What it’s like to meet Celine Dion

When I first moved to Las Vegas more than six years ago, Celine Dion was at the height of her domination of Strip entertainment. I never, ever in a million years would have guessed that someday I would meet her! My moment came this past Sunday, before her very last show at the Colosseum until the end of December. It was a huge show, and I couldn’t be more honored that she wanted to spend her time backstage before it with us. In fact, she couldn’t have been more gracious in everything that she did for us! As you can see here, this all came about because of her being the cover star of our September issue of Vegas magazine.

Doesn’t she look gorgeous?

Since I was meeting Celine on a Sunday evening, every salon was closed. House-call it was! I didn’t mind the extra money — this was a very important night. Not only was I going to meet the person who changed the entertainment culture on the Strip forever, but it was also the party at which I would first see people’s reactions to what I consider the best issue of my career.

Abby Tegnelia


When I arrived at the Colosseum, rushing and late of course, I couldn’t believe all of the tourists taking photos of Celine’s sign. These weren’t necessarily fans taking photos to commemorate the night they saw the show — it was an hour and a half before it began. These were mostly tourists who were just so happy to see her theater!


At six pm, our little group of about 40 people were ushered inside — in groups of 10, because that’s all the elevator down to Celine’s green room would allow. Celine herself was scheduled to arrive at 7 pm, giving us plenty of time to drink champagne and build excitement. Me? I was so nervous! I stood in the corner and watched people flip through the issue. The praise from the people in Celine’s camp was tremendous. I couldn’t have been happier!

Drinking Nicolas Feuillatte champagne, waiting for Celine.

When she arrived, about ten minutes after 7 pm, Celine couldn’t have been more of a class act. Even though I knew she opened her show in a glittering, floor-length Armani Prive gown, the super-star songstress blew into the room in a hot little pink/red number. Less than 30 minutes from her curtain call, she worked the room like a pro. “Hi, how are you? Let’s take a picture!” she said with such energy, as she made her way through our little crowd. “You in the back? Why are you in the back? Let’s take a picture!” She shook hands with every single person and somehow squeezed in at least 20 photos and a TV interview into 16 minutes. I swear it felt like an hour!

My signed cover poster from Celine.


During that short time, Celine also signed my blow-up of her spectacular cover. I’ve been bogarting it in my office ever since! She also signed a few copies of the magazine. My copy is so special to me!

My “wall,” including the pages of my cover story on Celine Dion.

Yes, even though I lean towards super-chill vacations in Costa Rica and love adventure sports such as off-roading and even the gun range, my day job is building a magazine page-by-page, as editor-in-chief of Vegas magazine. When this wall is full, it is finally time for the magazine to come out.

We’ve gotten so much attention around the world for this issue, and I couldn’t be happier. She gave a wonderful and fascinating interview, Queen Celine, written by the enormously talented Marco della Cava. It can be so refreshing when the best writers are also the easiest and most thrilling to work with!

One more time: my photo with Celine, the best “September Issue” I could ever ask for, and my publisher, Joe Vann.

As we made our way out to the audience, everyone was on cloud nine. She was a few minutes late onto stage, and I couldn’t believe that that was because she agreed to our little party on her “last” show for a few months. (We will miss her until December!) I sat on the very edge of our group, seated right next to a super fan, who gasped and talked throughout the entire show. (“What will she do next? Ohmygod I can’t… No way, she did not.”) I almost wanted to tell him that I was just with her!

I’m sure I don’t have to say this again, but it was an amazing night!

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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. What was your favorite part of the show?

  2. The Adele addition WAS great — the reason I really wanted to see it again. But my favorite parts are still the opening, when the entire curtain falls to reveal the stage, and the Titanic grand finale. I am such a cheeseball!

  3. Celine is amazing…i’ve seen clips of her talking on TV and she seems like she would make everyone feel special. I bet the champagne was needed to calm the nerves! Just a teensy bit jealous you got to meet her, I’ve seen her live in the UK, but I’ll have to go watch her show next time I’m in Vegas!

  4. Her show is good enough to plan a trip around! Please come back!!

  5. Wow Abby, sounds like a dream come true. What a classy night! You always look gorgeous standing next to those celebs!

  6. Wow this sounds amazing. Celine has a great voice. You look beautiful in that photo of you and her!

  7. You look hot in that photo. What a fun night. I’m stoked for you!

  8. Wow! That sounds so incredible. I absolutely love to hear when celebrities are class acts and humble and completely down to earth. Great job on the issue! The cover looks fab!

  9. She was down-to-earth and full of energy! It was so gracious of her to do that reception for us. SUCH a Vegas moment!

  10. YOU look gorgeous! Celine sounds like a truly gracious and professional celebrity.

  11. I was so ready to hate her new show, mainly because I really dislike the theme from Titanic, but she does such a great job performing it, and the “rain” effect really is amazing, that I think I was the first one to my feet when she was finished. Between her first run in Vegas and her new show, I’ve seen her five times now. Not once has she started on time, so don’t feel too bad about making her late.

  12. Wow you met Celine Dion, such a great voice..

  13. OK…so I definitely make fun of her quite a bit, and even did so on my blog a couple times, but this is pretty cool. Great stuff!

  14. That rain is ridiculous!! I had actually forgotten about that, so it was like seeing it for the first time. She is SO good. The first time I went to see her (her original show), it was because I like to see every show in Vegas. She absolutely blew me away! I’ve been a proponent of her shows ever since. She is on an entirely different plane than the rest of us!

  15. So cool! You looked fabulous for your audience with Ms Dion. And she looks amazing on the Vegas cover. Love it

  16. Exciting! I remember she sang for Switzerland in Eurovision many years ago (she won, I think), and I heard she didn’t speak much English then. Hard to believe now.

  17. What I like about her, as a French Canadian, is that when she gets back home, she’s still the same person. Her success hasn’t got over her head, she’s simple, funny and warm. Her music may not be my favorite type but I’m immensely proud of her!

  18. What I like about her, as a French Canadian, is that when she gets back home, she’s still the same person. Her success hasn’t got over her head, she’s simple, funny and warm. Her music may not be my favorite type but I’m immensely proud of her!

  19. This is so amazing & wonderful! I’m so happy that you got to meet her & that she was lovely in person. The September issue looks gorgeous – congrats! I’d totally treasure my signed copy too. 🙂

  20. Pretty soon you’ll be doing home exchanges with all these celebrities Abby! Maybe you can take them to Coco?

  21. Well, I’m just a wee bit jealous! That’s so awesome, Abby! I can’t even imagine it. Celine Dion! Ah, the perks of living — and working — in Vegas!

  22. Jealous! I love Celine and was thrilled when she announced that she was coming back. The account of your evening was fabulous and you look amazing!

  23. You look beautiful in that black dress! What a great evening for you. I love it when celebrities are real and casual with everyone. I’ve seen her show and the whole production of it is fabulous! The September edition of VEGAS is wonderful! I’ve been pouring over it since it arrived in the mail today.

  24. WOW! I never got to see her show when I lived in Vegas. Now, aside from wanting to see the show, I want to meet her. How amazing, Abby!

  25. I have to say here in English Canada we make fun of Celine, but it’s a bit unfair as she is such an icon.

  26. How fun and exciting!! You look gorgeous. 🙂 I think it’s so lovely when celebrities turn out to be kind, thoughtful people. 🙂

  27. How awesome is that!! Good for you! You look so happy to… 🙂

  28. How neat! I just love her. She’s one of the few artists I’ve heard who sound BETTER live than on her albums.

  29. Celine, is often at the butt of many jokes in Canada, but it’s nice to hear she made a good impression upon you 🙂

  30. Although she does get her fair share of ribbing, I’ve heard from others that she’s a class act all around. Kinda jealous you got to meet her.

    And congrats on the mag!!!

  31. Wow. I can’t even imagine how great a night that must have been! Congrats on a fantastic cover story, too.

    P.S. You totally should have told that fan next to you. Of course, she probably would’ve peed herself, so probably best you didn’t.

    I’m new to Vegas and would love for you to check out my blogs. Enjoying the Course> and Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens

    Have a great weekend!

  32. You did not meet Celine Dion! My 10-year-old self just squealed with delight and jealousy. My mom and I absolutely wore out her first album the year it debuted in the early 90s.

  33. The whole Celine Dion thing baffles me but I’m super excited that YOU were excited. Nice one lady!

  34. Celine Dion! NOBODY does cheesy, emotional filled ballads better in my book. The woman is a class act and I have nothing but love and respect for her. Congratulations on the September issue too, the cover looks fabulous!

  35. Lucky you! I would love to meet Celine Dion. I love her voice and am such a fan of all her songs. Hopefully I get to see her show in Vegas someday!

  36. Her show is soo good! Really amazing how that voice coming from someone so small can fill the enormous Colosseum. Meeting her beforehand was something very special! To be that close to a talent like that, regardless of your taste in music… It was almost too exciting!

  37. Hi Abby!

    I have already shared my thoughts on Google Plus around your post on “Celine’s World”!
    I’ve been very envious of you and particularly for you exceptional experience face to face with the singer who I consider, “The Voice”.

    So, thank you again for sharing this wonderful and unforgettable moments of life!!

    Bye for now,

  38. Wow! What an honour. As Ayngelina said we do make fun of her in English Canada but she really is a national icon. I want to read the issue now. It looks great!

  39. We make fun of her here, too… But everything changed after I moved to Vegas. Here, she’s above all of that. No one is bigger here on the Strip! A true icon — and her shows are out of this world. I want EVERYONE to see!!

  40. Ah Celine… so much passion packed into a little package! I have to agree with the other Canadians here that she is oft joked about, but you can’t deny the lady her talent!

  41. Wowsers! You both look amazing! I can’t imagine what that would be like – probably surreal. I always laugh about the jokes made about her, but in the end it just reinforces how much of an icon she is. Congrats!

  42. Tato Mansano says:

    Wow! What a great evening! Hope to see her next year, and hope even harder to meet her!! Thanks for sharing your so nice moments! Hugs from Brazil!

  43. I had technical difficulties while I was in Europe for a few months and I knew when I came back to the US and looked through what everyone’s done, I thought to myself that you would have topped the “grand” factor, and I was not wrong! My mom is uber jealous of you that you met her idol. Its good to know that Celine’s coming back to Vegas in December, I might just take my mom there; we’ll see.

  44. I’m not sure I can ever forgive her for providing the Titanic song as the theme tune to my 12 week backpacking trip around China . But good catch all the same 😉

  45. Kristine Dahl says:

    Woow, what an amazing post and I just have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE Celine article in Vegas Magazine. The photos are stunning, I’m speechless.

    I was lucky enough to see Celine’s show live 4 times around New years 11/12. I’m a MEGA fan and that was such a huge dream come true. I couldn’t believe my own eyes when she showed up on stage, a magical moment which I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

    – Kristine 17 years old from Norway 🙂

  46. irejfidsfaiourodjfdksjfgakjhaisdhiOAIDJFIDFOSUDFIUDSOFUODSFODS !!!!!!!!!!!


    You have no idea how badly of wanted to see Celine Dion live, let alone meet the woman. AH! love love love this. great cover, good job!

    – Maria Alexandra

  47. That’s an awesome experience! Not saying I would be as excited as you but I totally understand the feeling. I’ve felt that way with sports stars and other musicians. So awesome that she took time for you. I’m not a huge fan of her music but if I make it to Vegas, I may see her show.

  48. I’m glad you had a great time. I’m going to be 100 percent honest, I never understood, and probably never will, the allure of meeting a celebrity. While I enjoy celebrities’ music or movies, it is a separate world for me, and I am ok with that.
    But then again, some people dont care much for monuments, nature or ancient culture like I do, so I’m glad youre happy doing what you love :).

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