I was playing a small part in this off-off-off-Broadway show (it was in Jersey) and during a quiet moment, a man in the audience yelled, “Hey male nurse number three, talk to me after the show!” So I did and it turned out he was Martin Scorcese’s casting director’s cousin Jerry. The next thing I knew, I was thanking Jerry in my Oscar speech!
My very first day in New York City, I got booked on a comedy show in a friend of a friend of an enemy of a friend’s building’s illegal basement. After my set, a guy came up to me and said, “hey, have you ever thought about taping an HBO special?” It turned out he was the boss of HBO, Mr. Herbert von HBO Jr. himself! I taped the special at Madison Square Garden the very next week. That’s just New York for you!
There was this little coffee shop I used to go to in my hometown, and one day I was sitting there sketching on a napkin when a guy came up to me and said, “would you like to do a show in the hottest and most famous gallery in Chelsea?” I thought the Chelsea he referred to was my brother’s girlfriend and wondered if gallery was a body part I didn’t know about (I went to Catholic school). It turned out he was talking about a neighborhood called Chelsea, and that was that!
Before I could afford a home gym with a live-in private trainer (he sleeps on the treadmill), I went to a gym downtown. Once, I was singing in the shower after a workout when a man ripped open the curtain. I screamed and he said, “Excuse me, was that you singing?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “You have an amazing voice.” And I said, “Thank you.” That man was Rick Rubin and here I am today, the biggest pop star in the world!
Twitter never seemed like my thing, but I finally decided to make an account a few years ago. My very first tweet was, “I’m new to Twitter. Say hi.” It went viral, as they say, with eight million retweets, and this woman DM’ed me and said, “Do you want a book deal?” And next thing you know, I had a blockbuster bestseller! Which almost made up for the fact that no one actually said hi.
My friends and I were hanging out at the mall when a middle-aged man in a trench coat came up to me and said, “Has anyone ever told you that you could be a model?” And I said, “Yes, about 20 people have been telling me that every day since I turned 12.” And he said, “Well, I can make your dreams come true.” It turned out he couldn’t but the next guy who walked up to me and said the exact same thing was legit, and the pictures he’d taken of me from across the food court ended up in Vogue! It felt insane to be discovered in a mall and invited to pursue modeling just because I was 16-years-old, 5’10”, rail thin and stunningly beautiful but, believe it or not, that’s actually how all my model friends were discovered too. I guess when your career is based entirely on the exterior, it’s possible to be a true overnight success!