Waiting along a red (well, in this case blue) carpet rope line is a strange thing. You wait, and you wait, and then you wait some more. And then, all of a sudden, people you’ve seen on TV appear before you. It’s really quite bizarre. Like, hey, that’s Mario Lopez. Or, wait, is that Tabatha Coffey. And then your heart about stops dead in your chest because, oh my sweet heavenly God, IT’S NAYA FREAKING RIVERA.
But, I just might be getting ahead of myself. For those who don’t know, I covered the GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco for AfterEllen.com over the weekend. Naya Rivera was the host and Sara Ramirez was a presenter. “Sex and the City” star Kim Cattrall and “The Kids Are All Right” director Lisa Cholodenko won awards. And I was there for the whole thing. I know, such a terrible gig.
So there I was with I’d guess about 20 to 25 other media outlets – some were photo services, some were for video outlets and many for online publications. Every outlet gets a spot on the carpet marked by one plain white sheet of paper. Luckily, not all the press showed up so my photographer and I didn’t actually have to squeeze ourselves into the size of an 8x10 sheet of paper. We had about two pieces of paper worth of space instead. (p.s. I took this crappy shot, clearly.)
As soon as one of the celebrities stepped on the carpet it was flashbulbs and the event publicist going down the line asking which outlet wanted interviews with which celebrity and then the celebrity’s publicist ushering him/her to each spot and then the celebrity smiling and answering a different variation on the same question X-number of times.
Right, but back to Naya. She came out relatively early, wearing a shimmering gold dress and some fierce, fierce matching heels. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like the second Naya Rivera steps on a red carpet, it looks like this.
Sorry that’s so ridiculously short. I actually took it on accident, meaning to capture still photos. Clearly I’m no professional videographer, so forgive, well, pretty much everything.
A few male celebrities walked the carpet before Naya (including Mario and the cutie who won “Top Chef: Just Desserts”). But, let’s be honest, we were not there for the boys so we let them all pass. And then, then came Naya. Now, it’s a little intimidating to have the first interview of the day be The Big One. I’ll admit, I wish Lisa or Tabatha had been first to at least warm up my routine and get the bugs out. But, hey, I’ll take my Naya anytime, anywhere over not taking at all Naya. You know what I mean? Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
First things first, she shook my hand. Yes, that’s my hand. Yes, I thought temporarily about never washing it again. No, I’m not that crazy and unhygienic. Fine, I am that crazy but I’m not that unhygienic.
Second things not actually secondary, she was very warm and very gracious and very articulate throughout my interview. She also gave terrific eye contact. I got to ask her six questions (again, you can read them on AfterEllen later today), and then asked her to do a video shout-out to all her AE fans. When you see the video you’re going to laugh at its jitteriness because I couldn’t keep my hand from shaking for some unknown reason. Have I mentioned how gracious she was? I feel like I can’t use that word enough. Or the word hot. No, wait, that’s the one I can’t use enough.
And then, after I thanked her and she thanked me (I know, wait, what?), she was gone.
I’m not going to lie, after Naya all the other interviews seemed like a cakewalk. It’s not that they weren’t important, it’s just the nervous butterflies and sweaty anticipation were over. Also, I learned Sara Ramirez wasn’t going to walk the red carpet. News like that will bring down your buzz.
The rest of the night’s interviews went smoothly. Tabatha Coffey from “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” was delightful. Also, she’s really tall. OK, I’m really short, but still, that one is a tall glass of lovely. And funny, too.
Lisa Cholodenko looked exactly like Lisa Cholodenko with her leather jacket and dark glasses and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” hair. I asked her about that movie, by the way. And that other movie. And that thing that a lot of you didn’t like about that other movie.
And then Kim Cattrall walked the carpet last. She was there with her co-author and psychologist Michael Bader. You’ve got to hand it to her, brining a shrink to the red carpet isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever heard of. She was professional and took her responses seriously. Though she was seriously not taking it when the interviewer after me addressed her as if she was Samantha. The line between fact and fiction is a serious thing when you travel with a shrink.
And then it was time for dinner (chicken and couscous, if you must know). Naya came out wearing a new white dress and opened the show. Sara came out next and they hugged while passing on stage. I did not get a picture of the hug, to my eternal shame. But here they are together courtesy of GLAAD and Roxx Vodka.
You’re welcome, lesbians.
More people got awards, more people presented awards. There was an acrobatic performance by a very muscular man in very tiny underwear from Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity.” There were some video montages. There were some touching testimonials. All Things Digital founder Kara Swisher won the local hero award and was particularly impressive with her acceptance speech because she was both a) extremely smart and b) extremely funny.
Then Naya was back, first playing a game with members of the audience called “Glee Gone GLAAD” and then to auction off “sweet lady kisses.” For a second, emptying my 401K seemed like a perfectly rational decision given the circumstances. But, alas, I decided to do the fiscally responsible thing and other people (a guy and a gal – more on that at AE) won. Whatever. I’m not jealous.
And like that, the night was over. Well, not like that. We’d been there for more than six hours. And there was an after party that included booze and music and a few of the night’s celebrities roaming about freely. (No, not Naya, though apparently she did make a split-second appearance before being whisked away.) I tried to get Nelsan Ellis, that’s Lafayette from “True Blood,” to give me scoop about the upcoming season. He wouldn’t, but he was nice about it. And Tabatha continued to be a hoot and a half. Though being around her did make me feel a little self conscious about my hair. (Too many fly aways? Not enough product?) And then, then the night was really over.
Wait, did I mentioned I made Naya laugh during my interview? Yeah. Every once in a while it’s not so horrible being me.