Basically, a dream come true. I have absolutely no shame in admitting that the Spice Girls are my favourite Music Group of all time and the moment I hear Stop, Say You’ll Be There, 2 Become 1 or Spice Up Your Life, my day can go from catastrophically bad to amazingly great. I have idolized and still idolize them greatly. My heart still is filled with hope for a possible Reunion Tour even though at my core I know it is unlikely with each of them having moved along their own respective paths.
Seeing them reunite one more time on stage at Air Canada Centre back in February 2008 was an experience I never will forget. I will say hands-down it was the best Concert I’ve ever been to in my life and believe me, I’ve been to several. The spirit of Pride, Empowerment and Fun which the Spice Girls embody, is something missing in Pop Music right now. I love all five of them equally and although I’ve only met Victoria, I will be candid in revealing that I snuck into their Hotel several years ago, waiting for them in their Lobby. After an hour or so of waiting, I froze-up instantly after seeing Geri and Emma walk right past by me. Ultimately, I never could muster enough courage to ask them for a Photo, but that memory forever lives with me even if it is one marred by regret.
Upon learning earlier this week that Melanie Brown (known more affectionately as Scary Spice/Mel B) was in town filming a Lifetime Television Movie, Twelve Trees of Christmas, I became ecstatic and made it a mission to get my Snap with her. I was not taking “no” for an answer after having been paralyzed by fear and left Spice-less five years prior. With my erratic schedule and long days, this became problematic as filming was taking place an hour outside the City in Hamilton. Fate shone a light on me as work freed-up tonight and I got out of work early. I knew where exactly I was headed.
My heart raced as I saw her and Film Producer Husband Stephen Belafonte (Thank You For Smoking) pull-into their Hotel in a Taxi. After flagging them down, they agreed to take a Snap after placing their Holt Renfrew bags inside quickly. I learned that the Couple earlier in the week took-in a late-night screening of Man of Steel and enjoyed some Japanese Cuisine at Ki during their short stay.
“Your Dog is just beautiful!”, she says noticing Billy with me. Belafonte was kind to grab my Cell Phone and take our Photo, actually a bit surprised I wanted a Photo with him too, which he also took of us with skilled precision. After telling Brown all about my Fandom, which surely she must get everywhere she goes still to this day, she seemed genuinely affected and was oh-so-gracious about it. She is just as gorgeous as imagined and this is one of the biggest highlights of my Celebrity-Spotting. I will never, ever, ever forget this.
Things are definitely on the up-and-up for Brown as she recently was cast as a Judge on America’s Got Talent, set to tape in New York City this Summer, hence allowing a small break for her to pursue this acting opportunity. See some Snaps our Friend Sean O’Neill took of Brown on-set earlier this week here! Stunning.
Based upon the Mexican TV Series Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar, Canadian Desperate Housewives Fans will revel in delight knowing that Creator Marc Cherry’s Devious Maids at long last has found a home on Lifetime Canada. Several were left shocked and disappointed after news broke the original Pilot had not been picked-up by ABC despite being ordered early 2012 by the Network.
The Series centers around four Latina Maids who work in Beverly Hills for some of the most powerful and wealthy Families. Certainly not short on juiciness, many will savour the scandal. There’s murder, love, affairs, secrets and betrayal galore. Meet Marisol (Ana Ortiz of Ugly Betty), Rosie (Dania Ramirez of ), Carmen (Roselyn Sánchez) and Zoila (Judy Reyes), who in the Desperate Housewives universe respectively would kinda/sorta be your Susan, Lynette, Gabrielle and Bree. Add to that mix the return of Soap Opera Royalty Susan Lucci as the commanding, self-absorbed and youth-obsessed Heiress Genevieve, Zoila‘s Boss.
Arriving in Toronto to unveil the brand new Series at today’s 2013 Shaw Media Upfronts, Stars Ortiz and Lucci greet me in their Hotel Suite, the former elegant in emerald green, the latter stunning in sapphire blue. I could not help but be in awe of how amazing Lucci (a Grandmother of four) looks, long-heralded as Queen of the Soaps with a record-breaking 21 Daytime Emmy Nominations in the iconic role of Erica Kane on All My Children. Ortiz whom we all loved as Elder Sister Hilda Suarez in Ugly Betty, is as vivacious as expected in person, eloquent really.
We talk first about Casting and how they came to be involved in what potentially could be a Breakout Hit and both point to the Man who started it all – Cherry. Oritz tells me about her observant and cool Character who harbours a deep, dark secret. “Marc had approached me and after some meetings and asked me which Maid I gravitated toward most. I didn’t even hesitate it was always Marisol”,she recalls. “We read together and after that I was like ‘Where do I sign?’”.
Lucci meanwhile tells me it was Fan Feedback which helped connect her and Cherry. “There had been a lot online suggesting I was going to go on Desperate Housewives and it wasn’t coming from me nor Mark – it was largely Fan-driven”, says Lucci. “He told me that Show was actually finished being written and that he had a new one called Devious Maids that was being written. I got a call to audition and he didn’t tell me how was going to pronounce my name. I didn’t know whether it was “Jen-ah-veev” or “Jon-vee-yev”. It was the under-the-bed scene we did and I loved it, I was at home in New York then. It was hysterical when I read it and I loved it.”. That scene she is describing certainly is funny indeed, as we are introduced to her Character clasping a bottle of pills, suicidal after being dumped by her much younger Fling.
Cherry certainly has created some dynamic Characters once again here in Devious Maids and his talented Ensemble would agree. Ortiz is not shy about paying her respects declaring, “Thank you Marc Cherry for writing these really wonderful, complex Women that we really are in real life, and doing it so succinctly with so many Women and so many different Characters.”. “Because we’re creating these characters, we’re doing it all together. Marc will talk to us for an hour if we have any questions.”. Chiming-in, Lucci adds “He’s such a vision and it’s coming from a good place. After he sees rehearsal he’ll give you a little note to tweak it a certain way and it’s always right on the money. It’s very much an Ensemble.”.
What makes Devious Maids unique is its over-the-top Novela (“in the best sense of the word” as Lucci puts it) vibe and its humorous look at Class Relations. “What’s so wonderful about the Show is that you see these incredible Beverly Hills mansions and glamour through the Maids’ eyes”, says Ortiz. “There’s definitely the aspect of class difference, but Marc has made it about the Characters and their relationships with one another. I guess the comment is that as far apart as we are, we are all still very similar and we all have so much more in common than we realize.”.
Ortiz and and Lucci both admit that they too have needed help too in order for them to be able to fulfill their own dreams as Mothers and Actresses. On finding balance, Ortiz states “Women have been doing this centuries not just on TV, it’s just what we do. The fact that you had those Women helping you, who enabled you to be a Working Mom. I have a Daughter and it’s so important she sees me working because that’s when I’m most happy – doing what I love, fulfilling my dreams and passions”. “It’s more than just about Women cleaning your house or helping you with your Children. There’s such a special relationship there and Marc really has been able to finesse that and bring it to life.”.
Lucci reveals that she also has benefited from help and admits, “I know that I could never have done what I did without the incredibly warm and smart help of Frieda, who has been with me for 30 years. There’s only one other person who got a page in my Book and that’s Frieda!”, she laughs.
Enjoy the Audio from our Chat below:
Devious Maids premieres Sunday, June 23, 2013 on Lifetime Canada. Click here for more.