I am a proud pop culture junkie. I make a daily stop at Eonline.com to see what’s happening in the entertainment world. I also love watching television and movies. (It really does help with my own writing to see how storylines are constructed and how the actors choose to play their parts.) A couple of years ago I saw a new show being advertised—“Jane the Virgin.” It had a cute and quirky premise. The heroine, Jane, was accidentally artificially inseminated. And one of the reasons she’d remained a virgin into her twenties was to avoid a teen pregnancy, like her own mom had experienced (whoops).
Jane was engaged to a man named Michael. But the father of her unborn child was a man named Rafael Solano. He’d had cancer and had frozen some of his sperm to (hopefully) have children someday. His soon-to-be ex-wife meant to impregnate herself in a bid to hold on to Rafael, but that didn’t happen. Jane started finding herself inexplicably drawn to Rafael.
The storytelling was engaging and the acting was top notch, even with the telenovela-esque format. I couldn’t help but root for Rafael and his portrayer, Justin Baldoni. On paper Rafael could have been a flat, stereotypical character. Rich, spoiled, handsome and a former heartbreaker. But somehow Justin figured out a way to layer Rafael with all sorts of vulnerability and humanity.
Plus, my fandom was helped by the fact that Jane and Rafael had an explosive chemistry which made it nearly impossible not to want them to end up together. Their first kiss was simply magical.
From time to time I would tweet about my #TeamRafael allegiance. One day, Justin Baldoni favorited one of my tweets. Despite my supposed maturity, I squealed. And then immediately calmed myself down, tweeting aloud that it was probably just his assistant (but it was still exciting). His response? “No, it’s me.” Cue more giddiness from me. (A version of this encounter made its way into #Starstruck.)
Over time, as I got to learn more about Justin, his dedication to helping others and his utter and adorable devotion to his wife and their two children, I came to admire not only his talent, but respect him for the kind of man that he is. He announced a fundraiser for one of his causes, the Skid Row Carnival of Love. He offered incentives for certain amounts of donations, including a Skype phone call.
Obviously it was for a good cause, but the chance to get to actually chat with him? Yes, please!
So the chat was scheduled and the time came. And while I could see and hear him, I hadn’t pushed the right buttons on my phone and he could neither see nor hear me. Of course. Because it couldn’t just go smoothly, right? Despite all my preparation? Let’s not meet our favorite actor without making a fool of ourselves first. Thanks, universe.
But eventually I fixed the issue on my end and we could talk. I did manage to stay calm-ish (I think? I’m not sure. You’d probably have to ask Justin). We chatted with some small talk and I told him what a fan I was of the show, although the depiction of Jane’s romance writing career is totally wrong (I had to provide examples). I told him how much I enjoyed his portrayal of Rafael and he talked a little about his process and what he was trying to accomplish with the character.
I then confessed to a bit of an ulterior motive for our Skype chat—I had a new book coming out and wondered if he’d take a picture with it. Kind of like that hot dudes reading account on Instagram. He immediately agreed to it (which surprised me, because I figured he’d decline) and then said he’d do one better. He created an Instagram Story where he pitched my book! Since I’m an author I should have the words to say how thrilled I was, but there’s nothing quite like watching one of your favorite actors telling the world to read your story!
We chatted for a while longer and then he had to end the conversation to talk to some other probably excited and impatient fans. Totally worth every penny.
If you ever get the chance to chat with your favorite celebrity—take it! You never know where it could lead. For my heroine Zoe in #Starstruck, it leads to a possible relationship with one of Hollywood’s hottest hunks.
“You’ve done better.”
With one uncharacteristically sassy tweet to her longtime celebrity crush, Zoe Miller’s life turns upside down. Ultrahot A-lister Chase Covington doesn’t just respond to Zoe’s tweet, he does the unthinkable: he messages Zoe directly. Now she must decide between walking away or meeting her crush in person.
Chase knows better than to trust anyone from the Internet, but Zoe’s saucy challenge has totally caught his interest—and her girl-next-door personality is keeping it. He’s been burned enough to know he needs to keep his heart close. But his feelings for Zoe might be a lot more than just an online flirtation. He just has to convince her…
When the press gets wind of Zoe and Chase’s secret relationship, their romance turns into tabloid headlines. Will they be able to hold on to their Hollywood love story?