The Entertainment Tonight anchor makes the final dash to looking her best – and being prepared

By Nancy O'Dell
Updated September 22, 2013 03:15 PM
Credit: Courtesy of Nancy O'Dell

Entertainment Tonight anchor Nancy O’Dell is sharing her unique up-close Emmy experience, juggling one of the most demanding weeks of the year with home life. Follow Nancy also on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

You know that phenomenon called the calm before the storm? You’re outside and you notice everything seems to go quiet, the air goes still, and all seems peaceful. It’s time to head inside, and get ready because in a few minutes, the air will change, the clouds will appear, and raindrops will start falling on your head. Saturday was my calm before the storm.

Yep, it was the day before the Emmys. Everything started off wonderfully. The weather had finally cooled down in Los Angeles and we headed out to my daughter’s soccer game. She played a great game and the whole family went out to a nice brunch afterwards. Ahhhhhh, so peaceful! And I needed that very special moment with my family because soon … bam.

It’s time to bunker down. I’m a preparer. One might think that on the red carpet we just go out there and throw out anything that comes to mind, but I study too. I research the latest news about each actor/actress. I’ll number questions in order of importance. Wanting to be fully prepared comes from my years of being in hard news, doing investigative reports.

As I am sure you know, what usually makes the most news is the fashion. And there is so much more that goes in to a decision about what one wears than you can ever imagine. So here’s my behind the scenes.

Backup Dresses

I was slightly anxious as I awaited my stylist and the seamstress. They would arrive with my dress for what we hope is our final fitting on Emmy eve. We only had our first fitting Friday and I left with pins, paper, and markings still all over the dress. You certainly don’t want something showing on TV that “ain’t” supposed to show.

We can’t find a bra that works! The front is low and who knew finding a low-cut bra in L.A. would prove to be so difficult. Victoria’s Secret, can you answer our calls?

Fabulous designer Carmen Marc Valvo was kind enough to custom-design a dress for me. Thank you, Carmen! My stylist has a whole rack of backup dresses, just for the sheer craziness that something may happen to the one supposed to be worn. I am kind of a messy Marvin, so ya never know.

Something as simple as the color is thought about by my producers as they don’t want any of the ladies of Entertainment Tonight in the same color dress. Watch on Monday and I guarantee you that you won’t see any of the ladies in a color anywhere close to another’s! With three different colors, the camera shot pops more.

And don’t laugh, but I am fighting against a slit being put in my dress just so I can change out of my high heels as quickly as I can to put on more comfortable shoes without anyone seeing them.

Shhhhh, I am a Southern Girl – a country gal and I much prefer flats over high heels, or barefoot is even better. My boss will never let me forget that I even headed in to the White House to do an interview with President Obama in my bare feet!

So what you won’t see on the camera is that underneath my long gown, I am wearing flip-flops or perhaps I might wear my bedroom slippers to this Emmy’s! I’ll take a picture and Tweet it for all you insiders.

Doorbell just rang … sorry… gotta go do my fitting.

Okay, I’m back. I feel much better. The gown is coming along. The seamstress still has some work to do, so I will see her again late at night.

We actually just broke the zipper on my gown from taking the dress on and off so much. A new one has to be put in. I must say we did find the most gorgeous heels. For that reason, maybe I will change my mind about the slit. I better decide quickly as she would need to put the slit almost immediately.

The weather is something one has to think about as well. I remember I had this most gorgeous baby blue cashmere dress I wore to one award show. It rarely rains in Los Angeles, so we never thought it may pour on the day that year. It did and I learned that cashmere soaks up rain quickly, and when it does, the material gets really heavy and that is not a good thing when your gown in strapless! Talk about needing a really good bra!

Poked and Prodded

By the time, I put my dress on Sunday, I will feel so poked and prodded. Hilarious that in most pictures, you will see someone photo-bombing by accident while trying to fix something on me … my microphone, my hair, etc. I have joked before that I am so used to people touching me, from wardrobe, makeup and hair stylists to audio guys that I could be totally mugged during Emmy week and I would never know it.

Perhaps that is why I love the calm, serene moments so much, and sometimes they come during an interview. I certainly have my favorite actors and actresses to chat with. I love the ones who keep it real no matter how big their show is or how popular they become – people like Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Jane Lynch, Jim Parsons. So when you see me interviewing someone with a little extra pep in my chat, you will know that is why.

Gotta go get the kids dinner and I promised to play a card game with my daughter. I had my second fitting. We are getting there, but not quite. I’ll see the seamstress again at 7:30 Sunday morning. The storm is coming.