I met the Queen!!!

May 15, 2017

     I’ve worked at the radio station for three years now and even without the station perks, I’ve met many celebrities.  Not trying to throw around names but I’ve met Ellen DeGeneres, Simon Cowell (who surprisingly has been the nicest celeb I’ve ever met), and just to name a few more, Adam Sandler, Mario Lopez, and Carmen Electra.  When around these celebrities, I’ve always had the mentality to treat them as my peers, rather than them being famous people.  I do that because I truly believe I’ll be working with them in the future so I feel that it’s better to treat them professionally but I have definitely found my weakness!

     You might not know this but if you follow me on Twitter (@JillanaDarby), or Instagram (same handle) or my fan page on Facebook, you know I am a super fan of Survivor!!  I’ve watched every season and am in love with the game, all the way around so when a friend told me about an event happening in Traveler’s Rest where you could meet several castaways, I was immediately going!!  Here’s some of the more recognizable players that were there: Sandra Diaz-Twine (the ONLY player to ever win twice), Jonny Fairplay (the player who lied about his Grandma being dead), Leslie Nease (our very own Upstate native who was put on blast for not bowing down at a Buddha temple during filming) and Jeff Varner (who is now known for outing a player for being transsexual).  Each of these players impacted the game in a huge way and I was absolutely thrilled to be face-to-face with them so I could further pick their brains and personalities. 

     I was very nervous but all the way up to Travelers Rest, I was rehearsing my initial greeting to each former player.  I thought the two females would be easy to approach and the guys would be a bit harder, especially Varner but I had it planned out in my head so I would still seem professional.  I get to Sidewall Pizza Company and first thing I did was walk slowly to the bathroom to scope out my surroundings.  I was trying to pick the best place to sit to see the Survivors when I got there but I came out of the bathroom, took two steps outside where everyone was gathered, and standing in front of me was Jonny Fairplay himself!!!  I expected the former Survivors to be sitting at a table where no one could really get to them but no, every single one of them were walking around, mingling, and even playing Survivor games that had been made by another super fan!

     Immediately, I had a panic wall shoot up in my body!  I mean, I’ve shaken hands with Paula Abdul before but never in my life have I ever been this nervous to talk to someone!!  I had to sit down and re-check my brain on the situation and thankfully I pulled it together and walked up to Jeff Varner because he was the opener I practiced the most.  As I looked at him smiling, bigger than normal (probably because of nerves) he spoke first saying, “You are very pretty” and what did I say back, “are you doing okay?” And AHHHH, I could have smacked myself!!!  See, if you don’t know, the night he was voted out was pretty dramatic and it was very recent so I cannot believe that THAT was the first thing I said to him!  I was so embarrassed with myself that I even brought it up! Thank goodness he responded well because he asked, “well do you like me or not?” and I told him the truth, “if I was judged for every bad thing I’ve done, I’d already be in hell!” He laughed.

     That was the worst that could happen, right?  Nope!  I walked up to my absolute favorite player, Sandra THE QUEEN of Survivor and just outright said, “I LOVE YOU”!  Creepy and definitely not what I rehearsed but yet again, my mouth let my heart do the talking instead of my brain.  Sandra is known for being a villain on the show so I thought she was going to say something smart allecky to me but at that moment and the four hours I spent mingling with her, she showed her true colors of being a genuine, caring person!  Even Jonny Fairplay was a nice man, although very flirty!  Actually, you couldn’t say any of the castaways had bad hearts because Leslie, had invited them to Traveler’s Rest for one reason, to help raise money for the charity, ”Give Kids the World”.  I donated and wish I could have donated more because each dollar was going to help children with life-threatening diseases enjoy their last days on a resort in Florida. 

     Each castaway even got up on the mic in front of everyone to tell what “Give Kids the World” meant to them and it truly was a sad but touching moment.  I got to see the souls of these players that I admire.  I wanted to see their personalities and I was pleasantly surprised at who they really were!  Leslie said it best, “On the show, you’re not seeing all of a person but what the producers want to show”.  It was such a great event and Leslie wants to orchestrate another one for next year if the goal of $7,000 is met!  That’s how much it is to send a child to the resort and we got halfway there on the day of the event.  She said she’s going to leave the donation page up though, in hopes that people will still give!

     And that’s why I wrote this blog.  Of course I wanted to tell you about the amazing day I had with my idols but also to ask you to donate.  Think about a parent that’s been told they only have six more months to be with their child.  At this resort, the family can enjoy the time they have left with their baby and make lasting memories.  Everything counts and if we all come together, we can hit the goal!  It would be great for me to see the Survivors come back next year but that’s not the point! I’d much rather give those parents an opportunity to be with their child, in a happy place.  Please give and thank you to Leslie Nease for even putting this event on!

Here's the link to donate: http://support.gktw.org/site/TR?px=1322829&fr_id=1651&pg=personal

You only have until Saturday.  Please go donate. Thank you.