Four student journalists at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville got some practice interviewing a celebrity Thursday when actress Cameron Diaz stopped by to discuss her new book, "The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body."
Senior Olivia Schmitt kicked off the student-on-celeb interviews with a four-minute spot filmed for the school's TV news show, "Wildcat Weekly." Then newspaper staff members junior Sydney Kalich, senior Sara Saggar and senior Riley Wagner sat down with Diaz for a story to appear in "The Echo."
Olivia said she prepared for the interview by watching online interviews with the author and buying a copy of Diaz's book, which offers facts about nutrition and exercise to help women build healthier bodies. One of her first questions asked what Diaz hopes readers will take away from the 288-page book.
"Hopefully it'll inspire them to want to take care of their bodies," Diaz said.
Student journalists said Diaz put their star-struck nerves at ease by greeting them immediately when she entered the backstage area where the interviews were conducted, shaking their hands and simply being what Riley called "a real person."
Sydney said Diaz's detailed answers to their questions -- like how her book's message applies to high school students -- showed her honest passion for understanding the workings of the body and making health-conscious decisions.
Diaz encouraged the students to view health as an equation or a fraction and to aim for "more good over bad" as they become more in tune with their bodies.
"You're just becoming connected to them and that's going to be a lifelong endeavor," Diaz said.
Several hundred students in health, physical education and English classes at Neuqua, as well as members of the school's cheerleading, dance and Orchesis teams, got to hear Diaz speak about "The Body Book," but the press was excluded. School officials said Diaz's publicists had indicated it was all right to invite local media to the star's presentation, then changed course at the last minute and shooed reporters away.
Diaz was set to meet with readers and fans who bought copies of her book from Anderson's Bookshop Thursday night in Wentz Hall at North Central College in Naperville.