I witnessed my first red carpet event this week — and the only thing that could have made it better would have been showing up in an Alexander McQueen dress and Versace heels to be greeted by one of the trendy little escorts with a clipboard containing the highly confidential list of celebrities still to be expected.
Instead, I appeared hot and sweaty from a muggy day in the office, my glasses sliding down my nose, coffee stain down my shirt, hair a mess, notepad in hand and elbows out to fight my way through a line seven people deep along the red carpet.
I was ecstatic when I heard the new Larry Crowne film starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts was launching its world premiere just around the corner from my London office on Monday. Hanks was due to arrive at 4:30 p.m., but when I rushed over immediately after work finished at 5, the crowds were still waiting anxiously.
Sadly, he would not be joined by co-star Roberts. I was disappointed not to see her. Pretty Woman has long been a favourite of mine and I could choose no better actress to play in a romance alongside the wonderful Hanks.
Still, I watched as some thrilling A-listers hit the red carpet. My celebrity radar is admittedly a little poor, but it was pretty clear which of Hanks’ premier guests were genuine stars and which were just lucky plebeians reveling in a glamorous night out.
Katie Waisell of the X-Factor (the U.K.’s version of America’s Got Talent), Scottish singer K.T. Tunstall (who was raised in my university town of St. Andrews), Colin Salmon (who plays Charles Robinson in three Bond films), Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, Tony Blair’s wife Cherie, David Hasselhoff and his pretty 20-something girlfriend, and an array of almost famous girl bands all stepped foot on the regal runway.
And they all had something in common: they sparkled!
Celebrity primping this year appears to mean glitter and plenty of it — so celebrities left a trail of shiny little diamonds behind them as they floated along the carpet, stopping occasionally to smooth their hair and sparkle for the camera.
The majority of them, also, did not smile. It appears that smiling at fans is simply below celebrity calibre today. Except for The Hoff of course — The Hoff was all smiles with a sassy young thing by his side (who bears an uncanny resemblance to his daughter Hayley)!
When Hanks finally showed up, arriving fashionably late to riotous applause, he answered a few questions on stage in his typical humble manner.
“Did you show up on your scooter?” he was asked. Fans had been entertained during the long wait with a clip from the movie where he attempts to flirt with Roberts while passing her less than eloquently on a moped.
Not on British roads, he joked, “I’m just a stupid American.”
Hanks is hardly a stupid American, however, and deserves all the credit he gets for having written, directed and starred in Larry Crowne. While always respected as a great actor, he has now proven himself to be a well-rounded talent.
Following the brief interview, Hanks proceeded up the red carpet, gracefully stopping to sign a number of autographs and take pictures with his loyal fans. He finally stopped to look a bit stunned for the paparazzi before heading up to the cinema to kick off the movie debut.
By this point, I had managed to break through to the front of the onlookers. Unfortunately I could only get in toward the back of the red carpet and just missed out on shaking the star’s hand, telling him how much I loved his performance in BIG and asking him to autograph my notebook — signed ‘with love,’ please.
My camera also chose to die just short of Hanks approaching me, which left me with a few blurry pictures taken from my knock-off iPhone so I could call bragging rights on my friends.
Perhaps one day the clipboard women will recognize me from my picture bylines and welcome me through to the red carpet so I can get right up close and personal.
Or I guess I could try scoring next month’s vacancy as David Hasselhoff’s girlfriend by bleaching my hair, getting a spray tan and shining my sparkly, artificially whitened teeth at him.
In the meantime — elbows out!
Brittany Kennedy grew up in Red Deer and graduated from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. She attended university in Scotland and is now living and working in London, England.