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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Roach

"Hey Kentucky!" Casting Call Me, Maybe?

Newsflash: This just in! Not everything Tam and I will do, will be successful. Hard to believe, I know, but it is a fact! Take Saturday, for example. Tam and I had been swapping tweets with an affiliate of the Hey Kentucky! TV show about appearing as guests to promote Ky Taste Buds. The program, hosted by Kentucky-famous Matt Jones and Lee Cruse is a local show featuring news, events and politics. They were having an open casting call at Fayette Mall in Lexington to find another co-host, and our pal Kevin encouraged us to take the plunge and try out. Initially we thought it was a terrible idea and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Tam and I are not young and gorgeous. I know this is a shock to many (ha ha) but we are not spring chickens, nor are we super models and as women we often negate ourselves based on age and appearance. Sad but true.

  2. We have no professional news experience. While I can be the life of the party and Tam has had a little “KET- like” video and radio experience, neither one of us are trained in any way, shape or form to stand in front of an audience and dazzle.

  3. What do we know? The topics and opinions of “Hey Kentucky!” can be pretty political, controversial and in some cases, just over our heads. Not that Tam and I are idiots, it’s just not the focus of Ky Taste Buds to be ingrained in the media rumblings of Kentucky. In fact, if anything, we are trying to escape the day­-to-day grind and find the fun in this great state.

  4. We do not need a daily, long-term gig to add to our list of things to do. Unless the co-host position paid big bucks (yeah right), we just can’t do it. We don’t have time to be famous! Nope!

  5. There were a thousand more reasons why we told ourselves this was a dumb idea, but let’s just face it, for me the ultimate excuse was fear. Fear of rejection, fear of embarrassing myself and fear of failing.

So what did we do? We forgot about it and Tam and I went about our week doing what Ky Taste Buds was created to do. We explored new restaurants, did a little dancing and actually met and prepared for our upcoming radio show guest appearance with Cameron Mills (the former 1996/1998 NCAA basketball champ for those who live under a rock and don’t know KY basketball). And we had a great time doing it! Side note: Cameron is a hoot! Finally, Friday rolled around and we received another email from Kevin reminding us about the audition, and while I still didn’t think it was a good idea to tryout, I asked Tam if she wanted to go to the mall and take a few photos, possibly meet a show producer and feature the event on our blog. Tam agreed.

So off to the mall we go with the idea of shopping and peering in on the Casting Call event. When we got there the line was gone and the big audition room, relatively empty. We strolled in and asked a crew member about possibly meeting a producer. When questioned if trying out, our reply was “Nah, it’s not right for us.” But about that time Matt Jones walks over and welcomes us. We banter with him about the show and he asks if we were there to try out. We said no (Excuse #4 provided) but he encouraged us to anyway saying that he liked the idea of a duo and confirmed that the spot wasn’t a permanent one. Tam and I also explained Ky Taste Buds and how it would be fun to get on the show to promote Ky living. He said, yeah, go ahead and try out. That was all it took for us to get excited, some encouragement and validation. It gave us a little hope and we thought to ourselves, “What the hay? Or should I say “hey”?

So for the next few hours, we filled out a little paperwork, spoke on camera with the charismatic Drew Franklin, interviewed with a nice man named Mike about who we were and what we were about. Tam and I started to feel more and more confident as the day progressed. We worked the room with our smiles, joked around with the crew, laughed it up with the other contestants. We were having fun just being ourselves and comfortable in our own skin. We even finagled a pic with Matt and started tweeting and social networking with hopes of making it to the next round. AND WE DID! It worked!

Out of 140-something contestants, they had narrowed the field to 40 and we were on the list! Can you believe it? We really couldn’t, but it gave us the assurance to keep going. So we did. We showed up at 3:15 for the next round where they handed us a three-page list of potential interview questions that included politics, sports and social issues. There was nothing on the list about questioning our fav restaurant, where we like to buy our shoes, whether our children and husbands drive us crazy… nope. And while our hope all along was to get on the show and be Ky Taste Budders we were learning that the interview process was becoming less about us and more about concerns #2 and #3. And this is where it all went downhill.

Tam and I were called up to the bright stage for the final step of the day. There were big lights shining on us and studio cameras pointed at us. Standing to my left was a reporter ready to ask us burning questions, and sitting in front of us were Lee, Matt and the beautiful Hayley Harmon, morning anchor of Channel 18, all primed and ready to go. At first, I was kind of surprised that I wasn’t too nervous. They asked us questions about ourselves and I was trying to be relaxed and casual and I think it started OK. I say, “I think” because it’s all kind of a blur now. At any rate, we get our first question and it was, in fact, a political/social one. Honestly, in retrospect, it wasn’t that hard of a question but instead of taking the approach of serious newscaster, I tried to take the role of comedian and it backfired – big time. Tam tried to salvage the conversation (because after all, she is the class and I am the sass) but frankly our little dual performance wasn’t working and before we had time to readjust, it was over and the critiques began. This is what we heard:

  1. The package idea is a bad one.

  2. You guys talked over each other.

  3. You guys were all over the place.

  4. You guys are not right for the show.

  5. You guys aren’t what we are about.

And as I am sitting there digesting the feedback, I thought to myself, duh… we knew that. Isn’t that pretty much concerns #1-4? And now, we are living concern #5! As I walked off the stage, I tried to play it off and said something to the effect of “Oh well, your loss” to the Kentucky famous hosts. And let me tell you something, I regret that statement the most. Now that is not only ridiculous, it was just plain stupid. The insinuation that the show would not go on without us? Yeah right!

Once we made our escape from the stage, we got the hell out of the studio as fast as possible. We actually had some of the crew stop us and tell us that they were surprised that we didn’t make it because they thought we were a shoo-in. Honestly, the way the whole thing started out, I started to believe it myself. But in the end, the truth is, we weren’t right for the show. While we had a chance, we just simply blew it.

After a night of playing back, “What could I have done differently”, it occurred to me that this is exactly the mission of Ky Taste Buds. We are two life-long best friends who are joining together to live life outside of our comfort zones and “taste” all of the beautiful offerings this great state has to offer. And while excuses #1 – 4 were valid in some ways, I am glad it wasn’t excuse #5 that stopped us from trying. We laughed, we learned, we met new people and even though we failed, I can proudly say, we tried… and sometimes that is what matters most.

I hope Tam and I never again turn down an opportunity to try, even if rejected, even if we suck, even if we fail. The only way to get better is to know what to do differently.

Thanks to the cast and crew of “Hey Kentucky!” for giving us an opportunity we might never have taken without a little prodding and encouragement. It was quite an experience for us middle-aged, normal, everyday moms. And while the show will go on without Ky Taste Buds, I am pretty sure this great state hasn’t heard the last of us, yet! God, please help us all!

PS. There is a happy ending. Just 24 hours later, thanks to the Cameron Mills radio show, we got to do this. Not too shabby, my friends. Not.Too.Shabby.

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