A dream was birthed from the conception of my diagnosis. I had a far-fetched aspiration to go to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Never once did I think this dream would become a reality. In fact, had you told me that my name would be spoken by the woman herself, I would have probably laughed at you. Sitting next to Ellen and having a conversation with her? Ya right. Out of the millions of viewers that tune into her show daily, who was I to stand out in the sea of inspirational stories?
I have tuned in to The Ellen DeGeneres Show for years. Her candid humor, contagious spirit, and positive message are infectious. She offers uplifting perspective, guttural laughter, and the latest updates on celebrity news. Her generous nature is apparent on every show, as she honors a wide array of everyday heroes. Never once have I watched an episode that I haven’t both laughed and cried in. She’s that good. Throughout my seasons of cancer treatments, Ellen DeGeneres has always been a ray of sunshine in the midst of my dark days. No matter how sick, gross, or pathetic I felt, her show was the perfect remedy. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and Ellen has a doctorate in spreading happiness.
I do not enter contests. I have never won anything. I’ve purchased two lottery tickets in my life and was unsuccessful. However, a few months ago, I serendipitously came across a CoverGirl contest that The Ellen DeGeneres Show was hosting. Ellen herself is an Easy, Breezy, Beautiful CoverGirl and the two joined hands in the recent #bombshelling movement. Among the many variations of the term, bombshelling simply means, “the act of being a bombshell; embracing your inner diva.” The contest invited people to share a selfie and their own inspirational story.
Without a second thought, I quickly snapped a photo of myself. No wig; Bald in all it’s glory. Light makeup, and a cute chevron scarf. I then drafted a summary of my adventures and lessons through cancer and submitted my entry. Not thinking twice. Quite skeptical in fact, I figured I would never hear back. I don’t win anything, after all. My husband, Matt arrived home from work, and I nonchalantly mentioned that my entry was forging its way among the thousands of others. His response was far from noteworthy, and my news didn’t evoke more than a shoulder shrug. He was all too familiar with my contest history, or lack thereof.
We continued our daily life, and I didn’t give the CoverGirl bombshelling contest much thought. Months later, to my complete and utter shock, I received a phone call from the show. They had sifted through entries and wanted to hear more about my story. At the moment, I couldn’t believe it was happening. A few phone conversations later, and we were invited to sit in the audience at one of Ellen’s tapings. The smile cemented on my face stretched from ear to ear. I could not contain my excitement. Matt and I were elated. My dream was coming true! Before we knew it, the whirlwind of anticipation and enthusiasm had swept us up and we were walking through the doors of The Ellen Show studio. I felt like a kid in a candy store — grinning and giggling as I was unsure of what to look at, what to take in, and in awe at the wonders of the studio itself. Matt and I found our seats and with the rest of the audience on all sides, were welcomed into a massive dance party. If you have watched Ellen, you know that her show is widely centered around dancing. She moves and grooves. The audience gets jiggy wit’ it. Her guests bust a move. It’s a party, and no one is left out. Halfway through the show, my cheeks were in full-on workout mode from the smile that remained plastered on my face. The energy of being in a studio, clapping, dancing, and laughing with hundreds of others is unparalleled. Happiness was spread like wildfire.
Just as the last segment was underway, Ellen began sharing that she was a CoverGirl. At that point, I firmly grabbed Matt’s leg, and I’m sure my eyes grew twice their original size. With the next blink of my eyelids, a familiar photo was displayed on the back screen. A bald woman, with light makeup and a chevron scarf. Wait, What? I think that’s me. Oh, yes. That’s definitely me. Time jolted forward faster than the speed of light. I heard my name. I heard Ellen say my name. She wanted me to come down to the stage. Is this a joke? Is this real life? Surprisingly, I made it down the steps and onto the stage without tripping and embarrassing myself. I wasn’t however, free from the sight of the camera catching my ugly cry.
After hugging Ellen (yes, I hugged Ellen DeGeneres!), I sat down and chatted with her. The cameras captured my fairly composed responses to her questions, though inside I was a deer in the headlights. We’ve all experienced moments where our dream transforms into a reality, and this was mine. As if having a conversation with Ellen wasn’t enough, she surprised me with a check on behalf of CoverGirl to the tune of ten thousand dollars. At that point, I was astonished, amazed, and flabbergasted. Meeting Ellen DeGeneres, hugging, laughing, and sharing conversation with her would have been enough. However, in true “Ellen style,” she and CoverGirl so generously gifted Matt and I an amount that will help chip away the medical debt that has been accrued from such an arduous journey these past two years.
Gratitude doesn’t articulate the depth of thankfulness that my husband and I have experienced. As I stated in an after-show interview, there would never be enough “Thank You’s” to Ellen and CoverGirl for the gift and opportunity they have given me. To be recognized for my message that bald is beautiful is an overwhelming honor. We will forever be grateful for what Ellen and CoverGirl have done for our family.
The response from our surprise on The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been incredible and humbling. The posts on Ellen’s Facebook page and Instagram have received over 90,000 “likes,” and hundreds of comments. What has inspired and humbled me the most are the women who are posting pictures of themselves without wigs on in the comments. To know that my story is touching so many others, is breathtaking. It makes my fight worth it. Thank you all for tuning in and sharing such an exciting moment with us.
Dreams do come true.
CoverGirl Bombshell Shows that Bald is Beautiful
on Yahoo! Shine
Philippians 4:19 (MSG)
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.”
7 Comments on Dream to Reality: Chatting with Ellen DeGeneres
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Kathy FApril 26, 2014 at 3:14 AM (9 years ago)
Stephanie, you so inspire me. I was so happy to see this post. I have been so happy for you getting to CF (cancer free). I have cancer. I was diagnosed right after you were… Feb 6. I have yet to be CF but seeing you keeps it in my head that it is possible to be cancer free. You don’t realize it, but you keep me going. Congratulations on you trip to Ellen. How wonderful!! Hugs and Love to you my comrade against the C.Reply
penny kellerApril 26, 2014 at 8:40 AM (9 years ago)
Stephanie, I was sitting in my family room with my sister who had been visiting from Alaska for my son’s wedding. I turned on the Ellen Show and saw you, I did a double take, but then said to my sister, “That is my friend Stephanie”; you continued to talk and I was in shock; they showed your picture and pretty soon she presented you with that check. Wow, why did I turn that TV on in the late afternoon? I missed you coming out of the audience but saw much of the rest. Awesome Stephanie. Just awesome. You derserve so many awesome moments and it is so wonderful that you are hearing from women and that Ellen’s Facebook page got so many hits; this is fruit from your own suffering. Many blessings to you! You are a great writer and a neat, neat person. Love, PennyReply
Tamara KempApril 26, 2014 at 9:15 AM (9 years ago)
Stephanie, I was able to watch the segment and loved it… I was so proud and excited for you. May God bless you and your sweet husband. It is so endearing to see how you have grown from a little curly blonde/light red head into a wonderful woman. You are blessed and God had a wonderful plan your life. Paul and I will continue to pray for you and watch your progress.Reply
Tamara KempApril 26, 2014 at 9:17 AM (9 years ago)
God has a plan for your life
LindaApril 26, 2014 at 11:24 PM (9 years ago)
That is so awesome Stephanie!! You look wonderful!Reply
SkyeApril 27, 2014 at 8:14 PM (9 years ago)
Oh my gosh! Congratulations! You truly deserved this. I have been inspired by your attitude and your beautiful writing and am rooting for you. xoxo, another 27-year-old cancer survivorReply