If you heard me on George FM this morning you'll already be up to date with the story I'm about to recount, but I'm going to go into it in a little more depth here. As most of you will know, the past two weeks of my life have been solely devoted to one purpose and one purpose alone - finding Tyra Banks. Finding Tyra Banks and getting a photograph of (or preferably with) her to be precise. It all culminated last Friday in this epic failure on my part. After getting a tip off that Ms Banks was dining at Parnell restaurant Cibo, I showed up only to be escorted promptly to the door by security. Tyra 1 - Me 0. So anyway, I was hanging out with my good mate Katherine last night. We were trying to decide where to go for dinner and I suggested Clooney on Sale Street - usually far too rich an establishment for my meagre blood. We parked outside and as we were walking up the footpath I told Katherine the story about how Tyra Banks had gone into Karen Walker in Ponsonby earlier that day and bought a trench coat from my old mate Jordan Rondel.
In a serendipitous turn of events, halfway through my story I looked up and saw Tyra Banks' big black Escalade parked in Clooney's driveway.
Now I want to make it very clear that I had no idea that Tyra Banks was going to be at Clooney last night. No idea whatsoever. Not an inkling. It was a purely coincidental occurrence. As soon as I saw the car, I made a decision in my head. I was not going to bother Tyra Banks in any way. I had the photo of her from Cibo, that was good enough for me, and to be honest, I was starting to feel a little creepy for having stalked her so much already. Don't get me wrong, I love the thrill of the chase, but it gets to a stage where the excitement gives way and the realisation that you're just making somebody feel uncomfortable sets in.
Katherine and I stood at the bar chatting but all I could think about was the fact that I was there, and Tyra Banks was there, and if she saw me she was going to think that I was stalking her but I wasn't stalking her and so how was I supposed to let her know that I wasn't stalking her without her thinking I was stalking her...
After a few minutes Tyra's bodyguard walked out to talk to somebody in the Escalade. I followed him outside. When he was done talking, I called him over and reintroduced myself, told him that I was there purely by coincidence and that I didn't want him or her to feel uncomfortable as a result of my presence and that I wasn't going to take any photographs or cause any trouble. I gave him my word. He shook my hand twice, thanked me profusely for being polite (especially compared with the photographers in Los Angeles and New York) and went back inside. I still felt a bit creepy, but was pleased that I'd gotten my point across (though I think the phrase 'Methinks he doth protest too much' would be applicable).
I rejoined Katherine at the bar. A waiter came over and told us that our table was ready. We followed her through the restaurant, past the bodyguard who sat alone at a huge table, and into one of the smaller curtained areas. This area was particularly small. It contained three tables. Two were occupied, one was empty.
I walked past the first table.
Tyra Banks' table.
I saw her, she saw me.
I felt terrible. Sick to my stomach. I wanted to disappear. Our table was literally 50 centimetres away from hers. I made sure to sit at a section of the table behind a concrete pillar in an attempt to minimise the damage, but it was already done.
Within seconds the bodyguard was at Tyra Banks' table standing by to escort her from the premises. Simultaneously the Maitre d' was in front of us telling the waiter that this table was not to be used. I made a feeble attempt to apologise but Tyra Banks had already left the building.
I felt terrible.
The point is, I'm fairly sure that I ruined her dinner - something I'm not proud of and which I've felt guilty about ever since.
It made me think - that's the price of fame. You're always on the clock, no matter where you are or who you're with. Everybody's a potential threat, no stranger can be trusted. Even here in New Zealand. Little old safe New Zealand. What a life. How many of us give thought to that when we imagine how amazing it would be to be rich, beautiful and famous.
And the bodyguard - always on the clock, constantly vigilant, ready for anything. One would assume he must work every day of the week, all year round. Imagine forfeiting your life for somebody else. You don't get much more selfless that that.
So I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to Tyra Banks - I'm sorry about last night, it was never my intention to spoil your evening.
I LIKE YOU!