A Bold Moment With Liza Minnelli

The Tony Awards has always been on my bucket list of events I’d kill to report on. It’s a chance to interview the biggest names in Broadway, and when it became a reality for me, I knew I had to make the most of it. Rockefeller Plaza’s Rainbow Room was host to the post-awards interviews that year. The industry’s biggest stars came through with their trophies after the show nearby at Radio City Music Hall. Champagne was flowing and things were getting lively. Our reporting team was set up to capture the action, though the scattered press agents were making it a challenge to get interviews.

Then Liza Minnelli entered, and the room went wild. The press instantly surrounded her, so that she was barely visible. Upon seeing my personal inspiration in the flesh, my stomach began to flip flop. I had to make this interview happen. Like a hawk, I watched the crowd and mentally prepared. A clearing came up and my opportunity arrived. With Tonys interviews, you must have the actor’s press agent introduce you beforehand, but with panic, I realized her press agent was nowhere to be found. With my heart in my throat and beads of sweat forming on my forehead, I decided to approach her myself. “Ms. Minnelli,” I said, disguising the shake in my voice with what I hoped was assertiveness. She turned to face me, her eyes glittering. This was it. “Um,” I began, “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about the honour you received tonight?”

Choosing the bold route can feel uncomfortable and a bit lonely. As humans, there’s this primal need to fit in so we’re not kicked out of the tribe. We don’t want to be ostracized or seen as failures if we don’t get it right the first time. Stifling your unique desires for the sake of blending in could be a recipe for regret later on. It can be easier to do what’s convenient, but the true self finds a way to break through eventually. Practicing boldness in your life means intuitively doing what you feel is right, even though you’re not sure how it will be perceived.

That night, fearing that Liza might tell me to take a hike, I still decided to step outside the comfort zone. Feeling like a ball of nerves, I approached her with my question, and thankfully, she greeted me warmly with, “Of course, dear!” It was then I realized I’d been holding my breath the whole time. I exhaled a massive sigh of relief. My risk had paid off. As a side note, it turned out to be one of the best interviews I’ve ever had with an artist. I was impressed that after all her years in entertainment, she still felt gratitude and disbelief that singing and acting was what she got to do for a living.

If you’re painting bold portraits that may cause a stir, making an acting choice that feels unexpected, or rocking an unconventional look, remember taking chances and standing outside of conformity isn’t easy. It’s admirable.

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