The Hermit Leaves the Cave to go on Television

We all know I’m a social recluse. With rather pitiful social skills. Which are sorely tested whenever I have to leave my cave and do stuff like an interview on the TVNZ Good Morning Show. So how did it all come about?

Blogging is a miraculous thing. And social networks can be far-reaching and super connecting things. A while back, a lovely woman called Nadine read my book ‘Pacific Tsunami-Galu Afi.’ She wrote a Goodreads review about it that brought tears to my eyes. I messaged her and thanked her profusely. We each noted the other was a blogger. We connected with each other’s blogs. (Check out her insightful and funny 5InABus here.) She read about my Telesa Trilogy books on here. Unbeknownst to me, she used to work as a producer at TVNZ. She wrote to her friends there and told them about my books. She may even have given them the link to this blog. TVNZ got in touch with me about the possiblity of having me on their Good Morning Show around the anniversary of the 2009 tsunami. I sent them copies of my books to check out. They said, ‘cool, lets do it.’

TVNZ sent me a list of 15 questions they “might” ask me. I didnt want to sound like the nervous nitwit that I am so I spent hours and hours composing possible answers to those and every other possible question they could ask me. (and then Mr Ron Cheeseman only asked me five of the fifteen questions and I was so nervous I couldn’t shut up anyway…GET THIS WOMAN A MUZZLE!)

In the days before I  asked them ‘umm..what do you think would be alright to wear?’  A super-cool TVNZ woman with a sense of humor replied, ‘Just dont wear a gold spandex onesie and you’ll be fine.’  I emailed back, ‘Dammit, and I was getting extra glitter stuck on my bodysuit specially for the show.‘ It was comforting to know TVNZ people knew how to be funny and sarcastic.

So I got my hair done at the hairdresser ( which explains why I TOTALLY dont look like me at all in the video), put on my precious new MENA puletasi that I was saving to wear during the Australia book tour ( and now my five Australian readers have probably seen it and they will feel extra sorry for me that Im so poor i have to wear the same clothes everywhere I go.) And I drove myself to the city. An hour early in case I got lost. ( because we all know the statistical probability of THAT happening…)

At the TVNZ studio I got to sit in “The Green Room” where guests wait – but which is not colored green at all.  They had snacks and lovely comfortable sofas. (But sadly, no Diet Coke or donuts.) I met a nice young man ( who looked alot like Liam Hemsworth by the way…I exagerate you not)He was waiting there for his girlfriend who was one of the models doing the fashion segment.
He said, “Wow, you look great.”
I said, “Ugh, I cant wait to take all my clothes off.”
He looked surprised. I said, “I mean, I cant wait to get comfortable and relaxed.”
He looked alarmed. I said, “I mean, its very nice of you to say so, but Im not used to wearing real clothes and this outfit is killing me.” I cant recollect exactly, but I may then have babbled stuff along the lines of…”I’m sorry for sounding like an idiot, but its because I  have lots of children and never go anywhere and I’m nervous as heck about being on the show and did you know you look like Liam Hemsworth?!”
He exited the building very shortly after. Heaving a great sigh of relief to escape me, no doubt.

 Then a nice lady took me to get my makeup done. A semi-evil makeup woman got irritated with me when I made a yuck face at the hot pink blush she wanted to put on me. And she said the f-bomb when I freaked out about wearing mascara. It’s safe to say that the makeup woman at TVNZ dislikes me intensely.

I met some more very nice people from the show who do fashion, cooking and crafts. Then I did my interview with Ron Cheeseman. Talking about the tsunami stories rips me up inside, even three years later and I nearly got lost in the emotions and cried. I was glad when the interview was over. All eight minutes of it.

The relief to be done with it was so huge that I felt like hugging everyone in sight. (which is an unusual feeling for me because Im allergic to body contact and hate hugging people.)

Back in the Green-Room-thats-not-Green, I bumped into actor Rena Owen and almost fell on the ground in awe. She was gracious and friendly and was nice enough to tell me that “I saw you on the Tagata Pasifika show and I really want to read your Telesa book.” Of course I gave her my copy immediately, trying not to fall on the ground in awe that Rena Owen was actually going to hold a copy of my book in her hands and take it home with her. ( Hopefully not to throw it in the rubbish.)

And then my visit to TVNZ was over. I was feeling pretty exultant after that. I had done it. I had left the cave, spoken on television, met Rena Owen, and apart from freaking out the boy who looked like Liam Hemsworth – I hadnt made a complete fool of myself, yay! My exultation lasted the entire 45 minutes that it took me to sit in the carpark and try and map my way back to the motorway. I got a little bit lost but nothing too bad.

So there you have it, to all you other hermits out there? Take heart, it’s possible to break out of the cave once in a while, interact with other humans and then still safely make it back unscathed.

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9 comments

  1. That is so awesome Lani!! You did such an incredible job answering the questions. Very professional. I can't believe you were on TV. You're officially a star 🙂

  2. You did great and came across very genuinely and at ease… You didn't look nervous at al! Thank you for being willing to be a vessel to carry heart stories to the world!

  3. Aww, Lani. You looked beautiful and assured! I'm so thrilled and proud for you 🙂 And I think Rena Owen is pretty amazing too – and she will be reading your book! Very cool and surreal!

  4. Lani you were fantastic!! You speak as eloquently as you write, well done. Very chuffed to have played even just that tiny role in your stardom, I still get a buzz out of seeing great grassroots stories getting air time. Your depiction of what it's like preparing to go on air was spot on too, right from the nerves to what to wear to the spat with the makeup lady (I always got told off for letting my eyebrows get unwieldy). Oh, and of course the nonsense babbling to uber-cool celebs in the green room. "Can't wait to take my clothes off"…nice one! By the way, while you were on air the producer sent me an email saying how well the interview was going, so I know you impressed at their end too. Oh, and I had always wondered about the connection between Galu Afi and the Telesa Trilogy, and now I know -"whatever you want to do in life, do it now". It may be simple advice on the surface but not always easy to follow in practice, but you've more than proved it's possible. Good on you!

  5. Appreciate the encouraging feedback Windsinger. There were so many powerful ( and horribly painful) stories entrusted to me during this project that i felt very inadequate to retell them and weave them together in a way that would not detract from their truth.

  6. Hugely appreciated feedback coming from a TV professional like yourself, thank you Nadine! Yes, many people do wonder how one goes from writing non-fiction about a natural disaster – to flighty fantasy romance with too many glistening abs. Impossible to listen to so many people talking about wishing they could have loved better/done things differently/taken a different path – without taking on some of those messages about the importance of making the most of every moment NOW and pursuing one's "dreams" (with an almost singleminded fervor…) "Do it now, dont wait, dont put it off" should have that on my wall in this writing office! The show has asked if I could be a guest on their Parenting Panel at some stage. ( i hope they dont think im an expert just because I have five children. They must not have read the blogposts where I blab about my multiple inadequacies in the parenting dept.) Thank you again for your hand in making the interview happen.

  7. I hate my work computer. I can never watch videos and always have to use my iPhone to see everything. Nonetheless, I watched your interview and you were GREAT. You'd never know you were nervous.By the way, it seems I've been pronouncing both your name and the name Samoa incorrectly. Thanks for the video so that I can correct myself before I embarrass myself.

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