Having a semi-famous family member makes it hard not to get delusional about how much of Hollywood you've experienced and how much you've just heard about from them. It's easy for me to feel like I've met some of my cousin's famous friends ... even though for the most part, I haven't.
My little cousin is Cody Linley. He was on Hannah Montanna as Jake Ryan, and before that quite a few movies. You check his filmography out here. A lot of people found out about him from when he was on Dancing With The Stars. Fun times! I went out to LA twice to watch him on the show live and I met Cloris Leachman, the Kardashians, and was physically knocked over by Toni Braxton. That was pretty neat. I even got to hang out with Julianne Hough, his partner [she hugged me and I felt super special, haha!], and hold her puppy while they practiced.
My Aunt Cathy, Cody's mom, is an acting Coach in Lewisville, Texas. She is one of the most esteemed acting coaches around. In fact, just the other day one of her students got an audition based completely on the fact that he was HER student. Talk about clout! See a video of her on Good Morning Texas talking about her students here. She's truly amazing and hearing stories from her also clouds my reality: "Did I experience that or just live vicariously through Aunt Cathy?" HOWEVER, this weekend was different. Michael Welch (the guy who played Mike Newton in TWILIGHT) did a seminar at her studio, and since Aunt Cathy is the best ever in the world, she invited me to sit in and creep on the class! AN EXPERIENCE THAT IS REAL, WOOT.
To some people, this may seem like a small thing, but as a person who has previously loved Twilight (until the abomination that is Breaking Dawn came into existence; another blog, another time), I was STOKED. Mike Newton in the books is someone that really didn't matter one way or the other, but in the movie he was definitely one of my favorite characters before I even knew that Cathy and Cody knew Michael.
I didn't know what to expect when I got there with my mom, who went to the parents' seminar with Selena Gomez's mother. Thankfully my cousin, Ben, was there and so I sat with him during the seminar. The class was in this small room with couches. Since Ben and I crept in about 30 minutes after they had began, Michael kept looking at me while he was speaking because he didn't know who I was or why I was there. I'm sure I looked like just some anonymous creeper since he knew Ben, and everyone else was on a role sheet, and I was just... there.
So here's something you have to know about me: I am very animated. In fact, that might be an understatement. I get really excited and over-the-top about most anything I like. And I like a lot of things. You might say it politely that I am passionate, or you might say it truthfully that I am crazy. Either way, staying calm and playing it cool was HARD. FOR. ME.
The class had a few breaks within the 2 and a half hours we were in there, and during one break, Michael Welch came and sat by me and had was having a conversation with the kids around me about acting. I was super excited because I was like HE'S SITTING NEXT TO ME, but outwardly I was playing it cool and all "Yeah, I'm nodding along because I'm totally listening and not freaking out in my head. No sir."
Listening to him teach was really awesome! I liked his views on acting and you could tell from what he said that he loved it and took it very seriously. And watching the kiddos (all ranging from 14 yrs-18 yrs) learn and do improv was HILARIOUS and fun! BUT also showed me what my true fear in life is. I know I teach freshmen English every day by the seat of my pants, but the thought of improvising a scene in front of a semi-celebrity, my cousin, and a room full of master acting students makes me want to hurl.
(Picture to the left to the left: Imagine this guy teaching, but with darker, more epic hair.)
When I told a few of my friends before this event that I was going to get to see Michael, some told me to ask him about Twilight and Robert Pattinson... Of course I was never going to do that. He wasn't even in a scene with Robert. And besides! I would NEVER talk to him about another actor that's more famous than him. Since he's a family friend I would much rather him remember me as a person and not a fan, which is why I didn't talk to him about Twilight or ask for a picture with him, even though I would have loved it. I've been with Cody when people come up to him and ask him for pictures/autographs/to tell them about Miley, and it's really annoying and can be disrespectful if you aren't careful. To me, in this situation, it was better for me to represent Aunt Cathy rather than myself and the fan-girl within. BUT the fan girl had fun! I just kept her on the down-low.
At the end, after everyone left and he took pictures with some people who asked for them, I introduced myself, shook his hand and told him who I was and why I was there and that I really enjoyed it. Etc. He was SUPER nice, albeit in a hurry because he had to catch a flight back to LA. Ben had to drive him to the airport and so they left. Michael waved to me and said it was nice to meet me as he left! AND I played it so cool until the door closed and then I was like "MOM HE LIKES THAT HE MET ME!" Needless to say, I was star-struck just a bit.
GO WATCH THIS TRAILER NOW. The movie "Unrequited."