Fans all hope to interact with their favorite actors, and for many fans of other shows, speaking face-to-face with the actors who so creatively present the characters they love is a pipe dream, completely out of the realm of possibility. Not for the Hearties. On the second day of HFR2, the entire cast surrendered their precious weekend respite to meet 500 crazy fans. Into the Step and Repeat sessions we go…
I am beyond lucky. I am blessed. Somehow, I am assigned group number one. In order to give every one of the almost 500 Hearties in attendance a chance to interact with the cast, the organizers have split us into groups of 20 to snap photos with the actors and say quick hellos. Being in group one means I get to see all of the actors first. They are fresh-faced, bright-eyed, and ready to greet us. For this reason, I overhear Pascale Hutton (our larger-than-life Rosemary) exclaim “Here they come! They’re coming!” as our group approaches. Is she as excited to meet us as we are to meet her? Perhaps, just maybe, this event is special to her, too.
As quickly as we can, our group of twenty poses around each seated group of actors for a snap of the camera. We have the remaining 3.5 minutes to say hello, shake hands, or hug as the spirit moves us, until the cow bell sounds and we are forced to leave one set of actors behind to greet another.
This event is a blur, and my mom whispers, “This lends new meaning to the phrase ‘cattle call’,” (I don’t think she has the same sentimental attachment to the cowbell that the Hearties have) but the craziness is worth it because I have the pleasure of:
- Saying hello to Ben Rosenbaum, our shy Hickam (who is not so shy in person).
- Speaking with Jack Wagner about watching him in General Hospital and how my little boys love seeing Bill Avery catch the bad guys.
- Shaking hands with Lori Loughlin and telling her how amazing she is.
- Hugging Erin Krakow and complimenting her portrayal of a teacher who loves her students. She shares with me that we will like season 4 because Elizabeth faces challenges with teaching methodologies.
- Hugging Daniel Lissing and explaining how I connected with an Aussie student I have because of Dan’s role on When Calls the Heart. I get a special “G’day” to take
back to that student when I return home.
- Finding out that “they took away” Kavan Smith’s (Lee’s) motorcycle because it was “too dangerous” and that he is very disappointed about it.
- Experiencing Pascale’s gorgeous smile and gregarious spirit.
- Speaking with Mark Humphrey and learning that he is very shy and introverted, but also very warm and approachable. (And let me tell you, when Mark Humphrey says to me “Hello, darlin’,” as I approach him, I go a bit weak in the knees and my mind goes blank.)
- Learning about Loretta Walsh’s beautiful daughter and her joy in being a new mother.
- Grabbing a quick hug from Eva Bourne.
- Sharing with Johannah Newmarch about the challenges young girls face and how her show on Netflix, MC2, encourages girls to be strong.
All of these actors take my breath away, not because of their appearance or their fame, but because of their genuine love for what they do, for who they work with, and for their fans. In a world where any tinge of popularity makes a person shuttered and aloof, these actors remain open to their audience. They do life with us, as best they can.
I leave these Step and Repeats breathless and weighted, tired from the sheer pace of it all. Rather than spending more time gallivanting around Vancouver, my mom and I decide – along with three new friends – to enjoy a quiet dinner on Granville Island. We soak in our experiences of the day, reflecting on the best and ignoring any inconveniences. Watching the glittering lights of the city at night, we sit back and savor the moment, knowing more is still to come.
(Part 4 of 4 coming soon…)