Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tim Gunn and me

A couple years ago I walked the BEA show floor with my good friend Barbara. At that time she was the photographer who did the still shots for Project Runway.  I knew Project Runway was a cable TV show, but that was about it.

At one point we bumped up against a large, stationary crowd and overheard a woman say "Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to meet Tim Gunn!"  Barb's ears perked up. She hadn't known Tim Gunn was going to be at BEA or that his book was soon to be published.

Could we stand in this line to get a copy? Well, sure. Why not. (I hate hate hate standing in line but you do things for friends sometimes just cause they're the ones who remind you not to gnaw on strangers when you're about to commit a chompx-pas.)

So, there we were. We didn't have to wait terribly long; the booth staff did a nice job moving the line along.  Soon we were at the signing desk.

Tim looked up and said "Oh hello Barbara!"
Barbara replied "How nice to see you!"
Pleasantries exchanged including "And I'd like you to meet my friend Janet"
"Hello Janet"
"So nice to meet you!"

Would we like our books signed?

Yes indeed we would but Barb had the clever idea to give them to two friends who were devoted Project Runway fans.

So yes, we'd like to have the books signed, but to Vivian and Stella.

Sign he did.

More pleasantries, then we said our good byes, and Tim Gunn looked at me and said "So nice to meet you, Janet" and off we went.

And if you think this is a story about how cool it was to meet Tim Gunn, please remember I had no clue who he was.

But I was impressed. And it was cool.  Cause he remembered my name. Remembered Barb's too...even when she popped up completely out of context. He'd only seen her on the show behind a camera snapping photos. They weren't besties or anything. He was the star. She was crew.

And he remembered MY name: a total stranger. A stranger's name AFTER he heard two completely different names and signed books to them. With no prompting.

At first I thought maybe he just read our BEA badges. Then I realized neither of us had our badges visible.  I was damn impressed.

Not by his fame, but by Tim Gunn the man; a man who remembered names. And made me feel like he was glad to meet me. And it turns out, he's known for remembering everyone's name on Project Runway too. This wasn't an aberration. This was how he is.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Tim Gunn that has nothing to do with how terrific he is on Project Runway.

Thus, it broke my heart in pieces to see this segment of "It Gets Better."  When he was 17 Tim Gunn was in despair. And tried to take his life.

That a man of this caliber could be lost to us makes me furious with fear.

Tim Gunn means a lot to me, and he doesn't have a clue that he does.


If you too are in despair remember you will be Tim Gunn to someone.  Someone you may never know.  It's important to be here for your life.  You may never know why. You may never know the effect you have on people -- the POSITIVE effect on people -- but you must be here for it to happen.

You are Tim Gunn to someone. Don't miss out. Don't let ME miss out.

When you need help to remember this,  people want to help you.  Here's a link to them: The Trevor Project.

20 comments:

emilykatejohnston said...

This is a wonderful story! I am so glad to hear that Tim Gunn is as awesome in real life as he is on Project Runway. It took me several tries to get through his "It Gets Better" video because I had to keep stopping to get a hold of myself and...I agree: I'm upset that we almost didn't get a Tim Gunn!

Thank you for posting this.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

I'm terribly jealous of anyone who can remember names. I'm horrible at it, and I think people are a little annoyed because it takes me a while to recognize people I should know, and sometimes I still guess wrong. Even the characters in the stories I write need a cheat sheet so I don't get them mixed up, and I invented them!

To think the world could have been deprived of Tim Gunn, one of the classiest, nicest, most pleasant people I've ever seen on TV (though I have never met him, either, he's on the short list of "famous people I'd like to have lunch with"). Thank you to the folks behind the "It Gets Better" project, and everyone who's shared their story there, for helping a new generation of people realize they all have something too important to share with the world to let anything or anyone convince them otherwise.

Thanks for posting this.

Kathy said...

I am the teacher-sponsor of my high school's GSA. We share stories and "It Gets Better" videos regularly. I am going to share this at our next meeting. Thank you.

Feaky Snucker said...

Literally, the only fight I've ever been in in my life, was defending one of my best friends, who happens to be gay. My friend Brett was so drunk, he didn't notice the cowboy following him from the bar. I noticed. I walked outside, heard the cowboy scream after my friend, 'Are you a fucking fag?!' I jumped in front the cowboy, and physically kept blocking him from getting near my friend. I was like, 'What does it matter if he is?' He replied, 'Cuz I'll kick his ass that's why.'

I couldn't believe it. He was going to beat my friend up because he thought he *might* be gay. To top it off, my friend's arm was in a sling already because he'd injured his shoulder, and was about to have shoulder surgery.

I'm not a fighter, but you're damned right I will jump in there to defend my own. But I would have done it for anyone - because it's the right thing to do.

Not saying we should all start fighting violence with violence, but sometimes the best thing is for people to know that they aren't alone, and that someone cares.

Janet, much respect, and love to you for posting this. <3

-Tamara

Charley said...

Beautiful story, Janet.

Mary said...

Yes, beautiful story but am I the only one laughing at chompx-pas? Hilarious.

SiSi said...

Beautiful story and a great reminder. Thanks for posting.

Steve Masover said...

+1 ... these stories can't be told too many times. Thanks, Janet. You're a shark with a heart.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I've heard Mr. Gun's It Gets Better Segment before, and it's still one of the most wrenching entries of all. (Really, someone should do an anthology of those stories.)

The first time I read The Hunger Games, and even though the character looks nothing like him, Tim Gunn's voice was what I heard for Cinna. He has a very distinct way of speaking, so it was strange seeing the movie and hearing Lenny Kravitz speak in the role for the first time. But I still hear Mr. Gunn when I read.

:-)

Aimee L. Salter said...

Lovely to see the Shark is warm blooded.

I'm reposting, etc, because this blog has a really important message and because I ADORE Tim and his It's Gets Better segment.

Thanks for sharing, Janet. Wise words!

Mystery Robin said...

What a lovely story. I have enjoyed him for years on Project Runway and continually hear what a wonderful person he is in real life. Thank you for sharing this.

Leah said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful sentiment. I'm so glad you shared. Thank you.

Ali Trotta said...

Beautiful post, Janet. This made me tear up. Thank you for sharing this. The sentiment is much appreciated.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you, Janet, for this wonderful post and sharing the link. Now I'm an even bigger Tim Gunn fan. :)

Robin Ruinsky said...

I love Tim Gunn. Went to his book signing a couple of years ago at Book Revue at Huntington. A woman came in with her little daughter's fashion sketches and he took the time to look at them even though he had tons of books to sign. The place was packed.

He's a great guy!

Wry Wryter said...

I clicked on the link.
What a nice guy.
I liked him on Project Runway, I like him even more now.
Thanks Janet.

Tracy Bermeo (A2Z Mommy) said...

What an amazing post and an amazing story. It's all too easy to feel like we're here just going through the motions without realizing how many people we touch every day. Thanks for sharing.
A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

Terri Bischoff said...

I am impressed that you remember my name, simply because of the pure number of people you meet regularly. Great post Janet.

StephC said...

Thank you so much for posting Janet. It's so nice to know that he really IS that incredible. And it's so nice to know that not only did you recognize it, you shared! Thank you!

Nancy M in NJ said...

Thanks for telling your story, Janet. I too am a huge Tim Gunn fan, and now even huger {is that a word?!} :)