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What I Learned Walking the Emmy Red Carpet (and Other First World Problems)

What I Learned Walking the Emmy Red Carpet (and Other First World Problems)

Have you ever flown First Class?  I’ve experienced it a couple of times and while I enjoyed every second of it, there was a part of me that regretted knowing how wonderful it was – because I was more than likely going to be flying coach most of the time.

So, I went to the Emmys.  And I walked the Red Carpet.  And now I know what it feels like.

Darn it.

But let me back-up to the preparation.   How did the hair and make-up turn out?  What about the dress and shoes?  And how about the after-parties?  (If you missed part 1, click here for the complete story.)

As Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  And while he might have been talking about science, preparation definitely applies to the Red Carpet.

In fact, my only regret in getting ready for the big event was that I could have used another hour.  You don’t want to feel rushed when putting on those individual eyelashes.  (Yes, I managed to get the eyelashes on.  And I didn’t glue my eyelid shut.  It’s the little things, right?)

The prep – complete with my Viking glass of water.

The dress was everything I hoped it would be – although I can’t tell you how many people stepped on the train.  (Thank God for dry cleaners.)

And the shoes were every bit as uncomfortable as I thought they would be by the end of the night.  (But wow – did they look good!)

Prep completed . . .

A black SUV (‘natch) was our carriage to the Microsoft Theatre in Downtown L.A.  Security was top-notch, with our car getting thoroughly checked for any hidden bombs.

On our way!

Upon arrival, our Red Carpet walk began immediately.  It’s divided into two lanes:  one lane is for nominees and celebrities.  And the other lane is for “other people.”  Since I was with a nominee (thank you, Paul), I was elbow-to-elbow with the likes of Nicole Kidman (and her lovely husband Keith), Geoffrey Rush, Leslie Jones, Viola Davis, Lorne Michaels . . . well, you get the picture.

The beginning of the Red Carpet has a row of booths which house all the various entertainment media outlets (Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, etc.) and the celebrity publicists are busy ushering their clients through the gauntlet for the “who-are-you-wearing?” interview.

Nicole Kidman being interviewed by E! Live

It was surreal.  And crowded.  And hot.  (Television lights – toasty.)

As we inched our way down the Red Carpet, we were nearing yet another “lane” hierarchy saved for the truly elite celebrities (think, paparazzi screaming your name.)

The photos you see in People Magazine are snapped on this section of the Red Carpet.  I believe this is where the “hand-on-the-hip stance” was born.  Lest you might be worried that a celebrity has their picture taken with sweat on their brow, there is a “touch-up” station where you can pause, just before entering the final gauntlet, to receive one last poof of powder.

Since the photographers were not screaming my name, we headed down the hallway toward the theatre where I noticed a long line of people flanking the walkway.  A producer talking to the nicely dressed folks revealed that these were the seat-fillers – people there to fill in the empty seats when you go to the restroom.  Only in Hollywood.

At this point, it was nearing 5:00 pm – showtime.  So we ushered ourselves into our seats – which were in Orchestra, Row S, House Left.  That’s 20 rows from the stage.  Not next to Oprah, but very nice indeed.  Another producer came up to Paul to let him know when his category was going to be presented, to make sure that he was in his seat when the time came.

And then the Associate Director began the countdown to start the show.  And here we go!

If you watched the show, you know what happened.  While Paul didn’t win the Best Director trophy, his show (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) won Best Variety Series and Best Writing for a Variety Series – a testament to everyone who works on the show and certainly to Paul, who calls the shots.

Arrow indicates part of my shoulder.

Other highlights of the night?  My trip to the restroom, where to my utter delight and amazement, L’Oreal had BINS of lipstick and mascara – that you could take!  Free of charge!  (I wished I had brought a bigger purse.)

A looooong walk to the Governor’s Ball (you can’t possibly be feeling sorry for me, but it WAS long) where we were greeted with flutes of champagne and a delicious sit-down dinner (with a few hundred of my closest friends) consisting of heirloom tomato salad with quinoa, filet mignon, a chocolate thingy for dessert and limitless Sterling cabernet.  Ahhhh.

More highlights:  Music that was top-notch; a lot of people-watching; running into Christopher Jackson (the original George Washington from the musical Hamilton) who sang the In Memoriam piece; hanging with my college roommate Lois (how’s that for a small world?).

And then I was done – because I couldn’t walk anymore (those heels).   My Lyft chariot (the official car of the Emmys) took me home and I replayed the entire evening to my mother-in-law (who was staying with us and happened to still be awake).

Waking the next day, I had a lingering feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  It has lasted for the past couple of days, but I think it boils down to this:

We should all get to fly First Class.  But there are only so many seats.

I’m not sure why that is.  But I am sure going ask God that question when I get a chance.

In the meantime, I’m going to savor the memories of the evening:

Witnessing dreams-of-a-lifetime come true – Ann Dowd (success over forty gives everyone hope), Sterling K. Brown’s historic win,  Nicole Kidman shining a light on domestic violence;

Celebrating my dear friend Paul – a man of great talent, integrity and wit who has worked is arse off, while always being kind and respectful;

Inspiration to spur all of us on to continue to pursue our dreams, no matter the obstacle.

Oh.  And getting that free mascara.

15 Responses to What I Learned Walking the Emmy Red Carpet (and Other First World Problems)

  • Love reading your posts! So much personality! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • How fun!! I loved this! You made me feel like I was there.. I’m so glad you enjoyed your ride in first class.

  • I wish you got to fly first class more often, because the way you describe it (from the viewpoint of a Regular Person) is such a delight! I couldn’t see any sign of mascara in your cute gold purse, but hope you went home with it bulging. 🙂

  • This was a wonderful read Nan. I miss seeing you at WME. You are truly a kind and wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing. It must have been unreal!!

  • Fantastic writing. I felt like I was walking along side you. It’s a silly world, right? But fun nonetheless. You handled it with your Minnesota level-headedness and of course your usual grace. So happy you got to experience it

    • Derek, Thank you so much. You are so right – it’s silly and fun. And gives one perspective on a lot of aspects of life. I really appreciate you taking the time to read it.

  • Thanks for sharing Nan. It was great to read about your experience.

  • Nancy, I feel so lucky to be the mother-in-law who got to hear all about the event a soon as you got home! I got to see beautiful you looking even more stunning, and hear a fascinating review of a Cinderella like experience. Nobody deserved the fun of it more than you!

  • This is so fun! Thanks for writing it up and sharing. What a wonderful glimpse! Hope your feet have recovered! <3