Monday, September 26, 2022

Punch the Clock

I’m going to my high school’s 10 year reunion next month.

10 YEARS.


I’m not supposed to be that old. I remember when I was a kid my parents would always say something along the lines of “Ahhhh yes, this can opener is as old as you are.” 


“20 years ago we bought this couch.”


“Cynthia and I have been friends for 30 years now!”


At the ripe age of 10, I was never phased by those statements. I couldn’t imagine owning a couch for that long. Knowing a friend that long. Being ALIVE that long. So why are you telling me this as if my little kid brain can even fathom such high a number?!


Fast-forward a couple decades and here I am. 28-years-old now, awaiting my high school’s 10 year reunion. That number hits HARD.


I always imagined myself walking through those hallowed halls 10 years later with a husband in tow, maybe a kid or two in my arms.


HA, that’s a big, fat lie.


1. I never imagined going to a high school reunion.

2. I never imagined being 10 years removed from high school.


Let's be real, I can imagine myself strutting through those double doors looking sassy, classy… but with kids?!



Couldn't be me.


...not yet at least. 


I’ve always felt like I’m a good 5 years behind my current age.


At 22, I was seriously dating a guy. A guy I thought I would marry, but I knew at that time in my life I didn’t want to get married. I didn’t know if it was him, or if it was the fact that I wasn’t ready. Today I know it was timing more than anything. Timing really is everything.


At 28, (like last week), I was dating a 22-year-old. Crazy enough, despite the age gap, I thought he was the one. It takes a lot for me to fall for someone, and I was starting to, but despite that... this was the first time in my life I knew I wanted to be married. The first time in my life I could confidently say that I am ready for marriage. But the age gap and living on opposite sides of the country had other plans for the two of us.


With this 10-year-reunion coming out of the woodwork, it’s got me feeling all sorts of emotions. Specifically, it’s got me thinking about the past 10 years. 


Guys, I’ve had the craziest last 10 years. 


Since graduating high school, I’ve been in Los Angeles, CA.


Kinda.


One short stint in Oklahoma led me to LA for the past seven years now— working as a sports coordinator in the entertainment industry— marrying my love for sports and the big screen.


Sometimes my synapses are firing so hard and the trips are so many that I forget what I did last weekend, let alone yesterday. It’s hard for me to remember the amazing experiences that have transpired, because I’m already on the next one before I can even process what happened on the last one. S/o iPhone camera roll for being the memory bank my brain desperately needs.


As I navigate my emotions of the ever-so-daunting “10 year reunion” I want to take a walk down memory lane and share with you what has happened since my last blog. We all know not much happened in 2020. But 2021??? 2022?! I can think of a few things.


The Best Year(s) Ever:


Luke was on the Chicago Bulls. Playing the Lakers. We had In-In-Out post-game on the JW Marriott rooftop in downtown LA.



I was April Ross’ stunt double in a commercial for the Olympics. The Olympics she later won gold medal for in beach volleyball, thus sparking my one-week long burning desire to become an Olympic beach volleyball player myself. Emphasis on the one week.


I dated an MLB player. Great guy, but not THE guy.


I was a TK-aid for 4-year-olds at the cute, little Catholic school across the street from me in LA.



I played a basketball player in the new Cheaper by the Dozen movie and signed my first contract as an actual ACTRESS. No lines, but still, it said ACTRESS.


I worked the Big Shots premiere for Disney+ with a famous fitness friend on a rooftop at The Grove and dribbled around John Stamos all night.


Luke signed a one-year deal to the Boston Celtics.


My grandpa passed away.


My older brother proposed to his girlfriend.



Space Jam 2 came out. LeBron shut down Six Flags Magic Mountain and we partied the night away for what was one of the most incredible, unique experiences of my life.


I shot a feature for my mom’s news station about taking down “The King” in a couple shooting competitions back in Nashville.



I drove to NYC from Nashville for a friend to sign his first modeling contract with Wilhelmina.


I moved to Philadelphia for 8 months to work a movie called Hustle with Adam Sandler. 


I played Jordan Clarkson in ping pong. The series is currently 2-1, but I really think I will come back and take him down if I ever see him in a room with a ping pong table again. 


My goddaughter got baptized.


I texted Pete Davidson for a week and then he dumped me for Kim Kardashian.


Pete went to Disney.


I explored NYC several times with my coworkers every off-weekend we got while in Philly.


One of my best friends from OU got married in Abilene, Texas.



Luke signed to the Maine Celtics and we spent Thanksgiving in Maine.


Luke signed a 10-day for the Cleveland Cavaliers and we spent Christmas in Cleveland.



Luke signed a 10-day for the Milwaukee Bucks and I spent every game night in Philly in front of my tv screen.


I filmed a commercial with Vince Carter in LA.


Luke signed for the rest of the year with the Boston Celtics!!!


I finallyyyyyyy went back to LA. Just to leave to Atlanta a few months later for a football movie.


There, I met another guy. A guy who I ended up dating, and thought I would marry, until he broke up with me two weeks ago. Turns out all this traveling and the fact that he lives on the Atlantic and I live on the Pacific doesn’t bode well for long-term commitment.


Nevertheless, I had one heck of a summer with him.


My mom got her MBA.


I watched Justin Bieber in the pit thanks to Adam Sandler giving my coworker and me his tickets.


Luke went to the NBA Finals.


My mom and I went to SF for games 1 & 2.



My dad and John went to Boston for games 3 & 4.


I went to the Hustle premiere in LA that same week.



Talk about one of the best weeks of my life. One day you’re walking the red carpet (or falling…sorry, mom), and the next you’re on the family bus with the families of the Boston Celtics on our way to the Chase Center to watch your little brother play Steph & co.


I filmed White Men Can’t Jump 2 with Jack Harlow for a few days as a bball player.


I filmed a Gatorade commercial and was a player for the Chicago Sky for a day.


I spent the summer with my parents, Luke, his wife, and daughter in Nashville.


I went to Bend, Oregon to visit a couple of my best friends.


I went to Orlando, Florida to see my mom’s side of the family and wakeboard.



I went to Austin, Texas to celebrate my sister-in-law’s bachelorette.


John got married in Little Rock, Arkansas. 


I went to NYC to film a Google Pixel commercial with Giannis, Joel Embiid, and Jayson Tatum.



And that brings us to yesterday.


The day I got my notification on FB for the 10 year reunion. 


I may not have a husband or kids in tow, but I have a heck of a lot of experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world.


I’ve been praying hard for community as of late, and boy has God provided. Fun events don’t mean as much if you don’t have people to share them with. God has sprinkled in some of the best friends, some new, some old, who have come into my life at the perfect time. Because, if I’m being honest, the “boyfriend” thing has hit me harder than I have ever thought it would.


I met this guy named Sean right after I graduated from UCLA. My first boyfriend. He’s the most amazing man I have ever met still to this day. I googled his name last night. He has started this YouTube series called “The Best Year of my Life” and it was about this global adventure he went on in 2021. He’s the one who actually inspired me to write this blog today. My 2021 didn’t go global, but it was prettyyyyyyy epic here in the states. Watching his videos made me so happy for him. He looked so happy. And if anyone deserves to find happiness in this world, it’s THAT guy.


Which brings me to baseball boy. Another fabulous human. But I knew he wasn’t the one and tried to end it as soon as I realized that.


A year passed until I met my last boyfriend. I really liked him. He liked me. But we lived on opposite sides of the country. He was a lot younger, and he didn’t want to keep trying so hard to make it work. It was a mature decision, one that I didn’t want to face, but at least I knew what it felt like. I knew what it felt like to be all-in, and that’s something I’ll forever be grateful for.


When I got the FB notification yesterday that was the first thing that popped into my head. I’m going to be SINGLE at my 10 year reunion??? If anyone knows the south, the rest of my classmates are married and on baby #2 already. I really think there is only one other single classmate out of the 100 humans in my graduating class. And that human is my former high school prom date, who I adore, and wish was coming, but is currently living in Amsterdam.


As I sit in this coffee shop on Charlotte Ave. in Nashville, TN, days before I make the cross-country trek back to LA in my little brother’s Toyota Camry (my car kicked the bucket earlier in the year, forgot to mention that in the highlights), I think about the title of this blog: Punch the Clock. I’m being literal here. PUNCH IT SQUARE IN THE FACE. There is no clock for when it’s all supposed to be figured out. Whether it’s a husband you’re searching for, or a job or promotion, who cares how old you are when it happens?? Because it will happen. It’s only a matter of time. Time that God knows you need. He knows I need it. I may think I’m ready, but God is the only one who really knows. He has been the architect for the story of my life thus far and there isn’t a single thing I would want to change about it. 



Trust me, that’s a lot easier to write than feel at times, but I’m writing to reinforce it in my own head as well. Who cares if you show up single to your 10 year reunion? Who cares if your life doesn’t look like the classmates’ next to you? 


We all have that thing. That one thing that keeps nagging at us. The fly that won’t stop landing on your leg. The ingrown toenail that brings excruciating pain with every footstep. Graphic, I know, but I’m driving home the big finale here. The point is you feel like you can’t run away from it. You feel like everything will be right with the world if you just get what you’re asking for. My annoying fly and ingrown toenail might be a husband at the moment, but I know if/when I get that, everything won’t be right with the world just because I got what I wanted.


So, now, today, at this very moment, what I can do is appreciate what I do have. As I just blabbed about in this blog for the last 30 minutes, God has given me a laundry list of cool experiences and people in my life. I want to get out of this funk, sure. I want to practice what I preach. I want to stop searching for THE guy in every room I walk into. I’ve never been this girl before, but only because I’ve never really wanted this before. My “5 years behind my current age” thing is finally catching up to me. I want marriage. I want HIM. And I know he will come, just like everything else I have put total faith & trust in God towards. He has given me the desires of my heart when I wasn’t searching for them. He has given me what I needed and wanted when I didn’t even have the words to articulate what it was I needed or wanted. I can articulate the man I want. I journal about his sandy blonde hair, blue eyes, and 6’5”+ness fairly often, but maybe that’s why I haven’t met him yet. Maybe that’s why I won’t. I need to close my eyes and blindly trust God wholeheartedly. I need to let go of control. I need to get off of Instagram. I need to stop thinking I'm running out of time.


I need to PUNCH THE CLOCK.



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Taco Tuesday

August 20, 2019


Anyone who deems themselves a shooter needs to be put to the test. After a few days on set, LeBron begged the question: Who was the best shooter in the gym? And could they take down The King?


LeBron had his own private court that Warner Bros. created for him, and he invited us all to shoot one morning. The catch: call times were at 7am... so we were looking at a 5am alarm in order to do so.


We couldn't wait til 5am the next day. People were already chirping. LeBron looked over at the Goon Squad and asked who the best shooter on the team was. Everyone looked at me.


The day wore on, business as usual, until LeBron got up to shoot a particular scene. He was shooting around and waiting for the director to get settled.


He called out my name. 


“Alright Kornet. It’s go time.”


I looked up, and smiled. Oh boy. I hadn’t touched a ball since I graduated, but here goes nothin. 


The first game was simple— five shots from five spots. He won three games, I won two. He got me.


The next game we decided to up the ante. We had to make each shot from each spot in a row to advance to the next spot, and if you didn't... you went back a spot. 


That was confusing. Let me break it down for you:


From the baseline you had to make your first shot to advance.


From the wing, you had to make two in a row to advance.


From the top of the key, you had to make three in a row to advance.


From the opposite wing, you had to make four in a row to advance.


From the opposite baseline, you had to make all five in a row to win.


If you miss any shot at all, you immediately go back to your last spot.


LeBron got off to a hot start and made it all the way to the top of the key, until he missed his last shot and went 3 for 4.


My turn.


I missed the first shot.


His turn.


He went two for three.


Time to work my way back.


Swish.


Swish. Swish.


Swish. Swish. Swish.


He's in my ear. Side by side with the big fella.


I miss.


Back to Bron.


He makes his way to the opposite wing. 3 out of 4.


Okay, Kornet. Focus.


I make three in a row.


On to the wing!


I make one, then two, and then the Second AD comes over.


"Alright, guys, let's clear the court. We need to get rolling."


"No, no, no. She’s feeling it right now. Give us a few more minutes," replied LeBron.


I make the third shot, and then the fourth.


Last spot. Five more and I take the crown.


I make the first one. Net the second one. Hold the follow through on the third, turn to LeBron and look him dead in the eyes...


"Did that go in?”


It rattles in and he retorts back, “Ooh you were scared, though, huh??”


I square up for the fifth and final shot. As soon as it left my hand I took off straight to center court Steph Curry style.


Cash.


Everyone went nuts.


All one hundred supervillain extras stampede the court. The cast, crew and anyone with legs came running towards me with arms open wide.


LeBron, too, gave credit where credit was due, and dapped me up. 


"12 in a row, not bad."


One of the prop guys pulled me aside and handed me the coveted silver ball.


“Keep it.”


"And get him to sign it too!"


"Woah, woahhhh woahhhh," clapped back LeBron. "The series is even now. She's not getting a signature until she truly tops me."


As soon as we wrapped at 8pm, LeBron challenged me again. He was in his flip flops, until I started feeling it. The flip flops came off, and the laces came on.


We probably went back and forth for 45 minutes and shot 100 shots going 90 for 100 from 3. Neither of us hardly missed.


Until I didn't.


And beat him again.


Just for kicks, we decided to do another round. This time off the dribble.


(I won that one too).


Before we left, LeBron told me we had to end on a make. I tossed up an NBA three from the wing. 


Cash.


The basketball gods were with me that evening.


As we were making our way back to our trailers, LeBron snagged the ball from me, and finally signed it.




As I was making my way to base camp, I was getting congrats from left and right from people on different stages who weren't even a part of the Space Jam production.


LeBron's bodyguard saw me and let out an “Oooo girl, you earned that signature!”


LeBron heard all of the hoopla from his trailer, peeped his head out, and yelled out for me to come in.


“So you out there boastin’???”


I walked in, took a seat on his couch, crossed my legs, and said with a smile on my face, "Just wait til I can post about it."



Sunday, July 18, 2021

Space Jam 2

Trash talk. It’s never been my favorite, but thanks to Frank Kornet I knew how to turn it on when needed.

It was needed.

I booked a voice-over gig for the new NBA Live and Madden video games.

A weekend full of trash talk and pick-up games back at the Warner Bros. lot with fellow athletes. There I met an actor who, arguably, changed my life.

Meet Sheldon Bailey.

He played basketball at Miami, moved to LA, found a talent agency, began booking Nike commercials and was recently cast in two tv shows, one on Nickelodeon and the other on HBO. Welcome to LA.

His claim to fame? He's LeBron James’ body double.


He reminded me of myself. Minus the 6'8" frame and big, burly, man muscles. He was the type of guy who was always the first to raise his hand to read aloud in class, loved theatre growing up, was an athlete, and knew in his heart of hearts that the entertainment industry was where he wanted to be.

He asked about my background too. I told him about Ultimate Tag, but as far as experience on set goes, I was a full-time project manager at a record label. Not an actress.

He asked for my number and told me that he’d be more than happy to connect me with a few people.

The very next day I got a text from Sheldon.

“They are auditioning women’s basketball players to double some WNBA stars for Space Jam 2 at 1pm in North Hollywood. This is a call back, but I spoke to the casting director about you and he said that you can audition if you're available. Are you?”

I don’t think I blinked for two minutes. I kept rereading what he had written.

“SPACE JAM 2???”

But then I remembered…

1pm. I had to be on set for Tag at 1pm. I couldn't be at two places at once.

But for some reason, I knew I had to get there. I had to make this audition.

I showed up to the North Hollywood Rec Center at 12:00pm to look for a casting director I had never seen before and introduce myself. Maybe if I gave him a glimpse and sank a few J's for him I'd be able to give him just enough before I had to bail for Tag.

“Are you here for Space Jam?” a voice echoed from behind.

I turned around, “Yes, I am.”

“We’re not opening the doors til 1, but you’re in the right place.”

“Not till 1? I’m currently in this other show at Warner Bros. and I have to be THERE at 1. I was hoping to sneak in real quick beforehand.”

“Do you know Mike Fisher? He’s the casting director and will be here in about 30 minutes. I would try to wait for him if you could.”

Alright, sounds like this Mike guy is my only chance.

12:50pm rolled around. I was getting anxious. It was the first day of shoot blocking at Tag. I had to be there.

The door finally opened. A dashing 50-year-old man entered.

Mike.

I ran over to him. “Hi, Mike. My name is Nicole Kornet and…”

“Oh, I know who you are. Go tell that lady that I just added you. You’re not on the roster yet.”

“Is there any way I could shoot for you now? I have to be at Warner Bros. in 10 minutes for another show I’m on…”

“Nicole, if I were you, I’d stick around. You’re exactly the type of person we’re looking for in this role. The directors and producers will be here in about 15-20 minutes. And if you get this part, you’ll be making a lot more than whatever you’re making at Tag...”

Oh boy.

I had to wait. I couldn’t miss this.

I emailed my supervisor at Tag. A little white lie had to do…

“Running late from a dentist appointment. Will be there in an hour.”

(Sorry Kristi. Had to).

I walked over to sign my name in. 

Under each NBA and WNBA cast member, there was a list of about 6-7 actors with headshots, fast facts, and contact info.

The woman told me to just scribble my name down in the corner under the Diana Taurasi group.

I chuckled.

“This is an official callback,” I thought to myself. These people have headshots and resumes and I have a chicken-scratch name tag plugged in the margin.

When I gazed at the paper once more I noticed that the Diana Taurasi group had a 2:15pm time stamp next to the name. 

Uh-oh. It just turned 1pm, Tag has started, and my audition wasn’t for another hour. 

I didn’t know what to do. I really wanted this, but I had already signed another contract. I was supposed to be at Warner Bros. an hour ago.

There was only one thing that made sense at that moment — call mom.

I called her and told her my predicament. She wasn’t much help.

“Don’t lie, but don’t go. Follow your heart, but don’t miss your obligation.”

C’MON MOM. I NEED CLARITY.

I decided to stay. TV show call times say one thing but mean another. Plus, I’m an on-air referee. I’m not the MAIN talent. I could be an hour…or two…late.

One by one they called the groups up.

Before each group of six athletes started their basketball audition, they went one-by-one in front of all the producers and directors and slated their names, weight, height, position, and then babbled on and on about their biggest basketball accomplishments.

I couldn’t stop looking at the clock. I needed to be at Tag...

FINALLY, the Diana Taurasi group was called.

One by one, Diana Taurasi look-a-likes rose from the stands. If the real Diana Taurasi was in the gym that day I wouldn’t have been able to pick her out because these girls were spitting images. 

6’0” feet. 160lbs. Dark hair. Tight buns.

And there I was. A long-haired girl with a loose, flowing ponytail of platinum blonde.

They called out the names of the six girls, but didn’t say mine. I sheepishly walked over anyways and told the guy I was supposed to be in this group too. He peered at the paper once more, looked past all the headshots, and found my chicken-scratch in the margin: “Nicole Kornet (added)".

I chuckled again.

“Oh yeah! I see you here! You’re in this group, too."

He told me I would be the last to introduce myself after all the other girls went.

Fine with me!

The first girl stepped up. 

Then the next, and so on and so forth.

Each girl copied the next.

"Athlete. High school MVP. Played at so and so college."

All the while, something inside of me was bubbling inside. For missing 9 out of 10 shots in my shooting tryout, I was surprisingly confident. Finally, they got to the end of the line. My turn.

I decided to go a different route. Thanks to the credibility that a name like UCLA holds, I felt as though I garnered enough experience basketball-wise to make this interview process a little more fun.

“Hi, my name is Nicole Kornet and I played basketball at UCLA. I come from an athletic family. I'm not even the best one in that family anymore. My little brother is on the Knicks and my dad played for the Bucks. I got my first scholarship offer in 8th grade from Kansas. But my claim-to-fame was beating Russell Westbrook in PIG last summer.”

Everyone laughed.

The next day I got a call from Mike Fisher. The dashing Mike Fisher.

He told me that I was going to be a principle character in a major motion picture.

He told me I was going to be the White Mamba.