So I was standing in Brandy’s closet. Yes, that Brandy. The pop star. The girl with one name. “Sittin Up In My Room” Brandy. How did a guy like me end up in her closet, you ask?
I asked myself the same question as I was standing there. The funny thing about occasionally working as a cameraman is that you end up in some unusual places, sometimes without any warning. Last Friday I was sent to Scottsdale, Arizona to shoot with a crew for an upcoming ESPN show. I had shot a few times with them already (Nelly, Allen Iverson, etc.) and this time we were filming with Quentin Richardson of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. This meant very little to me at the time, until we pulled up in the driveway of his sprawling desert home and one of the producers asked: “You think Brandy will be here?” It turns out that Quentin, or Q. Rich as he is called, is engaged to Brandy and that they live together in this house in Scottsdale during the basketball season.
We got out of the car and into the Arizona heat, which the local camera guy explained to me was “not bad.” It was “not good” either. Easily one hundred degrees. Within minutes I was soaked with sweat and could only imagine the poor soul who would be stuck sitting next to me on the flight back that evening. We shot a few intros and then entered the house. Everything inside was brown: the furniture, the tiles, the walls, and the house was dimly lit, probably to keep the rooms cool during the day. Somebody asked Quentin if he lived there year-round and he said: “Hell no.” Brandy, to the producer’s disappointment, was not home. We started shooting and before long were wandering around the house, shooting the Benzes in the garage and eventually in a giant walk-in closet lined with clothes and dozens of pairs of shoes. It was then that it hit me: I’m in Brandy’s closet. I tried to stay focused on the job at hand, filming Q. Rich as he described the various shoes he owns, but my mind kept wandering: how many people have ever been in this closet? Probably not that many. A few friends and relatives… and me. Are these her normal clothes, or does she just keep this stuff here as storage while she lives in another house somewhere else? And man, does she have a lot of Ugg Boots in every color possible. Why do people like Ugg Boots so much? I don’t get it. Before long we were back on the move, chasing Q with our cameras as he wandered back to the living room, leaving the closet behind. After the shoot, we hung out briefly and I had a chance to look around some more. There were some pictures of Q and Brandy on the piano, but for the most part there was nothing that interesting. An hour later I was at the airport, getting scanned and wanded and asked to show my boarding pass over and over before finding a seat on the plane and heading back to L.A.
Does anyone else find it weird that we have the ability to wake up in one city and find ourselves in an entirely different part of the country, or the world, or a celebrity’s closet, in just a few hours? It still amazes me. We may never have the ability to “teleport” across time or space, but flying feels pretty close to it. Combine that ability with the amazing and disturbingly popular phenomenon of “Reality TV,” in which the general public is privy to the homes, cars, and goings-on of celebrities, and you get a guy like me holding a video camera in a superstar’s closet. Weird.