It was just another Manic Monday in Manhattan when Melissa’s and my alarm clocks sounded at the crack of an autumn dawn. The morning of a big, Big Apple day with our friend and publicist Whitney Kuhn Lawson, we definitely didn’t want to hit snooze, no matter how tired we felt. For some reason, the energy of New York City always does that to me. Up and at ’em, we were soon on the elevator headed downstairs to catch a cab by 5:45am and on our way uptown to Times Square to sit in the audience of Good Morning America on ABC. From meeting journalism legends at GMA, to visiting CBS and chatting with TV production icon Susan Zirinsky, to donning our best (and DIY’d) Queens of the Cosmos costumes for an out-of-this-world Halloween gala with Bette Midler and her Broadway friends for her nonprofit NYRP, it was one of the best days of my life to-date. I’m sharing the snapshots of what unfolded, off-the-cuff and un-curated, just so I don’t forget to remember how special all of this was…every bit of thanks to Whitney (WKL).
Arriving in Times Square, 6am.
The on-set selfie at Good Morning America that won us the GMA selfie contest.
Meeting Robin Roberts after the show. She was so kind and gracious.
From ABC to CBS: here to see “Z” (Susan Zirinsky), Whitney’s old boss and forever mentor.
“Goodbye girls, come back again soon!” -Z
With Z, holding one of her many Emmy’s, after 30 minutes on her office couch spent chatting about her, us, and everything in between. Melissa found an idol — she totally met her match, and I couldn’t get over how real, yet caring Z was. I wish she was my mentor, too. She left a lasting impression on us.
Just a couple of Queens of the Cosmos, arriving to a gala in DIY’d costumes…
Our Texas table: with Michaela and Whitney from Houston. It’s because of Whitney including us at her table that we made this trip to begin with, and I am forever grateful because it was one of the most treasured experiences I might ever have.
Of course, as the Universe would have it, our table was next to the Hello Dolly cast, several of whom performed throughout the gala. This is Michael Hartung, who was kind enough to embrace my fangirling, and we made friends on the dance floor.
THE. MOMENT. OF. ALL. MOMENTS. The moment I met Bette Midler. Whitney used to work with Bette; they are still close…and Whitney knows how much I have always loved her, so she kindly brought us over to meet her and take a picture. Melissa was in the original, but she told me to cut her out so I could have my own Ellie + Bette photo to frame. A true friend. Bette couldn’t have been more kind or loving…and she lived up to every childhood expectation I dreamed of. Take me back to this, always!
Me with Melanie Moore, a Broadway dancer who I used to watch on So You Think You Can Dance, the season she competed and won. I have loved and admired her for years…it was so special to meet her!
The greatest takeaway of this day was to get to know the character of these iconic women, like Susan Zirinsky and Bette Midler, and observe how much care and attention they gave the people in their lives, no matter how busy. Within minutes of leaving Z’s office, she had emailed Whitney about her ‘Texas posse,’ thanking us for stopping by and hoping we could cross paths again. At the stroke of midnight, Whitney got an email from Bette Midler, minutes off the dance floor, thanking her for coming, and telling her she loved meeting her friends. Additionally, this trip would not have happened without the same generous spirit extended to us by our friend Whitney. Melissa and I were blown away by Whitney’s professionalism, and her reputation amongst peers and mentors at the top of the heap in New York City. Although she is now in Houston, her hard work for a decade in Manhattan set the precedence for her opportunities and her relationships that keep doors open as she continues to mentor her peers and pay everything forward.
Until next time…