Meeting a Childhood Idol
When I was a kid, my role models were four pop-culture icons: Princess Leia, Jaime Sommers (The Bionic Woman), Wonder Woman, and Laura Holt from Remington Steele. I don’t think it’s hard to see why—they’re all smart, strong women, often smarter than their male counterparts, especially in the case of Laura Holt, who was the brains behind the fake detective played by Pierce Brosnan.
Years ago, I got to meet Carrie Fisher. I cried, because there was no way I could’ve conveyed in words how much the Star Wars movies meant to me as a child. The experience was surreal and mind-blowing and full of joy.
This past weekend I got to meet another of my longtime idols. It started when my very talented friend Eileen Galindo posted on Facebook that she was doing a stage reading of Nora & Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, adapted from Ilene Beckerman’s book. Among her castmates: Stephanie Zimbalist. Laura Holt herself.
I looked at this trip as going to support Eileen, with no expectations I’d get to meet Ms. Zimbalist. I’m no good at walking up to famous people and telling them I used to idolize them. I mean, I recently stood about twenty feet away from Harrison Ford and didn’t say a word to him.
The reading was funny and poignant, and afterward Mr. PCN and I waited in the lobby for Eileen. She came out, we shared hugs and congratulations.
Then, because Mr. PCN (unbeknownst to me) had told Eileen ahead of time about my rabid Laura Holt fandom, she said, “Wait right here. I’ll get Stephanie for you.”
Before I could compose myself, Stephanie walked out, shook my hand, was as nice and gracious as can be, and I started getting that verklempt feeling.
Since the stage reading had been about fashion and the clothing we wear during significant moments of our lives, I told her that in college, while some of my friends were dressing like Madonna with their underwear as outerwear, I liked hats and classic clothes and pencil skirts because of Laura Holt. Her style was timeless, and while I’m not sure I have any fashion sense, to this day I shy away from trends and stick with items I can wear for years. Stephanie said she still has the hats and suits, and that they were her idea.
I didn’t want to take up too much of her time because she needed to rest up for another performance that evening, so I just asked for a photo and thanked her.
I didn’t tell her how much seeing her play a smart, independent woman on TV meant to me, how I admired Laura for being her own boss and teaching her male partner the tricks of the trade, not the other way around. How Laura inspired me to briefly work for a detective agency in L.A.
To Stephanie, I was just another fan. But to me, it was a special afternoon.
Now I just have to find out where Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner hang out.
Any other Remington Steele fans here? Who have you always wanted to meet? What would you say to them?