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Not Quite 15 Seconds of Showgirl Fame

Maren Wade’s Confessions of a Showgirl: “Not Quite 15 Seconds of Showgirl Fame”

As showgirls, we sometimes get exciting opportunities outside of the theater. For me, one of those was when I got to be on America’s Got Talent.

When they shoot a show like America’s Got Talent, they often tape your segment months in advance. That can play with your head.

Sometime after filming, I was in a bookstore. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, bookstores were places in which one could read these rectangular shaped, cardboard-encased sheets of paper with print on them. I know, I’m dating myself. I mean, who reads anymore?

Anyway, I was in the bookstore and an elderly man came up to me with a glimmer in his eye and said, “I know you.” I looked around to see if he was talking to someone else. When I turned back, he was right in my face with even more of a glimmer and said, “I definitely know you.” I reflexively said, “I don’t think we know each other.” But he wouldn’t let up.

Then it dawned on me. My episode must have aired. I suddenly went from being insecure and puzzled to feeling … cooool. It was such an amazing experience to be recognized. My first fan!

I remembered how I felt when I got to see my idol, Madonna, in the flesh. I couldn’t believe she was real after appearing so much larger than life through all those years of movies and music videos. This kind, elderly man must have been feeling pretty much the same way about me. It was so sweet.

I didn’t want to disappoint him. I decided I would admit that he was right. That I was indeed the “celebrity” he had seen featured on this monster hit TV show. On the other hand, I didn’t want to come off full of myself. (It’s a careful balance between admitting you’re a “celebrity” and flat out bragging about your fame.)

I put on my sunglasses. (Never mind that I was indoors. I mean, there were a lot of windows in the store and it was rather bright. Plus, I didn’t want to gather a crowd.) I cleared my throat and said, “Well, um, we don’t actually know each other. You probably saw me on a little television show … it’s called America’s Got Talent.” He stared blankly at me. I went on, “On NBC?” Still nothing. I clarified further, “I was the singer …”

Then a woman came over and said, “I’m so sorry, miss, is he bothering you?”

“Isn’t she sweet?” I thought. “She obviously recognized me too and noticed that my number one fan was giving me a little too much of the star treatment—you know, perhaps infringing on my personal space a tad too much.” Or, this could have been an excuse for her to approach me.

I searched for my most gracious response. “Oh no, it’s quite alright. I’m flattered honestly. It’s very nice to meet you both.” She looked a little confused, then said, “Really, I’m so sorry. Today is the day we take our patients out for a field trip. I hope he didn’t say anything inappropriate. Come on Alfred, it’s time to go.”

As she ushered Alfred away, I saw him go up to the cashier and say, “I know you,” with the same conviction. (And I was pretty sure the cashier hadn’t been on America’s Got Talent—unless maybe he was on a different season.)

“Okay Alfred, leave these nice people alone. We should adjust your meds when we get back,” the woman said as she walked him out of the store.

And just like that, my number one fan walked away. I grabbed a book and pretended to start reading. I thought I was doing well until I realized the book was upside down … or maybe it was in Hebrew.

To cover my embarrassment I even bought the book, and I’m glad I did, because when I got to the cashier, he said six words I’ll never forget: “Can I have your autograph please?”

Okay, I have a confession to make: It was for the credit card receipt. So embarrassing. Thank God no one recognized me.


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