Monday, June 17, 2013

Celebrity Sightings

Through the years there have been some pretty neat people we have had been lucky enough to meet and take some pictures with.... then there were the chance meetings that we politely didn't pull out the camera or cell phone to snap the moment (those included Robert DeNiro, Ron Howard, Emeril Lagasse, Sara Moulton, Cat Cora, Sean John, Tommy Hilfiger, Mike Ditka, Lance Briggs, and several more.... here are some great memories of some people you may recognize.... who is the most famous celebrity YOU got to meet?
Probably my most famous celeb moment was meeting President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.  This particular awesome day back in college was amazing!  A little background ....I was Vice President of the College Democrats and my friend Ross who was our club President approached my then-boyfriend/ future husband and I and asked if we were busy next week.... When we heard that he had been contacted by the White House looking for student  leaders to assist with the Presidential motorcade in Miami we were thrilled!  Little did any of us know everything we would get to do and who we would get to meet that day!  My husband couldn't end up going as he was doing the responsible thing and instead starting his first day of work at a new job - and is still regretting not going with us to this day!
We went through quite the series of background checks and constant searches throughout the day we were volunteering - but in a nutshell here is how it went down....
We each got to become a part of the Secret Service Advance team for the day and DRIVE one of the motorcade cars right up to Airforce 1 AND Airforce 2.  We drove members of the entourage (I wish I could remember the names of the Press Secretary and staff who were in my car- they were all sooo nice!).  We were given strict instructions on things we had to do and what not to do, etc. (yea, like stopping for any reason would have been a bad, bad, bad idea). We drove our Presidential cars  from the Opa Locka airport to the Resort for a fundraising afternoon & dinner.  We got to sit around and talk a lot with the secret service and they were encouraging me to consider applying to be an intern at the White House next summer.  (Honestly I would have if it were not for the non-pay/ high rent in DC while working as a free intern.).  Even more hilarious I suppose is that Monica Lewinsky started interning at the White House the same month I met Clinton..... wow.... so glad I wasn't around when all that went down. 
Anyways..... they surprisingly arranged for us and a small group of other volunteers to get to do a meet n greet with both Clinton and Gore.  We got to shake hands, ask them questions, pose for a press picture and take lots of shots with our own camera.  Pretty neat huh!!!  We even got to attend a "wheels up" party with the secret service at the end of the day that they do after each and every successful and safe visit.  The decadent  penthouse of the hotel had more food trays than I have ever seen and we got to toast some beers with the agents and relive the fun day!  Enjoy some pics and then scroll on to see some of the other famous folks we have met!
Clinton and Gore making their way around the room and the semi-circle they had us form for the meet n greet. 
As they got closer to us I kept snapping pictures and feeling rather nervous that I was being rude but everyone was pretty much doing the same thing.

Here is Clinton right next to me talking to my friend Ross.
This is the official white house photo that they sent me.  Pretty AWESOME! 
I so wish we had digital cameras back them and cell phones with cameras....  I would have taken a lot more.  It was a neat experience to get to ask them questions and shake their hands.

I took this shot of Airforce 1 and the entourage getting off the plane at Opa Locka airport right before they got into our waiting cars. 
This beautiful woman is Elizabeth Smart.  Elizabeth was honored at my sorority's Convention in 2012 with our Siena Medal.  You can read more about Elizabeth's story here and learn about helping her Foundation.  She is truly a sweetheart and an incredibly well spoken role model. 

HAD to throw some fun ones in here...... I don't recall whether this was Chip or Dale but they were both there at Disney this past spring for our fireside smore roasting!

And of course Mickey Mouse who made a special appearance at our friend's Bill & Wendy's wedding last fall.
Another fun one, this is Lynn Koploitz who is good friends with Joan Rivers and is over on the tv show Joan knows Best.  She was here in Tampa for a set and we got to meet her afterwards - incredibly funny woman! 
We got to be in the studio audience for a few TV shows over the years.  This was a neat one... Phil Donahue had a pretty good show a few years ago and while we were touring Rockefeller Center we were approached and asked if we wanted to be in the audience.  They wouldn't tell us the topic of the day but it turned out to be really great and interesting. 
Here is Phil during one of the parts of the show.... it was about Gays in Sports.  They had a couple of athletes there discussing their viewpoints and why they did or didn't come out when they still were playing professionally.
 I got to ask a question about concerns any of them had about hazing in the locker room or bullying and they said it was something they had seen happen to others.  Here is a picture of me asking the question from a video clip.  I don't know where the video clip I used to have is- one of the athletes on the show was a neat guy and ex-nfl player - Esera Tuaolo. 

And one more clip of me in the audience, second row from the top.......

Last fall we also got to go to NYC again for work and we got tickets to see The Chew!  It was a lot of fun, here is Robert, myself and our friend Renee in the audience.  For more pics of this neat experience and pictures from the set, etc click here: 

We got to meet the ever- outgoing dancing chef, Carla Hall.....
And the very awesome Clinton Kelly

Here is Hugh Atcheson - a nice guy who was on Top Chef and apparently so well respected he is a return judge on the show all of the time. 

Then we went to David Letterman too.... although we didn't get to "meet" Dave we did get to meet and talk to Al the red-headed emcee afterwards.  On the show was Alec Baldwin - that was really a good one to get to see!

And then we went to the Hello Deli to meet Rupert!
And back here in little Carrollwood Village just on the north side of Tampa proper - this Jersey girl got to meet the Manzo's of Real housewives of New Jersey - whom I LOVE!

 There are more pictures from our meet n greet with them on this link here.

My husband had quite a thirty second of "fame" if you will on the TV show "Best Damn Sports Show Period".  Here is a video clip of him competing and winning a new 52' DLP hi-def TV the during superbowl.

And last but not least, yours truly had my 5 seconds of fame last Thanksgiving morning.... lol.  The food network did a live holiday show with all kinds of cooking tips and advice from the top tv chefs and they encouraged people to send in comments and questions via twitter.  Here is my tweet that got posted and read on air- if you want to follow me on twitter by the way come follow me at @cbilloni
Alton Brown read this outloud on air and then Rachel Ray made some jokes about kermit the frog & the muppets and a recipe she came up with last year when their new movie came out called "It isn't easy being 'green bean casserole". She suggested making your own bechemel (white sauce, just like you'd make for a homemade macaroni &cheese) instead of using canned soup. To switch it up here is the recipe (I'm definitely trying it this year!)
Who have you meet?!!!  Post you replies here and share some fun times!


1 comment:

  1. When I was living in Nashville, I meet Billy Martin, manager of the NY Yankees, also, George Steinbrenner. Charles Barkley in Bermuda, and Derek Jeter in the movies...too mention a few. .


If you would like to reach out to me privately, you may message me at