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Mark Wahlberg doesn't just play a tough guy in movies — he's also tough to take a photo with.
I knew he would be spending the week making rounds on the talk show circuit to promote "Contraband," so I set out bright and early to start my day at the "Today" show plaza. I thought it would be an easy morning and I would have to spend maybe about an hour outside in the cold before getting a quick pic and then heading home for the day. I was wrong. I was so very, very wrong.
When I hadn't seen Wahlberg by 8:25 a.m., I moved on to Plan B – "Live! With Kelly." When I got to the studio, another fan told me that Mark had been running late for "Today" and arrived just after I'd left. Ugh.
Mark arrived at "Live!" around 9:10, which probably had the producers sweating because the show is, in fact, live starting at 9 a.m. Needless to say, he didn't have a chance to stop for fans on the way inside. However, as the garage door closed, he shouted out the car window that he'd greet us on his way out.
I crossed our fingers and waited for his interview to be over to see if he would keep his word … and he did. When I asked for a picture, he obliged, but I noticed him looking down when the flash went off so I asked for a re-do.
"I'm sorry! I'm trying to multi-task," he declared, but took a second photo anyway. So nice!
I thanked him as he walked away, but when I looked back at my camera, the picture was zoomed in so close it just barely fit our faces into frame. Plan B now moved onto Plan C.
After a little break, I was headed back to NBC, where he would be taping "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."
This is always a huge risk because there are so many different entrances and I never know where to wait. I followed my gut to the entrance on 50th Street, and when I heard a Fallon staffer talking about how "he" wasn't there yet, I knew I'd made the right call. The best part? No one else was there. It was just me. Even in a rush he couldn't say no to ONE picture, right?
Around 5:30 p.m., the car pulled up and Fallon's security team approached as Wahlberg's security walked around to let Mark out on the sidewalk. As he made his way inside, I asked for what would be our third picture of the day. He stopped to pose with me again, and, just when I thought he would rush inside, he waited and asked me, "Did you get it?"
It was perfect! I even showed it to him and thanked him again. If Mark hadn't been so accommodating, I don't think my hard work would have paid off, so to him I am eternally grateful.
Like many of you, Professional Fan Girl Lauren Cox has always had a fascination with movie stars. She's turned her hobby – hitting premieres and other events in New York City to meet them – into a blog, and now a NextMovie column. Keep up with her adventures meeting celebs by following her on Twitter.