“Hey Jessica fans and SK.net readers!! I wanted to share my experience with Jessica with you all!!
First here is a little about my love for Jessica and attempts to meet her in the past:
Since Jessica’s first CD, Sweet Kisses, hit the airwaves in 1999 I have been a HUGE fan. I loved her voice, everything she stood for, her Christian roots, her sweet and down to earth personality. I was only 12 years old in 1999 and she became my idol. I didn’t always have the easiest days in middle school and high school and her music always helped get me through. I was a true fan for life. I attended my FIRST concert of hers in July 4th 2004 – The Reality Tour Live. My mom and I had FRONT ROW tickets and it was one the greatest experiences of my life!! On this tour fans could have paid to meet Jessica backstage and to hangout on stage during the show. At that time I did not have the money and was so jealous of the fans that got that experience! I said to myself then that one of my goals in life was to meet her one day and have a picture taken with her. I just wanted the opportunity to meet her once! In November 2007 my mom and I went into NYC, leaving NJ around 4am to stand in the standby line for The View on the morning Jessica was a guest. We were the FIRST ones in the standby line, but no extra tickets were given out.
I was so upset but someone inline told me that all the guests get brought in through the parking garage. So my mom and I went and stood by the entrance to the parking garage (with one umbrella in the rain) for her car to come out. About 5 minutes before her SUV headed out of the parking garage a SWORM of paparazzi pushed in front of me and my mom. Jessica’s SUV came out, I was pushed to the back and the SUV sped off. I was so disappointed, but at least I had tried!!
Then on January 29th, 2009 my husband and I drove 4 hours to Charlottesville, VA just so I could see her perform as the opening act for Rascal Flats. This event came only DAYS after the scrutiniy she got from pictures of her performing at the Chili Cook Off in Florida in what everyone called “Mom Jeans”. I honestly thought she looked amazing in those pictures and it made me so mad that people were pulling her apart like that!! I couldn’t wait to see her in concert and deep down I wanted SO badly to meet her, just to tell her how amazing and beautiful she is. Well I didn’t get to meet her, but it was AMAZING seeing her in concert. Her voice is phenomenal and her stage presence is great! After those few attempts of trying to meet her in the past, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get to meet her. Well my hopes of meeting her all changed on March 8th 2013!!
On March 8th I was scrolling down my Facebook homepage when I saw SweetKisses.net posted a flyer for an upcoming appearance in Charlotte, NC. Right away I knew I wanted to go! I live near the Outer Banks of NC and the drive was a little over 6 hours. I took a look at my crazy schedule and quickly rescheduled one of my internship days for nursing school so I could go to Charlotte and meet Jessica!!
When I started to think about driving so far and taking time off school I wanted to see if there was a way to make sure I would meet her. The flyer for the event stated you had to buy $50 worth of JS Collection items and you would receive a wrist band to wait in line and a CHANCE to meet Jessica. I was willing to go all that way to take the chance, but I wanted to see if there was a way I could make sure to meet her!!
That is when I e-mailed Joanna, on March 8th. She of course has her amazing website dedicated to Jessica that I’ve followed since the beginning!! We have been friends online for a few years and have talked on and off about our love for Jessica and other things in our lives. My family actually came from Poland, as well as my husband’s family so I felt a bond with her right from the start. I emailed Joanna and asked if it was possible for her to contact Stephanie (Jessica’s Assistant) and let her know how far I am coming and what a huge fan I am!! All I was hoping for was to solidify my chance of meeting her that day, even if it was for a quick second.
Of course Joanna HAPPILY emailed Jessica’s assistant for me, and she was just as excited for me for the possibility of meeting Jessica and even possibly having a private moment with her. That right there is a true friend, when someone gets just as excited as you and goes the extra mile to help you achieve a dream!! Well on March 13th I received a response back from Joanna that Stephanie wanted my phone number so they could contact me the day of the event. I was OVER THE MOON excited!! We weren’t sure what that meant, but just the fact that her assistant wanted my number and was interested in helping me meet Jessica was amazing!!
On March 22nd, the day before the event and only an hour before getting ready to leave for Charlotte I got another email from Joanna. She heard from Stephanie and she confirmed that I would be meeting Jessica for a few private minutes at the event. My heart started racing and I started tearing up. I quickly messaged Joanna back to thank her for being such an awesome friend and helping my dream of meeting her come true!! I called my mom (who was on her way to my house for us to leave) and let her know about the message I just received. She was so excited and couldn’t believe it!! We left for Charlotte around 12:30pm on Friday March 22nd and got to our hotel around 6:30pm. We got our stuff settled and then we decided to go and check out SouthPark Mall and see where everything would be for the event the next day.
On the way to the mall we got a text message from a number we didn’t know. It was from a woman named Peggy who is the PR Manager for the JS collection. She said she is looking forward to seeing me and my mom in the morning and for me to keep her posted when I arrive at the store. She ended the message with “We’ll have fun! Safe Trip!” I was SO excited. The reality of meeting Jessica was really starting to hit me!! I quickly messaged her back and thanked her for messaging us! She told me her crew would be there running around and setting up and I could stop to say hello around 11:30 – 12. She said Jessica and Ashlee will probably be ready closer to 1pm. I was so excited and could hardly concentrate on walking around the wall. My mom and I looked at some of the JS collection items and ended up going back to the hotel for some room service before bed. We were exhausted!!
The next morning we woke up around 8am, got ready and then headed down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. After breakfast we went back to the room to get ready and it took me forever to decide what to do with my hair!! I finally decided to wear it straight like I usually do, nothing too fancy. Once we were ready we headed over to the mall. We went right to the JS collection section of Belk and asked for Peggy. This was the start of my amazing experience. The people that surround Jessica are real, down to earth people. I was greeted by Peggy and by Julianne, a designer for the collection. Both were so excited to meet me and were so interested in me and my love for Jessica!! I couldn’t have asked to meet nicer people!!
I will admit I was nervous going into the day because I have gained close to 100lbs in the last 2 years due to hypothyroidism, which I am now on medication and starting to work my way back to the normal me. But I was nervous and I felt really self conscious. I told the girls my fear and they told me not to think about it at all. They told me Jessica knows how it feels to gain weight and she knows how hard it is to get it off. They told me “She’s your girl!” They made me feel so comfortable!! I did mention to them how much I love the JS collection and how I can’t wait to get back to my old self to wear the clothes!! Julianne explained that she now has a plus size part of her collection and she walked me around the JS collection in the store showing me what was available in the plus size versions. She was so sweet!!
Peggy then introduced me to another fan who would be meeting Jessica with my mom and I. Her name was Laurah and she was super sweet. Peggy told us that her and Jessica’s crew wanted us to feel special and let us hangout in the VIP/Media area instead of having to wait in line. She also told us that as long as Jessica & Ashlee were able to arrive on time, she would bring us upstairs to have a private meeting with them before the event started. This was totally a dream come true!!
Then it was time for Peggy to dive back into her work and get ready for Jessica to arrive!! I hung out by the fan line that was forming and talked some with Laurah. She explained to me how far she had come, that she had a bunch of medical problems and even came against her doctor’s advice! She was also a true fan!! She also explained she had met Jessica in the past. As we hung out lots of people started to arrive and it began to get really crowded. Models were arriving and getting dressed in the JS collection to walk around and showcase the line. Music began to play and it felt like a party!! I began to get nervous the more time that went by. There were tons of security surrounding the area just waiting for their arrival. Then I looked at my phone and realized it was after 1pm. Laurah and I started to realize our chances of having any time alone meeting Jessica probably were very slim. The event was supposed to start at 1pm. I text Peggy at 1:25 and asked if there was any way we were going to get any time with her. She sent me a sweet text back saying “We’ll see you down there love, sorry!” I was a little disappointed at this point, just because I really wanted a minute with her for a few pictures and to tell her how much she was influenced my life. But at this point, I was just excited to be there at all!! As we heard she was going to be making her grand entrance, I walked over and stood next to a photographer for a local newspaper in the media area to get some good pictures of her entrance. They started playing “With You” and Jessica & Ashlee descended down the escalator with her assistant Stephanie and Jessica’s boyfriend Eric right behind them.
In this moment I was so excited, so star stuck I completely messed up getting any real good photos of them arriving!! I wanted to get video of them arriving, but apparently pushed all the wrong buttons on my camera!! I was a star stuck mess!! Jessica & Ashlee went right to the table to take a few photos, while they were doing this Laurah & I noticed Tina about to walk by us. We both asked her for a photo!! She was super sweet and took a picture with us both!! Then Ashlee and Jessica were whisked away into the little curtained private room behind the meet and greet table so they could get their family settled and freshen up real quick. Laurah, myself and my mom stood by the table and then Peggy came back out to let us know they wanted to keep their promise of letting us have a private meet with Jessica. Peggy got Jessica’ security guard to escort us to the side of the private room and opened the curtains for us to enter behind.
As soon as the curtains opened Jessica was standing right there. I was behind Laurah and my mom behind me. I was so in awe of Jessica, but my mom and I went in and stood to the side to allow Laurah some time alone with Jessica. As we stood to the side, my mom had video taped us entering the room and videoed some of Laurah’s time with Jessica. As I stood there I quickly noticed Eric sitting next to us on a couch and Tina sitting with Ashlee’s son Bronx. Eric talked with us some while we waited for our turn with Jessica. He was SO super sweet. I told him I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but in that moment tears went down my face. Peggy handed me some tissues and I tried to pull myself together!!
One of my favorite moments was when I was wiping my tears and I told Eric that I am one of Jessica’s biggest fans and he said “I understand, so am I!!” What a sweet boyfriend he is. We could see how much he loves her!!
Once Laurah was almost done with her turn, security brought her out of the room and I guess I still had tears going down my face and Ashlee handed me another tissue. They all were so sweet!! My mom started videotaping again and I was introduced to Jessica. She shook my hand and gave me a big hug. There was SO much I wanted to say to her. I wanted to thank her for her amazing music that helped get me through so much of my life and I wanted to tell her what a dream it was to meet her. I was not able to think of much of anything to say. I couldn’t even remember what I had to say to her at first and didn’t know what I had said until I watched back the 1 minute video of me meeting her. I guess my mind went blank and I had a TOTAL Rachel Zoe moment,
I said to Jessica: “You are……everything!”
Haha she responded with the sweetest thank you so much! I must have looked like a star struck fool haha!! Really Amanda, you couldn’t have come up with anything else?! Oh well!! I then handed her the little gift I brought for Maxwell which was a sweet little white Easter bunny stuffed animal. She told me Maxwell was upstairs taking a nap and placed the gift off to the side.
We then took a few pictures, one of me with Jessica and another with me, my mom and Jessica. Then we had a few minutes to talk. I guess I got my brain back for a few minutes and talked with her about the weight I have gained and how it has affected me. She was so super sweet and told me how much she understood. She told me not to be hard on myself and kept telling me that I could do it!! I wanted to get her to sign all 5 of her main records, but we didn’t have enough time. So Peggy came over and told me she would get them signed for me. I also reminded Peggy that Joanna had asked for a dedicated autograph as well and she promised me she would get my autographs as well as Joanna’s. The last thing I wanted was to disappoint Joanna, when she set this all up for me. It was such a whirlwind of a moment and it went by so quickly.
I learned after the event that while I was talking with Peggy that my mom talked with Jessica alone for a few minutes. She apparently told Jessica about some of my struggles in high school and how much Jessica’s music helped me. I am so glad my mom was able to tell her what I apparently couldn’t haha!! Jessica also told my Mom what a great Mom she is and gave her hug. How sweet!! My mom is such an amazing Mom!! My best friend for sure!!
Peggy then brought my Mom & I back to the VIP/Media area where we could hangout while Jessica and Ashlee signed autographs.
This was honestly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Jessica was everything and more that I thought she would be!! She was so kind and so humble. She truly cares about her fans and her team made such an amazing effort to make me feel special. I honestly felt SO special that day. I got treated like one of her crew.
My Mom and I hung out in the media area for a little while and I tried to get a few pictures for the girls I had talked to in the front of the fan line. It was hard to get the pictures as the line was moving so fast!! It was so great to see Jessica and Ashlee greet their other fans. It was also so sweet to see how Ashlee really looked out for Jessica. When they were sitting in their chairs for a few minutes, Ashlee said to Jessica “Are you sure your comfortable? Maybe we need a pillow for your back!” Ashlee then asked one of their crew if they could get a pillow for behind Jessica’s back. They got the pillow, the security guard placed it behind her and Ashlee reached over and made sure it was in a comfortable spot for her. It was so sweet to see how close they really are and how protective they are of each other!!
After my mom and I hung out for about 30 minutes, we figured it was time to leave. We had our special time with them and we had a 6 hour drive home. Right before we were about to find Peggy to say goodbye, I realized I never got a picture with Ashlee!! I was SO insanely star struck by meeting Jessica I never got a picture with them both!! I really wanted a picture with them both, so I asked Peggy if I could sneak a quick picture with them before I leave. I felt bad even asking to disturb the line, since I already had been given such an amazing experience, but Peggy said it was fine. I got on stage with them both and said I was so sad I didn’t get a picture with Ashlee!!! Ashlee said “Yay! Thanks for coming back to get a photo with me too!” How sweet!! I am so glad I went up there and made Ashlee know I wanted a photo with her too!!
What an amazing day!! My Mom and I left there feeling so blessed for the amazing opportunity. We couldn’t stop talking about how sweet Jessica, Ashlee and their entire family was. I kept saying how wonderful it is knowing that Jessica is surrounded by such an amazing group pf caring people!!
I will truly never forget this experience and I will never forget the kindness of Joanna, Stephanie, Peggy, Julianne and the entire Simpson crew!! Jessica was everything I thought she would be and the experience was nothing short of a dream!! I honestly felt like an honorary member of the Simpson clan. Thank you does not even begin to describe how grateful I am for the experience!!”
Thanks to: Amanda! :) All photos are Amanda’s.