From the Publisher

From the PublisherWe Just Couldn’t Curb Our Enthusiasm

By Brian Rowland 

Many people follow the ongoing sagas of Hollywood celebrities on TV and in the tabloids and gain an impression of who they are and what makes them tick. It is a world very few of us ever experience and only dream about. Tallahassee Magazine recently had the opportunity to enter the Hollywood celebrity world – and we departed with a positive experience and wonderful cover story.

Last fall, we were approached about covering the “Grand Reunion 2” of Leon High School and learned that actress and Leon graduate Cheryl Hines would be serving as the master of ceremonies on Saturday, April 14. Cheryl also is an alum of Tallahassee’s Young Actors Theater and paid her dues in Hollywood for many years seeking her first break as an actress. She finally landed a co-starring role on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with “Seinfeld” creator Larry David, earning kudos and Emmy nominations for her performances over six seasons.

I thought it would be a coup if we were able to feature Cheryl on the cover. So I called Chris Lento – my one and only connection in L.A., a friend and the publisher of Brentwood Magazine – for a lead. In true Hollywood fashion, “his people” made some calls to “their people” and within an hour I was on the phone with “her people.” After explaining that Tallahassee was in Florida and, yes, there was an upscale, glossy magazine here, I was asked to send a letter and a few review copies to see if we were acceptable for their client. To my pleasant surprise, a month later we were told Cheryl would be delighted to appear on our cover.

OK. Now what? Now it’s time to pull off an interview and cover shoot in L.A. with a celebrity.

Fortunately, our fearless star photographer, Nikki Ritcher, responded with: “No problem. Let’s do it.” So we sent her out, hired her an assistant for the day, scheduled Cheryl’s personal hairdresser and makeup artist for the morning, and shipped Leon yearbooks and other props to California. Nikki arrived at Cheryl’s front door in Brentwood at noon on Jan. 3.

I must admit to a bit of sticker shock when I realized the hair and makeup session would cost $500 plus a 20-percent (that’s $100) booking agent’s fee. Well, this is Hollywood, and a person’s people must be taken care of.

Cheryl answered the door, with an assistant and publicist on site to provide help. After an hour of set-up and personal prep, Cheryl came down and gave Nikki and Tallahassee Magazine an hour of many looks and poses. We took about 400 shots, and Nikki left knowing she had several cover options to work with, as well as a plethora of shots for the story inside the magazine that I trust you will enjoy. Cheryl would spend another hour on the phone being interviewed by Tallahassee Magazine editor Rosanne Dunkelberger and giving thoughtful answers to queries about her hometown life, Leon High, her personal life and her acting career.

Cheryl was no diva – she quickly dispelled the notion of a “high-maintenance” celebrity. She went with the flow and was critical in helping us capture a cover image that integrates her comic gifts with her local homecoming-queen legacy. She was a kind professional who allowed us into her world to bring this personalized gift of Hollywood magic to the readers of Tallahassee Magazine.

So, for all you Leon graduates – get out to the reunion, have fun and be proud of the many successful people who have walked its halls.

Cheryl was your homecoming queen in ’83 and still wears her tiara proudly – only now it’s as a television and movie star. Thanks, Cheryl. We’ll always remember the 15 minutes of fame you shared with us.

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