August 6, 2013

#BlogHer13 - Queen Latifah & my VOTY AWARD.

It's only just sinking in that I was selected as a VOTY winner, for my illustrated story "How To Check For Pinworms". In the educational Humor Category, no less.

You guys know what the Voice of the Year Award is, right? It's only like, the Oscars of the blogosphere. One hundred honorees are selected from 2600 submissions; of those, twelve are awarded the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to read their winning blogposts at the BlogHer Community Keynote. I was one of twelve.



If you blog, this is a Big Deal. It is peer recognition, community celebration, and the chance to wear that fancy dress on a stage all rolled into one. There is no prize money or gifts or even a break on the registration fee; it's just honor, plain and simple.

So there I was, massively hungover and knowing I had to get up on a stage and tell 5000+ fellow bloggers a funny story about bumholes and pinworms, (with drawings). And did I mention that Queen Latifah was emceeing the Awards? 

We were told to meet at 4:30 in "the greenroom" in the backstage area. Although I felt a bit like death, I somehow managed to arrive on time, but the place was deserted. I asked a non-judgmental hotel security guard for guidance.



She took me behind the stage, past a labyrinth of black gear boxes, cables taped to the floor, and a row of five dudes sitting at tables with laptops and fancy tech stuff with blinking lights. It was all very official back there. It would have been intimidating but I was busy concentrating on surviving my hangover, specifically keeping bodily fluids from leaving without permission.

The security guard put me in a curtained off room. It was nice in there; fresh cut flowers and comfy sofas. I gratefully sank into one, thinking, wow, they're really treating us well! I turned inward to try to focus...



I wasn't really nervous about performing my piece; I use it in one of my lectures about Visual Storytelling and I know how to work it. But the timing of the images has to be perfect or the story falls flat. No one had yet communicated to me if I was going to be able to control this myself with a clicky thing.

As I sat quietly fretting about this, a scary lady with a headset pulled back the curtain and barked, "Who are YOU?!?"



Turns out they'd accidentally put me in Queen Latifah's greenroom. Scary Lady kicked me out.



I thought that sofa was a bit too comfy anyways.



The Readers' greenroom looked like this:



I sat there by myself for fifteen minutes. The other eleven readers joined me, plus the hardworking BlogHer organizers. We were lined up in order on the chairs (I was second). Apparently Queen Latifah was stuck in traffic eating pizza so there was a delay. The energy backstage was a mix of nerves and serenity; women hugged one another, did yoga stretches, and silently practiced their speeches. I was given the clicky thing whereupon my worries about timing my slides dissipated.

Suddenly a gorgeous tall woman in a black and white dress breezed into the backstage area, followed by a couple of 'handlers' and a video cameraman. Everything about her screamed DEAL WITH IT. The star had arrived.



She smiled a zillion watts and said (sic), "How yall doin? My name is Laaaaaa....!"

And my brain went into full *holeefuuuuqQUEENLATIFAHisstandingrightinfrontofme* reverb. I couldn't speak. All I could think of was that I had to take a picture for my mom. I crept forward with my iPhone and turned around so QL was behind me.



My intention was to just get her in the background with my selfie in the foreground. But she saw me doing it.





And the rest is photobomb history.

This gif was SubWOW's idea. 

Best hangover cure ever! Armed with a couple of Queen Latifah's sparkles I climbed the stage (without tripping - high-five!) and delivered my story with previously untapped panache. I may have been channeling a mix of Eddie Izzard, Louis CK and Captain Underpants....


Hearing so many people laughing in all the right places was extremely gratifying and I'll never, ever forget it. Afterward, someone mentioned that one person actually couldn't handle the wormy bits and had to walk out. It made me realize how far I'd pushed the limits by winning a VOTY for this story. My pinworms and I trolled the entire audience and all but one made it through.

Doesn't that somehow make it more meaningful?

Thank-you BlogHer, thank-you to the selection committee, and thank-you to everyone who laughed in all the right places, at a story about a little boy with an itchy bum.


Tune in to The Queen Latifah Show.


43 comments:

  1. YAY, so glad your BlogHer was just as spectacular as you are!!!

    PHOTO BOMB! :)

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    1. You're too kind! We need to hang together at the next one. You've inspired me to wear heels once more.

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  2. I LOVE THIS and I LOVE YOU!

    QL PHOTO BOMB!

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    1. Ah Julia....it was a great end to an awful hangover. Thanks for bringing me back to the hotel in that taxi. I was stumbling around a bit!

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  3. How the hell could they not like you? You're fantastically superb as a human being, and quite foxy as a woman. Congratulations on your blogging, and life, win.

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    1. I like that you think I'm foxy. It makes me feel foxier. Thank-you for congratulating me. Are we going to BlissDom or what????

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  4. u r a rockstar my deary. not just anyone can rock a pin worm instructional video while hanging with a legend.
    xoxox
    PEACH OUT

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    1. Hmmm....it was only illustrations but now I'm thinking I should make a pinworm instruction video....

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  5. JC, this is an absolutely FABULOUS pictorial of your VOTY experience. Your presentation and comic timing was awesome! We all laughed so hard! Good on ya, girl!

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    1. DARCY. I will stalk you at the next BlogHer. I will find you, and draw you. And make you change your last name to Trouvé.

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  6. That was an excellent photo bomb!! Sorry I missed VOTY. I would have loved to see you.

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    1. You missed the VOTY? Oh so many truly great voices shared their stories. Wait for the videos to come out!

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  7. This is hi-larious and you couldn't plan that photobomb any more perfectly ;)

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  8. I had no idea about the photobomb. That makes it almost forgivable that Queen Latifah was 45 minutes late!

    I was howling with laughter in the audience while you were reading. You may have heard me.

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    1. I could hear it! It was so great to hear people truly laughing. I live for this. I live to draw this. Thank-you for telling me.

      I guess Queen Latifah had to eat. I know how I feel when my blood sugar is low. I'd prefer she'd be late and not cranky. Cuz royalty and all.

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  9. The photobomb is awesome, as is the little pinworm who escaped! :)

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  10. my fav part of your reading was when you leaned into the mic to breathily say, "no, you have to.....really...LOOK..." perfection!

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    1. I did that on purpose and I'm so glad it worked. And....there's gonna be a video so I can check it out. Relive the moment of glory.

      *sigh*

      It was truly fun and special.

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  11. The GIF brought it all together - how awesome!

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    1. Do you know it's never occurred to me to make GIFs before now. Maybe I'll do some animated ones...

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  12. I LOVED your pinworm tail... er... tale. It was comedy gold - equal parts true, hilarious and disgusting. Brilliant. And that photo bomb is the bomb.com. fo shizzle

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    1. That's th secret recipe: equal parts truth plus two opposing forces.

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  13. You captured that elusive "star quality" thing QL has brilliantly. LOVE the photobomb!

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    1. QL was glowing. And yet...I had the feeling she knew it was just paint. The real woman lurks not too far beneath the surface. I like that.

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  14. Hilarious! What a great story.
    I would love to have your comedic timing and graphic skills. You rocked it in Chicago, and I was glad to be introduced to your blog in that way. Looking forward to meeting you next time!

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    1. Yay! Score! Thanks for stopping by here, and I'm glad you liked it.

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    1. Thank-you Janie. I loved telling it...

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  16. You killed it, absolutely! And yes, people laughed because you were funny as hell. The voices were perfect as was your timing.

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    1. You know half the animation happens in the voice and sound fx. True.

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  17. Being photo bombed by Latifah *updating bucket list*

    Here's something for your bucket list, should you wish to add it. Inspiring other women through Pin Worm post. After watching your inspiring performance at BlogHer, I came back home and it wasn't even 24 hours until I've had the chance to execute. No worms or pins were extracted but my 4-year-old son had a great time.

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    1. Yet another case of life imitating art, methinks.

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  18. I am lucky to have such a brilliant and funny friend. Thanks for making me smile this morning.

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    1. You're the best. I love you Shelagh.

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  19. That's an amazing story. This is the first year I submitted some of my posts for the VOTYs and your the first of this year's winners that I didn't momentarily hate from jealousy. Because you're so awesome.

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    1. Oh my word. I'm going to have to love you forever now.

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  20. This was awesome :) Vera

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