Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Big Date with Renee Paquette!

Renee Paquette. To know who she is, is to love her. Probably the most unique tv sports talk show host you will ever find. She's got it all: the beautiful blonde hair, the gorgeous looks, the sweet charm. But she also has a very laid back side to her personality, a blunt side, a casual side, and a geeky side. She lives outside the box every time she comes onto our tv screen.

She's also a major trend-setter. The first person to host a talk show that takes a critical look at pro wrestling shows from the perspective of athletics and entertainment.  She also hosts a daily sports review show that looks at all the major issues happening in the world of sports. 

Born just east of Toronto, Renee studied acting at Second City in Toronto and headed out to Hollywood in pursuit of an acting career. When that didn't happen, she returned home to Toronto and scored a talk show gig on the Internet. Shortly thereafter, she landed at the Score, where she has become one of the country's most loved tv personalities.

What makes her so lovable is her bubbly personality and sense of humour. One of the best sarcastic and quick witted people you will ever see on tv, which is perfect for the world of sports, in an environment where she is the only girl at a table filled with testosterone-fueled macho male sportscasters. She can handle herself with anyone though, as she proved in a now infamous pillow fight youtube video. lol

Paquette has many male admirers - who are quite blatantly open about it on twitter. She receives multiple marriage proposals every day, along with many sickening sexual tweets. She handles herself with pure class and dignity, and she has never let her celebrity status get to her head.

Pro wrestling has taken a leadership role in social media marketing, and this has put Renee and other Score personalities at the top of the list. Frequently tweeting, I decided to start tweeting directly at Renee in hopes that my charm and my sense of humour would get her attention. Well, it did. Perhaps it was the tweet where i challenged her to a wrestling match in underwear, that did it.. lol

Anyway, over time, she got to know me fairly well, and recently when I was planning a trip to Toronto, I decided to throw a ball out into left field and see if she'd be willing to meet me. Well, she said yes!! how cool. In fact, she seemed quite anxious to meet me. I was actually surprised she was up for this as we really didn't know each other that well, and she is incredible busy. Anyway, the date was set and I was to meet her at the Score office. 

Well, being a quasi-celebrity myself, it takes a lot to get me star-struck, but i had a strong case of butterflies in my stomach as i entered the office and approached the reception to ask for Renee. This is someone i really admire and really want to meet. Not only am i excited to meet her for that, but this was also a serious social networking opportunity. This was a chance to get the eyes and ears of a rather prominent sports personality to talk about the various issues i have on my plate - including my story as a transitioned athlete and someone who transitioned in Newfoundland. The fact that i have a major crush on her didn't make things any easier too. lol

Anyway, out she came in her tight jeans and hair tied back. We locked eyes, and i immediately opened my arms and said "let's hug it out" mockingly impersonating a pro wrestler who likes to give hugs. Turned out to be the perfect ice-breaker, as it got a laugh out of her, and a hug for me!

We ended up in Starbucks, where we both offered to buy each other a drink.. lol  I deferred and let her pay, which she did after struggling with the debit machine, to which she joked she wasn't very bright - and to which i replied "yes Renee, we know that"

Unable to find a table, we ended up next door in the lobby of a ritzy hotel, where we sat hidden behind a water fountain thingy. A nice private setting for our chat.  I sensed that like me, she was also a little nervous and edgy. The small talk and jokes were quickly replaced with what turned out to be a very serious chat. We covered all sorts of topics - ranging from my trip to Toronto, my transition, my running, my third sex policy at the World Outgames, to my struggles to retain my previous job, my family, to my political aspirations.  I also got a chance to get to know her better - learning a little more about her life journey, her family, and what makes her tick.  How amazing that behind this silly giggly geeky girl on tv, is a very serious and down to earth person who loves life and accepts everybody.

We ended the get-together with a brief photo shoot - one serious pic and one funny-face pic. What was initially booked as a 10-15 minute meeting, ended up lasting about 40 minutes. We both probably could have chatted all afternoon, but she had to get back upstairs to the make-up room and get ready for her daily live broadcast of Live at the Score.  As I mentioned on a previous blog, part of her broadcast included a rant against Escobar's homophobic slur. I left Renee with the idea that she should approach senior management at the score about doing a profile on LGBT issues in sports, and to specifically look at trans athletes - and of course I offered to be her subject.  She didn't make any promises, but she did state that she will definitely take a look at some of my previous tv appearances.

Overall, an awesome meeting. I know we both walked away having gained even more respect for each other than we started with. When i gave her a hug goodbye, i didn't want to let go. As soon as we parted, the tears started to flow down my face - a mixture of shock, emotions, excitement, adulation, infatuation, sadness, respect, and love, all bottled together, was being released. So often, people meet their celebrity crush and end up disappointed, but in my case, Renee in person lived up to, and far exceeded my expectations. 

In the end, no matter how famous we are, no matter what accomplishments we have, and no matter how many followers we have on twitter, we are all human beings. Some of us are nice people and some are not. Some let fame get to their heads and some don't.  Renee is all class, and i can only hope that she walked away from our meeting thinking the same thing about me.

Well, that's one major thing crossed off my bucket list.  Now comes the fun and challenging part: continuing to attempt to build further rapport with Renee in hopes of putting together a relationship that will add value to my life, hopefully from both a professional and personal standpoint. We will definitely be keeping in touch, and future face to face meetings certainly aren't out of scope.

Now, hmm, while I do find her very attractive, and while I would be lying to suggest that the idea of romance with her hasn't ever crossed my mind, it's definitely not something that is on the radar. ...Although, hehe, as they say in the world of sports, anything can and anything will happen! So heck, a girl can dream, can't she?? :P

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