My Biggest Fear: Bested, but not Conquered

travel, Las VegasZip-lining and sky-diving? Check. A strange addiction to catapulting to more than 1,000 feet on the Stratosphere’s Big Shot here in Las Vegas? Love it. Landing alone in China, Turkey, Malaysia and who knows where else, moving to a barrio in Costa Rica, solo cross-country road trips: Fun hobbies all of them, ways to unwind!

Even though my extreme dislike of horror films makes me think of myself as a scaredy cat, I get called a thrill-seeker all the time.

But I have one serious, debilitating fear. And I’m about two hours away from addressing it in the above photo, where I’m enjoying the calm before the storm with an old friend from NYC.

Our issue release parties for Vegas magazine are nerve-wracking for someone like me, who would rather be home hiding behind her laptop editing or blogging. But I can be a social person, too, and where better to host a soiree than Las Vegas? Our most recent bash was at Nikki Beach at the Tropicana, in honor of our summer cover star, model and actress Rebecca Romijn. The time always flies by, a whirlwind of familiar faces, shaking hands, meeting new people. Parties like these show off Las Vegas at its finest. And how could I not love a party in celebration of the magazine I work so hard for?

Twice a year, however, the parties have something special on the itinerary to get my blood racing. But first, there are some things I’ve gotten used to…


travel, Las VegasThey make me nervous, but I’m OK with TV interviews, especially when I can share them with my magazine’s publisher, Joe Vann.

travel, Las Vegastravel, Las Vegas







The best part about walking the red carpet with stars like supermodel Rebecca Romijn and actor Jerry O’Connell? I don’t have to TALK!

Oh, yes, which brings me back to my number one fear…

Yes, public speaking!!

Sorry, folks, but I have no photographic evidence of being handed the microphone at a party of about 1500 guests, comedian Jerry O’Connell heckling me to try to make me laugh. Everyone told me that no one was listening, that they were all drinking and having fun. But when I boomed into the mic, in a voice so high-pitched I barely recognized it, “Let’s give it up for Rebecca Romijn!!!!” the roar was deafening.

Liars. They’re all liars. Apparently everyone was listening.

But then it was over, and I sat down, still shaking. I had about an hour to enjoy myself, my 60 seconds of torture finally over.

travel, Las VegasSo, so happy after surviving public speaking! Here with my friend and coworker, Jeff.

travel, Las VegasWhen I left, relieved, there were hundreds of people waiting to get inside the party. (Britney Spears was on her way!) I ran off to celebrate my triumph at the classic Las Vegas haunt, Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill.

Relieved of my public speaking fears until November 9th!! I’m already nervous… What’s your fear?

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Congrats on the public speaking, you look absolutely gorgeous in these photos.

  2. I would think the hardest part would be to stop after the name Rebecca Romijn. Even though you didn’t type it, I added “Stamos” each time I read it. Congratulations on getting through it!

  3. Um, I’ll take public speaking over skydiving any day! I’m a little mad at myself for not ziplining when I was in Costa Rica. I did zipline once — it was one of those trust/bonding things they forced us to do in high school and I swore I’d never do it again. But I think I could handle it now, maybe 🙂

    Gorgeous photos!

  4. No matter how confident you are, public speaking can be scary! But you did it – yay! 🙂

  5. Liz — Zip-lining is ok! I liked skydiving better. In Costa Rica, the flimsy hanging bridges between lines about did me in.

    Ayngelina and Abbie — thank you!! People don’t understand that it really, truly is horrifying!

    Steve — ha! Her being “Stamos” seems like eons ago to me. I’ve been working with her for a year now — Stamos-free. 🙂

  6. You are amazing! I’m already getting nervous about speaking to Rotary in JANUARY with just 150 people present…I can’t even imagine 10 times that! I am terrible at public speaking and TV appearances; it’s why I became a writer not an actor =)

  7. Exactly!! I’m an introvert. Blogging is putting myself out there enough!

  8. I could have guessed this about you — because, I’m pretty sure you’re like my long lost (younger) sister. Except much more glamorous and with better a better wardrobe 😉

  9. Awww I wish I had an older sister like you! I’m the only girl — and the oldest. I’m terrified of public speaking. No one believes I’m that shy!

  10. First — hot mama!! Gorgeous pics!!! Second — as an attendee at this fabulous event, you killed it. Like, KILLED. 🙂 Sometimes all ya need is a nice little glass of chilled white wine and picturing everyone in their undies. Which, come to think of it, isn’t so hard since it is Vegas, and anything goes. 🙂 Big Shot … you and me. Soon.

  11. Awww thank you, Diana!! Nicest comment ever! Thank you so much for your being there in support. 🙂 Can’t wait for the Big Shot — although it’s nothing on those 60 seconds I spent at the mic!

  12. I don’t care who you are. Getting in front of a crowd is guaranteed to get the nerves going. I’m sure you did great. Looks like a fun night.

  13. Aww thanks, Jeff! It continues to surprise me how many people don’t bat an eye. But so relieved the rest of us agree with me!

  14. Look at you — hobbing, then some nobbing, wow! Looks like a blast!

  15. Haha all in a day’s work. 😉

  16. You get a big kudos from me — I hate public speaking. And I agree with everyone else about looking great in these shots!

  17. I think I’m ok with public speaking, I started giving speeches against our province council and political leaders when I was in high school, I’m pretty confident now lol
    I think living abroad for long time by myself helped me a lot face most of my fears, such as dealing with literally everything alone and sometimes in a language I didn’t know. However, I’m still scared of many things… My biggest fear of course is to stay without work, as a freelance writer that would the end of my nomadic life. And I think about it every day, even if now I have a lot of assignments!
    From the pictures you don’t seem anywhere near worried, before your next speech have a look at them and you’ll be very confident 🙂

  18. Look at you, rubbing elbows with the A-listers!!!

    BTW, I usually think normal people look fat standing next to celebrities but you look HOT. And skinny. Kudos, my friend 🙂

  19. OMFG I love Jerry O’Connell!!!!!!!
    It’s funny I was a tour guide for 4 years on an amphibious vehicle where I would entertain a crowd of 40 for an hour 3 or 4 times a day no problem. You would think that that could cure anyone of public speaking problems but nope! I make tons of travel videos and you think that would cure it but nope! I was fine doing those tours but put me in front of a microphone in a room full of people and I start shaking and forget half of what I was going to say! haha
    I’ll have to come visit you soon so you can take me to one of these fancy parties! 😉

  20. Such great comments!

    @Angela, that’s so great. I wish I’d had something to make me talk publicly. I avoided it though so deftly! The fear of the unknown while freelancing IS scary — I’ve done it off and on for a decade!

    @Cailin, come to Vegas!!

  21. I’m terrified of it too! You looked INSANELY gorgeous!!! I have no doubt that you dazzled everyone.

  22. Biggest fears are fascinating. Great post- Abby!
    My biggest fear– being boring. This is clearly not
    something you have to worry about!

  23. Jen, if that’s the case, I’m EXTRA-excited to meet you soon in Vegas!!

    Andi, you always write the nicest things. 🙂

  24. I totally with you. I have a debilitating fear of public speaking. Good for you for doing it! It will get easier over time, I think. 🙂

  25. I like public speaking, but I’m horrible at it! I ramble like a sad country singer. In my limited experience, when my nerves are going crazy. I like saying “alright, $%^& IT!” and ledder rip.

    Congrats on taking your fear head on Abbz!

  26. Yep I’m with you on the public speaking fear, although I’ve never had to talk in front of quite so many people as you. How brave, try and visualize the audience naked in November I hear it works.

  27. I don’t get nervous over public speaking but I would have a HELLUVA time trying to walk a red carpet. Paralyzing fear. I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it. | You look GORGEOUS in these pictures!!

  28. It doesn’t surprise me that so many of us writers/bloggers are scared of public speaking!!

    Kirsten — but you’re so beautiful and photogenic! So interesting that that’s what makes you nervous!

  29. Haha…public speaking is something I am not very keen on, but I’d take it anytime before skydiving!

  30. I can be pretty cavalier about it since I’ve done it, but it was SCARY for sure!

  31. Not too long ago, I had a job that required me to do a lot of public speaking. Over time it became routine. Yet each time I’m in front of all those people, I still feel that fear in me. I don’t think anyone really gets over the fear entirely, no matter how many times you do it. And a little fear is not necessarily a bad thing because it reminds you that you are human and it makes you look more genuine in front of others. Public speaking is tough because no one wants to look like a fool with everyone as a witness. But, my dear Abby I don’t think you could ever make a fool of yourself enough to be so afraid. Just remember for your next speaking event that you’re fabulous, and everybody thinks so.

  32. If you are bad at public speaking you sure hide it well. I couldn’t imagine doing it with such important names. You look so natural and in your element. You definitely fooled me!

  33. Haha let me tell you guys this — I’m reading all of your nice comments before my next gig!

  34. Wow you look fabulous in those photos! One of my biggest fears is public speaking, so I feel ya. My advice for conquering it sucks, too: xanax and/or alcohol lol 🙂

  35. According to polls, public speaking ranks as the #1 fear… #2 is death.

    Like Sherry said, if you do it enough, it becomes routine – then you can can use the adrenaline to your advantage. I like it – but that’s only because I got used to it, and my speaking is more informal and presentation oriented.

    Just remember: “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” – Emerson

  36. Thanks, Erin haha. I definitely had a few drinks!

    Don, that’s actually an interesting thought — that someday the adrenaline could be used to my advantage. That’s one for me to mull over!

  37. Look at you so pretty and fancy! I don’t mind public speaking, but getting up in front of a huge crowd sounds pretty scary even to me. You’re a rockstar for sucking it up and doing something that scares you – we’ll all be sending you good vibes on Nov. 9!

  38. I used to hate speaking in front of groups, even though I had to do a fair amount of it. I got more comfortable with it over time though. It’s such a common fear — even for many of the rich and famous! But the important thing is that you know your stuff and look gorgeous, so you should fee very confident. You’ll be great!

  39. I actually love the thrill of public speaking. I’m some sort of freak I think. I used to have to do it a lot in my past career, but haven’t had to for a couple of years. I wonder if I’ve lost it?? Good on you for besting it, it only gets easier with practice, especially if you are speaking about stuff you are passionate about.

  40. Thanks, guys!

    Pete, I doubt you’ve lost it! In theory, I get enjoying the attention put on you while public speaking, since I love the thrill of so many other things. I’m so jealous you can look at it that way though! People survive never going on rollercoasters, but speaking is something I can’t dismiss!

  41. I used to be afraid of public speaking, and at some point when I started my career I just convinced myself it was no big deal and got over it.

    By the way, you look great in these photos. Nobody was listening. They were wondering where you got your dress and who did your hair.

  42. Haha… I am so in awe of how you tackle things you need to do!

  43. You look gorgeous! Congratulation!

  44. Well, I wouldn’t say its my absolute biggest fear, but public speaking is proving to be my archnemesis these days. I pretty much bombed a wedding toast as matron of honor just a few months ago. Ugggh. I am a teacher so you would think problem solved. Apparently not.

  45. Oh no! Giving a toast is even WORSE that talking at a work thing! At my best friend’s wedding, I wrote the speech, and my other friend read it from the two of us. I’m pathetic. 🙁

  46. how could you be nervous?! You look gorgeous!!

  47. Aw thanks, Jade!

  48. I can totally relate to how you feel! I used to have a pretty big problem because I was so afraid of public speaking. However, now that I’ve been teaching for 13+ years and even teach my students how to give presentations, all the practice has finally made me more comfortable. I’m still afraid of it, but I know I can do it. For me, it gets a little easier every time. I try to remember that no one really is paying that much attention, everyone wants me to do well, and no one knows I’m nervous…that helps a bit.

  49. It never occurred to me so many teachers would write in! Them telling me no one was paying attention gave me the nerve to start — but the cheers ruined that charade really fast!

  50. I’m sure you were a rock star, just like you always are! As for me, the idea of doing the Big Shot absolutely scares the crap out of me!

  51. You know I don’t like to speak all too well — I always make you do everything at our TBEX events!

  52. You do look fab!! I absolutely HATE the sound of my voice on a recording or microphone – I haven’t had to do too much public speaking thankfully…I’m ok with presentations to groups of less than 20 or so but any more than that and I think I’d wilt.

  53. You look so gorgeous and I am sure you did a great job!

    Can’t wait to see you again in a few weeks!

  54. I know!! We’re going to have so much fun!!

  55. I’m with you, Abby. Public speaking is one of the most terrifying things in the world. Throw in a room full of celebrities, and I’d probably pass out.

  56. Public speaking is not fun for me. Even speaking in a large group of friends, feeling their eyes on me makes me more aware of what they’re thinking. For me, it’s hard to be succinct and the more nervous I get, the more I ramble! This is why I like writing. 🙂

  57. Gray — I almost did pass out.

    Natalie — I am the SAME way!!

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