By Carley Dangona|
AGAWAM Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a red carpet event? Is Susan Lucci really that pretty in person? Agawam author and publisher Michael Aloisi uncovered the previously unexplored world of celebrity escorts not that kind when he co-wrote "Arm Candy: A Celebrity Escort's Tales From the Red Carpet" with Chris Gaida.
Aloisi told Reminder Publications that the pitch for the book was accompanied by a video of Gaida on the TV show Extra. "I thought it [the concept] was really cool," he said, adding that other publishers were interested in the book, but backed out when they realized the book lacked scandal. "I like that he [Gaida] wasn't out to destroy people," he said.
He said the best part of writing the book was getting to read the celebrity stories before anyone else. Aloisi stated that while he is not a writer by trade, Gaida wrote most of the book. "Because of that, I didn't put my name on the outside cover of the book," he explained.
He said that he added "the writer stuff" such as grammar and style and would seek more detail from Gaida when he thought the story could be expanded. "It's all about feeling out how the person wants to write the book," Aloisi said. "I like to get into the person's life, or at least get into his or her mindset."
Aloisi, the former official Spiderman for Marvel Comics, described the book as motivational because it tells the story of a regular guy who ends up working with A-list celebrities.
Gaida told Reminder Publications that the response to the book has been fantastic. "I want it to be inspiring to others." While writing the book, Gaida took a break from escorting celebrities.
"I tried to separate myself from that world," he said. "At first the process was painful. It was hard for me to write about myself."
Gaida has escorted such stars as Susan Lucci, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Mariah Carey, Courtney Love, Queen Latifah and more. And, he said that Lucci is even prettier in person.
His motivation for the book was to let readers know how things really are, not to spread gossip. "I am privileged to be a part of the scene," he said. "I wanted to be completely accurate. If I didn't have notes or all the details of an event, I didn't include it. I was as objective as possible."
"As an escort, you have to keep up with everything. You have to wear every hat possible," Gaida said. "People are very nice, but it's stressful."
One anecdote he shared was when the strap on Lucci's dress broke on the way to on the Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards. Gaida had to bring her back to the hotel room, take the dress to the wardrobe department, wait for it to be repaired, return the dress to Lucci and still ensure that she arrived at the awards on time for her scheduled press interviews. Gaida only had a 20-minute window to remedy the situation.
"I am usually notified two weeks prior to an event which celebrities will be attending the awards. I usually request the celebrities I work with. I try to spread out my schedule so that I can work with as many people as possible," he said. Gaida added that he chooses celebrities whom he wants to know "what they're really like."
He continued, "Before I first started, I never realized I could get along with celebrities." Gaida said he has a sarcastic sense of humor that has actually assisted him when he's needed to calm nervous stars. The path is two-fold though. "Julia [Roberts] tested me a little bit," he admitted. "She would ask 'Where's my handler?'" The two have worked together on numerous occasions.
One surprise for Gaida is that celebrities get star struck too.
"You think they all know each other. When I worked with Susan Sarandon she was very excited to meet and take a picture with Sting," he stated.
He said, "I have learned a lot about self-confidence and the importance of treating yourself well. Celebrities take their biggest weakness and turn it into their best attribute. I live a normal life. I struggle. Sometimes life is overwhelming. I've learned that if I put in the time and sacrifice, I can do anything I want."
Gaida is a 38-year-old cancer survivor, who's now a 100 percent cancer-free. He admitted the diagnosis made him angry. "I thought how dare it interrupt my life. It was like a bad meeting I had to sit through. I kept focused on the end game [of being cancer free]," he said.
A side effect of the chemotherapy treatment is that it resets one's internal clock. "I have a permanent uniqueness where I wake up at 7 a.m. every morning, regardless of what time I went to sleep. I used to love sleeping in. Now, I just require less sleep," he stated.
Gaida, a TV producer, has not let the change interfere with his work. He will serve as an escort at the upcoming GLAAD and Annie Awards. He has also worked for the Travel Channel and on Dr. Drew Pinsky's show "Lifechangers." He is considering writing another book about the balance between his regular life and his celebrity lifestyle.
His most memorable celebrity meeting was with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. "She was such a ham," he joked. The TV Land awards are one of his favorite shows to work on because he's surrounded by everyone he grew up watching on TV.
For more information about the book, visit http://authormike.com.
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