My appearance on ITV Daybreak and a lift phobia

by Charlotte Fantelli

So, if you have been following my blog by now you probably realise I have a few unusual traits! But hey, we all have unique and wonderful facets don't we. I have touched upon my OCD and emetophobia, but the one thing that really lies behind it all is the fact I am a total, 100%, utter control freak!

I could bore you with a sob story of how I became this way, but really after six years of a stable and lovely life, I have little excuse not to relinquish a little of the white knuckle grasp I have over everything.

An example of this, which I hope will make you smile :

A picture of me on Daybreak

Daybreak

I was asked to appear on ITV's Daybreak to talk about Uncovered magazine and my battle with agoraphobia. This was a wonderful opportunity and I was determined to do all it took to make the most of it.

This meant a drive to London, a stay in a hotel and obviously a TV appearance. For me, the scariest part was being in a hotel! But I went prepared -  I took my own pillow case, my own bottled water and packed food (courtesy of my amazing husband). Oh and Evie - my son's teddy he sent to look after me.

After a meeting with my PR company and my business partner Simon Dolan (with me below) (and also randomly bumping into my brother who I had not seen in two years in Soho), I headed for the hotel.

Simon knew how hard it was going to be for me to stay somewhere I had never been (the studios booked the hotel) and being the gentleman that he is, he escorted me to the hotel.

Lifts and seven inch stilettos

After a wait of ninety minutes (the TV studios had forgotten to book me in!) I was finally allocated a room - on the fifth floor. Which wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have a complete fear of lifts and was wearing seven inch stilettos...

'You can a get the lift from the first floor' the concierge said and Simon and I trotted up the stairs towards the first floor. At this point the blisters on my feet were raw, but I tiptoed through the pain with the delicacy of a rhino (I have never been what you would call a dainty girl!)

We stood outside the lifts and Simon pressed the button. The lift arrived, he picked up my bag and his briefcase and walked inside. I stayed where I was.

'Come on' He said.

I froze.

'Get in the lift'

'I can't'

'Dont be ridiculous, get in the lift' he said holding out his hand, almost assuming I was joking.

I nodded my head to the side beckoning him out.

He got out the lift with an eyebrow raised.

'I can't get in the lift, I don't like lifts' I explained.

The lift went, leaving us stood in the lobby area. Lifts came and went around us, people getting in and out.

'Come on,' he said, it's easy, just get in the lift.

'I can't, let's take the stairs'

Abandoning Simon with the bags, and the idea of taking the lift I went to find someone to ask where the stairs were. I found a girl dressed as a waitress.

'Can you tell me where the stairs are?' I asked.

'Stairs?' She asked with a bemused look on her face.

'Yes, stairs!'

'Oh, um I, a... I don't think we have any stairs!'

'You must have stairs'

'No, I don't think we do!'

I return to Simon, who's patience is wearing a little thin, well we had been waiting an hour and a half for a room (and as my business partner, it wasn't as if he was expecting it to be fun at the other end either!) 

Round two

'Come on let's just get in a lift'

Simon Calls the lift again.

I psyche myself up.

'What's the worst that could happen? You'll get stuck in a lift with me... It'd be fun!' I can now see the humour in that remark, however at the time my SOH had vacated (probably via the lift!)

'If I had to be stuck in a lift with anyone,' I said, 'You'd be up there at the top, but as it goes, I don't want to be stuck in a lift with anyone!'

The lift opens, this time with two people inside. Simon, dressed immaculately, holding his Louis Vuitton briefcase (I don't know why that matters it just always looks funnier in my head with the briefcase!) stands in between the two people and once again beckons me inside. 

I muster all my courage, take a step inside.

Quickly followed by the step back outside.

Simon, obviously not used to embarrassing, neurotic women (though I think he's getting a bit more used to me now!) excuses himself from the lift.

There MUST be stairs

'Now I know there must be stairs, there has to be stairs' I say 'It is against health and safety not to have stairs, Please Simon find me some stairs...'

Simon in a state of almost disbelief goes back down the stairs to the front desk. A few minutes later he returns with a different room key and a porter.

'They have moved you to the second floor' he says as we follow the porter through the annuls of hotel. 

Past conference rooms, through fire doors and into the staff quarters.

'This is the maids entrance' the porter tells us as we go through the 'staff only' area. Past bins and bags of linen, I can see by the look on Simon's face he's not used to having to do this sort of thing. For me, going to extreme lengths to avoid something is almost second nature.

Then we go through a door marked 'Fire exit only'.

'See! I told you they needed stairs, for fire safety'. It was obvious by the look on his face Simon didn't need the guided tour, he would have been happy to take my word for it.

Finally, just before my feet actually gave up, we reached the room. 

I sat on the bed - (not before putting my own pillow case and sheet on it), took out my packed lunch, quite content with the room and my ability to reach it via the fire escape.

Simon left a few minutes later and I knew he would always remember our first trip to a hotel together...

For all the wrong reasons!

In all honesty he was a great sport - he now vows he WILL get me in a lift one day! I have told him he can have me in a lift when he lets me drive his Aston Martin racing car!

The morning after

Well I was awoken at 4.00am by my PR company, a car was sent and I travelled to the Daybreak studios. I felt like a star as I sat in the green room with Ross King and Tamsin the stunning news reader that my husband has a crush on! 

I was escorted into the studio, I did what I had to do and left before the sun even came up.

It may have been full of silly moments, coping strategies and avoidance techniques - but it was a trip I will never forget, I achieved all I wanted to... And considering just 6 years before I was totally housebound with agoraphobia - what's a fire escape between friends!?

 

The view from the Daybreak studios

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