A year ago ‘TODAY’

TODAY show anniversary

Exactly one year ago, I was sitting in the upstairs green room in Rockefeller Plaza preparing to tackle my first national, live television appearance on the Today show. To say I was nervous is clearly a gross understatement. After one last briefing with my producer Sarah, we walked onto the set, which was crawling with crew and was much smaller than I’d imagined. In a blur, I met Natalie and Carson, took a minute to get situated in my director’s chair (such a pain with heels) and then suddenly, we were being counted into the segment.

and I just kept thinking, Smile! Posture! Energy! SMILE! Don’t lose your shit! Stop freaking out! SMILE!!!!!!

About two-and-a-half minutes later, it was over and I was being thanked and moved off set, kind of dazed, but mostly exhilarated about what had just happened. I WAS JUST ON THE FREAKING ‘TODAY’ SHOW! Like, what?!

Of course, my first call was to my parents, who still had to wait an hour to see it Memphis and then to Chris who told me how good the segment was — and that my legs had never looked better. The rest of the morning was a rush of congratulatory e-mails, texts and social media posts from friends, co-workers and family — a treat that never gets old, all these segments later.

As my driver pulled off from the hotel to get me back to Penn Station, I was so thankful to have just had a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would cherish forever. Little did I know, that was just the beginning of an amazing relationship with my friends at Today, a major highlight of my career thus far. Now, I appear on “Ticket to Hollywood” monthly, and each time, I grow and learn and try to absorb the talent I have the privilege to witness right in front of me via Al, Natalie, Willie, Jenna and Tamron.

The best part? I still get butterflies every time I step on set — and I’m pretty sure that will never change, no matter how many more years go by. — xxAT

//P.S.: If you want a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like to be on Today, read this play-by-play of my most recent appearance!//