Tips and Tricks for Covering a Red Carpet* Event
New York does this weekly feature called Party Lines, where you go to these swank parties and you ask people questions and they give you a one-line answer: PARTY LINE GET IT? It’s pretty cool, I think, or it was, until I had to do it. I have just returned from my first red carpet event; it was a bust, so I am well-equipped to give you a bunch of tips of how to ace one. It is the greatest list of all time.
1) Don’t go to one. Just avoid it. I have realized, over my prolific and important journalistic career, that I am a terrible first time interviewer. I am great, however, at looking at the heap of nothing that I garner the first time around and making follow-up questions. It’s like a puzzle, in that if you show me the outcome before you give me the pieces, it won’t come together as nicely. In that I like things to stoke my memory. In that I’m human and that’s how our brains work. Anyway, I’m bad at thinking on my feet, especially when I just walked eight blocks from the subway.
2) Don’t ask stupid questions. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a huge Run-DMC fan, but I love hip hop enough to realize what a honor it is to meet Reverend Run. He also has that I’VE SEEN YOU ON TV AND NOW I’M SEEING YOU IN REAL LIFE WOW YOUR NECK IS FAT magic. So I approached him, full of journalistic integrity and Blanche-isms and all the lessons I’ve ever been taught, ready to interview my most important subject, and I said, “Um. I like your sneakers.” He was, obviously, wearing Adidas. He looked at me and said, “Ok,” meaning “GIRL DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT TO ME SINCE 1986 CAN I SMACK YOU.” Off to a good start. Then I asked him when he found himself at such a height of success that he could afford a Mercedes-Benz. Not a TERRIBLE question. He managed to give me a three word answer: “King of Rock.” His second album. Boom. Done. Stonefaced. I was like, “YO COME ON THIS ONE TIME I LISTENED TO ‘ROCK BOX’ FOR THREE HOURS WHEN WRITING MY GOV FINAL YOU HELPED ME PASS THAT CLASS COME ONNNN HELP A BROTHA OUT!” Like, come on, Rev, bond with me! Even a black people moment would’ve sufficed. But alas.
3) Do know your subject. Nick Cannon was next. I vaguely remember him being on All That, but then I stopped watching Nickelodeon because I turned seven. I read his Wikipedia page earlier that day, and all I remember was that he dated Christina Milian THEN CHEATED ON HER, then dated VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL Selita Ebanks, then married Mariah Carey and just had some babies with SOME WEIRD NAMES. What do I make out of that? ‘How do you bag all of these attractive chicks?’ I asked how he spent his first Father’s day, which is a pretty good question until you realize that his babies were born like twenty seconds ago and Mariah is trying to sell the rights to their first pictures to magazines for like a trillion dollars but the magazines will only pay a billion dollars because they’re already twenty seconds old and “washed out” and WHY DO I KNOW ALL OF THIS. But he was very nice and swaggadocious and told me that he really likes strawberries. The more you know.
4) Don’t step in with the wrong crowd. The first piece of advice given to me for this assignment was “We are not a gossip magazine. Don’t ask people what they’re wearing.” The press people consisted of Star, People, In Style, US Weekly.. and me. I am already an impressionable person, marked by my vocabulary that is solely composed of Liz Lemon’s “blergh!” and whatever my roommate Rachel says (“boom,” “thwarted,” and “that’s some insider trading!”), but being with them caused me to get into their mindset. People kept asking people about their nailpolish and what they do at the beach. This is why I could never be famous; I’d be like “my nailpolish is red because that’s the first one I found under my stuff. Why do you care? What do I do at the beach? BREATHE I DON’T KNOW WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE BEACH THINK OF MORE INANE QUESTIONS TO ASK PEOPLE?!” Also, they were all old and they knew each other and this one woman kept talking about how she knew the guys from Matchbox 20 and I couldn’t even make a “what is this, 199_?” because I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO THAT IS. They are just another group like Savage Garden or Five for Fighting that are classified in my head as White People, in Four Syllables. Plus the women weren’t very nice and like the Beastie Boys say, “I am always on the lookout for a female companion.” I wanted to make friends! RUDE.
5) Don’t leave right away. The press lady told me that the last celebrity to come was Molly Sims. And I don’t know who that is. I went exploring instead. I saw a Blond Lady From TV, who, on closer inspection, turned out to be a Real Housewife! I should’ve asked her for cab fare. Also, the escalators are dope.
6) Do keep your eyes peeled for Al Roker, who will probably show up but everyone will be like “oh hi” and not really care.
After all this, I’m sure you think that I found the whole experience to be a lost cause, and that I was ready to go back to work with my tail between my legs and say, “sorry I suck. I’ll just pack up my things and work for Boston magazine.” but YOU ARE WRONG BECAUSE FAME AND I CONTINUED TO BRUSH. I wandered away from the people who were eating stuff that I’m sure was really expensive but couldn’t fill the belly of a mouse, and I went upstairs to the ~*~showroom~*~, or this room with some cars in it. I don’t know the lingo. There’s this dope car that Nick Cannon and Rev Run are just chilling in, and the press is still outside so everyone’s taking their own photos with their Nikons and iPads and I’m just like, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH FOOD THAT WOULD BUY ME. That is a whole lot of tacos!” But then I remembered these people are too attractive for college, so whatever. It’s my fault I’m broke. So I am just standing taking photos with the only thing I can afford– my eyelids– and Rev Run gets out of the car, and sees the photo sheet in my hand. The photo sheet is a piece of paper with pictures of important people and their names, which is great because I don’t know who the young people are into nowadays and I need to keep up with the times. So Rev Run basically sees a picture of himself in my hand, and says, “lemme see that?” and takes it. After accessing it and approving of his face, he hands it back and walks away. Swag.
So that was my first party line. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it yet. It was both the best and the worst, like having ice cream before dinner. Not sure when I’ll do it again, but I’m sure it’ll seem like a good idea in a month.
*The carpet was blue.