Shelly Miles, host of San Antonio Living on WOAI TV, invited Nancy to join her in a segment about Aggie Mundeen Mysteries. Naturally, I paid close attention.
Having never been on television, Nancy worried about attire and make-up. The sofa on the set was cranberry red. Should she wear a navy or black business suit to appear professional? She’d swelter under the studio lights. Rivulets pouring down one’s face is not a good look. She opted for a casual blue pantsuit with a loose top: light-weight cool fabric, long sleeves and demur neck. A microphone would be clipped to her somewhere.
She emailed TV host Shelly: “Does the studio have a make-up artist?” TV cameras made a person look pale, old and ten pounds heavier, none of which Nancy needed. They had a bathroom and mirror. No make-up artist. She consulted Melody, the master stylist who does her hair. Melody could apply TV make-up, but unfortunately, she would be out of town. She gave Nancy hints: “Apply eye liner above your lashes and blend it upward at the outside corner.” (Nothing on one’s face should trend down. Gravity took care of that.)
Nancy practiced. She wore contacts, so she had to keep the liner out of her eyes. She managed to draw a smooth line above her lashes, but when she swept the outside edges upward, they resembled curly mustaches. After multiple line drawings, scrubbing off a series of smudged flying corners and replacing two sets of contacts, she was able to draw lines—when she managed not to blink—that curved in subtle upward sweeps. She stared at the mirror bug-eyed, while her sweeps dried.
Melody said her cheek bones needed definition, so she bought several shades of blush at the grocery store. Poised at her bathroom mirror, she sucked in her cheeks and swept the pinkest shade on the bone from under her pupils toward her ears. She looked ready for a pow-wow. She tried a lighter color that looked more natural—so natural that a microscopic camera lens probably wouldn’t show it. She applied more of same figuring that should do it.
Her eyebrows, blonde and squiggly, did not make a nice frame for her eyes and would probably disappear under lights. What to do? Make arched brown bars totally foreign to her face? She tried it. Not good. Her brows would remain natural.
Dressed and made-up, she cruised with her husband down Highway 410 toward WOAI TV, which was located ten miles ahead on the access road. Then the traffic stopped. Vehicles came to a standstill, their motors idling and drivers fuming. There must be a major wreck ahead, and there was no other route to the TV station. After waiting in stalled traffic for twenty minutes, her husband suggested she call the station.
“This is Nancy West,” she said. “I’m supposed to be on San Antonio Living at ten o’clock, but the traffic on 410 has stalled. I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
“Yes,” the receptionist said, “a four-car pile-up. Thank you.” Click.
As soon as Nancy hung up, cars miraculously began to move. Police must have cleared the wreckage. Hopefully, no one was seriously injured. They arrived at the station where people zoomed back and forth at warp speed between swinging doors on each side of a reception desk across from a small waiting area. She signed in, and they sat. A young lady brought a waver for her to sign: She agreed the station would own her television image in perpetuity, which undoubtedly included defined cheekbones, along with whatever words she managed to utter. The young lady asked if she could attach a microphone to Nancy and clipped a battery pack the size of a thick cell phone inside the back of her pants. Nancy shivered: she said it was cold and would remind her to sit straight for the interview. The girl had Nancy snake the wire under her clothes and clip a small microphone to her collar. Cool.
After “Finding Gently-Used Clothing for Back-to-School Fashion” and a segment about a school for boys practicing to be Ninja Warriors, Nancy was told to sit at the end of the rose sofa. Shelly Miles would sit on the adjoining sofa. Her books were placed on the coffee table in front of them, and images of the covers formed a portrait on the back wall.
“Just face me as though we’re having a natural conversation, ” Shelly said. After a countdown, the segment began. The lights were even brighter than we imagined. Shelly was charming, asked great questions, and Nancy had practiced some answers. The interview seemed to go well, although I doubt Nancy’s ratings rose to the level of Ninja Warriors.
Later, we watched a video of the show at home. Since Nancy had turned sideways to talk to Shelly, we mostly saw a woman with blonde hair talking to a younger woman who smiled radiantly for frequent camera close-ups. The woman resembling Nancy looked old and pale with invisible eye make-up, nondescript cheeks and squiggly eyebrows.
But she had fun.