We live in a culture where mediocrity, among other unwelcomed misfortunes such as grey hair, muffin tops, and oh God don’t say it wrinkles, is heavily feared. None of us want to be ordinary. We desire notoriety, billboards with our faces plastered on them, perfumes named after our favorite adjective; in other words, the modern-day American Dream. And when it comes to lifetime goals, maintaining a lavish existence is at the top of the to-do list. Never mind the white picket fence, golden retriever, and 2.6 children; it’s 2012 and we want that damn Red Carpet.
So when the founder of a young, vibrant, steadily popular online magazine gave me two tickets to a Red Carpet movie premiere in NYC last Tuesday, I replied with an enthusiastic “hell yes.” The amazing online magazine to which I’m referring is none other than ForeverTwentySomethings; and of course, that makes the generous fellow twenty-something culprit Samantha Matt, the founder we all know and adore. Thanks to her, my boring Tuesday night (minus the BetrAyal drama on Pretty Little Liars that is currently consuming my life) turned into one of the most memorable nights of my life. The tickets were for the pre-screening of the upcoming end-of-summer comedy “For A Good Time, Call…,” which was star-studded and fabulous, followed by the after-party event at Ajna Bar.
I, a mere commoner, was exposed to the sweet life (insert Frank Ocean voice). I sat front row to the designer heels, the $500 hairdos, the free marinated steak skewers/Grey Goose open bar service—I was exposed to it all. And let me tell you, once you’ve had top-shelf liquor and mouth-watering-every-time-I-think-about-it filet mignon, going back to Burnett’s Vodka and frozen veggies is as depressing and unsatisfying as it sounds.
I’ve gone back and forth about how I want to describe the celebrities I encountered on that blessed day, and I’ve decided that listing them in order of appearance would make the most sense. Here you have it—the inside scoop on which celebs invited friendly conversation, and which ones gave you dirty, dirty looks.
Russell Simmons: Yes, that’s right. The super duper millionaire entrepreneur with a net worth of $325 million who was married to Kimora Lee Simmons and has his name stamped on businesses throughout the country, including but not limited to, Def Jam Records? I sat next to him at the movie premiere and we brushed shoulders like 3 ½ times, NBD. Now it’s not exactly customary to have introductory conversations in the middle of a movie theatre, so I had no intentions of striking up a chat with him. The movie, not to give anything away, is a tad vulgar at times. One scene in particular discussed the term “NuvaRing.” As a twentysomething female, I know full-well what a NuvaRing is. Apparently Mr. Simmons has never been exposed to this form of birth control. So to cage that curious cat of his, he turns to me in the middle of the movie and says, with impressive volume, “A NuvaRing? Wtf is that?!” After getting over the initial shock of the situation I was in (which took about five seconds), I very politely said “It’s birth control that women put up them.” Easily one of the most informative, concise, awkward things I’ve ever said to anyone in my life. And of course, that “anyone” had to be one of the richest men in America. Oh wellz. He must have liked my response, because he asked us what we thought of the movie once it was over. Cool dude in my book.
Lauren Miller: I can’t really say much about her considering we didn’t exchange a single word, so here are some Fun Facts I collected while creepily standing three feet away: 1) She has really great hair, 2) Unbeknownst to me, she’s married to Seth Rogan, which automatically increases her level of cool, 3) Her taste in fashion is questionable. The dress wore the hell out of her, but the shoes were a solid eight out of ten.
Ari Graynor: I only spoke with her for a few seconds, but my overall impression of her was “Eh, she’s nice I guess.” The most I have to say about her involves her appearance. She arrived in a town car, fashionably late like every diva should, and looked unexpectedly stunning. She had this Marilyn Monroe, classicHollywood, blonde bombshell type look going on; and she totally pulled it off. Her hot pink dress hugged all the right curves, her hair was unattainably shiny, and her picture-perfect smile was the cherry on her cake of awesomeness. A+ for you, Ari.
Justin Long: I saw him for MAYBE 30 seconds. He seemed chill enough.
Seth Rogan: As one of the stars of the movie, you would think that Mr. Rogan’s plate would be pretty damn full on the night of the premiere. Well apparently, it wasn’t full enough to avoid catching me photograph him from two feet away…twice. Yikes. I guess my creeper skills aren’t as stealthy as I thought. As saddened as I am to admit, this dude is impressively clever. Oh, and really cute in nerd glasses.
Paul Rudd: Complete and total TOOLBAG. Every time someone approached him to praise his work or snap a picture, his face looked like mine when I spot oncoming bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway when I’m already running late—pure and utter annoyance. Dude, how do you expect to be a quality actor if you can’t smile and appreciate your fans when you have the opportunity to do so? Every celebrity should know that us regular folk go out of our comfort zones if and when we’re around celebs we admire. It takes a major set of balls to go up to a famous person and strike up conversation without sounding pathetic. No famous person will approach a local commoner and say, “So what do you do stranger? Do you like your job? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” If I’m being frank, most celebs probably don’t care. We know that when it comes to making conversation, the ball is in our court. We absolutely HAVE to make those 60 seconds as anti-awkward as possible. So to Paul Rudd and all other actors who have a six-foot stick up their rear end, stop making it so hard for us.
Elisabeth Moss: Just in case you didn’t read my Ode to Joan article a couple weeks back, I’m severely obsessed with the show Mad Men. No matter what TV show you’re hooked on, there are always those characters that you can’t help but develop a soft spot for even though they’re slightly annoying from time to time. For me, that’s Peggy Olsen. Half the time I love her because she’s a woman in a man’s world, completely confident in her ability to do what it takes to get to the top. The other half is spent yelling at her through my Netflix. Anyways, I spotted her while we were standing outside the theatre. I saw the new haircut (cute blonde bob that Miley should have got), I saw the tight black dress, and then I saw Peggy Olsen in the flesh. I immediately turned red and had a full-out geek attack right there in Regal Cinema Theatres; she didn’t even see me have it (thank God). But with the help of my friend who snapped me back to reality, I regained my confidence and actually found the nerve to introduce myself. She was cordial, bubbly, and maybe one of the sweetest celebrities I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Ari Graynor’s Dad: Ever see someone walking down the street or through an airport terminal and for some odd reason, they just look famous? It’s in their elegant stride, their distinctive choice of attire, the particular way in which they’re holding/not holding their luggage; it’s just a quality that some possess and some do not. Ari Graynor’s father, *INSERT NAME THAT I FORGOT HERE*, happens to be one of those “should be famous” people. Once we arrived at the after-party, which happened to be in the most swankalicious lounge I’ve ever stepped foot in, my friend and I headed straight to the bar to calm those giant nerves of ours. There we are, sitting on a velvet couch with grey goose cocktails in our hands (open bar people), when this man approaches us. He introduces himself as Ari’s dad and takes a nose-first dive into how proud he is of his little girl; he even broke down into tears at one point (I aww’ed a little). Why, in an over-crowded club filled with super-model-esque women and A-list celebrities, did he choose to talk to us, you might ask? Good question! Let me know if have an answer because we’re still trying to figure it out.
Jonah Hill: This, ladies and gentlemen, is one for the books. In 10 years, I plan on telling my children this story, who will then tell their children this story, who will somehow make sure that Jonah Hill is still relevant enough to pass this story along to their children. It was that momentous. Out of my peripheral, I noticed the curly-haired Jonah and made a beeline for him. My friend and I spent a good 15 minutes debating whether or not it would be rude to interrupt his lovely conversation until we ultimately decided that it had to be done. We went through the same song and dance: “Hi, my name’s Kristina. Huge fan of your work.” This wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to separate myself from the crowd so I told him that my boyfriend watched 21 Jump Street twice in 24 hours, to which he replied, “Doesn’t that make your boyfriend kind of gay?” He got me. I didn’t know whether to be in shock that Jonah Hill just called my boyfriend gay, or laugh because it was hilarious. I settled for both. He kept saying JK JK JK, but the damage was done. In my eyes, my boyfriend will forever be the guy that Jonah Hill called gay at a party in NYC.
All it took was one night for me to realize just how sweet the sweet life really is. What we see on the TV screen doesn’t quite do it justice. These people have not a care in the world when it comes to living large and loving every second of it. They drive cars that are worth more than my life. They party until 4AM on a random Tuesday night because work does not exist on Wednesday mornings. They own designer dresses, flaunt their diamond necklaces, and don’t stop to look at price tags. All it took was one night for me realize something else, too: celebrities are just like us. Maybe they have more expensive clothes and maybe they aren’t forced to work a job they hate, but they are people too. Their hair gets frizzy when it rains. Their feet hurt after too many hours in heels. They gain weight before they lose it, trip up the stairs if they’re running too fast, and carry an extra deodorant with them at all times. They’re just famous versions of us—that’s all.
Given another chance, it’s a fairly certain possibility that I will clam up in the face of an A-lister. But at least I know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they clammed up at one point too.