Ok. So, I don’t know if any of you saw my photos on Instagram and Twitter, but I was kind of hobnobbing with the stars last week. In LA. As in, LOS ANGELES BABY. (Still kind of feeling like a big shot, in case you can’t tell.)
Qantas (who are now officially my favourite airline) sent me to LA to write about TWO amazing celebrity-filled parties – the Qantas Spirit of Australia Party and the GDay USA Black Tie Gala. You know, whatevs, NO BIGGIE.
It was epic, it was scary, and it was one of the most fun and bizarre things I’ve ever done in my life.
And I promised you a behind-the-scenes look (you know – from the perspective of someone who was trying desperately to blend in with the beautiful people and not be found out), so here we go:
First up was the Qantas Spirit of Australia party. It was being held at the super glam hotel I was staying in, so I got to watch the red-carpet set-up from my balcony while I was getting gussied up (dress by City Chic, bag by Hustle – I’m meant to tell you ‘who’ I was wearing, right?)
Once I was star-party ready, I made my way down to the red carpet (which is surprisingly short – you could walk the whole thing in about ten steps), and took my place, phone in hand ready for pictures.
Every journalist has a place on the media side of the red carpet, and next to Angela Bishop, Richard Wilkins and Melissa Hoyer, I was slightly lower down the food chain (ie I was basically at the very end of the carpet. Ie I was at the very end of the carpet.). No complaints here though – I was just psyched to be there. Psyched, but also determined to bring back the good stuff. It was decided before I left that my mission was to come back with as many selfies as I could for what I had dubbed The Mamamia Celeb Selfies Collection, because obviously I’m a future Walkley winner.
Things were pretty calm before the celebs arrived. The journos were all chatting and joking around with each other. There was actually a pretty great vibe – these guys all cover the same events so they know how it goes and enjoy each other’s company.
I started to wonder why everybody goes on about how intense red carpets are. Then the celebrities stared arriving, and Things. Got. Crazy. I had to figure out pretty quickly how things worked or I wasn’t going to get to talk to anybody.
Every star has a ‘minder’ (usually their publicist), and that person walks the red carpet with them. They decide whom the celeb will talk to and pose for, so if you want access to the celeb, you have to get the publicist’s attention.
I was worried that right down the end of the carpet I wasn’t going to be able to talk to anybody, but that’s where The Mamamia Celeb Selfie Collection idea saved the day.
The celebs LOVED it.
There was no time for me to chicken out. As the celebrities walked past I just kind of yelled in their general direction “Hi! I’m Rosie and I’m from Mamamia.com.au. We’re putting together a fun celeb selfie collection for our readers back home – wanna be in it?”
Guess how many celebs said no? None.
Aussie celebrities are pretty laidback, and I think after spending 15 minutes answering a bunch of the same questions and doing the same stiff poses for the cameras, when they bumped into me down the end asking for a fun photo, they were really into it. They just seemed psyched to get a bit silly.
Osher Gunsberg (my old friend from The Bachelor) posed for a bunch of shots, Joel Edgerton grabbed the camera and took a shot while he gave me a kiss on the cheek (eep!), supermodel Jessica Gomes pulled her best duck face with me and Daniel McPherson and Zoe Ventoura posed about five times until we all managed to fit in the frame. “We have to get a good one!” they kept saying.
And the stars just kept coming and coming. Qantas had announced earlier in the evening that they’re partnering up with 20th Century Fox this year to fly over the entire cast of Modern Family to film some episodes in Australia, so some of guys came to the party. I managed to get the two youngest Dunphy kids to pose for the Selfie Collection, but missed out on Ty Burrell. He pretty much ran down the red carpet and didn’t talk to anybody, which was a little disappointing.
But that was ok, because I had one goal in mind. I wanted Jacki Weaver and I wanted John Travolta. They were my big ‘gets’ (that’s totes profesh journo speak, fyi). Luckily (and not surprisingly), every journo on the red carpet wanted to talk to both of them, so I had time to psych myself up as they slowly made their way down to my end.
Jacki was first. She walked past with her husband and minder. “This is it,” I thought. “Do it for Mamamia!” I took a deep breath, told her we were huge fans at MM and asked if I could get a photo. And she was awesome about it. “Of course!” she said.
She threw her arm around me, and I was so nervous that I cracked some stupid joke that made her laugh, then I couldn’t stop thinking “Oh my god I just made Jacki Weaver laugh oh my god she’s touching me oh my god oh my god oh my god” and then I turned around and she was already gone. I was just left to linger in her gloriousness.
Danny Zuko John Travolta. Given that he was one of the biggest stars on the carpet that night, I thought it was going to be a feat to get a photo. But he was brilliant. He stopped for every reporter, graciously answered everybody’s questions and posed for everybody’s photos. He even waited for a journo to finish interviewing someone else because he knew she wanted to talk to him. Just stood there, on the red carpet, a major movie star, waiting his turn like he was in a line at the bank.
I took that moment as my chance. He was standing next to his minder, so I caught her eye and asked if I could get a photo. And HE answered! “Definitely!” he said. “Come over here!”
OMFG. John Travolta is saying words while looking at my face. That can’t be right.
He was actually gesturing for me to join him on the red carpet for a photo. I stepped over the barrier and told him I worked for Mamamia.com.au (gotta get that URL in there), Australia’s largest independent women’s website. I asked if he was looking forward to the Qantas party inside. “Oh yeah! he said. “I love Aussies!” His minder wanted me to hurry things along, so we took the picture and said goodbye.
I had just touched heads with Danny Zuko. I am Sandy.
After that, the red carpet was done and it was time to party.
Inside, things were kind of just like any other party, except there were famous people everywhere you looked. Neil Perry cooked dinner. I bumped into Osher at the bar. Kylie Minogue sang FOUR songs, including the Qanatas fave I still call Australia Home. Oh, and THE FREAKING LOCOMOTION.
It was surreal. Fun, fascinating, scary and surreal.
But I hadn’t seen anything yet. Two days later, I was off to the much bigger, much grander, much more intense GDay USA Black Tie Gala. It was like the Qantas Spirit of Australia Party, but on steroids – bigger venue, more people and CRAZY international press (seriously – the red carpet was like nothing I had EVER seen). But you’ll have to tune in next week for all the goss from that party.
For now, here is the Mamamia Celeb Selfie Collection (or as I lke to call it “The gallery of Rosie’s new best friends”), along with a bunch of other pervy photos from the Qantas Spirit of Australia party (definitely one of the best events you could ever hope to be a fly on the wall at):