In 1991, I moved to Los Angeles to become a famous movie director. True, the only thing I’d ever directed in my life was a 10-minute long student film called Hair Salon Horror, starring myself, but that didn’t seem to matter. I knew I was just months away from hanging out with Scorcese and DeNiro on the Paramount lot. After all, I was young, I was ambitious and not only did I know what “film noir” meant, I could also pronounce it in a really, really pretentious way.
I sent out resumes for weeks with no response, then finally, one day I got a phone call telling me I had an interview at CBS Television City. CBS Television City! Oh, sweet Jesus, it was like being invited to the Holy Land for snacks. The interview was for a part-time temp job with a research company that tested fall television pilots for CBS. As I’d find out later, the company rounded up groups of sweaty tourists from Hollywood Boulevard or the Farmers Market, showed them a new show that was being considered for the fall line-up, then had them fill out a questionnaire to see what they thought about it. You know, because the American public is just so good at evaluating talent.
The morning of my interview, I dressed carefully in my best shoulder-padded jacket from The Limited and a matching skirt that ended just above my white-nyloned knees, then I fluffed up my long, permed hair and grabbed the briefcase I used to carry around my lipstick and Bon Jovi cassettes. Arriving at the CBS lot, I couldn’t have been more excited, but the excitement soon turned to panic when I had trouble finding my interview room. I was in the main executive offices asking for help when a bored-looking security guard stood up and said, “I’ll walk you over there. Better’n sittin’ on my butt all day.” Wow! I remember thinking. These TV people are really nice!
Security man and I then walked down a flight of stairs, rounded a corner and began to pass what looked like a holding pen full of people waiting to go into a taping of “The Price Is Right.” I smiled wanly at a woman wearing an iron-on t-shirt that said “KISS ME BOB!!!!”, but then she looked back at me, looked at my security guard escort and my big, blonde hair and suddenly she screamed, “OH MY GOD! IT’S BROOKE FROM THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL! IT’S BROOKE FROM THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL! WOOOO!”
And that’s when all hell broke loose.
Without warning, the easily–excitable 100 person crowd—most of them in bright t-shirts, some clutching stuffed animals—started screeching “BROOKE! BROOKE! I LOVE YOU, BROOKE!” and began pushing each other out of the way so they could get closer to me. I completely froze. Was I actually being mistaken for a soap opera star? I mean, I didn’t even have on my good lip gloss that day. As the crowd grew louder and more boisterous, the security guard quickly grabbed my elbow, grunted, “Let’s move it! Now! NOW!” and the two of us ran past the screaming, reaching mob whose disappointed moans of “Awwww! Brooke! We love you! Please don’t marry Ridge!” followed us around the corner. Then before I could even catch my breath, the guard opened up a door right in front of us, said, “Here’s room 219! Good luck!” and gave me a little shove inside. Wow! I remember thinking. These TV people are really pushy!
Panting like a dog that was just chasing rabbits, I stepped into the big conference room and saw 10 people sitting around a table—all staring right at me. I started to smile, then caught my reflection in the window and saw my messy hair, wrinkly suit and face full of flop sweat and I knew I’d just blown my big chance. Taking a deep, shaky breath, I tried not to cry as I nervously stammered, “Um, hi…sorry I’m…but the…Bob Barker…over the…Showcase Showdown…Brooke…don’t know…need job…who’s Ridge and why shouldn’t I marry him?”
The man at the head of the table simply held up his hand for me to please stop talking, then he gave me a kind look and said, “Listen, don’t worry about it. Last week those idiots thought I was Tony Orlando.”
And one hour later, I had my first glamorous Hollywood job—testing a TV pilot about talking cats.
This was originally posted a few years ago over on MamaBirdDiaries.