

I wish I could say something like "I made Brittney Spears cry" not that I want to make people cry...but well, you know what I mean.

http://fromlazytolady.blogspot.com

Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

Brit used to be so cute!

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

You probably said, "Oops I did it again" for her to steal too, right? And I'm a Vans girl, too. :)

Momma Fargo said...

Obviously this is Ally?

And wasn't Brittney nice (except for the not sharing and buying gifts) before all the drama?

And Vans are way cool.

RN Mama said...

Ugh, you didn't want sketchers anyway! Great story:) What were your thoughts on Brittany as she shaved her head a few years ago? She must not have been wearing that lucky pendant!

Copyboy said...

Ahhhh, an Ally classic. K-Fed, eat your heart out!

Lisa Marie said...

lol this cracked me up

Anne said...

Wow, that is seriously fascinating. I was always a 'closet' Britney fan when it wasn't cool to like her ;) I guess the secret is out now!

Baby Sweetness said...

Definitely one of the more interesting things to read about Britney (that doesn't make me throw up a little!). Although that's a lot of exclamation points for Britney... ;)

~J said...

HA! Very cool...I can't help myself..I like Britney yall! ;)

Katherine said...

Wow...what an interesting job. Good article. I bet it's crazy to look back after everything that's happened with her!

Sara said...

Look how cute and innocent she was. Wow....how time changes everything!

{Kimber} said...

being from Louisiana I have to have Britney's back even when she was crazy Britney I always was rooting for her!!

Daisygirl said...

I love Brittney! I would so be her girlfriend! How awesome are you!!!

Samantha said...

Love it! I was a HUGE Backstreet Boy fan so you MUST tell me about ANY interviews with them!

& how cool that you picked those shoes out!

You're my hero Ally!

Salt said...

What!? AWESOME! Awww she was so sweet and normal once. :)

I used to read SuperTeen like it was nobody's business!

Michelle Pixie said...

Who knew Britney could be so damn sensitve?! Now if you'd only had your crystal ball with you, you could have assured her the boob job would be the least of her concerns! ;-)

Sarah said...

Are you SERIOUS?!? That's a really cool story! it's like the story behind the story! Thanks for telling us about it!

Jersey Girl in Louisiana said...

at 26, I still LOVE LOVE LOVE Nick Carter.

Mommy Lisa said...

Funny! I want to hear about how obnoxious Hanson was, for sure! Totally.

Tracie said...

Don't you wish you still had this job? You could be hanging out with the hair flipping stud, Justin Bieber.

PS I loved this story!

KLZ said...

I feel weird that she actually used to be a child...

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