Monday, September 28, 2015

Toni Gallagher's "Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell"

Toni Gallagher earned a journalism degree from Northwestern University and has had a successful career in reality TV. She lives in Los Angeles and loves finding the magic in it.

Here Gallagher dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell:
It’s funny; I’ve spent over twenty years living in Hollywood and working in the entertainment business (mostly as a reality TV producer – everything from The Real World to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) but when I was writing my middle grade novel Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell, I didn’t think much about actors portraying my characters. My characters are mostly bits and pieces of kids and grownups I know now or knew in my childhood.

However, that changed when I watched the Tony Awards earlier this year. I was mainly fast-forwarding to the musical numbers, seeing a lot of big, splashy, over-the-top spectacles that weren’t impressing me. I paid special attention, though, to the Tony nominated show called Fun Home. I’d heard a bit about it and was intrigued, especially when an 11-year-old actress named Sydney Lucas took the stage. She sang a song – alone – no glitz, no sets, no special effects – and she blew me away. Though she doesn’t necessarily look exactly how I picture my 11-year-old main character, this actress’s facial expressions, vulnerability, and depth of emotion made me think immediately: “Cleo!”

I happened to be going to New York from LA (to appear as a “guest bartender” on the Andy Cohen talk show Watch What Happens Live on Bravo) and I managed to get tickets to Fun Home. Sydney Lucas was just as charming and wonderful in person. I thought about waiting at the stage door to meet her, complete with a copy of my book in my purse, but I wimped out. I knew it could take a while for her to come out, then I might have to wait for other people to talk to her…and ultimately, I would be a grown woman gushing over a kid and I could very well look like a doofus (a word Cleo, my character, would likely use).

However, the next day I sent the young actress a tweet, complimenting the show and telling her I’d left a copy of my book at the box office. Less than an hour later, I got a sweet reply: Oh my gosh, thank you so much! And a few days later, an adorable photo of her holding up the book and the comment Looking forward to reading your book!!

Monday night I appeared on Bravo TV, glammed up in makeup from Sephora and a black sequined dress. My twitter feed and Facebook page went crazy with both friends and strangers and, for a brief moment, I almost felt famous. But my real brush with fame has turned out to be my interactions with the talented and amazing friendly actress I wish could play Cleo.
Visit Toni Gallagher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue