What Happens to Our Red Carpet Writer?
Photo: Michelle Mannisto
I hate Hollywood. Don't get me wrong: I'm a Los Angeles girl with Los Angeles style, and I know every exit off Highway 101. I've performed at every club on the Sunset Strip. I've attended premieres, film fests, festivals, nightclubs, interviews, charity events and red carpet galas. I attend each event with new hope that it will be a fun new experience…until traffic blows, the parking sucks and the holier-than-thou Hollywood attitudes get on my last nerve.
After an hour of bumper-to-bumper and a $20 parking spot, I waited at the crosswalk at the corner of Hollywood and Vine with two huge security guard types. I’m one of many—paparazzi to fans to tourists—waiting to get into the Third Annual Hot In Hollywood charity benefit in which TV’s hottest actors make their singing debut in a ’60s themed show to raise some cash for AIDS Health Care Foundation and the Real Medicine Foundation. Last year, the event was packed, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera sang in drag, Sara Ramirez did a power ballad and the Heroes cast sang “Let the Sun Shine In.”
I'm not actually invited to the show—just the red carpet event—with most of the other indie media. Photographers are already crammed into position, claiming their spots, waiting for the famous to arrive and after a grueling back and forth with security a volunteer shows me the red carpet and tells me to find a spot.
There is no spot, so I hover in the second row and try to stick my tape recorder in when I see a celebrity my editors want me to interview. The photographers are all yelling at each other. It’s chaos.
I sneak in to the actual event during the sound check. There's a silent auction: A Rock Star video game guitar autographed by Metallica, a Passion Of The Christ score autographed by the composer and gift baskets of huge proportion filled with high-end bed, bath and plenty of beyond. There are autographed Hot in Hollywood posters, a perfect black cocktail dress with a starting bid of $1,500, a membership to a Los Angeles gym and baskets of movies and DVDs including an autographed Dante's Cove. Cool.
Actor Jane Lynch waves me over for a hug! She's wearing a sharp blue shirt and black blazer and as all the photographers are yelling, “Jane! Jane!” Lynch tells me she feels like her mother is yelling at her. She spots my new girlfriend amidst the press and lights up and waves. I think she is flirting with her. I'll kill her.
I talk to Jason Biggs from American Pie who is super sweet, and says he just came from Ellen's wedding. I'm not sure I believe him. He says, “Want to know what she was wearing—nothing!” I ask him what he thinks of gay marriage. He says, tongue firmly planted in cheek, “Gay marriage? My husband and I are totally on board for it…” Funny guy.
I prod Jesse Brune from Workout for any dirt on Jackie Warner but he has none. “Well today's her fortieth birthday actually," he says instead. "Happy Birthday Jackie!" Guess she's officially one hot cougar now, eh?
Tila Tequila walks in holding hands with her new girlfriend Courtenay Semel, the daughter of Terry Semel who is the ex-CEO of Yahoo! and according to the National Enquirer and the other tabloids, Hollywood’s most eligible lesbian. They’ve linked her to Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton and a bevy of lovelies and my editor would love to have her on the cover and (as she puts it) “bottle a bit of that Courtenay magic.”
Well, Tila is smiling and glowing like a woman in love, but Courtenay looks darn serious. The press is going crazy, urging them to kiss. Tequila seems to want to, but Semel's not so sure.
“We got to know each other like really fast,” Tequila tells reporters, “And we feel really comfortable with each other. We don't have to worry about how we look in the morning because we both look shitty!” Trademark giggle, then serious. “Sometimes you meet people and you just know.”
Gorgeous Nadine Velasquez from My Name Is Earl cruises through, cameras go crazy. Jaime Pressly rocks jeans and pretty blue eyes and I want to ask her if she enjoyed her Sapphic streak with Tiffany Amber Thiessen in the hot tub on Fast Lane, but she's not doing any interviews. Damn.
America Ferrera is gorgeous in a green dress and I am able to thank her for the positive representation of gay characters on Ugly Betty before asking her is she's ever kissed a girl. She laughs and says she hasn't and before I can get another one in her assistant whisks her away. Apparently that was a dirty question.
The Bones’ star Emily Deschanel appears in a vintage purple dress and the press perks up again. The cameras go wild and she wanders away from the Associated Press and over toward me. They can't get their equipment to work so I take the opportunity to introduce myself and ask her about her recent appearance on Liz Feldman's show on AfterEllen.com, but the team from Access Hollywood bites my head off for sticking my recorder over their shoulders. Deschanel is sweet and shrugs apologetically as the folks from AP attack her with an interview that I’m sure wasn’t nearly as fun as mine would have been. She's wearing a vintage dress, which helps the environment, she says. And yes, her eyes are amazing in person, too.
By now, though, the handlers at Hot in Hollywood are irritated with me for sticking my recorder over Access Hollywood's head and I am asked to stay in my spot. I tell her I have no spot because she never gave me one, nor did she ever give me a press pass. She gets distracted again and huffs off. I am a bad red carpet writer. I expect soon I will be on a list somewhere, banned from Hollywood’s hottest celebrity-worshipping pre-party events. It’s almost time to go and I don’t have a single real interview and I missed some of the night’s hot starlets like Candis Cayne, Katherine Heigle and Linda Cardelini.
That’s OK, though. Call it age, call it snobbery, but I realize tonight that I am over all this madness. In fact, I’m late for a lesbian wedding in Orange County where there will be free food and nice people.