We’re headed to France in a few weeks and my 8YO daughter has been very non-chalant about the upcoming trip. Sometimes I wonder if taking my kids around the world since they were a few months out has impacted their love of travel. In the weeks before we leave, they both complain about leaving their friends and everyday lives behind. As soon as we arrive in our destination, they tend to be as happy to experience new sights and sounds as much as we do.
When I received the invite to screen a preview of the film Monte Carlo (out July 1st) and a chance to attend a press conference with Selena Gomez and get a chance to interview her, I was intrigued. For one thing, my 8 year-old daughter adores her. For another, it takes place in Paris and Monte Carlo. What better way to introduce her to the beauty of Paris than a major film with her favorite star?!
Yet I was hesitant to ask the publicist if she could join me. How professional would that sound to ask if i can bring my daughter? So, when just a brief amount of time later, I got an email inviting her, as well, I accepted gladly. While I have lived in NYC for quite a while now, I’ve met many celebrities (having worked in TV), yet my daughter has yet to have her first major celebrity encounter. When she got into the car that very afternoon, I asked her, “Who’s your favorite singer?” Her immediate answer was Selena Gomez.
The morning of the film, we woke up bright and early to attend a screening of the new film, Monte Carlo, in the city. I’ll feature a review of the film later in the week, but I can tell you that it was really enjoyable. After a recent onslaught of terrible feature films for kids, or at least the ones I’d seen, I was glad to see one that we could both enjoy. Selena Gomez plays Grace, an ordinary girl who becomes an accidental princess when a family summer trip to Paris turns into the fantasy of a lifetime. Living like royalty, Grace, along with her two best friends, discovers who she really is – by assuming another person’s identity. The movie is a fairy tale come true, and it appeals to that side of me, and for my daughter, it appealed to her love of Selena and watching someone go out into the world. Needless to say, she loved it – even at 8am in the morning! The cast is stellar and includes Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Cory Monteith, Andie MacDowell and the fabulously funny Catherine Tate. Nicole Kidman was one of its producers.
After the film, my daughter’s feelings were very different about our upcoming trip, particularly after discussing the city with Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester. We’ll get to that in a minute. Meanwhile, here’s the trailer from the movie.
After the screening, we were led to a press conference in a nearby hotel. We were told Selena and Leighton would be joined by the fabulous Cory Monteith from Glee.
We sat in the first row, surrounded by reporters from CNN, BBC, People Magazine and of course my fellow bloggers joining us that day: NYC Single Mom, Kidsvuz and Coast to Coast Mom. When they did come out, we were up front and personal. My daughter was a little too shy to ask a question during the press conference, but we knew there would be another opportunity.
My daughter shot the entire press conference. You can probably tell, the videos are slightly shaky. But she felt like a real reporter, it was her job.
After the press conference, we were taken into a suite in the hotel where we gathered with all the other media to await our room number for the interview we’d be performing with our colleagues. When we walked into the room, I saw that two chairs were set at the end for Leighton and Selena (Corey had to leave early to rehearse for the “Glee” concert that night in NY, so I told her to sit at the end of the table. Right I was, Leighton sat right next to her.
The two actresses could not have been any nicer. There were 5 bloggers and a small group of kids. The kids asked questions, we asked questions. They were candid and lovely. My daughter was literally pinching herself. After all, she was sitting at the same table as two women she had just seen on the big screen. Here is a photograph of our group – my daughter is the very smily one in pink:
The interview was really fun, a real journalistic experience for the kids. My daughter actually asked the first question. By the way, this was a very kid-friendly interview. There were no questions asked about Justin Bieber, so if you’re looking for that, you’re in the wrong place. Here’s the transcript:
Olivia: My name is Olivia. I loved your song. What is your favorite song that you sing?
Selena Gomez: Well, thank you.
My favorite song would be Who Says. I think that the message of that song is probably the most meaningful song I’ve recorded. And I feel like it should be an anthem for everybody.
Kid Reporter: What inspired you to sing?
Selena Gomez: I was actually named after a singer. I would sing a lot around the house, and I loved entertaining people. So, I think music was kind of always in my blood.
Blogger: Who are you named after?
Selena Gomez: Selena Quintanilla. She was a Chicano singer based out of Texas.
Isabel: Hi. I’m Isabel. I’m from KidzVuz.com and I was wondering what your favorite costume was in Monte Carlo.
Selena Gomez: My favorite would be all of Cordelia’s clothes. She was very high fashion and it kind of matched her personality. I thought it was really fun to dress up. The heels were very painful, but they were very fun to kind of create Cordelia’s demeanor.
Maddie: I’m Maddie from KidzVuz.com, and I want to know, what was the most challenging part of both your characters in Monte Carlo?
Selena Gomez: I think with Grace, it was just trying to find that she was very comfortable with herself, but at the same time, she wanted to break loose. It was very hard for me to kind of make that transition.
I’m very loud on a set, and I like to make everybody laugh and just be myself. So, it was very hard for me to contain that and be very straightforward.
As for Cordelia, it was hard to be mean. I was looking at these people’s faces and having to just be rude was really hard for me, because every time I’d be mean, they’d say cut, and I’d say “I’m so sorry.” I hated saying that to people. It was fun, though. It was good, and it was different.
Sophia: I’m Sophia from KidzVuz.com and I was wondering how nervous are you before filming a movie?
Selena Gomez: Very. But, you know what helps is going in and making a complete fool of yourself. And then, you can start filming.
I feel that if you just let it all go and everybody already sees you as kind of, okay, she’s embarrassing herself, that’s who she is, it kind of lets you be lose a little bit.
I’m very nervous in trying to prepare, and the first day of shooting is really nerve wracking. But, by the second week, you’ve got it down and you’re just kind of enjoying it.
Right here, Mr. Trump?
Danny: What apps or games do you play on your phone?
Selena Gomez: Love it, I love it. Of course, I play Angry Birds because everybody in the world plays Angry Birds.
Kid Reporter: Not my mom.
Danny: Me, too.
Selena Gomez: Donald Trump here was asking me about my favorite apps and games to play on my phone.
Leighton Meester: Yes.
Selena Gomez: Leighton gave me the Doodle Jump game.
Leighton Meester: Yes, Doodle Jump. It’s really addictive.
Selena Gomez: And Scoops, which is the ice cream game where you kind of have to catch on your iPhone. And then, she also gave me the Moron Test, which is really funny. It’s not a very nice word, but it is very fun to play because you kind of test it yourself.
I got all my games from Leighton in Budapest.
Leighton Meester: Yes, and now I’ve banned them for myself because all I will do is just sit there and play them and then be mad when I lose.
This is for Selena. I know you didn’t plan on being a role model, and you’ve embraced this role. Do you think about doing things differently now or where you go, what you say?
Selena Gomez: No.
Blogger: Do you think about it more as you’re just yourself?
Selena Gomez: Yes. Like you said, I didn’t necessarily sign up for it. I didn’t say, okay, my job title should be I want to be a role model. But, once I had the title, I did embrace it, and I was very aware of my audience.
I’m pretty normal. I have a great mom, and she’s always keeping me in check.
Selena Gomez: So, yes.
And I’m very lucky. I know my audience. I would never want to do anything that would offend you, and more importantly, I’d never want to do anything to offend the moms. So, I don’t have to tippy-toe, but just kind of do my own.
Kid Blogger: What is one of your favorite places that you would like to go back to?
Selena Gomez: When we were was shooting the movie?
Kid Blogger: Yes.
Selena Gomez: I want to go back to Corinthia.
Leighton Meester: Yes. It was fall when we were there.
Selena Gomez: I want to go back there. It was the hotel that we stayed at in Budapest. It was really nice. The pool was really fun. They have a steam room with stars.
Did you go in the steam room, Leighton?
Leighton Meester: Yes. The steam room was fabulous. Remember, we saw each other in there after about 20 minutes? We were just lying next to each other–.
Selena Gomez: –Oh, yes–.
Leighton Meester: –And I looked over and said, “Selena?” You said, “Leighton?” It was dark in there, so we didn’t even know we were in there at the same time.
Selena Gomez: I forgot. Good times.
Blogger: The movie has such like an inspirational like message around travel, especially around high school and college age. Do you anticipate that you’ll see people asking about visiting Monte Carlo who previously may not even heard of it?
Selena Gomez: You know what’s funny is someone in an interview told me that probably a lot of people are going to want to go to these places.
Leighton Meester: Definitely.
Blogger: You’ll have to write a book, Monte Carlo on a Budget.
Leighton Meester: That’s not possible.
Leighton Meester: It’s going to be impossible to go.
Selena Gomez: It was really hard. But, it was absolutely stunning. I hope it encourages people to travel. I think travel is very good for you.
Blogger: How do you deal with fame? For example, is it hard to go out publicly in New York City or even in France? Did people recognize you?
Leighton Meester: Actually, very rarely. We were working a lot, so any sort of audience that we got was people watching us film, which is I think fascinating regardless.
Selena Gomez: We don’t think they knew who we were.
Selena Gomez: I think they were just wondering what was going on.
Leighton Meester: Yes, as if there’s a big circus around.
Blogger: How about in New York City?
Selena Gomez: Well, Leighton gets a lot.
Leighton Meester: So very rarely.
Selena Gomez: Really?
Leighton Meester: Very rarely. And I love anybody who is a fan. Generally, my fans are amazing young women, so I enjoy talking to them and it’s an awesome part of my job to have such cool people who even know who I am.
So, that’s fine. And being recognized is good. It means that you’re working.
Blogger: This is a question for Leighton. I think you’re funny. Are you gonna do more comedy?
Leighton Meester: Yes.
Blogger: I love your opening scene. I thought that you’ve got to do more comedy.
Selena Gomez: She is so funny in real life, too.
Leighton Meester: I’m starting a movie that is not for children. It’s with Adam Sandler, and I’m starting it in on Monday in Boston. It’s called I Hate You, Dad.
Blogger: Yay, good.
Leighton Meester: It’s very, very funny.
Olivia: I’m going to Paris in a few weeks.
Selena Gomez: Yay.
Olivia: What were your favorite places? And did you like the food?
Selena Gomez: We have to hook you up with our guy named Dave.
Leighton Meester: Oh, yes.
Selena Gomez: There was a really cool Chinese restaurant that we went to. I went there like two or three times. It was so good. You might see our picture there.
Leighton Meester: Yes, we took a picture of it, and this was sort of an inside joke, but we wrote underneath the picture Momte Carlo because we called each other mom on the film.
Selena Gomez: For some reason, we always called each other “Mom.”
Leighton Meester: Yes, because I would ask her,
“Did you drink some coffee or do you need some coffee?” She would ask me too. We were just each other’s mom.
Selena Gomez: It was nice. Obviously, you need to go to the Eiffel Tower.
Leighton Meester: You need to eat crepes.
Selena Gomez: Oh, yes, eat some crepes.
Leighton Meester: Crepes is what it’s all about. Croissants, too.
Selena Gomez: Pastries.
Leighton Meester: Probably not espresso, but it’s really good over there.
Selena Gomez: Hot chocolate. Hot chocolate’s really good.
Leighton Meester: Hot chocolate is good.
But, even just walking around in Paris, you don’t even have to go to the sites. It’s a historic city, so every building is so old, and every little like café is beautiful. It looks right out of a post card, you know? So, anywhere you go–.
Selena Gomez: –Take lots of pictures.
Leighton Meester: Take lots of pictures and just enjoy yourself.
Selena Gomez: Can we come with you?
Leighton Meester: Yes.
Alex: I have one for Selena. How do you like being on Wizards of Waverly Place with all the other stars?
Selena Gomez: I miss it a lot. We ended the show about five weeks ago but, it’s still on air. The last episode has not aired yet, so you will find out who’s going to win the wizard competition.
Alex: My name is Alex.
Selena Gomez: Oh, it is? Who do you think’s gonna win?
Alex: Justin probably.
Selena Gomez: Really?
Alex: Or Max.
Selena Gomez: Okay, okay.
You’re probably right. The cast was great. I loved my cast. They were so great to me.
Blogger: This is a question for both of you. How do you guys relax during your spare time? What do you guys like to do?
Another Blogger: They do this. They’re relaxing when being interviewed by hundreds of journalists.
Leighton Meester: Yes, this is relaxing.
Selena Gomez: If I have a lot of time, I like to go back to Texas. I like to just relax and go home, see my family or sleep and watch movies.
Leighton Meester: I like to do that, too. I like to go back to Florida and spend time with my family. And I like to write, and I like to cook. When you can sleep, it’s good to sleep.
Kid Reporter: How old were you guys when you first when you first started doing movies?
Leighton Meester: When did you start, Selena?
Selena Gomez: I started acting when I was seven and then just kind of kept going since then.
Leighton Meester: You’ve really been working.
Selena Gomez: A little bit.
Leighton Meester: I started when I was 11, and that’s really young, too. But, I worked a little bit and then would spend a lot of time going back to Florida, and then work a little bit. I had a lot of normal time, too, not working.
Kid Reporter: This is for both of you. What’s the best part about being famous?
Selena Gomez: I think being able to travel and do what you love is very rewarding, having really awesome fans and just kind of enjoying beyond young and exploring.
Leighton Meester: I’m not trying to get too cerebral here, but I think it’s a really good character study on when you meet people, and you get to meet all kinds of different people. I get to meet, for example, people like you, and then we go out and we work with actors and directors, and I work with musicians and producers and all these different people. That’s really fun because you get to just study people and see what they’re like.
And then, another really fun part is that I’m exactly the same. When I go to Florida and be with my family, they ask if I can take out the trash. And I have to do it.
Kid Reporter: What was your favorite thing to do in the movie?
Selena Gomez: I would probably say, everything I did in the movie, I liked playing Cordelia. I really liked playing her. She was fun. But, I loved spending time with Leighton and Katie [Cassidy]. All the scenes that I had with the girls were a blast. I just had the best time with them.
Selena Gomez: Aw. That’s it? Is that it? Thank you.
Leighton Meester: Thank you, guys.
Blogger: Thank you.
Leighton Meester: You guys are so awesome.
Blogger: You guys are awesome. Thank you.
Ms. Selena Gomez: Thank you so much.
Ms. Leighton Meester: Thank you.
There you have it. My daughter now can’t wait to get to Paris to eat crepes, drink hot chocolate, visit the Eiffel Tower….and eat Chinese food! All we had to do was meet Selena Gomez to get the excitement going. Stay tuned for a review of the film, Monte Carlo, tomorrow and for a giveaway for an official movie poster and movie passes.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Big Honcho Media at the screening, press conference and interview to facilitate this blog post. I was asked to cover the film and event but no opinion was asked of me.