The closest thing to Hollywood royalty that Tampa has seen in a while arrived this week in the form of a smiling, ultrapetite and tireless Tori Spelling.
Spelling and best buddy Mehran Farhat spent nearly seven hours signing her new book, Uncharted TerriTORI.
"Tampa U rock!'' tweeted Spelling about 3 a.m. Wednesday. "Blown Away. Gr8t nite!''
About 1,400 fans, nearly all of them women, took over the Carrollwood Barnes & Noble on Tuesday for a chance to meet the Beverly Hills 90210 star, mother, wife and author, whose father was the late TV and film producer Aaron Spelling. Many waited most of the day knowing that she has a reputation for greeting every fan, no matter how long it takes.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing,'' said Angela DeRocco, 28, of Tampa, who was No. 1,236 in line. "I've seen every episode twice. I've even got the Donna Martin Barbie doll.''
Annie Sams, an event planner for Publix, stood in line for five hours to get a wristband and was among the first to get her book signed. She brought a gift for Spelling: a package of raw rhubarb.
"Tori said on Twitter that she can't find any rhubarb at the farmer's market in L.A., so I brought her some from Publix,'' said Sams, 23, shaking with excitement. "I think it's so cool how she interacts with her fans.''
Spelling, 37, arrived at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday sporting a pink coral-colored dress, silver flat sandals and short hairdo, and finished the last signing at about 2:20 a.m. Fans spent the night camped out among the book shelves, many of them reading her book.
Spelling's third book centers on the challenges of being the perfect wife, mother and mini-mogul. Her first, sTORI Telling, was on the New York Times bestseller list.
"I'm really proud of this one. I think it's a little different than the last two,'' she said during a interview with the St. Petersburg Times. "This one kind of wrote itself and was about my life during the year that I wrote it. I had a real personal growth and a journey that I went on physically and emotionally and relationshipwise. I think people get to delve a little deeper into what I went through.''
Fan after fan said they have followed Spelling for years and have admired the way she raises her two children, Liam, 3, and Stella, 2. Many noted that she was more beautiful in person and sent big hugs to her hubby, Dean McDermott.
"She's down to earth even though she's an actress,'' said Frances Buggica, 55. "She seems like one of us.''
That may be because she is. Spelling said she relates more to average moms than the Hollywood crowd.
"I really don't have any celebrity friends,'' she said. "It's not my thing. I'm a total homebody. I like cooking and crafting and obviously tweeting and being with my kids. I think the only difference is paparazzi sit outside my front door."