Thursday, October 3, 2013

My day with a 'Duck Dynasty' star

I'm a fan of the hit A&E reality TV show "Duck Dynasty" because it's one of the only shows that my husband and I watch together. It's one of the only shows that makes me laugh out loud (there's never a dull moment down in West Monroe, Louisiana, is there?) And it's the only show that leaves me feeling happy, happy, happy.

When season four premiered a month or so ago, it made cable TV history when more than 11 million viewers, including me, tuned in to watch the antics of the "Duck Dynasty" dudes Phil, Willie, Jase, Jep (also known as Miss Kay's favorite) and - hey! - Uncle Phil.

Viewers are also enthralled by the "Duck Dynasty" ladies. Miss Kay and her daughters-in-law Korie, Missy and Jessica are all so beautiful, smart and fun.

So when I was offered an interview with Jessica Robertson, and a chance to be on stage with her in person, I did my best Uncle Si impersonation and said, "It's on like Donkey Kong!"

I talked to her over the phone in advance of her appearance at the recent Southern Women's Show. During the show, I introduced her to the huge crowd of fans, and moderated a Q&A with her while she was on stage.

Along with watching her on "Duck Dynasty," I had seen Jessica on TV when she was a judge at this year's Miss USA pageant. She looked like the Queen of All Beauty Queens on the red carpet with the other judges including fellow reality TV star NeNe Leakes of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" fame.

When I interviewed Jessica over the phone several weeks ago, she was in New York City for Fashion Week to see her niece Sadie Robertson model gowns from Sadie's new prom dress line for Sherri Hill. I found Jessica to be very wise, kind and funny.

Here are photos of Jessica in New York. The first one is her with her husband, Jep (they have four children), and Uncle Si. The photo below is of Sadie, in a gown from her new line, with her mother Korie (top left) and Jessica (top right):

Here's the interview where Jessica discusses her beauty and style philosophies, her faith, the downside to being famous and what she really thought of NeNe Leakes:

When I met Jessica in person the day of her appearance at the Southern Women's Show, I was not disappointed. I've been in the business long enough to know that when you meet celebrities in person they can often look different than you expect - some better, some worse. Jessica looked exactly like she does on TV - stunningly beautiful. In fact, while we were on stage sitting side-by-side, I really had to focus on what I was doing because she truly is one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen. Her skin is flawless, her large blue eyes are exceptionally lovely and she radiates graciousness. I felt like a deer in the site of one of Jase's rifles.

I didn't think through that I wouldn't be able to shoot video of her while she was on stage since I was up there with her too. My media angel, Jennifer Wallin, helped me out by kindly offering to shoot clips of Jessica talking and email them to me. I did get some video footage before Jessica spoke, and afterward when she was signing autographs for a line of fans that seriously looked like it went on forever. There had to be at least 500 people. She was a trooper, but I truly felt sorry for her. Jessica had to be completely exhausted at the end.

Here's the video:

Jennifer Wallin took the only video clip I have of myself on stage. There was a cute little girl up front (which is why I'm bending over) who had a question for Jessica and I jumped protocol and went over to ask her what she wanted to know. Her question was about Godwin, who is one of my favorites on the show, so I loved hearing Jessica's answer.

Here's that clip:

There's no perfect job, whether you're on "Duck Dynasty" or a social editor. But my day with Jessica came pretty close. When you're around a woman of faith who's stylish, wise, funny and has her priorities in order, it really does make you feel happy, happy, happy.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson