Ellen Grossman is the 67-year-old woman who became an instant celebrity when she failed to recognize Jay-Z when he sat next to her on the New York subway.
Grossman spring-boarded into fame on Tuesday after Jay-Z published a short documentary about his Barclays Center concerts.
During the 25-minute film, there is a short clip where Jay-Z was shown taking the subway to the final show. This is where he met Grossman.
Grossman told The Guardian on Wednesday that she was really confused when Jay-Z and his crew boarded the first boarded the subway. She said:
“My first thought was oh my God there’s been a disaster upstairs.”
After she noticing that people were “laughing and smiling,” her second thought was that she was about to witness to a flash mob.
“They were all taking pictures of a man I did not recognize,” Grossman said.
When Jay-Z and his crew got on board, Grossman (being the kind lady that she is) scooted over to allow others to sit down. This is when Jay-Z sat down next to her.
In the video, Jay-Z is shown introducing himself as Jay, and he then goes on to explain that he is a musician on his way to perform at the Brooklyn arena.
“We had such a nice conversation and then it became obvious during the conversation that he was very famous.”
After she heard his full stage name (Jay-Z), she said that she recognized it. She said:
“I don’t think you can live in this world and not recognize Jay-Z’s name.”
Grossman was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Manhattan. She is a multi-talented artist who specializes in drawing and sculpting.
Ever since people identified her as the woman in the documentary, she has noticed a lot more people visiting her website.
Grossman, on the other hand, has been more interested in checking out Jay-Z’s website.
“He did write down on the back of an envelope his website. When I went and looked at his website I found – of course he highlights his own work – but he just gave tremendous amount of space on it to other artists, collaborations with other people, to just highlighting other people and I appreciated that about him and had that feeling that he was giving me attention in the same way. It was a very positive experience.”
Grossman said this about their encounter:
“It was just a wonderful conversation. He’s very real. He didn’t seem disturbed that I didn’t understand who he was, he’s not full of himself.”
As for her own moment in the spotlight, Grossman said:
“It’ll pass in a week or two. I’m an artist so I obviously want a certain kind of attention but it’s more for my work as opposed to presenting myself as a public person. I suspect it’s my 15 minutes of fame.”