YEA! You read that right!
The Producers of the TLC show "Unpolished" reached out to me back in July seeing if I would be interested in taping an episode based on my art. They were looking for a local Long Island artist to get a set of nails done by Lexi Martone (the shows incredibly talented star), who creates nail art, out of her family full service salon not too far my house here on Long Island.
Interesting enough, Lexi's nail art incorporates A LOT of manipulating of her medium, acrylic, like I do in my heart sculptures, which is yupo paper.
So after lots of video chats with producers, and going back and forth, I was told I was chosen to be featured in an episode to get my nails done by Lexi. Frankly, I thought was pretty cool, I haven't been out of the house AT ALL this year, and I started thinking how great it would be to get to speak about WHY I make my art, and get to talk about Traumatic Brain Injuries on a national platform.
Honestly, I never watched the show. I didn't know much about Lexi, her family, who she was, anything. I was super excited to just get out of the house and talk to another creative person and not the dogs for an afternoon. But I made the grave mistake of going on social media and checking her out.
Now enters my complete panic/anxiety/what the FUCK did I just get myself into ATTACK!
See, I’m someone who has been bullied her entire life. I do not do well with watching people being ganged up on, I do not like seeing people get bullied and I’m honestly having a slight anxiety attack while typing this.
Now that you know that, I was part of a baseball fan group a few years back that started off awesome and fun for me, until, well it wasn't. The main reason for joining it was to get out of the house after my TBI. To become more social, as I was becoming more withdrawn. After all is said and done, I met some great people from that group, some that I am still friends with, some people I am still in contact with, but the ending of that experience was not a positive one.
What does this have to do with TLC, Loretta? Well, I saw that Lexi was now a part of that group and I FREAKED. I was mortified this was "Mean Girls" x 100. Like how would they pick ME out of ALL the incredible artists out on Long Island for this opportunity? I went into complete worse case scenario mode. Why? Because I had so much hurt still inside of me from certain people in that group whom I thought were friends, that when push came to gossip, weren't.
I showed up and for 2 days of filming, Lexi was amazing. All the fears I had melted away so quickly. I realized I was truly there for my talent and nothing more. Which really allowed me to open up about my injury and my art. She's an INCREDIBLE talent. Her mother, Jennifer, made me cry. Her grandmother, Foxy, made me try to run (which isn't easy with a cane), Ashley and Marsha from the salon made me laugh so much, which I really needed going into such a big event. The entire crew really made me feel at home during such a BIG moment for myself, I can never thank them enough.
I really hope the editing department does all of those hours of filming justice, cause my main focus was to get the struggles individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries go through and how my life has changed so much since I have had mine. The main point of all of this was to let others with TBI's know they aren't alone.
ANYWAYS, I don't want to give too much away about the 2 awesome days of filming. You can see THAT in Episode 6 of this season of "Unpolished" on TLC which premieres January 12th at 10pm!