Last June I spent three days in Los Angeles being dressed up and made up and interviewed and photographed as one of the Go Red for Women Real Women. I took all these photos and then kept them under wraps for months as the release of the “Class of 2015” was embargoed until late September. The news is official now, so here’s a backstage pass.

QuixoteThis is the studio we worked at in West Hollywood.

StudioSetting up in Stage 1. When we arrived I overheard one of these guys say “the talent is here.” 

Dressing roomThe dressing room. Um, I mean “wardrobe.”

Makeup 1Makeup #1.

Makeup 1 eyesMakeup #2

Makeup day 2Make up, done!

Hair and makeup and waitingMore of the talent — Amanda, Veronica, and Rhonda — waiting around for their turn in makeup or on set. (Yes, I said on set.)

Talent waitingThere’s a lot of waiting around in general. Veronica, Lisa, Julia, and Rhonda.

Studio crewAlso, it takes many, many, many people to make us look perfect.

Lunch at QuixoteWe all (photographers and light guys and stylists and makeup artists and AHA staff and talent) ate breakfast and lunch together. I asked about this — it costs less to keep everyone on site and feed them than to provide breaks. This is how they do it for every shoot or film they work on. 

CateringThe catering was delicious and healthy (and vegan and gluten free and organic and free range and everything you’d expect from Hollywood.)

LunchAfter only two days of this I could really see how movie or TV casts and crew members become so close. It was fun and seemed totally natural. One meal I sat with our photographer/videographer Robin Layton, and she told us about the time Oprah called her on her cell phone to see if she’d come her ranch in Maui to photograph her horses.

Rhonda and her staffRhonda’s turn for portraits, observed by a few of her fans. The woman on the right is a makeup artist.
She had that emergency bag and occasionally someone would shout “makeup” and she’d run out and touch us up.

Craft servicesMore waiting. The tables along the back are craft services, where a chef made us snacks all. day. long. Best guacamole ever. 

Lisa and JenLisa and me. Lisa is a stroke survivor and a mom of two. She works in advocacy with the American Heart Association and has testified before Congress about stroke prevention.

Rhonda and Julia in their dressesRhonda and Julia. Rhonda is a diabetes survivor making the changes she needs to protect her heart. Julia is a mom of three and heart attack survivor like me.

Betty and MiriamBetty and Mariam. Both are moms and congenital heart defect survivors. Betty was diagnosed as an infant but Mariam was in her 30s. Both have had open heart surgery.

Lisa Miriam AmandaMore of the beautiful talent: Lisa, Mariam, and Amanda. Amanda also has a congenital heart defect, diagnosed at 18. She has an implanted defibrillator.

Deb LisaDeb and Lisa looking at kid pics. Deb experienced sudden cardiac arrest and her husband kept her alive with CPR until the ambulance arrived. She had open heart surgery and now has a pacemaker.

Interviewer production BrooksMagnus (front left) interviewed us for the video segments, and he was so amazingly good at his job that I was pretty sure we had been — and would be — friends for life. Here he is with Suzi, a production assistant, and Brooks Lancaster from the American Heart Association. Suzi is working on props for a “Life is why” social-ready video segment.

Jen Miriam Lisa with heartsMiriam, Lisa, and me asking each other questions for one of the social “life is why” videos.

I heart Rhonda HallThis production assistant unsurprisingly loved Rhonda so much that he showed up on day 2 with this shirt he had made overnight. Rhonda is battling type 2 diabetes and has lost more than 100 pounds; she’s determined to protect her heart. She’s also an elementary school and middle school teacher who works with and loves the kids having the hardest time at school. She calls them all her babies. Rhonda’s pretty much awesome, and we all heart her too.

Lisa and RhondaLisa and Rhonda

DebDeb looking smashing.

Deb Amanda Robin Lisa Jen Betty MiriamSeveral of us with our photographer/videographer Robin (center back), who is pretty much a big deal and also super nice. She was showing us the film she had made for the O Network right before this picture.

Go Red Group Rhonda Julia Veronica Jen Miriam Lisa Amanda BettyWe are real and we are beautiful and we are the talented talent!


  1. Amanda Gonzalez says:

    I Love it. It makes me have happy tears. I’m becoming vacation sick and must go back to LA with the real ladies! lol

  2. Loved the pics and captions. Enjoyed sharing your backstage experience.