Having lived in New York City for 30 years, I have seen plenty of celebrities; in restaurants, filming, on the subway or walking through Madison Square Park, and shopping. Yes, I know they’re just celebs, but celeb spotting is something that I find amusing.

Discussing celebrity spotting is a safe icebreaker at networking events, assuming the discussion doesn’t feel forced or creepy. While I’d prefer chatting about work or politics, but only when it’s appropriate, and a bond has been established.

Apologies in advance if you’ve heard me retell a few of my favorite celeb encounters:

In 1986, I was shopping at Henri Bendel. I could only afford their fabulously fragrant potpourri, strategically placed as you entered the store. In comes a small woman with a drunken man who talks loudly and looks familiar. He spots me, comes over, pats my very pregnant belly, and with a British accent, asks, “Got a bun In the oven, love?” That’s when I see his tattooed fingers, bearing the letters “O-Z-Z-Y.” Sharon chastises Ozzy and apologizes to me for his boorish behavior. The best part of this encounter is that my older daughter can tell a good story – that she was blessed by Ozzy Osbourne.

Peter Gabriel stopped by my apartment. Correction: He stopped by my apartment BUILDING to visit Claudia Schiffer, the famous supermodel, who stayed in the penthouse with her Parisian modeling agent. (No surprise there.) I was comfortable enough to let Peter know that my husband and I were big fans, especially in the early days of Genesis. Peter wasn’t the only suitor stopping by our building. David Copperfield saw Claudia regularly. While riding the elevator, I met Tico Torres (Bon Jovi’s drummer). Tico was dating supermodel Eva Herzegovina, who lived a couple flights upstairs in my building.

While not a supermodel, Betty Dodson was also my neighbor. Even at 91, she was still a hoot and the real deal. When Betty passed away a few years ago, she was famous enough to rate a 1500-word obituary in the New York Times. Her obit is one heck of a fun read. (Subscription may be required.)

My all-time favorite: While working at Pillsbury’s DC office for a week, I stayed nearby at the Hotel Palomar. One morning, I spotted Tony Bourdain and his film crew as they were grabbing coffee in the lobby. I had seen him often enough as we lived around the corner at Les Halles in NYC. Feeling confident, I walked over to Tony, introduced myself, and extended my hand, mentioning my husband’s favorite recipes are from Tony’s Les Halles Cookbook. Contrary to his tough guy image, Tony’s handshake was weak, and he blushed during our brief exchange.

Are you going to the LMA Annual Conference in April? If so, please find me.

I’d love to hear all about YOUR close encounters with celebs.


Written by : Nancy Slome

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