I get asked all the time: How long have I had my Emmy dress? Most people are shocked when I tell them sometimes I don't get it until a day or two before the ceremony. You won't believe the thought process that goes into a dress.
There are more do's and don'ts on the red carpet when you are reporting, because you have to think of the dress on television, versus in person or in still photographs.
You have to think about the material. It can't be too shiny. Shine doesn't work well on TV. The dress has to have an area for a microphone pack. It needs to be a bright color to pop on TV and on our stage the next day. It has to work from any angle shot.
The material can't wrinkle. I learned that lesson at the 2010 Emmys when my purple gown, which I loved, was a wrinkler. I was being chased around all night by a stylist with a steamer! I will be in my dress for about 24 hours straight, so the material has to be wrinkle-free (just like the rest of Hollywood)!
Courtesy Nancy O'Dell
A 'Compressed' WeekHere's how my Emmy week started … I fainted! Not kidding. In fact, if you watched Entertainment Tonight and noticed that I was not there one day this week, now you know the reason why.
Let's start with Tuesday. I was on the treadmill at 4:30 a.m. As the one doing the interviewing, you get photographed from every possible angle, standing next to some of the most beautiful actresses in the world. No pressure … yeah right! How would you like to stand next to Kerry Washington?!
The next call was at my doorbell from my makeup artist and hair stylist. They were getting me ready for the show that day from home so I could hear the sweetest call of all …. "Mama!!!" Yep, I'm talking about my baby girl Ashby, now six years old. In this crazy week called Emmy week where the nights will be long, I want to get as much quality time with my family as I can. It keeps me sane.
Then it was a mad dash in to work. In between reads while up on stage, I researched all the nominees, cramming for my Emmy examination soon to take place. Come Sunday, I will have made a stack of cards on each nominee and presenter.
On Wednesday, it was off to a pre-Emmy party I hosted. It was non-stop photos, interviews, greetings. Good to see my pal, Jane Seymour. That lady never ages! I drove home from the party, arriving to catch my puppy in the act of chewing up several of my Emmy cards I had so diligently made! Seriously? But how could I be mad, look at Buttercup's face!
The alarm clock rang way too early the next morning. I got a whopping total of 4 hours sleep. But the treadmill was screaming for me again. Shut up, treadmill! I proceeded to do about 15 minutes on the treadmill when suddenly, it was time. I felt lightheaded. I sat down. Next thing I know, the Emmy goes to ... fainting!
My bosses were wonderful, very concerned and totally understood why I couldn't make it in to work. I headed to the doctor. I quickly learned all was perfectly fine. It was as simple as what I thought: Not having time to eat anything but two bites of chicken and a breakfast shake, little sleep and stress don't make for an Emmy Award-winning performance.
Courtesy Nancy O'Dell
As I said, as a reporter covering the Emmys, you are caught from every angle. The least little bulge, as I have discovered before, can be quite exaggerated on camera. And for all you ladies out there who have had babies, you know what I am talking about when I say your tummy never completely goes back to … oh what is that word that my stomach USED to be?? ... FLAT.
The closest I have ever gotten to having my belly completely flat since having a baby was when I was spending six hours a day in the dancing studio being on Dancing with The Stars.
But alas, I don't have that kind of time now; I would rather spend it with that baby I had. I will have to be touched by an angel for the Emmy's and that angel is named Angela Dean.
She arrived at my house with garments in hand. Ladies, when I tell you these garments are brilliant, I mean it. They have these crazy strong panels built in them that are reinforced and they compress here, compress there, lift your butt, smooth your belly, just keep everything in place. She said she could custom-make it to my body to move a little bulge here, compress a little bulge there. Hallelujah!
Just like my week – compressing what you would normally accomplish in a few months into a few days or hours. You hope everything comes out looking smoothly.
The 65th Primetime Emmys will come to CBS Sunday, Sept. 22, at 8/7c. Come back to PEOPLE.com for complete live coverage and the best dressed stars!