Let me begin by saying that, frankly, Siobhan and I didn’t exactly think we were going to last night’s gala to work. She carried her sparkliest purse. I wore my sparkliest top. It was decided—by us, of course—that we’d be the cutest girls at the party. We were going to schmooze. (And since Iman was being honored, I thought maybe, just maybe, we’d see David Bowie—and maybe, just maybe, sing “Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” with him. …Hey, a girl can dream, right?)
But the minute we walked in the door, we learned otherwise.
Now, first, you have to understand that I am the geekiest of all geeks when it comes to my job. I would never, ever interview someone without knowing the entire life story: career path, biggest petpeeves, dog’s name… everything. I would never be caught off-guard.
…Or so I thought.
We dropped off our bags at the Waldorf-Astoria coat room and checked in with the event’s media relations coordinator. Her first words were, “Josey! Welcome! We love iVillage! Let me find Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem for your interviews.”
In my defense, I was pretty clear over email that I wasn’t going to do interviews—I told her I was only coming to the event to get a vibe (“vibe” is journalist speak for “drink”). But she was already gone.
I felt the color drain from my face, and Siobhan and I looked at each other blankly. What on earth were we going to say to Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem with zero preparation? These are two of the most powerful (and most intimidating) female figures in recent history… icons… and we didn’t even have a tape recorder!
We didn’t even have a PEN.
I was ready to sneak out the back door until Siobhan turned to me and said, “All right, Josey, this is it. Are we mice or are we men??” I took a deep breath and simultaneously, I said, “MEN!” and she said, “MICE! ….Fine. Men.”
So we stayed.
The Night I Insulted Jane Fonda: Part Two
by Josey Miller
We walked up to the bar for some liquid courage (also known as Pinot Grigio), turned around and there they were: Iman and David Bowie. Iman is approximately eleven feet tall—educated guess—and she is so strikingly beautiful that Siobhan decided that she is not of our same species. David Bowie was surprisingly handsome. He did not ask me to sing a duet, but let’s face it: It was Iman’s big night, and it’s not my style to steal anyone’s thunder anyway.
I turned to Siobhan and told her that, yes, interviewing Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem sans preparation could be embarrassing—but these are the stories I’ll tell to my grandkids (cue granny voice): “One time your grandmother was at a gala in New York City and she saw David Bowie and Iman, and met Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem!”
It was then that I actually got nervous that it had been too long since we last saw our media relations coordinator friend—and maybe we wouldn’t get to interview them after all. Despite my lack of preparation, now I wanted to.
I spotted Jane Fonda across the room, and I told Siobhan we were going in.
She was a little bit taller than me—about 5’7″—and wearing tinted glasses. She looked so chic. I just kept thinking about how my mother would constantly work out to her fitness tapes in our living room back in the mid-80s, wearing leg warmers and a fuchsia-striped leotard. I think I was Jane Fonda for Halloween once.
I couldn’t seem to work myself into her circle, but after about ten minutes, her publicist noticed us and gave us a little wink of acknowledgement. I introduced myself to her, and she tapped Jane on the shoulder. “Jane, have you met Josey Miller from iVillage?”
Siobhan and I had decided I should ask her about her incredible ability to reinvent herself. Jane told us that she never really thought of it as reinventing herself. She said she didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Today I’m going to reinvent myself.” She said she was just “curious” about other things so she decided to try them—that it was purely curiosity that guided her careers. She noted that human beings are lucky that we have that ability to explore and elevate our lives, even spiritually. I asked her what part of her path she was most proud of…
This was going so well!
…She said, “I’m most proud of myself for having courage throughout it all.” And then she stopped abruptly and looked at me with a confused expression. “But you don’t even have a tape recorder so you’re not going to remember any of this anyway.”
Jane Fonda called me out.
I panicked but quickly recovered explaining that I write a blog and that I really just wanted to get some insight into what got her where she is today so I could pass along her wisdom, even generally, to our many iVillage readers. (Not bad under pressure, right?)
She was very nice, but clearly just a bit miffed. She smiled, raised a fist in the air and said, “Bloggers unite!” Then she turned around to talk to someone else.