Jun.6 / 2014

Gaby Henderson: How I lost my V card to 50 Cent

When I started my job at M3, I had no idea what to expect. The first day, I came in and met the M3 team who were eager to show me the ropes. They told me the first couple of weeks would be easy, as they didn’t have many interviews coming up. They promised I’d have time to practice and get prepared for how much my life was about to change. They lied. But in the best way possible.

My first interview was supposed to be Chromeo and it was a few days away. I felt good about that, I had ample time to prep and I’ve met them before and they were very cool.

Near the end of my first day, my producers took me aside and told me that there would be a last minute 50 Cent interview scheduled for tomorrow. The knots in my stomach were instantaneous. I am not ready for this. They asked me if I was okay to do this and while my brain was screaming SAY NO! I AM ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED!!! I put on my biggest fake smile and said of course.

I like to think of it now as their way of pushing the baby bird out the nest to see if I could fly, but in that moment it felt like I was being thrown to the lions in ancient Rome.

I guess if anyone is going to take my interview virginity, it may as well be 50 Cent.

Could it get more intimidating? Not only is he one of the biggest rappers of our generation, he is also one of the most successful financially. According to Forbes he is worth about $140 million dollars. The money part didn’t intimidate me — the fact he came from a place like Jamaica, Queens and built himself an empire did. A person like 50 makes you question the excuses you make for yourself in life for not allowing your dreams to be your compass and forgetting to let your ambition guide you.

The thing about show business is it waits for no one. I had to shake it off and get prepped as the clocked ticked away.

I was obsessive with my research. I came across a brilliant perspective changing interview that 50 did with the BBC on the business of fear, and how our fear of failure holds us back from chasing our dreams. He said if you let the fear consume you and not even try, you don’t deserve to be successful. Harsh but true.

Is it weird that the person that was causing my anxiety was also the one coaching me through it? I guess when you’ve been shot nine times and survived there’s not much else you fear in the world.

Before I went to bed to rest for the big day, I watched my favourite interview, an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter. It showed a different side of 50, a vulnerability and sweetness, especially when he spoke about growing up in Queens and losing his mother at the age eight. I wanted to jump into my computer and hug him. I then realized my interview is not about my nerves — it’s about connecting with humans and telling stories. Even if you aren’t a fan of his music, his life is an incredible one. By sharing these stories we affect change and find the similarities in humans that bond us all. This was my one job and I was going to do it the best I could.

I woke up the next day with a sense of both excitement and immense dread. Maybe I could just not show up. I could call in and back out. Seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. But then, 50’s voice about fear popped into my head and I went to work.

That day was a blur, there was so much advice being thrown my way: “Make sure to eat,” my wonderful producer Angie chimes. Umm I’m just going to try not to throw up, thanks.

As the time drew closer, we were told that there was torrential downpour in NYC and his flight was delayed. They weren’t sure it was going to happen after all. Could this be my miracle in disguise? Well I guess the sun came out, because shortly after 50 was on his way again and would be here within the hour.

Before I knew it, it was time. He was on his way upstairs. My heart is racing. I was overheating and wanted to escape, but there was only a window to jump out of or a sliding glass door and my producers were blocking it.

My goal was to finish the interview and not get fired or cry.

Then he walked up. No entourage. It was one of those surreal times where the world kind of slows down and the colours are more vibrant and you are not quite sure if you’re human. I noticed that 50 had the warmest smile you’ve ever seen on a human and he had on some fabulous Balenciaga. I instantly felt better.
He sat down and we got ready to start.

All the tips my phenomenal producers gave me were replaying in my head. Remember your posture. Sit back straight and don’t lean into his shot. Smile. Be charming and yourself. This was starting to feel like a beauty pageant rather than an interview.

I tried to look at 50 and connect and he looks at me and says: “You’re making me feel like I’m in detention right now.”

Uh oh. Sitting up too straight. I slouch and we have a laugh. 50 is one of those people that can make anyone feel comfortable. It seems like an eternity until we start. Can we just start so this torture will end???

My producer comes over and fixes my hair – and all I can do is sit there telling a bad hair joke and laugh awkwardly. 50 Cent can sense my anxiety. “You look great babe, don’t worry,” he assures me. “They are just looking for perfection.”

One thing I learned about 50 Cent is he loves striving for perfection. That ambition is why he is where he is today. The interview whooshed by. Because of a time crunch of the flight delay, we only got a few minutes. I looked over at my producer and I was getting wrapped. I thought this would bring me total joy and relief, but by the end I just didn’t want it to be over.

50 was just the loveliest, sweetest man and I could talk to him about life for another hour if he’d let me. I have to admit in our seven minutes together, I developed a little Curtis crush. I’m glad he was my first- because he made me completely at ease.

After all that (as you can see in the clip below), the first thing he said to my producers was, “She’s a flower.” I (maybe too) excitedly interrupted him and confessed it was my first one. He was genuinely surprised and kept question my producers “For real???” He looked right at me and told me I was going to have a great career. My heart melted just a little.

I can now say I was deflowered by 50 Cent, and it wasn’t painful. It was actually pretty wonderful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

50 Cent, I promise I’ll make you proud, and now that spring is finally here and I have my dream job. I can’t wait to start blossoming. It wasn’t perfect, but nothing in life is.

50 taught me dreams do come true. The more ambition you have and the more possibility you are open to, the more the world will offer up to you. I am meant to be here and to push myself to the next level. The most important thing in life is to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Now it’s time to go home and prep for another one and do it all over again.




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