Who Would You Have Over for Dinner?

One of my favorite thought provoking questions has always been “If you could have dinner with four people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?” Over the years, the list of my daydream dining companions has evolved, and trying to narrow it down to a number under ten has been hard. Reminiscent of my experience with The Dinner Party Project, I would like to dub this series “Long-Distance Dinner Conversations.” Today, I’m setting the table for my favorite celebrity chef, a teenage activist, a MMA fighter, an actress, a comedian, and an international news correspondent.

IMG_1858Who would you have over for dinner?

Now, this is not a definitive hard and fast list of the only people I would have over for dinner  because there are other impressiveindividuals who are changing the world and not listed below. You’ll notice that my favorite singers aren’t listed (Gwen Stefani, Tori Amos) neither are women who have shattered boundaries (Oprah, Ellen) nor historical icons (Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy-Onassis).

What? There aren’t any men you’d want to have over for dinner? What about all those pro wrestlers you’re always tweeting? Shouldn’t there be some supernerds on there like Chris Hardwick or Ashley Eckstein?

Would I turn down an invitation to Michele & Barrack’s at their fancy White House? No. Would I shoo away Josh Groban and a latte in Central Park? Absolutely not.  For the sake of sanity and word count, I’ve had to compartmentalize and go with themes purely out of necessity. Today’s theme: strong, intelligent women who I identify with on some level.

Ellyn (Left) & Yousafzai (Right)

Emily Ellyn, Celebrity Chef/Retro Rad Goddess
I met Emily last fall at a local retro rad event in Orlando called Cat-eyes, Cupcakes & Cocktails and this woman completely blew my mind. Although she isn’t a native to Orlando, you can see here everywhere from the local news channels and foodie hot spots to rolling up her sleeves at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival and serving up winning dishes on Food Network! Her combination of traditional cooking, retro-themed clothing, and sparkling personality makes me want chat while she cooks in her kitchen all day.
Answer Me, These Questions Three:
1. What social causes or charities do you support?
2. Name your top rad three places to eat in Orlando.
3. When can we expect a retro rad cookbook?
Malala Yousafzai, Activist/Nobel Laureate
At eighteen, this young woman experienced and accomplished more than many ever will in their entire lifetime. While many teenagers are worrying about part-time jobs, video games, clothes, and making friends, Malala was campaigning for education rights for women in Pakistan, survived targeting by extreme radical opposition, and earning a Nobel Peace Prize. Her documentation of life as a young girl in Taliban occupied Pakistan with the BBC Urdu blog has drawn “modern era Anne Frank” comparisons.
Answer Me, These Questions Three:
1. What hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working on social activism and The Malala Fund?
2. Where would you like to attend university and what would you care to study?
3. Would Malala ever get Instagram?
Watson (Left) & Rousey (Right)
Emma Watson, Actress/UN Women Ambassador
Growing up in the public eye as my favorite apple polishing witch, Hermione Granger, Emma Watson made very savvy choices when it came to building her empire. She’s college educated, and despite growing up in the social media-heavy society, she wasn’t making questionable decisions like many young Hollywood stars. Instead of focusing on slapping her name all over commercial products, she’s promoting solidarity in gender equality via the UN’s HeForShe Initiative.
Answer Me, These Questions Three:
1. What prompted you to attend university in the United States instead of the UK?
2. Which style of yoga is your favorite and which pose took you the longest to master?
3. Do you see yourself writing your personal memoirs or fiction in the future?
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, Former Olympian/MMA Bantamweight Champion
Die-hard fans of Ultimate Fighting Championship often debate who is the best, but without a doubt Rousey is not only shattering the glass ceiling in a male-dominated sport, but tearing the roof off The Octagon all together. As the first American woman to medal at the Olympics since the inception of Judo as an Olympic sport, Rousey has been turning heads and drawing attention since she was 17. Recently, she’s been redefining the marketability of women in sports, staunchly expressing her opinion about the hypersexualization of women in society, and actively advocating for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.
Answer Me, These Questions Three:
1. What is your geekiest interest?
2. After retirement (in the far future) from UFC, what career path would you take?
3. What is your favorite cheat food? Could you share the recipe?
Tyler (Left) & Amanpour (Right)
Aisha Tyler, Comedian/Actress
When I first came back from Japan, I was introduced to The Talk (which trumps the gang-of-women-talking format programming), and for me Aisha stood out with her amazing wit and humor. In addition to her table duties at The Talk, she moderates the long running improv comedy show Whose Line Is It, Anyway?, runs the Girl on Guy Podcast, has brewed her own beer with Stone Brewing Company, and is a successful stand-up comedian and actress. She voices Special Agent Lana Kane on Archer, and I want to just sit on a patio for hours drinking beers with this woman.
Answer Me, These Questions Three:
1. What social cause do you feel most passionate about?
2. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
3. Give me your top three most influential video games.
Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent (CNN)
When I lived in Japan, I took to CNN for my daily connection to international news media, and the hard hitting work of Christiane Amanpour made me sincerely wish that I didn’t give up my dream to become an international journalist. She worked her way to the top in one of the most competitive fields in the world, and was the type of journalist I wished to be. In my mind, she isn’t respected by her peers and the journalistic community, but revered for asking the difficult questions without forsaking humanity. Her instagram feed is surreal with photos of the Dalai Lama, selfies with international heads of government, and the occasional fun photo from her travels.
Answer Me, These Questions Three:
1. Who/what inspired you to pursue journalism?
2. How do you cut loose on your days off?
3. Is there any country left to visit on your bucket list?

Further Food for Thought

Part of the reason I selected these women was inspiration from The Representation Project’s #AskHerMore campaign. As previously stated, the guest list for my very exclusive Long-Distance Dinner Conversation List is quite long, so I believe that I will try to make this a series. If any of the actual individuals “invited” to these special shindigs would care to continue the conversation, by all means, let me know! It would be my pleasure.

Which kind of themed grouping would you like to see next?

Who would you invite over for your private dinner party? (Don’t worry, the cooking is optional!)

UPDATE: I’m just going to happy dance off into the weekend so as to avoid a completely nerdtastic and utterly bombastic fan girl-grade, epic meltdown! Happy Fri-YAY! Y’all!

IMG_2911-1Replies from Aisha & Emily! ❤

4 thoughts on “Who Would You Have Over for Dinner?

Add yours

  1. I love your choices. Amanpour has always intrigued me since Rory Gilmore talked about her in such depth throughout Gilmore Girls. Rousey is so inspiring – her AMA on reddit really demonstrated her genuine intelligence and motivation. Aisha Tyler is one of my favorite comedians, Emma Watson is the epitome of how to grow up under a spotlight and still have some normalcy and dignity, and Emily is fantastic. I’m not familiar with Malala, but she sounds interesting!

    My list:

    Stephen King
    Joss Whedon
    Jennifer Lawrence
    Jimmy Fallon
    Kristen Wiig
    Louis CK


      1. Stephen King: What keeps you up at night?
        Joss Whedon: You are capable of so much – what are the things you can’t do that you wish you could?
        Jennifer Lawrence: If you knew how your private life would be affected by reaching the level of fame that you have, would you do things differently if you could start over?
        Jimmy Fallon: What do you think is the key to your mass appeal?
        Kristen Wiig: How do you get yourself into the mindset of each of your characters?
        Louis CK: What do you think about the future of comedy? Where is it headed?


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