There are a few moments in one’s life where playing cool is absolutely necessary. Personally speaking, I’ve never ever been good in those situations. In fact, I’d say I’m close to spastic when it comes to the necessary cool. Bottom line, if you are looking for a laid back lady, you might want to look elsewhere. Now that we have that little bit of information out of the way, I have no problem telling you that when Evian asked me to attend and report on the 2013 BAFTA ceremony, I stood up from my office chair, raised my fist in the air and quickly pulled it down against my side, all the while screaming “hell yes” at the top of my lungs. Needless to say the neighbours now believe I was either re-enacting Meg Ryan’s famous orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally or just having a really good day.
For those of you that live outside the UK and aren’t big followers of the entertainment industry I’ll break it down the easiest way possible. The BAFTAs are the Academy Awards of the UK. In fact, in many ways they are so much more than the Oscars but let’s just say, to keep things short, they are part of the trio of “important” film awards that take place every season around the globe (the third being the Golden Globes). The red carpet for this event is legendary. Truly, it’s as if half of Hollywood boarded a jumbo jet and arrived in the heart of London for one night. Actually, that’s not an “as if,” that’s a reality.
So let’s take it from the beginning. In preparing for my night at the BAFTAs, I must admit that I didn’t have time to do much at all. I had the nails refreshed with a hot pink varnish to match my massive statement necklace. I tonged my own hair and attempted smoky eye makeup. I say “attempt” as it very nearly all went wrong as I looked at the clock and realised I had ten minutes to get out the door. Such panic of course caused me to run a streak of eye liner across my cheek. While I do wish to have Kim Kardashian like contouring going on with the cheekbones, an obvious black line is not the way to go.
For my ensemble I was very proud to represent some of my favourite brands on the red carpet. Yes, I had to walk the red carpet, but we’re coming to that so be patient.The main attraction of the red carpet look was my Hoss Intropia off-white and black floor length gown. First of all we have to acknowledge that a floor length gown isn’t something that is usually achievable on a frame that stands 6’2. So God bless the wonderful people at Hoss Intropia for creating dresses that are long enough! As it was below freezing on the night, I paired my beautiful silk gown with a Ralph Lauren Tuxedo Jacket with a Mongolian fur lapel decoration. For accessories I wore gold flats (yes, I did have to wear flats if the dress was going to reach the floor), and I carried a magnificent Devi Kroell golden lizard clutch. I must admit I was feeling pretty spiffed up and ready to rock when the clock struck 5pm and my car arrived outside the flat. I was BAFTA bound.
However, upon opening my front door and discovering that it was not only below freezing but also raining hard enough to warrant ark building, I started to question a few things about my attire. First of all, an off white dress in London rain is never ever a good idea. That sort of combination usually ends in tears and black spots on your dress. Aw, city living, eh? Then of course there was the fact that an umbrella really didn’t “go” with my ensemble. That being said, there wasn’t much that was going to keep me from finding the spring in my step. I hopped into the car and onwards we went to the centre of town.
Aw yes, if only it were that easy. I should have checked to make sure I could actually get to the BAFTA ceremony without a hold up of any sort. Turns out, Chinese New Year celebrations were still happening in town and every single road into Covent Garden seemed to be blocked. It was getting to crunch time, so I took matters into my own hands. I threw some money at the front seat, hiked up the skirt of my dress, launched the umbrella and began puddle jumping through the streets of London in a race against time to meet the red carpet before BAFTA closed the doors to all but the rich and famous, who were held up by fans seeking autographs.
In the end, I made it on time to meet my party and walk the red carpet at the Royal Opera House like a lady who is totally prepared and not at all stressed. I think I hid it well, or at least I hope I gave off that vibe. Luckily, upon landing on the BAFTA’s red carpet I saw a familiar face in the form of a security guard who has worked London Fashion Week for the past eight seasons I have been in attendance. Like a knight in shining armour he came forth, umbrella in hand and offered to escort me up the red carpet. And then I had that magical moment when you realise where you are and who you are rubbing up against. Unfortunately, George Clooney was at arm’s length, so not really close enough to “rub”. But there were plenty of other big names present that had me instantly blushing and equally thinking, “why did no one warn me how short most of the men are in Hollywood.” Yes, there was a bittersweet disappointment at discovering I tower above most of the leading men of my dreams.
We made our way into the auditorium, took our seats with BAFTA programmes in hand and surveyed the damages to our dresses. The bottom of my off white dress was no longer white, sadly, but more a greyish pink sort of colour. The red carpet was indeed soaked and perhaps a floor length gown was not the right choice after all. I can only imagine how the lovely ladies in Dior, Mouret, Oakwell or Vuitton felt as they watched the hems of their skirts change colour over the course of the night.
As the lights went down I began to feel a bit dizzy with the excitement of my surroundings. I closed my eyes and reopened them upon hearing the voice of the lovely Stephen Fry. He was our host for the evening and one of the best I have had the honour of listening to for any awards ceremony in my 32 years on earth. He filled the auditorium with laughter and admiration in equal measure. He spoke of his craft and the talents of those sitting in the Royal Opera House in such an amazing light that one couldn’t feel more blessed to be in the presence of such greatness. Truly, it was a magical ceremony.
By now, I imagine you all know who won which BAFTA but I will say, as a reminder, the big winners on the night were Argo, Life of Pi and Les Miserables. Guests and presenters on the night included Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, George Clooney, Helen Mirren, Sally Field, Sarah Jessica Parker, Palomo Faith, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson… and the list goes on and on. Honestly, I’d be here all night if I had to name them all. Like I said, it was like the Oscars, so you’ll appreciate it was a room full of big screen stars. Highlights on stage included Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck presenting an award together, Ben Affleck hugging George Clooney and Ben Affleck kissing his wife after winning the award for Best Picture for his film Argo. So I guess what I’m saying is that Ben Affleck was the main highlight. Forgive my prejudice. You could safely say I’m a fan and have been since his Gwyneth Paltrow dating days.
So as I sipped my Evian in my seat and wondered how this ceremony could possibly be topped, I was nudged and reminded we still had a BAFTA dinner and after party to go before we called it a night. Now here’s where things get a bit hazy and allow me to explain myself fully here.
After the BAFTAs ceremony, we were all herded into buses that would take us from the Royal Opera House to Grosvenor House for a sit down dinner. Back out into the cold and, now, snowy night we went. There were no more lovely men with umbrellas. We were left to fend for ourselves. As we were boarding big buses with the rest of the award attendees you could hear whispers in the crowds of those wondering if they would board a bus with Bradley Cooper as their seat-mate. Upon boarding said buses, we discovered that the A-listers, for the most part, were given private transportation to the dinner. Keeping that in mind, the dinner was another story entirely with everyone mingling together in one open space. The main room at Grosvenor House was magically transformed into a movie wonderland where each table was decorated in the theme of one of the five movies nominated for best picture. Truly, there are no words to describe how magical this whole scene was.I took pictures which you will discover herewith, but even these images can’t truly showcase our atmospheric surroundings that existed for the evening.
Upon entering the main room, I could not find my table to save my life. This led to a lot of wondering around and A LOT of celeb bumping. Now, I am a lady who never kisses and tells. Oh hell, I didn’t kiss anyone. What would Mr. FFG say? I did, however, shake hands with some remarkable and talented individuals. I congratulated many beautiful faces on their fantastic choice of attire and I finally found my seat with my gracious hosts for the evening, Evian. We sat together for a three course meal, enjoying the great company, wonderful table decoration and watched as the big screen came to life before our very eyes.
By the time the third course was served, it was nearly midnight and I was fading fast (I blame the party animals that live in my building who had kept me up until 4am the night before with their random attempts at singing Beyonce Karaoke). I do believe I couldn’t have asked for better people to attend the awards with as I do believe my constant hydrating with Evian was what kept me upright in the end. As they announced the after party was opening in the ballroom, I gathered the soiled hem of my skirt and my bag full of goodies and made my way up towards the party. I’m sorry to say, I lasted all of twenty minutes before feeling as if the world was collapsing upon me due to exhaustion. “I came, I saw, I collapsed.” That’s my way of describing my epic evening.
There are so many stories that could be told from this amazing event. However, I do believe keeping some of them for personal memories is somehow the way to go here. I will just say that if you are ever asked, never ever turn down the opportunity to attend and participate in this event. It is a night I will never forget and one I’m sure I will talk about for years to come. To my friends and family, I beg for forgiveness for this ahead of time. I have been BAFTA-ed and I’ll never be the same.
And there I’ll leave you with my toes just barely touching the ground, wondering how on earth I got here and what could possibly come next.