This post is coming so late because I haven’t known how to recap the most EPIC weekend of my life thus far. This whole thing has seemed surreal since I found out I’d be going to the Academy Awards, but experiencing it felt even crazier. Half the time, I couldn’t believe I was there, so bare with me as I try to talk about the most awesome day of my professional life EVER.
If you could put how we felt that day into words, it’s this picture of Afrobella and I:
When the day arrived, we got up super early so our glam squad could come through and make us look like princesses. And they REALLY did. There’s a separate “What We Wore” post coming so that’s it’s own monster. We’ll talk about what we wore and where we got them in that one so stay tuned for that post next.
Anywho, our call time for the red carpet was noon according to our dope producer Stephanie Frederic of FGW Productions, so we got ready in 3 hours and stepped out to meet our production team.
So much happened that day so instead of running down all of it, I’ll break it into my highlights or moments that made me wanna Crip walk for Christ and do the A-Town Stomp for Allah. So here they are:
Stepping on the Red Carpet
The moment we stepped on the red carpet, my spirit did a jig and my soul sang. WE WERE THERE! When we got on it at noon, it was mainly clear, with just the bleacher folks and other press setting up. It was the perfect time to take pictures, so our production team took one!
Our team brought a lot of color to that carpet, and we rocked! What was also cool was looking around that carpet and seeing journalists and press from around the world was inspiring. Cameras and mics were everywhere and it was exhilarating to know I was a part of this huge event.
Random tidbit: You won’t ever see a pic of our credentials because the Academy bars everyone from taking pictures of it. They don’t trust people, for good reason. Taking pics with visible credential gets folks kicked off the red carpet. Stephanie had warned us of this MANY times. You ain’t gotta tell me twice. I know how to act. Sometimes.
So back to cool stuff.
Seeing TV Personalities
Before the carpet opened at 2pm for celebrities, we got to walk around and just see the other press in the house. Like Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood and Maria Menounos of Extra.
And Robin Roberts of Good Morning America and E!’s Juliana Rancic.
We met Andre Leon Talley, who didn’t allow us to take a picture of him because he wasn’t in his usual cape and velvet ponchos. Andre was working so he had on some chanclatta sneakers.
What was also cool was how accessible everyone was. On that red carpet, we were all peers and that was awesome. And it added to my “how did I get here?” feeling. I was humbled and proud at the same time.
For an hour, we just walked around, took pictures and explored the red carpet. Below was our press section:
Back there was all the equipment (cameras, mics, extra batteries) and our stuff (bags full of water, snacks and makeup to touch up when we needed AND flat shoes to rock). Being on the red carpet is work because you’re standing for 4-5 hours, and rocking heels the whole time is just crazy. I brought my silver glitter TOMS, and one of the journalists next to us brought fuzzy leopard house shoes. I was NOT mad at her.
At 2pm, we had to get into place so celebrities and others could start coming down the red carpet.
Unlike Afrobella, I had never interviewed a celebrity before and I was a bit intimidated by it. But I wasn’t given a chance to be scared because Stephanie threw me into the deep end and I either had to sink or swim. My first celeb interview was veteran actor James Cromwell of Babe and LA Confidential. I just jumped in and he was very nice.
WHEW! It wasn’t so bad so I was more at ease. Next, I got to interview Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and he was A BLAST! Soooo nice and so funny too. His movie was one of the only comedies recognized at the Academy Awards so he was definitely in a special league in my book. Afterwards, we took a picture together.
THEN came my favorite interview of the day! I’d been wanting to interview Melissa McCarthy ever since I watched “Bridesmaids.” I thought she was the funniest person in that movie and her scenes had me cackling. So when I saw she was nominated for “Best Supporting Role” I was geeked.
The Academy doesn’t take comedies seriously so for a comedian to be nominated in a major category is HUGE! I definitely had to interview Melissa, and I got the chance to!
First of all, the woman is adorable! Those 2 dimples of hers make her look like a little girl even though she’s grown. And she was great to interview. She told me how fun it was to work on the Bridesmaids set, and how she couldn’t believe she was getting paid to basically hang out with her friends everyday. SO gracious! I feel like we connected (sharrap! Lemme have my moment).
See how CUTE she is???
It really meant a lot to get to meet and interview Melissa. I want to write for her one day, or write for a project she’s in. As a budding humorist and comedy writer, it would be an absolute dream come true to have words I wrote being uttered by someone like Melissa. One day…
Seeing Color on the Carpet
One thing I couldn’t shake was the pride I felt whenever I saw someone of color on the red carpet. The Oscars is notoriously super white, so seeing people who looked like me there brought some joy to me, and Afrobella.
Patrice got to interview Esperanza Spalding, and they took a pic together. These two and their epic ‘fros!
Also there was the amazing and glowing Viola Davis, who dared to rock her teeny weeny afro on the red carpet. Although she didn’t win an Oscar that night, she arguably won by showing up to effortlessly slay everyone.
I can’t forget Octavia Spencer, who showed up looking beautiful too.
Here’s Diddy, who was there because he was the Executive Producer of the documentary “Undefeated” which ended up winning that night.
Excuse my shadefulness in this picture. My face has a mind of its own. O_o Even so, twas good to see Diddy looking like a Dapper Don on the red carpet.
Who else did we see? James Earl Jones, Lou Gossett Jr., Sherri Shepherd…
Being close enough to touch George Clooney
As the red carpet wound down, George Clooney came down and was interviewed by Stephanie and Tanya. The man is just as FAHN as he wants to be in person too. *faints* I was close enough to touch him! I didn’t though. I acted like I had sense instead of going to randomly stroke his collar like I should have. Hmph.
Sooo much more happened on that red carpet but these were truly my highlights. RIGHT before the show started though, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt showed up on the red carpet on some “we’re most important so you’re gonna wait for us” type stuff, and we (and every other press outlet) did.
First, Brad and Angie went halfway down the red carpet without doing any press. Then Angie left Brad and went back like “nawl I’ma do press.” Brad kept walking but changed his mind and went back to the beginning of the carpet to do press. hey now!
The interviews I did will be uploaded to my YouTube channel once they’re done being edited by FGW Productions. They’re high definition so they have to be edited down to allow uploading since they’re MASSIVE files. Will let you know when they’re up.
Going Backstage to Watch the Show
Our credentials not only covered the red carpet but we also had access to the press room backstage, which was pretty cool. As the carpet shut down and everyone packed up equipment, we headed backstage, which was a full floor with Academy staff and other press.
There are no pics from backstage because no one but Academy photographers are allowed to take pictures there.
There were 5 or 6 rooms but we sat in the main one, where winners came and answered questions. It looked like a huge classroom of press folks. Talk about officially official.
Also backstage was FOOD! There was an endless buffet of grub to feed us while the show was going on. The Academy surely knows how to treat people. And I THINK it was catered by Wolfgang Puck. After putting down our stuff, I headed straight for the food and ate more shrimp than I care to count. It wasn’t my fault that stuff was so delicious! I went back for a couple of helpings and I was feeling a bit drowsy there for a bit. If they had cots there, I might have taken a nap. ITIS IS REAL, MY PEOPLES! lol
But it was dope getting to watch the show from backstage. While in the press room, we got to watch the show on screens and listen to it through individual radios they gave us. So when we wanted to hear people being interviewed, we pulled the headphones off. I’m pretty sure that was a confusing explanation.
Also, we got everything without the 2-second delay. Including the audio of the dude from “Undefeated” who dropped the F-bomb onstage during his acceptance speech. Everyone back there gasped, but apparently, censors caught it so folks who weren’t there heard the beep.
One of the FUNNIEST things that happened was when Christopher Plummer won and came backstage. The first question someone from the press asked him was “In your acceptance speech, you said your wife saves your life everyday. What does that mean?” Christopher’s feisty self replied with “How could one be more clear?” and looked elsewhere for the next question as if that was the dumbest question he ever heard. WIG. SNATCH. Captain Von Trapp don’t give TWO dambs! I love old people.
All the winners came back there, concluding with Meryl Streep and Octavia Spencer, who were both very entertaining backstage. Octavia got asked how she felt about the lack of diversity in the Academy and she went “I’m the wrong one to ask. I’m not tryna get on that bus. No pun intended.” Hehe I’m not mad at her. They just gave her an award and folks were tryna get her to roast them. NAWL.
The energy was great, but so focused. Everyone was eating and typing at the same time. Folks had deadlines to meet and they were on it. Afrobella, Stephanie and I ended up sitting next to some very tired Academy staff folks who had been working since 6am that morning and they were TAH’D. We were too, and opted out of the afterparties. I wanted nothing more than to get in my PJs and sleep like I got paid to do so.
All in all, it was one of those days I will never forget. As someone who is a bit senile, that’s major. It was beyond awesome and I couldn’t stop smiling. Sometimes, my life surprises me and this was one of those times. I’m not sure what I did to deserve it but I’m so thankful for the opportunity. I’m thankful that someone (Stephanie) recognized that I deserved to be there. I’m thankful that it was everything I expected and much more.
And what made the day and experience all the more sweeter was sharing it with Afrobella. We’ve been somehow lucky enough to have a lot of adventures together, and this was the best one yet.
So, I’m thanking God for this blessing, and although I don’t know what I did to deserve it, I can only smile. Here’s to dreaming bigger than I was before, and to seeing these dreams come to fruition.
Thank you all for your support because it helped make it even more special. #LuvBellaLA was a blast!
Coming is the “What We Wore” post and you’ll see a video of us getting ready. 🙂
Read Afrobella’s Academy Awards recap post HERE.