They Fame is a cruel mistress. Some have described her as a (bleep).
It was Fame, in all her jealous possessiveness, that came between then champion skateboarder Chris and his first love Hollis causing the two, teenagers at the time, to separate.
Fast forward 25 years later, Chris and Hollis (who you will get to meet in an upcoming blog post), get a chance to see if their teen love has matured or faded like a pair of old Levi jeans in the TVLand series, First Love, Second Chance (FLSC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific).
Like it has done with other FLSC cast members in the past weeks, The Ride talked to Chris about his experience on the show and thoughts about love.
Chris from “Chris & Hollis” airs Wednesday, March 31 (Sneak Peek, click here)
The Ride: How frightened were you that your first love would not only not look the same as when you last saw her, but would look far worse than you could ever have imagined?
Chris: Not very frightened at all. Fortunately for me, Holly (you know her as Hollis) is somewhat of a celebrity and has a website with some pictures and even some videos on it. She looked and sounded great but I still tried to manage my expectations. I’m not a fearful person in general and I have kind of a “what’s the worse that could happen” attitude.
The Ride: What if the latter was true – looked far worse than you ever imagined – what would you have done?
Chris: I would have invariably been disappointed but would have done my best not to show it. I believe in being tactful when being honest is unnecessary or hurtful. I suppose that I would have shifted into “friend” mode if the chemistry was not there.
The Ride: And did you focus on keeping in shape, looking your best, just in case you ran into that first love?
Chris: I keep in shape mostly for myself – to compete in skating at a high level. I try to look good on the chance that I run into ANY opportunity where love is a possible outcome. Holly coming back into my life just happened to be a wonderful surprise and a true gift.
The Ride: How did you find out about the show?
Chris: It’s crazy. I received a random email on MySpace from a reality TV dating show looking for a guy to date a 30-something biker babe. The casting agent was in Glendale, CA. My sister lives in Glendale and is married to a guy who had produced a reality TV dating show. I thought to myself, “This is ironic – Reality TV, Dating Format, Glendale … I have to do this just to be able to tell my sister what I have done!”
I went for the interview and they liked me for the show but when I got a return phone call they told me that I might be good for yet a different show. They asked me if there was anyone in my past who I would want to see again romantically. I had just found out about Holly from a friend who was reading her books, and before I even had a chance to reach out to her and say “Hi”, the show offered to make the connection for us.
The Ride: What was the selection process like? I would think the casting people/producers would want to make sure that no one had any stalker tendencies.
Chris: You are absolutely right about that. Where Holly is the only one I’d personally be interested in, there are tons of couples out there who are looking for a similar opportunity. The casting agents and networks have a duty and a responsibility to make sure that they are putting both sane and welcomed people together. I was given a lengthy psych evaluation, I was later examined by a shrink, and I was given a thorough physical examination and screening. At first I thought that it was going to be a royal pain, but I actually enjoyed all of the attention!
The Ride: You are pretty vulnerable on the show. Why were you so willing to let a national television audience see that vulnerability?
Chris: I don’t want to live in fear and I don’t want to feel one way and act another. Like everyone else, I’m a complex human being who has to balance both masculine and feminine energy. Where I can be extremely logical, practical, and left lobed, I’m also sensitive, passionate, and feelings oriented. I’m not one way or the other – I’m both. Throughout my entire life I’ve kind of “put it all out there” for all the world to see and rarely has it come back to bite me. I love Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson because it gives me permission to just be myself, especially when others are watching.
The Ride: Your friends have a lot to say when they met your first love for the first time. What did they have to say when you told them you were going to be on the show? What did your family have to say?
Chris: All of my friends and family had nearly the same reaction. “It figures,” or “Why am I not surprised?” or “Poor girl has no idea what she’s getting into…”
The Ride: So do you believe in love at first sight?
Chris: I believe in lust at first sight and chemistry in the first encounter, but love is something that has to be cultivated over time. You know if the chemistry is there within seconds of meeting someone, but you can’t know about compatibility and communication until you’ve shared the same air space with someone over time.
The Ride: Did you believe in love at first sight before you met your first love?
Chris: I was so young when I first met Holly that I’m sure I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the concept. All I knew is that I had to be with that girl…I just had to. I remember feeling young, short, broke, and unworthy so I had to put on my thinking cap and figure out how I was going to trick this girl into liking me [smiles].
The Ride: “Hopeless romantic” or “Cautious Cynic”?
Chris: Hopeful, never hopeless. A romantic at heart. a risk taker, seldom cautious. Cynical, no. Sarcastic – you betcha!
The Ride: What do you hope people get from watching the show?
Chris: I hope that people realize that when you open the door to opportunity, you never know who will walk through. It may be a friend, or it may be the love of your life – there are no guarantees. With the greatest risks come the greatest rewards. Keeping the door closed may be safer, but the best you can get by staring through a peephole is a distorted view of reality. I’m so glad that I took a risk on Holly and that she did the same for me. Hollis Gillespie is an amazing person and I’m forever grateful that she’s back in my life and that I was given a second chance at love.