I got the most exciting email of my life five days before the Atlantic City show. "Congratulations, Ashley! You are the Almost Famous winner!!" I just sat there staring at my computer shaking with tears streaming down my face. Words can't describe how happy I was at that moment!! The only person I would ever think to bring with me to meet Jewel was Sandy (Leapbaby). I got a hold of her as soon as I could, and when I told her, she was just as excited as me! She was screaming into the phone - we were uncontrollable that night!!! We just had to wait five more days until we got to meet AND interview Jewel - our favorite singer of all time!!! Well, those were the longest 5 days of my life.
Saturday FINALLY rolled around, and I was wide awake at 3 AM, then again at 6 AM with SO much excitement (the show wasn't until 9 PM! haha.). Sandy drove us the hour down to Atlantic City and we were singing along with Jewel the entire way with perma-smiles on our faces. We arrived pretty early and headed straight to Will Call. I needed those tickets and passes in my hands ASAP!! I ripped open the envelope and just got even more excited. We still couldn't believe this was about to happen!
My nerves really started to kick in when the Meet and Greeters had to gather on the right side of the theatre and I saw Amy walk out. I was like "OMG! It's Amy!!!" I was freaking out so much that it was impossible for me to even get the paper off the back of my sticker pass. My fingers just wouldn't cooperate. Sandy had to do it for me...hahaha. Amy took everyone else backstage, and told us to wait and she would come get us in a little bit. Our hearts were both pounding. Curt, Jewel's tour manager, came out and walked us back to the small Meet and Greet room. That dressing room was so packed!! Sandy and I waited in there for about 10 minutes before they brought Jewel back. When Jewel walked in, I'm pretty positive my jaw dropped to the floor. She is STUNNING!!! It was almost like she was glowing when she walked in! I could not stop staring at her, and my heart was pounding even more - if that's possible!
She took pictures with all of the M&G peeps, then someone said "Almost Famous winners? Over here." We walked over to Jewel and had our picture taken together with her. Then, Amy brought the chairs together and we all sat down. My mind was racing and I'm sure my voice was quivering!! I forget about half of what was said during the interview - it was all too much for me to handle! I know I blabbed on and on about dancing alot. Jewel said that she and Ty were going to be on Dancing With The Stars (we got some inside info - the cast wasn't revealed till the next night!! haha), so obviously I had to talk a little dance, being a ballet dancer. I warned her just how hard ballroom dancing is and that she would have at least two votes from Sandy and I! Honestly, I can barely remember anything else. It was a huge blur. Jewel did say that my shoes were cute though! We asked her if she would sign a few things for us and she was happy to. She wrote sweet messages on everything. When the interview was over, Sandy cracked me up by saying, "I know you've hugged a few of the winners before...can I get a hug?!" Jewel laughed and said of course. Apparently I also got a hug from her...but I have no recollection! I asked her if it was alright if I got a picture with just her and I and she happily agreed. We both wished her a good show, and everyone left the room.
Sandy and I started to literally jump up and down and hug each other doing our silent screams (we didn't want anyone to hear us...hahaha). Oh man, Jewel is such a sweetheart and SO down to Earth!!!
Now onto the show - Our Almost Famous seats were pretty good, 7th row aisle on the right. I wasn't complaining....we just met Jewel for God's sake! Nothing could bring me down! The show started, and I noticed that there were two empty seats right in the front row, right in the center. We waited about 4 or 5 songs before we decided to take the risk and go to those seats during the applause after Life Uncommon. Jewel looked at us and said. "Hey, where have you girls been?! Nice of you to show up!!" I got scared for a second and was was waiting for security to come take us. We told her that we had just moved up because these seats were empty. She said "Haha, I know." She told the audience, "I met them backstage...we're best friends." What a relief!!! She was totally cool with us taking the seats. We had the BEST seats in the whole theatre!!! Honestly, we were less than 10 feet from Jewel. I couldn't believe it. We got some of the best pictures, too. I almost let out a huge squeal when she started to play "Break Me".....my hands were over my heart and my jaw was dropped - once again. haha. Before Jewel played "Violet Eyes," she said "I met a fan backstage earlier tonight. Ashley, right?" I said "No, I'm Ashley...that's Sandy." She said, "Oh right, Sandy. Sandy told me that today would have been her Grandmother's 95 birthday and she wanted me to play this song for her." I got the biggest case of the chills going up my spine and Sandy and I started to well up right away. Sandy was thinking, "Is this really happening?" The whole thing was just so touching. Thanks Jewel! We also got an awesome picture....the guy sitting behind us told us to turn around and face him and he'd take our picture in front of Jewel on stage. She was posing for the picture - giving us a peace sign! How cool!!
This was the best night of my life by FAR. It just kept getting better and better. I couldn't get to sleep until 5 AM!! I want to thank Jewel and her entire team for this amazing, amazing, amazing opportunity. Enjoy our video, and ignore my constant giggling! I laugh when I'm nervous!! We will never forget this!!!!! Much love!!
Oh - I wanted to send my best wishes to Jay, the man who was having health problems during the show. All my best to you, and I hope you are ok!
Watch the videohere if the one above didn't work for you.Ashley - New Jersey xoxo