A star is born in Boothbay Harbor
Last month, Lisa Orne Hallinan of Boothbay Harbor got a text, out of the blue, from an old friend from high school. Sheila Gibbons asked her if she’d be interested in filming a commercial for the company she works for, Maine Spirits, a subsidiary of Pine State Trading Company.
No shrinking violet, Hallinan jumped at the opportunity for possible overnight fame, saying her friend told her she wanted someone “happy and upbeat” to do the ad.
A week after Hallinan got that text, on April 18, a film crew from Maine Spirits showed up at her and husband Richard Hallinan’s home. Lisa, who appears to be a natural actor, hammed it up for the crew, while mixing up one of her favorite cocktails: A pomegranate margarita, with sugar around the rim.
In the commercial, Hallinan talks about her hometown. “It’s gorgeous,” she says. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”
Standing at her kitchen island mixing up her favorite summer drink, Hallinan talks about meeting her husband. “He asked me out while I was doing a catering job, and he was very persistent.”
The Hallinans both grew up in Boothbay Harbor. They share five kids between them, including her twin daughters, Evie and Dana Lori, and according to Hallinan, they like “sweet things.” So she said she mastered her recipe for the pink drink, and she mixes them up for her kids when they visit. “That’s what we do – we have a pomegranate margarita with sugar around the rim,” she says in the ad.
In typical Lisa Hallinan fashion, she looks at someone off-camera who she has obviously handed a cocktail to, and says, “Isn’t it good,” with a big smile.
Within a few days of the first airing, comments were popping up all over Facebook. Hallinan said she had been getting accolades from friends all over town, but she had yet to see it.
Hallinan’s friend Marlies Boyd said she has one word to describe her in relation to the ad: “Natural.” And Laura Honey described Hallinan as an “outgoing, dedicated, natural fantastic gal. “A true Mainer with a big heart,” said Ruth Day-Jackimovicz.
The ad is being shown on Channels 6, 8 and 13 several times daily, and Hallinan has become something of a celebrity in town. If you’re walking around this summer and see her, you might want to ask for her autograph – before we lose her to Hollywood.
When not making pomegranate margaritas for her friends and family, she can be found at John F. Andrews Dental, where she’s been a dental assistant for 23 years.
Hallinan also does some catering in her spare time. With a little persuasion, she might be talked into mixing up some of her now famous pomegranate margaritas at her next catering gig.
Ever modest about her burgeoning career as a local celebrity and mixologist, Hallinan said she’s been getting lots of requests for her recipe for the pretty pink cocktail. She didn’t give the measurements, but here’s what she uses: 1800 Tequila Silver, Grand Marnier, pomegranate liqueur and fresh-squeezed lime, or some margarita mix.
Gibbons said the agency producing the commercial was looking for a strong female. “In thinking about people who we knew who would be not only willing to be in a commercial, but would be great in it, I thought of Lisa.” Gibbons told them she had the perfect candidate.
She said there was a pretty extensive list of potential stars, but at the end of the day the agency chose Hallinan hands down. “She was the immediate choice, they loved her.”
State of Maine Deputy Director of the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations Tim Poulin said the ad will continue to run throughout May and into June, on several television stations, among them, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, The Discovery Channel, Fox News, and The Weather Channel. It will also be shown during the NBA playoffs.
The ad ends with Hallinan raising her pomegranate margarita to the camera and saying, with her big smile, “Cheers, to family and friends.”
View the ad here.