In my limited experience, seeing famous people in real life is always surreal. That feeling is compounded by seeing them in everyday situations, as opposed to at a concert or scheduled appearance. I once saw a local news anchor at K-Mart and was actively creeped out. He may have been wearing his TV makeup, which gave his face an unnatural glow, so I’m sure that didn’t help.
Okay, in that example I’m using the term “famous person” very loosely. But last night I had an encounter with someone from a nationally televised show. I was out dancing with my roommates. While busting a move, I tend to periodically scan the crowd. A man on the edge of the dance floor looked oddly familiar. Then I blatantly stared. It was none other than Mondo from season eight of Project Runway.
As you may recall from a previous post, I was a big fan of Mondo last season. When he didn’t win, I was in a full-on tizzy. I may have even expressed the desire to have him as my best-gay-friend, assuming Tim Gunn is unavailable.
So what is the proper reaction in this situation? Well, first I stared until I was sure it was him. Then I let out a little scream. Then I pointed him out to my nearest roommate. She told me to go talk to him, but I couldn’t. I COULDN’T. I mean, he was a contestant on a moderately popular reality TV show. It’s not like I was running into Lady Gaga or something. Still, I was overcome with shyness.
I also had the vague idea that the cool thing to do when you see famous people is pretend not to care. That’s what New Yorkers do, right? Then again, we weren’t in New York City. We were at a dance bar in humble Minneapolis, which made his presence considerably more unexpected. Would I be respecting his personal boundaries if I just said hello? While I pondered these questions, I did what any normal person would do and stalked Mondo with my eyes. Physically following would be creepy, but visually monitoring him seemed only mildly so.
To be fair, he wasn’t hard to spot in the crowd. During his Project Runway stint, I always liked that he dressed himself in outfits almost as quirky as his designs. In real life his fashion sense did not disappoint. His hair was styled in a thick mohawk. He wore a pink tank top and white skinny jeans. Neither piece was unadorned, but I couldn’t describe them across a dark, crowded room.
I had told one roommate about the Mondo sighting, but the other was out of earshot at the time. Later in the evening, we were doing some crowd-watching, and she said, “I love that guy with the mohawk.” Naturally I had to explain who he was, and she also insisted that I should talk to him. It was almost time to catch the bus home, so it was now or never. As I walked across the room, I vowed to keep the conversation short and sweet. Annoying Mondo would be worse than not talking to him at all!
And talk to him I did. What follows is a rough transcript of our conversation.
Me: (light tap on the arm) Are you Mondo?!
Mondo: (sounding less than enthused) Yes I am.
Me: Oh my gosh, I love you!
Mondo: Thanks. (slightly more friendly) I was just checking my nose for boogers. I’m actually really sick right now.
Me: Oh yeah, you sound sick! (He did!)
Mondo: (tilts back head, the better to show me his nostrils) Am I okay?
Me: (two thumbs up . . . I wish I was kidding) You’re good! . . . Anyway, just wanted to say hi!
Did I ask him why he was in Minneapolis? Did I tell him that I love his designs? Heck no! But I did check his nose for boogers. And I can tell you that his nostrils were surprisingly large, as were his face and head in portion to the rest of his body. And I still think he’s awesome.