My Fifteen Seconds of Fame

Before you run away screaming, don’t worry, I have not signed up for any reality TV shows, nor do I have any interest in watching it in general (see Why I Don’t Watch Game Shows and Reality TV).  However, there are times when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time, and suddenly you find yourself inadvertently become a blur in the background of a hit TV show.  And when that happens, well, who am I to complain?

L: My friends and I in Ho Chi Minh City when Amazing Race Australia was being filmed (Nov 2010); R: My cousin and I in Brighton when Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares was filmed (July 2007)

As far as I am aware, I have appeared on television three times.  On two of those occasions I was on holidays just minding my own business when it happened (see above pictures) and the third was at an Andre Rieu concert in Sydney in 2009 – apparently I could be clearly seen on the concert DVD because I have had several friends txt me to say they saw me in the audience although I have not seen it for myself.

Now when I say my 15 seconds of fame, I mean I was literally on-screen for that much time and if I hadn’t known what was happening, I would never have even spotted myself.

Gordon Ramsay in a heated debate with restaurant owner in Brighton for Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

My first encounter with “fame” happened on the last day of my month-long trip to Italy an England with my cousin, Frances, back in 2007.  We had been in Brighton for a couple of days, getting tired of the constant rain and howling winds on the water (Brighton is a popular sea-side holiday destination for the Brits).  We had pretty much lost all interest in doing any more sight-seeing and were just passing time after lunch before driving back to Heathrow to return home.  So we wandered around the shops for some last-minute shopping when we came upon a small film crew.  We had just walked past them when I suggested to Frances that we go back and find out what was happening.  She was walking slightly ahead of me at this stage and it did not take long before she turned around, grabbed my arm, and said excitedly “It’s Gordon Ramsay!”  Sure enough, within seconds, the man himself came out from the restaurant we had just passed and stood on the footpath arguing with the owner.  It turned out he was filming Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.  We loitered for a short while, observing the scene from across the narrow two-lane street with great amusement.  We had not even realised we were in a background shot until that episode aired in Australia about eight months later.  Within minutes of that episode airing, I was sent the above picture of the scene where I was spotted by one of my friends.

Amazing Race Australia - the Ho Chi Minh City challenge

The second holiday TV encounter was during my trip to Vietnam last November.  My friends and I had only been in Ho Chi Minh City for two days, sight-seeing and generally trying to avoid getting run over by the crazy drivers when we heard tyres screeching to a halt near us as we stopped in front of the Opera House.  This would have not come as too much of a surprise (believe me, Italian drivers have nothing on the Vietnamese drivers – I have seen both!) if not for the rush of people scurrying out of the taxi before the car had even come to a complete stop.  Before we knew what was happening, we saw a cameraman and a sound guy followed immediately by two women get out of the taxi.  It turned out they were contestants for the first series of Amazing Race Australia.

The contestants ran around the square we were at.  We were not exactly sure what the challenge was but it was greatly amusing watching them run around crazily as the sound guy and cameraman try to keep up especially as they ran across roads.  We hung around for about half an hour as more teams arrived.  As the action was fast and furious, we had not expected we would be seen on-screen at all.  When the episode aired here last month, we carefully watched the scenes in slow motion.  The only reason I spotted where we were on-screen was because I knew where we had been standing during the action.

So now that I have experienced being on national/international television, I am happy with my 15 seconds of fame.  I don’t need to have a camera shoved in my face 24×7, thank you very much.  I am more than happy to be famous just amongst my little group of Twitter friends where I exist as the court jester with my random tweets, mostly about my favourite show White Collar, its stars and writers, and my happy/frustrated/angry tweets from a Sydney Swans AFL game every week depending on how the boys are performing.  And if you would like to join my “fan club” you can follow me and my crazy random adventures on twitter (look for @valshopaholic). 🙂


5 thoughts on “My Fifteen Seconds of Fame

  1. Claire

    hahaha! this is classic.
    have you done a post about how many times your mum has been on the telly? that’s so cool, lol.
    much love from your number one fan 😛
    @i_heart_nando xx


    1. Dora

      Claire, even I can’t keep track. I rang the agent today to inform them I am back from my recent trip. half an hour later they rang to book me for a two-day job two weeks later. it is going to be another TV soapy. how are you keeping? when will you be back in sunnyland?


      1. Valerie Leung Post author

        Mum, I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong Claire H 🙂 but this Miss Perth is also aware of your status as a famous extra because, frankly, you are that famous 🙂


  2. Laura Vivoni

    I have been on TV a couple of times and I have never seen myself. One time I was going to the post office near my work and a camera crew stopped me to interview me. There was a guy who had gone to this same post office and flipped out on the employees. Someone took a video of it with their phone, put it on youtube and then a few weeks later the news came over to ask people their opinions of the incident. They asked me what did I think and I said that I come to the post office often, that some days are slow others are fast that I am very patient and would never flip out on an employee or something like that. I think that for over a year I had people tell me that they saw me on TV about the same news and I have never been able to see it. I wish I could find it online. I like the fact that people recognize me on TV and tell me about it all happy and stuff.



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