I have dreamed of appearing on a red carpet much of my life.
Every awards season – from the Golden Globes to the Oscars to the Emmys
– I have curled up on the couch with Rotel dip, chips and chili to watch the
stars walk the red carpet.
"Who are you wearing?" Joan Rivers would ask, as cheese
dripped from my mouth.
Even in college, I watched the red carpet, much to the horror of my
"Why would Cher wear that
I would wonder aloud, although I secretly admired her screw-you attitude.
"Dear God, please let Shirley Maclaine win!" I would scream.
In those youthful days, I dreamed of being a writer. It seemed so
far-fetched. Who makes a living as an author? Who writes books for a job?
But I never stopped believing. Or working toward that goal.
An author always dreams that one of his or her books will be turned into
a TV show or movie. We dream that we will get to write the pilot or screenplay,
and that work will be nominated for an Emmy or Oscar.
We shouldn't, I know – my focus is always squarely on my current
manuscript – but we do. It's human nature to dream.
When I started writing for PEOPLE, I never dreamed I would work a red
carpet, as most of my work for them – like nearly all of my writing, book or
magazine – is done in coffee-stained sweats or a pilled robe that is from the
Carter years that I refuse to part ways with.
Gary and I escape the harsh Michigan winters to Palm Springs for a
couple months each year. While one would think I would be more prolific in the
winter – what else is there to do when it's a nonstop blizzard? – I do better
in the sun. I need the light as inspiration. I need to be outside, running,
hiking, getting some vitamin D.
Each year, Palm Springs hosts its international film festival
quite a huge event now, along the lines of Sundance, and it draws thousands and
thousands of film lovers along with A-list celebrities.
"You should cover it for PEOPLE," Gary said last year.
"You're already out here."
He made the dream sound so simple, and yet I never even considered the
So, I asked my editors, who supported the idea. And then I applied for
media credentials, not only for the festival, but for the red carpet and gala
"Black tie," the checklist stated. "HIGHLY
I had never owned a tux. I had rented quite a few in my day – for
weddings, mostly – but had never owned one.
When Gary – who had signed up to volunteer for the event once I'd been
approved – inquired about tuxes, a stylish friend ( Bella da Ball,
hostess with the mostest, social ambassador & fashionista), told him where to find the best buy.
Believe it or not, the tip was great: JC Penney not only had the best deals
and nice styles, but also it turns out that the J Ferrar slim fit brand fit
like a dream and was a steal (I got a gorgeous tux jacket with a very subtle
glen plaid for added pop, and Gary looked very handsome in his black tux and
purple-and-black bow tie).
I was very nervous as the red carpet approached, stomach-clenching
nervous, in fact: What would it be like? Would I get to ask questions I had
spent hours preparing? Would the stars be nice? Would I be eaten alive by the
That's when reality settled into the dream: Media had to arrive for
before the red carpet
I found my few inches of space on the red carpet – between PopSugar and
US Weekly, and only one down from the wonderful PEOPLE magazine reporter who I
met for the first time – and waited. And waited. And waited.
All at once, I heard the crowd scream in the distance, and I knew the
stars were on their way. Suddenly, publicists came rushing down the line: Who
would like to talk to J. K. Simmons? Does anyone want the cast from Gone Girl
? How about Robert Duvall?
I was able to talk, largely working alongside and with a larger group of
reporters, to Julianne Moore, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Laura Dern.
Reese Witherspoon and Rosamund Pike rushed by late on the red carpet, after
spending most of their time talking to fans. And, sadly, Brad Pitt didn't walk
the red carpet.
| Laura Dern|
Impressions? Because I know that's what everyone wants to know:
: Whip smart, sensitive, beautiful, lovely,
: Stunning and radiates an inner peace and beauty. (Photo Far Right)
Benedict Cumberbatch & Eddie Redmayne
: Intelligent, soft-spoken, sweet, youthful
but grounded, piercing eyes and thin.
| Benedict Cumberbatch|
: Everything and more I could have imagined.
: Looks good. Real good in person.
| Mary Hart|
I was able to chat with the cast of Gone
(Go and Detective Boney) about their spot-on Missouri accents, and
Eddie Redmayne shared what it was like to be a newlywed.
And the one question we got to shout at Reese? "Who are you
"Michael Kors," she smiled, waving.
The gala was long (speeches by Duvall, Pitt, Maclaine went on to their
hearts' content), but entertaining. I learned a lot from the other PEOPLE
reporter about nuancing questions and then going in for the one thing everyone
wanted to know.
I had one glass of wine only over four hours, because at the end I had
to file my notes to the editors.
And then? Gary and I got to go the after-party at the Parker. Where I
had many glasses of wine.
It was fabulous, over-the-top and star-studded: Though we couldn't get
close to Reese and Rosamund, who stayed only briefly, we did get our pictures
taken with JK Simmons and the Gone Girl
cast (who were a hoot).
| Selfie with "Gone Girl" cast members Carrie Coon (Go) & Kim Dickens (Detective Boney)|
| Selfie with J.K. Simmons from, Juno, OZ and Oscar favorite for his newest movie "Whiplash"|
And we met lots of new people.
What did I learn the most? People are people, be it celebrities, publicists,
media or fans. We all have a job to do, and do our very best every day.
I also learned that it's good to be nervous. It keeps you excited, on
your toes, learning, ready for more exciting adventures.
And we all dream: Dream our movies will be blockbusters, our clients
will get get a feature in PEOPLE, our writing will touch people and that we
will meet our favorite celebrities.
And now? Now, I dream of something even bigger. Not covering the red
carpet, but actually walking the red carpet. As a nominee.
Isn't that why we dream? Because we must?
And because, every now and then, dreams do come true.