Let the red shoes talk

Yes, that is a photo of three pairs of feet. But it is what’s in the photo that appeared to define my whole day yesterday.

Well alright, here’s the full photo:

With Cho and 'Bella' host Daphne Iking

Yesterday, it was my turn to get up on the set of ntv7’s Bella and talk about the magazine, part of a three-month deal we have with ntv7 (or Media Prima). And since Cho — Azalea Ramli of PU3 to the rest of you — whom I met through Afham’s inconceivably far-reaching network of friends, was on the cover of the May issue with the baby story I did with her, I got her to appear on Bella with me too, as I was in no way, shape or form prepared to go on live TV for the first time in my life entirely alone.

The show airs at 11AM from Sunday through Thursday, so we were told to arrive at the ntv7 studios — which are in Shah Alam and therefore I may have lost a year off my life trying to get to — by 10AM. My lifelong fear of traffic sent me out of the house earlier than I planned, which thankfully got me to the studios 20 minutes early so that I could sit in my car in the parking lot and try not to upchuck or cry into my Fendi bag.

We were on for the first 15 minutes of the hour-long show, for which I was very grateful because I would not have been able to wait my turn whilst other guests were being interviewed and still make it onto the set alive — or with a clean blouse. By the time we got off the set, it felt as though the adrenalin and nerves had burned away enough calories that I was feeling ravenous after the show.

On the set of 'Bella'

Several things I deduced — and things they may not tell you — from doing this include but are not limited to:

  1. Being on TV is really not glamorous, but then I should have guessed as much based on the work I’ve done on short films.
  2. Again, if one is not photogenic, it really does not matter how good the camera is, or what kind of camera (still, video, or anywhere in between) is used.
  3. Even if you have previously done a show taping or worked on a film, it will not prepare you for the pressure of doing live TV and the fact that you have only one opportunity to get it right.
  4. It helps to know how to do your own face. I was advised that the host’s face would be given priority of that of the guest, and could result in a haphazard makeup job that would not help my already uncooperative face. So I got up earlier and put on a full face, thus requiring barely any touch-ups at all when I got to the studios.
  5. It also helps to focus on something inanimate whilst on air. I found I was tapping my fingers on my knees a lot, which fortunately did not get captured on camera, but which also calmed me down a little bit, almost as if I were channeling the nerves out through my fingers. And, well, yes, onto my knees.
  6. Everything is exaggerated on camera. And I mean everything. My head looked too big, my hands were gesticulating too wildly, and my shoes looked too red (although I later realized this was a good thing, because it gave the viewers something else to focus their attention on, which many of my friends pointed out to me as well). Even Daphne Iking’s whistling S’s seemed too pronounced.

That said, it was a good experience, and actually quite fun after the terror and mortification had died down. What was not fun was watching and listening to myself when I got home last night, and witnessing said exaggerations. But if I had ever made a bucket list, this would have been on it.

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