Interviews

The day Steven Tyler kissed me on the lips: Valentina Leone tells us the incredible story of the day she spent with Aerosmith singer

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler took part to the 2013 EICMA event in Milan. One of the girls who worked forVirgin Radio, Valentina Leone, had an amazing experience spending a whole day with the american rock star.

Q: Hello Valentina thanks for being here to tell us this amazing experience, but first tell us more about yourself…
A: I live in Rome and really love travelling. I try to get myself involved in activities that allow me to feed this great passion of mine. I’m a member of a music band, DiVetra, I love painting, I like giving my paintings to my friends; I’m madly in love with felines and like all girls I like shopping with friends and spend my free time with the people I love.

 Q: What were you doing at the 2013 EICMA?
A: I was working for Virgin Radio as a hostess, I found out about Steven Tyler being there only after accepting their call. I was so happy I could’t believe it. I had already met him previously, but it always been as a “fan” outside his hotel for few minutes, but never in a working environment.

Q: Tell us more about your days spent with Steven Tyler. How is he, why was he at EICMA, how many times did you have the chance to talk to him during the event?
A: I spent a whole day with him, and it was the experience of a lifetime for me. As I arrived on the spot for my working day you could feel there was an amazing energy! Steven was there to present a new line of motorcycles by Dirico. At the beginning he was supposed to hold just a press conference at the Dirico stand, but then Virgin Radio managed to have him speaking from our truck – which had the right equipment for that, so in few minutes everything was set up and ready and I found myself Steven Tyler in front of me saying hello with a “give me five”! After a short introduction, he looked at me so I caught the chance to ask him if he remembered me from the night before. After waiting outside his hotel for hours, hoping to give him one of the paintings I had made for him, he had come out of the hotel and looked very happy with it he was even praising with the others outside. So we before the conference I told him who I was, he looked quite surprised as he hadn’t recognised me. As a matter of fact, the night before I looked more like a punch ball with my scarf, quilted jacket and all. So he started telling me how he loved the painting, that he was sorry he didn’t recognise me straight away, that he sees so many people in his life that it’s hard for him to remember faces and that he wasn’t going to forget me ever after kissing me on the lips… that’s exactly what he did! I was paralysed at first, then I started laughing out loud shocking the people around. Just the time to get my self-composure back and the interview on the stage of Virgin Radio started. I was lucky enough to be sitting just behind Steven during the interview, so I’m on thousands of photos with him now! After the interview was over, Steven stood by for a while and he kept on flirting with me but always in a very mannered way: he knew I’m a fan so he showed more attention to me. After taking some photos with him, he left for a while only to come back some hours later for an exclusive interview to Virgin Radio and some magazines. He also came back for an interview with DJ Ringo so he spent more time with us, he was so natural and cool! I literally spent a day with my favourite rock star and it was amazing. We said goodbye with a promise to “see you all at tonight’s party!”. The free-admission party was organised by tyre company Metzler and he was the guest of honour. I attended the party with another long time friend but at the beginning the situation didn’t look so promising. It was packed with people and Steven was hiding into the VIP boot on the first floor. After a while, Steven’s assistant saw me from the balcony and invited us to join them upstairs. So there I was with Steven Tyler again! He greeted us warmly with kisses and hugs, then we sat there to watch with him the live show downstairs. There were 5 of us with him plus a couple of people from his entourage, everyone else was downstairs, looking at us. It was one of the most exciting concerts in my life, if you consider I didn’t even know the name of the band that was playing! Steven kept on flirting with me with compliments that really made me feel lured; he acted like a very ordinary person. He allowed photos and hugs, commented on the concert with us through the loudness of the place, and he also texted to one his fans with my friend’s mobile phone. He took a chance to look at my tattoos and asked me to explain one in particular, which led to a funny conversation. He didn’t agree with the tattoo writing “Nothing is as it seems” and explained it to me with some poor examples. I explained that it wasn’t meant in a material way, but more a spiritual meaning, so he pretended he changed his mind only make fun of me soon after. We were interrupted quite often as there were many people looking to talk to him or take photos, but he would come back to us as soon as he could. After a while, I felt like asking him some questions, like what he thought of Michael Jackson and Foo Fighters. About Michael, he turned melancholic and sweet, he said that he loved him so much and it was a real shame to lose him. He also added that his addiction (to painkillers) had worn him out and that he knew what it’s like. He also said that he adores Foo Fighters, that they are a great band and that Dave is a good friend. Then I showed him a photo taken from my latest photo shoots. I wanted him to see that particular photo because many people say I look like him in the 70s there, so it was connected to him in a kind of way. He really loved it. He said he liked it very much and that made me even happier after all the incredible excitement for all that was going on. I think, as a fan, I couldn’t have hoped for more! At the end of the show, he wanted to meet the band, so we witnessed him congratulating with the guys for their show and their genuine sound. It was time to say goodbye, he was very kind and invited us to meet him the following day at the event again. Nobody of us would had imagined he was going to be there again: since I was scheduled to work there for all week this made my day even more. The following day I had the chance to see him again and say good-bye. The atmosphere was more “formal” this time, but it was great to see him again like he was a normal friend. He took a tour of the event with his family and I went back to my work. Before he left for good I managed to say goodbye again and hug him. That was the last time I ever saw him, but I hope some new adventure will take place in Milan on June 25 on the occasion of their live show…Dream on until your dream comes true!
You can be updated through this page I manage with a friend of mine:

https://www.facebook.com/aerosmithitaliafans

Q: Any other celebrity you met during the event?
A: There were tens of artists and athletes coming by at the Virgin Radio truck. It’s too long a list and I’m sure I would miss someone, but I can say I was very happy to enjoy a mini live show improvised by Stef Burns on the stage of Virgin Radio and have a laugh with Rocco’n’rollo e Tony Manero (Massimiliano Pipitone)!

Gessica Puglielli
Visual/Web Designer, Digital Marketing Strategist born in Lecce (Italy), I currently live in London. Between 1998 and 2005 I collaborated with Michael Jackson’s staff and in 2000 I had a meeting with the man himself. I founded Rebel Rebel in 2013 and so far it has been an exciting journey. Some of my favourite artists include Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Skunk Anansie, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Archive, Kraftwerk, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Anthony & The Johnsons, Gazpacho, The Maccabees, Led Zeppelin, Brian Eno, Beethoven, Bjork, Steve Wonder and many others. I feel a deep connection to animals and Mother Nature, which led me to choose a vegan lifestyle. I like playing electric guitar, photography, cinema, art, entertainment, travelling, playing tennis and browsing London.
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