Posts Tagged ‘#teenidols’

From leg warmers to voiceover … a chance meeting with my teen idol!

January 18, 2013

Nothing beats striking gold and meeting one of your teen idols. It first happened to me in 1997 when I met Rick Springfield backstage at a concert in Las Vegas. Last week, it happened again. A little back story.

During the summer of 1983, my best friend Amy and I were addicted to a new 30-minute aerobics show called the “20-Minute Workout.” Click here to see a past episode. Every day at 11 a.m., we would gather at one of our houses, leotards and leg warmers in tow and jump around our living rooms to our hearts’ delight. We loved it because a) it was so dancey; and b) it was only 20 minutes. 

While we faithfully did the workout every day, our favorite instructor was a gal named Bess. She’s featured in the clip above and always led the Monday episode. We idolized her and especially loved to hear her call out the steps: “Four mo, Three mo, and tew…” She had this amazing buttery voice that made us want to do aerobics for hours. She was our Jane Fonda.

Now, flash 30 years into the future to last week. I attended my regular voiceover workout group…a dozen or so voiceover actors sign-up to attend a bi-monthly class, work in the booth on audio scripts and improve their skills. 

Last week, it was a particularly small class, but as always, filled with immense talent. I had already done my two tours through the booth and was now just listening to my fellow actors do their reads. 

I casually looked over to the area where our leader had his stuff and noticed the stack of checks from those of us who attended that night’s class. One of the checks read “Bess Motta.” Instantly, my radar went off. “Bess Motta? Bess Motta? Why do I know that name?” I scoured my brain, and then, BAM! It hit me. BESS MOTTA WAS ON THE 20-MINUTE WORKOUT!!!

I nearly peed all over myself with excitement, but had to contain myself because the other people were still waiting their turn to go into the booth. I slowly turned around to look at my classmates and “search” for “Bess.” And there she was … same long black curly hair, same buttery voice, but a bit raspier. She had been in class with me for the past year or so, and I never put it together. I only knew her by her first name. But, now…she was Bess MOTTA.

OMG. I didn’t know what to do. I had to say something. My ’80s teen fitness idol was sitting three feet away from me. But, I didn’t want to make a complete jackass out of myself. Finally, there was a change-out in the booth. I took a breath and mustered the following:

“Hey Bess.” She turned. “I have to ask you something that is a little personal. By any chance, did you lead an aerobics show in the ’80s entitled the 20 Minute Work…”

“Yep,” she said, interrupting me and laughing. “That was me.”

And then it began…complete and utter verbal vomit. I just gushed about how Amy and I LIVED for her workouts. How we never missed an episode. How we were in the best shape of our lives thanks to her. How I searched for leotards to match hers. And on, and on and ON!

She took it like a champ and was so gracious. She shared more about the experience working on the show. I was speechless. Thank God, I had already done my two turns in the booth because there was no more concentrating after that. I felt 13 all over again. I pulled out my phone to text Amy. Bess stopped me and said, “Don’t text your BFF. Let’s send her a photo.”


So, we did. And here it is…


I called Amy first thing the next morning and relayed the entire story. I think her jaw is still on the floor. For the next 30 minutes, we had one of the best trips down memory lane. It was joy in its purest form.

I thought I was lucky to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience of meeting a teen idol when I met Rick Springfield 16 years ago. I stayed on a high for days. But, to have this happen again, well, it’s beyond a blessing. I am still filled with immense bliss for memories gone by. The energy is intoxicating. My wish is for everyone to have this sort of experience once in their lives.

For those of you who never experienced the “20 Minute Workout,” you may also remember Bess from the original “Terminator” movie. She played Sarah Connor’s roommate who gets killed by the Terminator. (I can just hear the “Oh yeahhhhhhhs” going on).

The best part about this entire experience…I get to be in class with Bess as long as she and I keep participating in the workout group. A real chance to get to know one of my idols and perhaps develop a friendship. 

If that happens, fabulous. If not, it’s still fabulous. Because I was blessed with having a full-circle moment that I will treasure forever.

Now…where ARE my leg warmers!