I sit quietly at the Starbucks on the corner of Wilshire and Santa
Monica Boulevard, pretending to work on my laptop. Two tables away from
me and next to the condiment counter sits my client, Sarah, drinking
coffee and pretending to read a book. This is our second day at this
Starbucks and we have already been here for forty minutes. I am
beginning to wonder if we should re-evaluate our plan.
Suddenly a wave of hushed excitement spreads through the store.
Everyone’s eyes are glued to the swinging front doors as Ryan Scott
strides through with his shoulders back and chin up. Everyone’s eyes,
that is, but Sarah’s. She looks at me without turning her head, and I
give her the tiniest of nods before spinning back around to stare. She
responds to my nod by feigning interest in her Jane Austen novel.
Great Sarah! Keep calm. I know you want to burst inside, but play it
Ryan’s eyes quickly scan the room. Before they return to the menu
board, they briefly linger on Sarah, the only person who appears not to
notice him. He orders his grande latte with a double shot of espresso
and leans smugly against the counter with his arms folded across his
chest. He appears to be staring into space, yet every few moments his
eyes fall back to Sarah, who has still not looked up from her book.
The barista calls his name, and he pauses to make sure everyone hears it
before he reaches for the drink. When he turns around, Sarah is
beginning to pack her things, leaving the Austen novel on the table. He
heads toward the condiment counter for his regular three sugars. Just as
we had rehearsed, Sarah stands up, still focused on packing up, and he
tries to pass her. He stops for a moment, Sarah blocking his way.
Thank goodness these celebrities are creatures of habit. It makes my job
so much easier.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.” She breathes calmly as
she speaks to him. She slings her navy-blue Coach bag over her shoulder
and smiles, her head leaning to the side, her eyes soft.
“That’s all right,” Ryan responds. He stands waiting for her to
move but blocks her exit. He half smiles at her.
“Okay then.” Sarah glances toward the door behind him, still
“Oh, now I’m in your way,” he declares as he steps aside and
watches Sarah move toward the door. “Wait, hey, your book!”
I exhale. The one contingency worked as planned. Should be easy from
here on out, as long as she sticks to the script.
She stops and turns back, hiding her smile. Ryan stands there, holding
her book in his hands. “Jane Austen, huh.” He smirks. “I’m
shooting a movie based on one of her books next month.”
“Oh, you’re an actor. What book?” she asks, pretending not to
“Pride and Prejudice.” He seems intrigued by Sarah’s indifference.
“Well, here you go—” He ends his sentence by fishing for her name.
“Sarah,” she finishes for him.
“Sarah,” he repeats, revealing a slow, sexy smile, “maybe we can
have a cup of coffee next time.” He holds out the book but is not
loosening his grip.
“Yes, maybe.” She takes the book from him, and he lets her.
“Thanks.” Then she is out the door. Ryan turns and grabs his three
sugars, looking around the room again to make sure everyone is still
watching. Before he finishes stirring them in, I am out on the street
and dialing Sarah’s cell number.
“Wow! That was unbelievable! I can’t believe it worked!” she
“You were awesome! Did you see the way he looked at you?” I ask.
“Yes! I did!” She pauses. “Thank you so much, Olivia. You really
made my dream come true. I mean, I never could have done this without
you. I’m going to recommend you to all my friends,” she rattles on.
Thrilled that all went as planned, I head back down Santa Monica
Boulevard toward my office.
A tall, gawky girl in her late teens stands in the waiting room. She has
a goofy smile and frizzy brown hair. She shyly stares back at me through
her outdated glasses, waiting for an invitation into my office as she
taps her arm softly, rattling her bracelet.
“You must be Becky.” I gesture for her to enter.
She is young, just out of high school and reminds me a lot of myself
when I was a teenager and hanging around outside Brad Griffin’s hotel,
waiting for my moment.
“So I hear you can work miracles.” She sits down softly in the big
purple armchair and looks at me, her face filled with hope.
Her innocence brings to mind just how far I’ve come. Five years ago
when I started this business, meeting clients at coffee shops and
working out of my apartment, I had no idea what a demand there would be
for my services. I always knew people wanted to meet celebrities, but I
quickly learned they were willing to pay quite a bit for that privilege,
especially if they could meet them in a way that didn’t make them look
foolish. And when it comes to fans, the saying “birds of a feather
flock together” has never been more true. Almost all my clients, like
Becky, find me through past clients.
I sit behind my desk, folding my hands and smiling. “That’s what
they say. I help my clients realize a plan that will manifest their
greatest dreams. I help everyday people, like you, meet big-time
celebrities in a situation that’s comfortable for everyone. You get to
be yourself, and the celebrity doesn’t even know you’re a fan.”
Becky nods, encouraging me to continue.
“I do all of the research and planning, everything from facilitating a
makeover to word-feeding into earpieces, if necessary. The perfect
scenario? I arrange for you to ‘accidentally’ meet your idol in an
unremarkable but cute way. If the meeting goes extremely well, I can
help arrange another ‘accidental’ meeting. Many of my clients,
though, are happy with a simple encounter. Just knowing that, for a few
moments, their idol’s attention was focused exclusively on them in
some normal, average way is enough.”
“Well,” Becky says, “I’ll need a miracle because even if I do
run into Robert Collins, I don’t think he’d so much as glance in my
direction.” Her expression momentarily shows defeat, and then she
looks down briefly and smiles again. “I grew up with my dad, and his
sense of style is, well,” she points to her dark purple and
black-striped turtleneck and brown plaid pants, “I guess you could say
style was low on the priority list.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about style; that’s fixable,” I
assure her. I must look intimidating to her in my high heels, fitted
blouse, and tailored pants.
“So you can help me?”
“As long as you’re eighteen or over, I can help you.”
She nods encouragingly.
I slide my welcome packet across the desk. “First we have to get
through some paperwork. You know, stuff my lawyer makes you sign.” We
go through the document page by page. First she must acknowledge that I
will help her meet her idol and nothing more, and that there are no
guarantees. Then we go through the confidentiality clause: She is not
ever to mention my services to anyone (unless it’s a referral),
especially not to her idol. I am always cautious when I first meet a
client. Since a large part of my success depends on anonymity, I can’t
risk working with anyone who might publicize what I do to celebrities.
Next is the “no stalking” policy. I don’t provide home addresses
or phone numbers, and if my clients demonstrate any stalker qualities, I
immediately cancel our agreement with no refunds. Finally, if the idol
is mean or rude, I am not responsible. This section of the contract is
particularly important when meeting the celebrity who Becky is
“How much is this going to cost me?” she asks.
“Well, it all depends what path we take. We can do the—”
“I don’t just want to bump into him: I want Robert to notice and
remember me; I want to be beautiful. Whatever it costs. I’ve finally
received my mom’s inheritance, and she died fifteen years ago. What do
you recommend we start with?”
I hesitate. I don’t want to insult Becky, but there is a lot of work
to do. Robert Collins is notorious for being, well, a prick, to put it
nicely. The last client who I helped “accidentally” meet him was
abruptly knocked over by his dog. And he didn’t so much as offer to
help her up. He just looked at her nursing her twisted ankle and walked
on by. Luckily that particular client was satisfied with the honor of
being able to tell everyone about “the time she got run over by Robert
Collins’ dog.” The only upside of Becky choosing to meet Robert
Collins is that he’s the star of Little Town, Big People, his own
sit-com, which means he is often out and about and seems to stick to a
“Well, I should warn you, Robert is pretty well known for—”
“He’s a jerk. I know. I’m a huge fan. I’ve read it all. He
punches photographers, flips off journalists, and refuses autographs.
That’s why I need to be spectacular, not…this. I get that. I just
need you to help facilitate it.”
I can’t help but wonder what a sweet girl like Becky sees in a
celebrity with such a bad—and accurate—reputation. Part of me wants
to take her under my wing and help build her confidence. Help her find a
real guy, a real nice guy. Or help her realize she doesn’t need a guy
at all. But that’s not my job. So I push all the helpful thoughts out
of my head and focus on the task at hand.
“Right.” I look Becky over again. She may not be winning any awards
for style, but she is smart. “Okay, then the best way to do this is
for you to forget you like him.”
“For you to be spectacular, as you put it, in his eyes, you can’t be
a fan. You need to be just some average girl.” I get up and walk
around my desk. I sit in the lavender armchair next to her. “Unless
you want to have sex with him just once and never hear from him again.
In which case, please, fall all over him. But that’s not the kind of
service that I provide.”
She leans forward in the chair, intrigued.
I continue. “You need to be the kind of girl who doesn’t appear to
care that he’s in front of her. Act like he’s in your way. That will
get his attention.”
“You want me to be rude?” She looks at me with a wrinkled brow.
“No, not rude. Just nonchalant,” I correct her.
Becky wrinkles her lips and nose, deep in thought. “Hmmm. I never
looked at it that way.”
“And that’s why you’ve come to me.” I give her a reassuring
smile as I rest my hand on her arm.
“Okay,” she starts, “this could work.” Hope is growing in her
“Let’s get started then.” I reach out my hand, and she shakes it.
I finish making all of Becky’s appointments and set another date to
meet with her. “Your homework is to get every bit of information you
can on Robert Collins. Legally, of course. I have a lot, but who knows,
you may come up with something I haven’t come across.”
“Great!” Becky yelps as she grabs her pleather bag and stands up.
“I can’t wait!”
My file on Robert Collins is pretty thick with information and previous
clients’ results. In my five years facilitating accidental meetings,
not one that involved Robert Collins ended how I had hoped. At least
Becky is going into this with realistic expectations. I start looking
through my notes.
“Walks his German shepherd every morning,” not trying that ploy
again. “Gets Mercedes-Benz washed every Tuesday,” unless Becky has a
very expensive car, probably not a good idea to meet there. “Visits
(allegedly) psychologist every Wednesday,” not useful…unless, nah,
forget it. “Gets manicure every Thursday morning,” this is a
After drawing out a loose plan for Becky, I flip through a tabloid,
looking for more information on Collins; then I stop short on page
twenty-three. Right there, midway down, is a picture of the happy
couple—the woman starting to show her “baby bump,” as the writer
puts it. This isn’t just any couple, though; this is Brad Griffin and
his noncelebrity wife, essentially the couple that, unknowingly, started
me in this business. His bright blue eyes jump off the page as much as
they did on his posters, which adorned the walls of my teenage bedroom.
He has definitely aged but is still as sexy as he was when I, along with
millions of other teenage girls, screamed our hearts out as he belted
out his pop ballads on the stage.
I can clearly remember claiming my spot with the throngs of fans outside
his hotel, hoping he would make an appearance, at which time he would,
of course, take one look at me, see what a big fan I was and fall
instantly in love, and we would live happily ever after.
Clearly none of that happened, and I know now, it rarely if ever does.
Instead, he waited until his popularity died down and found a cute young
lawyer who probably never even thought of driving by his hotel. They got
married two years later, and that’s when it dawned on me: Celebrities
don’t want to marry, or even date, a “fan.” They don’t care how
many concerts you’ve been to or how many times you’ve seen their
movies. They want a normal, average girl and a normal, average
relationship—they want a normal, average life.
The day of Brad Griffin’s wedding, I decided to do for other women
what I wish someone had done for me.
Excerpted from "The Average Girl" by Angelina Goode. Copyright © 2015 by Angelina Goode. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.