Wednesday, September 17, 2014

But wait, there’s more! That face on TV may be familiar


From page A13 | January 19, 2014 |

I have a dirty little secret: I buy infomercial products. Why? Because some of them really are as awesome as they sound on TV.

I discovered Tae Bo and Turbo Jam via infomercials, and although I don’t have that “beach body” (more like beached body), the workouts are fun. I may not be skinny, but afterwards, I’m happy, and happy’s worth something, right?

Besides exercise DVDs, I’m a Principal Secret loyalist (more than 20 years), as well as a bareMinerals convert and, over the summer, became a Wen girl. Love them all. I just bought a NutriBullet and a Perfecter hairstyler, and just this morning, I was sorely tempted by Zumba DVDs.

If you’re wondering if I’m spending way too time watching TV, it’s not exactly the case. My DVR leaves the TV on whatever channel it last recorded (usually The Colbert Report), and when I turn on the morning news, it’s usually playing an infomercial from Comedy Central. If it’s one I haven’t seen before, I’ll watch for a moment or two, because you never know, it might be something good. You have to live on the edge a little, people.

The real shocker, however, will be that morning when I turn on the TV and see myself yakking away enthusiastically. Lest you think I’ve gone completely delusional, wait: It’s true! I was videotaped for an infomercial last weekend. Wild, right? And, if you’ve been reading this column long enough, you’ll know why.

In 2010, a plastic fitting on the toilet in my house broke, shooting water all day long. When I got home from work, there was standing water throughout the house and already soaking into the insulation in the walls. The damage was insane: over $65,000. Nearly every flat surface in the house had to be replaced, due to the dangers of black mold developing later.

It took nine weeks to essentially rebuild the inside of my house and that’s an eternity for a stress monkey like me. The only thing that kept me from self-combusting was my trusty AAA insurance agent, Vickie Adams, who swooped into my life like an angel and handled everything, including my various and sundry concerns and neuroses, and, most particularly, what to do with my two beloved cats. Vickie went so far above and beyond anything I could have imagined, I wrote to AAA about her. Not long after, AAA contacted me and asked if I’d record a radio commercial with Vickie. Sure, I replied, because my experience with AAA during that flood was so outstanding, I wanted to tell the world.

The commercial aired in 2012, and that was a lot of fun, and I figured that was the end of it. But then AAA contacted me last month to see if I’d be in an infomercial with Vickie. Of course! I’m still their biggest fan! (Obviously — given that I agreed to this right after the holidays … after all those Christmas cookies. The camera adds 10 pounds? Pssshh. Like spitting in the ocean, at this point.) Besides simple enthusiasm, I wanted another chance to tell people about my experience. Although I wrote about our flood and AAA, people have since contacted me, saying the same thing happened to them, desperate for advice.

“Did you replace the plastic fittings?”


“Did you switch to AAA for your homeowner’s insurance?”


Sooo … WTF? Do you think I have a magic time-reverser to go back and correct this?

They’d tell me of trying to sleep with air blowers going, or crowding into one part of the house while the contractors work on another, about bunking with this friend or that relative, and suffering over what to do with their pets. I couldn’t offer much more than sympathy — I’m not enough of a jerk to point out that I already offered advice, which they ignored.

Listen to me now or believe me later, people: Change those plastic fittings and switch to AAA.


I carried all this loyalty and enthusiasm to the infomercial taping, and you’ll be amazed to discover that I’m much better at communicating with a keyboard than on camera. On a keyboard, my words blaze along. In front of a camera, I start. to. talk. like. this.

And I was all set to be camera-ready, too. Skin by Principal Secret and bareMinerals, hair by Wen, and I tried out my Perfecter for the first time, and wow — it’s truly awesome! My hair never looked better! Sadly, the makeup artist didn’t quite agree. She raved about my skin and only gave my make-up a few little touch-ups. Then she stood back, looked at me, and frowned.

“We’ll need to pull your hair back.”

Whaaaat? But… but… I have huge Dumbo ears and my head will look like a pumpkin!

“Yeah… We’ll need to pull your hair back.”

She explained that because my hair is so thin, the light would shine through it, and that wouldn’t look good on camera. (Remember: My hair never looked better. Don’t whine to me about bad hair days. I have a bad hair life.) So, I relented, she pinned me up, and off we went for the shoot. And. i. tried. to. tell. my. story.

The director asked me to start over: “Could you be less specific.”

I. will. try … Things. were. wet.

“Try again, with more detail.”

O.K. First. i. opened. the. door.

And those were just the first two takes. I hope the director had some Xanax for afterwards. Actually, I wonder if they’ll even be able to use any of my tape. But, should you see some vaguely familiar pumpkin-headed nutball rambling on about her cats and her flood and squeee-ing about AAA on TV, yup, that’s really me, and yup, I truly am that over the moon about AAA, and moreover, isn’t video-editing a miracle!

What’s next? Principal Secret? bareMinerals? I’m your girl! As for the Wen and Perfecter folks, I’m sure they wish I’d just be quiet.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at; read more of her work at and



Debra DeAngelo

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