Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (part IV) ~ The Impromptu Hug

Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (part IV) ~ The Impromptu Hug


I can’t explain it but this hug was not from an actor, not from a celebrity, not from someone famous, or a face who graces the screens of computers or cell phones of all his fans ~ it was a hug from a genuine person. It was more of an embrace from a friend I had not seen in years and we just happened to bump into each other.  I’m not sure what prompted the second hug, maybe he felt I needed one to calm me down, but a hug I told him, “I will accept this!”

Johnny Depp hug 3How did I react? What were my thoughts? I could feel my shyness coming forward.  My thoughts were racing causing an actual battle with my wits, sort of a sequel to “Davey Jones Locker”.  Basically, it did indeed feel like I was hugging an old friend from way back, probably because I have studied his mannerisms, his looks, his attire for so many years, you can’t help but feel as though you know the person you are mirroring as a friend. However, the other side of my brain kept interfering with, “you know you are hugging a celebrity right?  YO! Wake up! For crying out loud, you’re hugging freaking Johnny Depp!  Get with the damned program!  You snooze you lose!” Inevitably my shy side won. As JD made me feel very comfortable, it was equally as important, (even though I looked like a crazy woman dressed as a “man” pirate ~ and a character he has seen so many times before to grab his attention) to make him at ease with me. I was desperate to bring forward that I wasn’t an unhinged fan, (I wear a beard on a regular basis you see, 😉 ) and there to just really shake his hand and say “I applaud you”.

If you’re wondering if I was in Jack character at any time? No, I wasn’t. I was not there toJohnny Depp hug 5 NEW convince JD what I could or could not do. I relished the one on one time with someone who has inspired me in so many ways besides his characters. In fact, I forgot I was in costume all together seconds into the meet. To be honest I wished I had the opportunity to work in some sort of magic where I could morph from pirate back to me.  The Jack did it’s initial duty by grabbing the attention I needed on set of Richard Says Good-bye, but during the rest of the meet, I just wanted to be me.

I know each impersonator/cosplayer wants to make an impression with the celebrity they are echoing, but I know, with so many fans celebrities meet during their tenure of fame, that with “bigger fish to fry”, I am well aware, even I have become a mere passing thought with JD. This is truly understandable and am elated to have had the opportunity to meet him, shake his hand, appreciating and celebrating his hugs, engross in a quick conversation with him and his wonderful personal team and allowing a woman, dressed as a man, to have her stage. I can’t ask for anything more.


To view more photos, go to GALLERY ~ “Meeting Johnny Depp”.

(Part V ~ “Johnny Says Goodbye”, to be continued).



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Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (part III) ~ The Conversation

Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (part III) ~ The Conversation


Ask me if I remember a damned thing about that conversation. Okay, I remember the handful of idiotic things I did, but the real conversation is unfortunately fading. You know how many *face palms* I have done since then (I have had several headaches) reflecting back on this moment? Thinking and cringing “Omg, I hope I didn’t… I must have. Crap why did I say that? Why was I full of verbal diarreah? What the hell was I thinking?  What the hell were THEY thinking?” 

You’re never prepared to have a conversation with a celebrity especially when you know you have limited time. Your thoughts are all over the place ~You’re absorbing your surroundings without staring.  You want to get as much into the conversation as you possibly can, (for you know this is your lottery win) without sounding pompous…. or for that matter a weirdo. You’re nervous, you want to make conversation with everyone, you want to be polite at all times, you want to throw in a joke here and there, you want them to be comfortable with you and not have them think you’re a crazed fan, you want to make an impression, you want to be yourself even though you’re dressed in Jack attire….. “Man alive, did I cram all these thoughts in, in 10 minutes?”

As Johnny Depp and his personal team were spilling out of the SUV, Jerry, his long life Bodyguard, was out of the vehicle before everyone else, hence extending my hand to him introducing myself. Jerry is the one who not only keeps Johnny Depp from harms way, but keeps him on schedule and is constantly alert regarding fans and immediate surroundings.  One can only admire him for what he does and appreciate not only his dedication but loyalty. I then trotted over to Johnny Depp, and feared what to say, as my mind was going a mile a minute, ‘where do I start, where do I start….’, my mouth decided to go it alone, (not always a good thing).  Within seconds I announced I was a “deer in the headlight” and said that “this was happening….” as I Conversation with Johnny Depp 6raised my hands to show they were slightly shaking.  The good nature and genuine man Mr. Depp is, said “Oh good, I am too”, and raised his hands shaking.  Chuckling, feeling more at ease, I thanked Johnny Depp for that thoughtful icebreaker as he extended a hug to melt away the rest of those nasty ice pellets that were hanging on. It was then that Jerry joined in and announced he knew about my visit as to BC Children’s Hospital a few years ago as the Captain. Not only was I shocked, but this sparked conversation regarding Johnny Depp’s recent ‘invasion’ as the infamous ‘Jack Sparrow’ to entertain these loving children at BC Meeting Johnny Depp 5Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. The details of this part of the conversation has now become an unfortunate fog. 

Before I left the house, I had an unprepared after thought and decided to grab a handful of photos (hard copies) should a moment arise to play ‘show and tell’.  I didn’t want to be fumbling for photos on my cell that posed to be unreliable when yo had the least time and I knew time would be of the essence should all of this come to fruition. In my search, I tried to look for some naked photos, (kidding) but could only find a printed one of me from our daughter’s wedding, along with 3 other photos, 2 of me as JD and one in character. These were having to make do.  After discussing the Children’s Hospital, I produced a photo of me as JD, to which he seemed quiteConversation with Johnny Depp 2 impressed with and then a photo as Tonto.  Why Tonto?  Maybe because our son said it was one of his favourite characters I did and took it with me for good measure.  I went head first into deep water, by telling JD it was a challenging costume for a female, for this character was shirtless. Then virtually drowning,  I grabbed my chest and said, “for these two get in the way when I emulate you, you know”.  I think instead of just breaking my own ice, I became part of global warming…. ‘what the hell was I thinking?’  Johnny Depp did chuckle and agreed how they would definitely get in the way, which lead into a discussion about cross dressing and his role in “Ed Wood”. “Wearing lingerie was trying and I can only imagine what you women must go through daily”, said Depp. We went back and forth regarding a few things about this matter, and I must have been getting myself into hot water, for it sparked not only a smile, but an impromptu hug from Mr. Depp.  As the embrace was released, I would have LOVED to have had a deeper and more in depth conversation with him about the topic of cross dressing, but I sensed my time was running out. Johnny Depp started an intriguing discussion about something very fascinating regarding Vogue Magazine, when, out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jerry preparing the SUV for loading. 

To view more photos, go to GALLERY ~ “Meeting Johnny Depp”.

(Part IV to be continued…)  

What a brilliant, generous and caring man.  See video below of Johnny Depp’s successful visit to BC Children’s Hospital.  Such a true inspiration. “I tip my tricorn hat off to you kind sir”.

VIDEO: Arrr me matey! Johnny Depp visits BC Children’s Hospital



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Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (part II) ~ Working my way to the set

Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (Part II) ~ Working my way to the set


When I arrived and spotted crew members in their usual coloured vests, I knew my chances were not going to be easy. More likely, bleak. Probably even close to slim. My intentions were NEVER to step out of bounds. I respected that all crew members were under strict orders to deny any information to visitors, me included. I wasn’t there to intervene and/or interrupt filming and if this was not meant to be, then at least I could say I tried. My daughter’s emphatic words “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” was embedded in my thoughts, so on with the show I did. The crew that I did come in contact with were all absolutely cordial with huge smiles making me feel welcome. I was forewarned in the past that some may not see the humour it this, but I can honestly say, even though they could NOT let me pass that invisible line, their body language spoke volumes to me. The first two I met, were a father son duo. Incredible guys. They showed me where the public could go and told me “good luck”. Once in the Japanese gardens I felt my fate was almost sealed. All the nooks and crannies that I knew to look for were all sealed off, except one. Well sort of. There was a whole in the hedge surrounding the Italian gardens, where foliage had obviously died off. I spotted crew setting up for another shot. As luck would have it, a grounds keeper from Hatley Castle recognized me from events past and frequenting the grounds of Royal Roads. We struck up conversation…. “Debra!!!” “No, Denise, close!!” We laughed. Fast forward this story, when I went back to the parking lot after spending an hour in the Japanese Gardens chatting with some of the most incredibly friendly people and taking photos with the public, the two PA’s I met, initially upon my arrival, yelled “Any luck?”. I smiled, and walked over to them telling them my mission creating a better chance of opportunity. Before I moved along, they told me (via their earpiece and radio) “Just so that you know, word has spread that a FEMALE Jack Sparrow is on the grounds”.  A little uncertain and taken aback, I asked if that was a bad thing. The son said flippantly, “as long as you are not in handcuffs, you’re golden”, lol. With most of the crew aboard ship knowing of my presence, word now spread that the crew at the Castle wanted to meet me and that I should get my butt in gear and head over to where filming had resumed, now taking a break heading back to the trailers. This was possibly my breakthrough.Johnny Depp says Goodbye 11

Minutes later, I was told that Johnny Depp was also aware of my existence and he and his personal team wanted to meet me as they were leaving the set. I arrived at the main security check point just in time to see a black SUV pull out past the barricade. The tinted back window, rolled down and there he was with a smile on his face.

(to be continued ~ Part III)


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Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (Part I) ~ Pre-story

Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (Part I) ~ Pre-story



Many of my family and friends over the years have said to me, “I hope one day you will meet Johnny Depp”, or “One day you will meet Johnny Depp, you’ll see”, or “Johnny Depp needs to meet you”, (that one always got me.  He should meet me?). The endless positive support I did receive has been astounding to say the least. What started off as a Halloween costume has become in fact a part of a “lifestyle” where opportune moments were presented to me to get into costume and create ambience for an event, charity or fundraiser. Of course, every impersonator and cosplayer would love to meet the celebrity of their chosen inspiration, but I knew, living in Canada, that was not going to be an easy feat. I think my chances of winning a lottery was far greater.

I was always in awe and admiration when I found out (through social media) that friends of mine were given that opportune moment to meet JD at a premiere or set location. Premieres never happen in Canada, so I struck that off my list of chances which only left set locations, which was also a drop in the bucket. Even though British Columbia’s film industry is booming, (hence the name ‘Hollywood North’), receiving some pretty big titles, we are still classified as small fry compared to our US neighbours and far away European friends. Deep down I was not going to give up, but I wasn’t counting my chickens either.

Then an incredible chance landed on our front door, (well at least our daughter’s, I was a still 6 hour travel time away from that front door).  POTC 5 re-shoot was coming to Vancouver March of 2016. Of course, even that opportunity can be a hit or miss and a true long shot, but not giving it a try and sitting at home saying “what if?” doesn’t create cherished moments. The chosen weekend was set in stone.  With costumes packed, my husband and I left for port, (I just had to write that in) waiting to embark our 90 minute ferry ride. We sailed across the pond to Vancouver and met up with our daughter.

So here is the story in short:

Jack Sparrow Dead Men Tell No Tales.jpg

Salazar’s mast in background.

Friday night: We drove to the studio (in regular clothes) to scout the area for our days’ adventure the very next morning. Unbeknownst to us at the time, (after we left for home), we found out Mr. Depp ‘was’ filming that Friday night. Strike one!  Saturday:  We got into our pirate garb, and headed back to the studio. Two hours in, a kind crew member told us Johnny Depp was not scheduled to be on set that day. Somewhat disappointed, we knew the odds were stacked against us. Strike two! He did, however, suggest to come back tomorrow, and winked. We left the studio and decided to have some fun in Vancouver proper instead but not without taking a photo Jack Sparrow and Angelica Teach 1.jpgof ‘Salazar’s mast’ gracing the Vancouver’s skyline. If there is anything I enjoy most, is to spend time with the family being idiots. We topped the day at a celebrity themed restaurant, (fitting) and had a drink called the “Kraken”.  A handful of customers sitting at neighbouring tables, had bets on me whether I was Johnny Depp’s stand in or not, lol. It was a great way to end a day of adventure.  Sunday: Morning hit. Victoria and I were up at 4am, and sat in my daughter’s bathroom discussing whether this was a good idea or not. With our daughter in the film industry and having worked so hard, along with such long hours, to get to where she is today, to allow a possible two minute (if at all) ‘hello’ and hopefully a photo, as a mom, it wasn’t worth putting our daughter’s career in a state of potential ‘limbo’. Both of us were gambling, and the biggest gamble was whether the crew in the industry would see the humour in us dressing as POTC pirate characters arriving on set. Neither of us knew what the reception would be like, and even though my daughter was determined to give me my day of possibility to meet a celebrity I have admired for years, as a mom I declined. My daughter, (and for that matter son in-law) came first. So I packed our pirate garb back in the suitcase, went back to bed for a couple of more hours waking up to a wonderful breakfast with the family.

Jack Sparrow and Angelica Teach 5.jpg

Yeah okay, I know ~ a little POTC production fever going here.

Our daughter and I were not totally done with the idea of at least trying one more time to assert a mom daughter JD adventure.  At breakfast we decided we would aim for the premiere of POTC 5 (presumably) held at Disneyland and looked forward to the planning.

A year forward. POTC 5 was released, and to our disappointment, was NOT premiering at California’s Disneyland.  Strike three!  We didn’t have the means to travel over seas to where it was being held, so our plans went down the drain. I guess it was just not meant to be. It was not, by any means the end of the world. Johnny Depp’s insights to his characters has given most of us Jack ‘cosplayers/impersonators’ the joy and pleasure to be a part of the character or character’s we have decided to mirror. I can honestly say my journey has been incredibly memorable with awe and wonderment. I have met so many talented and beautiful people and children on the way, let alone creating a project with the entire family. No one can take those memories away from me… and I can only thank Mr. Depp for this, his incredible talent and his unbelievable ‘know how’ in being an acknowledged chameleon.

Three months later, after the release of POTC 5, word got out that “Richard Says Goodbye” Starring Johnny Depp was being filmed in Vancouver. I thought of crossing the pond again, but without any knowledge of his locations, or if we could even get close, would most likely turn into yet another defeated situation ~ in essence, strike four. One evening, on a whim, our daughter found out one of the locations he was filming at, (a near by restaurant 2 blocks from her home) and had a hand at seeing if she could meet him. The crowd of fans was so thick, after an hour she gave up and went home for she had to get up at 4am to be on set herself. With this informatin, uncertainty began to brew again and I decided to stay on the island, but ready for any break through.

That breakthrough came a couple of weeks later. It was brought to my attention that “Richard Says Goodbye” was heading to the island on August 22, 2017 on location at Royal Roads University, (Hatley Castle). Emotions of excitement and hesitancy took hold. I had 3 days to think it over whether to go on set or not. It was probably my last chance it being in my own backyard, something I thought would never come to fruition. My daughter sent me a text that very morning and said I would be an idiot if I considered otherwise. My husband said, “Think of the next morning, when you are sitting at the office, staring at your computer and the words ‘what if’ starts to haunt you”. 2 hours later, in Jack attire, I was off.

(To be continued ~ part II)

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The Circle that Surrounds Us…

The Circle that Surrounds Us…


It is always an ego boost to be told you are doing a great job as a character. One compliment in particular was slightly more unusual than others when a gentleman approached “Scarlett” and myself at our last swiftsure event to tell us it was such a delight to watch us entertain the public… but more so, to watch the public’s reaction when they saw us.  Swiftsure (2016), one of the events attended this year, is located at the Inner Harbour in Victoria.  To create a bit of a visual, the location is divided into 3 tears, the upper level (street level) the causeway (down a flight of stairs closer to the harbour) and the final level down a ramp towards the boats/ships.  At the time this gentleman was standing on the street level, where he had a panoramic view of the harbour, the ships, the crowds and us.

As the event was coming to a close, this gentleman who approached us came specifically to let us know “It was such a joy watching you both deal with the crowds but also to watch the reactions of several circles of people around you that you are obviously unaware of”.  Apparently not only are we engaging those individuals that are standing or “circling”, as he called it, right beside and or ahead of us with humour, banter, and photos… but there are two more circles beyond the boundaries of the first circle of individuals paying attention to our commotion. He claimed the second second circle were those whom are smiling and enjoying the ruckus of the first circle at hand and waiting for an opportune moment, (if indeed there was one within their time frame) to join in the engaged crowd. Circle 3 he said were those on the upper levels, standing, smiling and zooming in with their cameras taking photos of us entertaining the crowds with the beautiful panoramic views behind us as backdrop.

This gentleman told us, “it isn’t just the immediate crowd that notices you…. there are layers of them that you are unaware of due to the fact you are so engaged with those people standing before you.  It is a pleasure to watch the different stages and levels of people and how they react towards you and your craft along with those whom you make smile from a distance”.

Jack sparrow swiftsure 1

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Emma Grace Smith’s Mad Hatter Tea Party

Emma Grace Smith’s Mad Hatter Tea Party


Emma and Mad Hatter 1

This precious beautiful little girl, Emma (age 12) is suffering from a brain tumour re-lapse. Prognosis ~ not good. One of her favourite characters and Disney story is the ‘Mad Hatter’ in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  I was honoured with an invite by Nikita Kita (one of the organisers) to attend as the “HATTER” and celebrate a morning tea at the Abkhazi Gardens Tea Room Yesterday (May 21st). The other volunteers had created and set up such an elaborate and fabulous splash for Emma with bubbles, a photo booth and a table to make crazy hats for her friends and family. Many of the volunteers were decked out in costumes to create the illusion of “Wonderland”.  Emma did not know I was coming thus when I was shown this photo of Emma’s reaction to my surprise visit by one of the photographers (Michelle Rachel) near the end of the celebration, it left me so overwhelmed with emotion. I had no idea of her reaction regarding my arrival which in turn left me utterly speechless.

Mad Hatter


Sharing a secret moment with a special young lady….

MAD HATTER with EMMATo date, Emma is now bedridden and is too weak to leave her home.  We send her prayers, hope and sprinkles of magic.

A few weeks after this post, it gives me great grief to announce Emma Smith’s passing. 

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Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (part 2)

Alice Through the Looking Glass (part 2)


I had fun creating this banner in photo shop for I love the colour and textures of the Wonderland theme.  “Alice Through the Looking Glass” was a fabulous example of textures and colour viewed via 3D perspective.  The character is very whimsical and fun to characterize and emulate at events especially since you can say silly things.  It is all a part of the Hatter madness. Unlike the pirate, where conversation tends to focus on nautical terms, pirate talk and historical accuracy, (even though I often try to steer it in other directions) …. the Hatter is rather forgetful, silly, happy, mad….no specific terms are needed except for what comes from the top of that “wonderful cranium”. 


Hatter photo of me by Scott Laird.



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Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass


In lieu of Tim Burton (one of the producer) “Alice Through the Looking Glass” premièring May 27th, 2016, I thought it to be only fitting to post a couple of my favourite Hatter photos.

Photo 1:  Photography and Photo shop by Herman Surkis.

Photo 2: Photography by Bob Pearson.



alice-in-wonderland-johnny-depp-the-mad-hatter copy.JPG

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Pirates of the Caribbean 5 re-shoot in Vancouver, BC Canada (part 2)

Pirates 5 re-shoot in Vancouver, BC Canada (part 2)


Ironically, even though our daughter managed to get on set POTC 5 re-shoot, I was the one who knew the location of the shoot well before she did… I thank JJ MacPherson for that little tidbit of info. via 98.5 radio on Facebook.  After our daughter was done working on set, she and I decided to dress as pirates during the hype of the re-shoot. Keep in mind, “Hype” meaning we would catch people taking photos from cars, behind trees, or pillars as Canadians do.  There were a “handful of occasions” where individuals thought we were “doubles” for the characters on set. One in particular at a downtown Vancouver tavern, I had become a bet. The bet was whether I was JD’s double on set or not. So one lucky guy got chosen to come to our table and ask if whether I was indeed JD’s double as Jack. Not only did he get the shock of his life that I was a female, but he also unfortunately had to pay up his dues.

Did I meet Johnny Depp? No. I did have a small window of opportunity, but under the circumstances regarding this possibility and with our daughter and her husband as professional film makers, I turned the opportunity down. Certain situations such as meeting a celebrity that would last 1 to 2 minutes are not worth long term possible ‘eyebrow raising’ for others in an aftermath of a self fulfilling mission. The main thing was I had an absolute blast dressing up with our daughter for old time sake, (and yes I did scout the area of the studio…. I’m not that stupid) along with hubby managing to get a photo of a part mast of Captain Salazar’s ship. Half the Pearl was built in the shipyard and the other in the studio. I believed they used the same mast in the shipyard for the Pearl as well.  If you look at the photo below, you can see the mast of Captain Salazar’s vessel over my shoulder with a “zoomed in” shot of the mast below that.

Jack Sparrow Dead Men Tell No Tales.jpg



Black Pearl Mast.jpg

This next photo below is a shot of Captain Salazar’s mast in Australia along with the actual vessel.



There was an amusing incident that did occur.  A block from the studio, a nearby restaurant was full of people, obviously hanging out in hopes to get a glimpse of any of the celebrities in town, (ie. Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites, Paul McCartney….). Then ‘we’ walked by. The entire front row in the restaurant stood up with their cell phones raised.

At the end of the day it was “Happy Hour” at the Stormcrow Tavern. This bar is completely oriented for movie nerds, which meant we fit right in. I ordered “Revenge of the Kraken” to end the day. Okay…Hello! What was this. “Someone trying to get me drunk?” It had 3 different rums mixed in with an unusual concoction of flavors along with dried ice spilling and dancing like mist on water. I had no idea a room could float so quickly. Kinda like being on a ship as it were! A floating ship…..

“Oh! What is that fuzzy thing on the table?
My what?

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Jack Sparrow Photo Shoot

Jack Sparrow Photo Shoot

Photography by Bob Pearson


Jack Sparrow.jpgJack Sparrow.jpg

Jack Sparrow.jpg



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