It was extremely cold the morning of Jan. 3 as Matawan resident Lauren Pica raced to her New York City-bound train. She forgot to set her alarm and was running a bit late, but before she knew it she was in Harley Pasternak's dressing room on the set of Good Morning America.
Pasternak, a fitness and nutrition expert popular among stars such as Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Robert Pattinson, Halle Berry and Jennifer Hudson, is also known for his NY Times best-selling book 5-Fact Diet and 5-Factor Fitness.
He recently converted his celebrity workout into a video game available on Nintendo Wii and Kinect for Xbox 360. As a marketing coordinator for Majesco Entertainment, Pica was selected to be on-call in the studio to demo the product on air.
"I jokingly ended up on GMA, actually," Pica said. "My boss at the time, Anthony, and I were discussing the game and how a last-minute appearance was booked to be on the show. He was stressing about it and wondering who'd demo. We laughed since most of our quality assurance testers most likely wouldn't be comfortable on air and I offered myself up for the job."
The very next morning, Pica was hanging out backstage at the popular ABC morning show.
"I was a bit star-struck backstage. The hosts of GMA were standing right next to me, along with celebrity fitness trainers and different people who would be on the show that day such as Lori Greiner from ABC's Shark Tank. It was intimidating and exciting all at once," she said.
Pica was soon called on air to do two things - smile and work out. It sounds way easier than it actually is, however.
"Before the cameras came on me, I was doing nonstop squats for a few minutes and my calves were burning up," she said.
Although she wasn't too nervous, Pica admits that the fast pace of broadcast television was a bit nerve-racking.
"I was more nervous about looking bad next to the fitness models behind me that GMA hired to demo the other exercises," she said.
Pica graduated from Matawan Regional High School in 2008 and went on to study business administration with an emphasis on marketing at Marist College in New York. She first interned at Majesco during her freshman year and found that she fit well in the company's atmosphere.
"I truly love my job. The video game industry is exciting, my colleagues are awesome and I get to do random, fun events like Good Morning America," she said.