When my friends ask me about my Date with Kates I always say it’s like going on a blind date every single week. Sometimes I might be catching up with a good friend or someone I’ve known from being on the social circuit over the years to someone I’ve never met in my entire life. There are also times where I’m chatting to someone really famous and I will feel like I know them but the first time we’ll meet is on the day. I feel really privileged that I get to chat to so many interesting people and actually have the opportunity to sit down and have a full meal with them.
Before I go on a Date with Kate I’ll choose who I am going to meet. It has to be someone readers will be interested in and can be from different fields such as entertainment, fashion, the theatre and sport. As it’s for a newspaper I’ll try and peg it to something timely whether it be a launch, a new TV show or project that the person is working on – it’s important readers will be interested in reading about that person.
After I lock the “date” in I’ll choose where to go. Usually I pick the place but I’ll work around them. I’ll pick a nearby café or restaurant to where they live or work and if they’re staying in a certain hotel then I’ll do it in the hotel to make it easier. I organise the venue, the photographer, and the videographer, so all they have to do is turn up for a meal or coffee with me.
On the day I’ll go up to them and say hello if they’re already a friend or acquaintance or introduce myself if we’ve never met. We’ll sit down, look at the menu and order so we can chat uninterrupted. I also make sure that the we grab a photo of the two of us before we start eating so the food looks nice. Once we’ve got the shot or the video, I’ll start recording the interview on my phone. Sometimes the chat will only go for 20 minutes other times I’ll end up with a recording that goes for almost three hours. It just depends on how much time the person has. There have been times where I’ve just grabbed a quick coffee with someone as they’ve got such a tight schedule and other times where we’ve sat down for a meal for an entire afternoon.
I’ve become a pro at small talk and can keep the conversation going but sometimes I do have to deal with awkward moments between questions where there might be silence. This is why I always thoroughly research the person I’m meeting so I have a few talking points in my head. It’s important to be prepared and have something to discuss with the person should there be a lull in the conversation.
As I said I feel really lucky to be able to have a job that allows me to simply chat to people and have them tell their story. I’ve heard so many interesting stories over the years and have had so many lovely experiences meeting new people that I’m always really grateful for the opportunity to write about it. It’s probably one of the few times when blind dates go really, really well!
You can check out my Date with Kates past and present here.