When people see auto show models, they see the designer outfits, the shiny cars, and the admiring car buffs and think it's a cushy gig.
And, for the most part, it is.
But there is a downside.
Like, say, when it's 9:47 p.m. on a Tuesday and the convention center is about to close, the crowd is sparse at best, and you're about to die of boredom.
And that is where this story begins.
I'm standing behind the information desk of the Jaguar display at the North American International Auto Show in January of 2007.
I look up and see Kid Rock and his then-girlfriend Tamara Mellon perusing the Volvos across the aisle.
I thought I was seeing things. I know Kid Rock is from Detroit. But he's at the auto show? On a Tuesday night?
It can't be him.
I squint. I look closer.
But it is him.
And Tamara Mellon is hanging on his arm. And on is every word.
Do you know who she is?
Here's a closer look:
She's surrounded by shoes because, at the time, she was the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Jimmy Choo, which are arguably the best designer shoes in the game.
And therein lies my fascination with her.
The thought of being this close to the shoe maven nearly makes me weak in the knees. (Kid Rock who?)
So I did what any loyal Jimmy Choo fan would do: I chased after them.
Correction: I chased after Tamara.
My feet hurt like hell after standing on them in pointy toe stilettos for eight hours straight, but, to my complete and utter surprise, I run up on her in a New York minute.
She turns around and smiles at me like I'm a lost puppy. Not in a condescending way. But in a oh-my-goodness-it-looks-like-this-girl-is-gonna-cry kind of way.
Looking back, I'm ashamed to say that I did probably look like I was going to cry.
"Yes?" she says in her British accent.
"I'm Jimmy Choo's biggest fan. I LOVE your shoes."
Kid looks from me to her and back to me again in disbelief. He's obviously flabbergasted that I could give a hoot about him. Although his mouth is wide open, he says nothing.
I want to memorialize this moment. But a photo is out of the question: my cell phone is tucked inside my purse...which is in the trunk of the XJR sadan that is spinning on the turntable.
Plan B: "Can I have your autograph?" I hand over to Tamara the only thing I can -- my clipboard which contains a stack of questionnaires.
Tamara lights up. "Sure."
I thank her, say bye to Kid, turn on my heel, and make my way back to the Jaguar display.
And that was that.
Here's Tamara's John Hancock:
And just to show that I wasn't lying about it being on the back of a Jaguar questionnaire:
I swear, I used to keep this piece of paper in a red ceramic frame adorned with Swarovski crystals.
Then I had my son.
And I put his photo in it instead:
Because, you know, priorities.
I still love me some Jimmy Choo, though.
And so does my son. I left my shoes by the door one afternoon, and, come to find, Scotty had used them as a slide for his Little People:
I told Scotty that I love him to the moon and back, but, so help me God, if I find that he uses my Jimmy Choos as a makeshift slide again, his Little People will be sleeping with the fishes.
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