Celebrity journalist extraordinaire Jo Piazza is on the road promoting her first book, Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money. Here is her hilarious, inspiring tale of finding a camera-ready outfit for a morning news show after her luggage had been lost at midnight…in Orlando. It was too good not to share.
I never check luggage unless physically coerced. But that is what happened to me as I boarded a small plane to travel to Orlando, Florida this week to do a series of early morning appearances on the show The Daily Buzz to promote my book Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money. As the tarmac Nazi pried my Vera Bradley tote filled with two beautiful television ready dresses, perfectly paired shoes and the only makeup I know how to apply to make myself look like a human on television I had a sinking feeling that things would go sideways.
Fast-forward to 11:30 pm. Orlando, Florida where there was nary a Bradley duffel in site.
“We just don’t know what happened,” a red-suited Erma from baggage affairs told me shaking her dowager bun. I didn’t have the time to argue. I had to shop. I was expected at the studio in five hours.
But where can one find a television appropriate outfit in Orlando (or really any city besides New York) after midnight? What I was wearing wouldn’t do—yoga pants that had seen better days, an old Columbia sweatshirt, and a t-shirt with a wombat on it. I clean up well. Just not often.
A quick survey of the still-open establishments en route to my hotel revealed a gas station, a topless bar called Baby Dolls and a 24 hour Wal-Mart which shone like the light of the Lord from in between two darkened strip malls.
I know what you’re thinking—a Wal-Mart in Orlando past the witching hour is likely to be a bastion of gentlemanly decorum and a mecca for fashion. You would be wrong.
A cursory lap proved that unless I wanted to wear camo, ill-fitting Dickies, be-dazzled sweatshirts and a muu-muu, all in a size 12 or above, I would be out of luck. It was time to get creative. Shoes weren’t an issue. I could get them to cut off the bottoms of my legs. But pants mattered since I would be sitting on a couch. Wal-Mart’s one saving grace is it carries a junior line of Phat Fashion Silver label jeans, and except for a rhinestone button in the front and a sparkly peacock on the ass, they’re perfectly inoffensive as long as you sit down. And cost $7.
But tops were tricky. There were belly baring tank tops and there were sweaters that could house a family of midgets. But alas, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a plain white button down. It wasn’t sexy, but it was 1 am. Closer inspection revealed it was a maternity top ($4.99). It would have to do.
With the dressing rooms closed I tried to change in the ladies plus-size lingerie department. Tried until I spotted a homeless gentleman with his hands in his pockets by the nursing bras.
So I threw the maternity button down on over the wombat and surveyed myself in the mirror. It wasn’t half bad. If only I had a belt to corrall the belly bustle I could do this. The selection of belts did me no favors until I wandered into the children’s department to find a darling elastic black number attached to an imitation Hello Kitty shirt dress ($3.99). I could cut it off the dress and make like Molly Ringwald going to the prom.
What Wal-Mart does provide and no woman should ever discount when appearing on television is a fine selection of delightfully cheap and large jewelry which may make you look like Snooki in real life, but really makes a statement on camera. A pair of giant earrings and a chunky necklace later I pulled it together—by 2 am and for under 20 bills.
Diane Sawyer I was not that morning, but I did pass for professional put together lady—as long as I didn’t stand up.