with author Jackie Morgan MacDougall
my date with dooce
Working in television and the web for two decades, I've come across my fair share of celebrities. At this point, I don't get overly surprised or excited—just a mild curiosity that makes me wonder what life is really like when you can't go anywhere without being recognized. (Although Barry Manilow may disagree as I almost hyperventilated back in the '90s when meeting him during a Tonight Show appearance.)
Anyway, I caught myself a bit off guard when I found myself getting nervous to do a backstage interview with Heather B. Armstrong, founder of Dooce.com and one of the original "mommy bloggers."
And it seems I wasn't alone. Not only are Heather and Ricki both huge fans of one another's work—Heather admits that Ricki has been an inspiration throughout her own childbirth journey— but even the single guys on Team Ricki were a little starstruck when Heather arrived on the set. "I've met a lot of celebrities, but she's the person I've most wanted to meet," @TeamRickiBryan, our director of social media, shares. "I find it inspiring how she's made her voice for herself in the online space. It's a testament to the fact that anyone who has something to say, can really be heard."
But before Heather even arrived to Culver Studios, she and I planned to meet ahead of time for a quick chat in a nearby hotel lobby. Like Bryan, I was excited to talk to her, partly because I admire her success doing something similar to my own work—writing online. But more so because of her candid, no-apologies attitude and ability to honestly write about triumphs, challenges and unexpected moments many moms (like me) also experience.
But I was also nervous. Because Heather, to me, is that kind of girl who can stop traffic with a look and a sharp, witty comeback. How would she respond when I shove a camera in her face and ask her personal questions, not about the people and experiences she writes about, but about who she is, what she's learned about herself since becoming a professional blogger and whether or not she regrets letting millions of people into her daily personal life. And I just had to know, if she could do it all over again—would she?
I walked into the lobby and noticed Heather sitting on a couch in the back corner, looking intently at her phone. Much to my surprise, as she looked up, I was almost instantly set at ease. Unlike on TV and the web where I had seen her speak before, she gave off an entirely different vibe when meeting in person. Almost immediately, her intense expression and quiet demeanor felt like it was not that of disinterest or ambivalence, but more one that was guarded and careful, not knowing who she was about to meet or what I really wanted from her. It made me understand and appreciate her true gift of connecting with readers through the gift of her writing.
Once I began asking questions, I could feel the energy -- on both sides-- soften. Heather was an open, kind, very funny mom who was easy to talk to and made me wish we had more time. As we finished the interview and walked over to the studio to tape her episode [FIND HERE], we shared our own personal motherhood circumstances, talking similar experiences and challenges. Hearing how Heather started, where she's been and what she wants for her future and that of her whole family, it was then that I officially saw what all the fuss was about. The woman they call "Dooce" is one cool chick.
Check out the three-part interview and share your thoughts below.