1 Here I am with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr, the host of the show.
2 We taped the segment in one of my photo studios at my office in the Starrett-Lehigh building in New York City last January.
3 The background was decorated with some of my favorite flowers - lovely cymbidium and lady slipper orchids and, of course, a small stack of my books.
4 The set was constructed with a false wall and windows, producing an at home-like feeling.
5 This studio space has large real windows and to soften the natural light coming in, a technician hung a large frosted panel, which acts as a diffusing scrim.
6 To help make the false windows, which were also covered with a scrim, look real, a light was placed behind to create 'sunlight.'
7 Another area of the set had a table with more orchids and neat stacks of my magazines.
8 It's interesting to see how much thought goes into styling even the simplest of sets.
9 We chose a round table with a neutral tablecloth for the interview.
10 Before Professor Gates arrived at the studio, I was in hair and makeup and the crew was making final tweaks to the set.
11 Deb Dowling, from my PR team, acted as my body double. She is tall and blonde, a perfect stand-in for me for lighting adjustments.
12 The PBS crew checked their monitors, looking for any further necessary adjustments. Good lighting is a real art.
13 When the Professor arrived, he sat in with Deb for the final lighting check and to review his materials.
14 Professor Gates is a very friendly, warm individual and he inquired about everyone's heritage.
15 After our introduction, the Professor wanted to know what type of coffee pot he should buy. He said he couldn't interview Martha Stewart and not ask for her advice on a coffee pot! I told him to purchase a Bodum French press.
16 He also told me that his daughter is getting married. He made a joke about snagging one of the wedding dresses from our prop closet. I made sure to send him home with several issues of Martha Stewart Weddings magazines for her to peruse!
17 Professor Gates, or Skip, as he likes to be called, has been interested in genealogy since he was a child. At his grandfather's funeral when he was 9-years-old, Skip was extremely curious why his grandfather was so light-skinned.
18 He began asking his parents about his family history and became hooked. He later discovered that his grandfather's heritage included Irish ancestry.
19 Before this interview, I was asked to send Skip some old family photos and information, like the names of some of my relatives and their country of origin.
20 Those photos included this one of me as a baby, taken on the shores of Lake Erie. My granddaughter, Jude, looks a lot like me in this photograph.
21 My maternal grandfather - Josef 'Joseph' Ruszkowski born 30 August 1899 in Kotun, Poland and maternal grandmother - Franciszka 'Frances; Albiniak Ruszkowski born 7 March 1890 in Janow Lubelskie, Poland
22 My paternal grandfather - Franciszek 'Frank' Kostyra born 4 October 1879 in Kopki, Poland and my paternal grandmother - Helena 'Helen' Krukar born 21 February 1890 in Zagorze, Poland
23 This family portrait with me back row center, was taken 56 years ago.
24 This was a really fun interview and I found out so many interesting facts about my family.
25 Skip presented me with this beautiful bound book that included many of his findings. He also gave me large posters of my family trees that he assembled.
26 Skip was very impressed with how much I already knew about my family history, a subject that I, too, am deeply interested in.