Remona Aly
Monday 13 July 2020 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

A Misadventure with George Clooney

A Misadventure with George Clooney
Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Zoe, it was twelve summers ago that I found myself standing in front of George Clooney’s front door, about to ring the bell.

I was on holiday in Lake Como with a friend, and working for a magazine at the time. Top of my editor’s wish-list was an interview with Mr Clooney, so my friend urged me to carpe diem. “This is your only chance, Remona. Go get him!” After two hours of psyching myself up and three rickety buses later, we reached a sleepy village lazing in the afternoon sun, and found a little newsagent to ask for further intelligence.

“Bon journo!” I breezed, with the only Italian I knew – apart from gelato – “Dove George Clooney?” The shopkeeper launched into Italian, being Italian, and after laughing at my confused expression, gently took me outside his shop and pointed out George’s holiday home. “Grazie mille!” I smiled as I plucked up courage, walked nervously to the door and rang the bell…

Had the housekeeper let me in, it might have been the biggest scoop of my life. Sure, it was a mad idea, but sometimes you’ve just got to go for it, and – here’s the important point for me: be prepared for failure.

The number of times I’ve gone out on a limb and dived are more than I can remember. I’ve tried to launch my career with dream jobs but was always sunk with the news that yet again, my application didn’t quite make it. I’ve put every effort into what I thought was a lifelong friendship, only to be let down when I really needed them.

The medieval Sufi Muslim poet, Shams Tabrizi said, “It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given, but also for all that he has been denied.”

Being thankful for what hasn’t come my way is a real challenge, but it’s carved out who I am now. I’ve learnt to channel the many disappointments in life to build an armour of determination. I’ve let my tears be my teachers, on how to be more resilient to pain and to remember hope may still come.

So, I thank my Creator and Mr Clooney for closing some doors to me, so that I might open more promising windows.