So that happened.
I knew that a lot of crazy things were going to happen during my three weeks in Vegas, but nothing prepared me for this event: all fifty-one contestants (District of Columbia was her own entity, not Puerto Rico) would be hula-hooping in Chinese Laundry-brand wedges at the Miracle Mile Shops with Richard Simmons. There may have been a chance that it was listed on the schedule a few days before the shoot, but after multiple schedule changes, anyone’s guess was as good as mine.
How do you prepare for an encounter with Richard Simmons when you’re running on fumes? You get coffee, in any form. I decided to go with an iced coffee, Vietnamese-style:
Even after coffee and a power nap, the cleanest image I could grab of the man while we were in the same room was this:
The crazy Richard Simmons that you see on TV is exactly how he is in person. I thought he might break away from his character when I asked him to sign an appearance release, but no such luck. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Mr. Simmons?
RS: (after kissing me on the cheek) CALL ME RICHARD!
Me: Richard, can I have you fill out this release?
RS: (after he started filling out the form)WHERE DO I LIVE?! MICHAEL (his manager)! MICHAEL, WHERE DO I LIVE?!
He took the girls down through the casino to the Miracle Mile shops. I swear I could hear his voice while I was still in the production office on the floor above.
It was truly an amazing experience, and it was a little tricky for me not to be starstruck with him around. Hands down this was my favorite shoot out of the whole pageant. :)