It had been too long since my last trip to the red carpet. Three months too long actually – since the Die Hard premiere at Radio City Music Hall when my sister was in town. While it’s been nice having my evenings back (or the majority of them, at least), I’d forgotten that event reporting can, at times, be fun. Especially when you’re sharing it with fun people.
When Bronwyn called me this morning in desperate need of an InStyle reporter for events tonight and tomorrow, I was weary. I’d worked a full 10pm-6am day at Lucky the day before THEN 6pm-3am at Us Weekly (yes, I quit Us months ago, but I’m weak when people ask for favors). But Bronwyn is basically my idol (a chica who bums around southern Europe and Africa for years, then moves to D.C. to work at National Geographic, before relocating to NYC and quickly rising to entertainment editor status at InStyle? A motivated, free-spirited woman after my own heart!), and I can’t bear to let her down. So I said yes.
The event was a Wall Street Concert Series charity event (charity events, my least favorite typically – remember Richard Gere bitching me out at the amfAR event at Cipriani 42nd Street? ‘Nuff said); however, this was a rare case. Although it was Cipriani Wall Street, and I hate venturing south of Canal like I hate those people who enter a bathroom and occupy the stall next to you when the other 17 are vacant, but it was for Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and her charity, along with UNICEF. Rihanna and Akon were both performing, and I have to say the three of them were three of the most pleasant celebrities I’ve ever interacted with. (Random aside: I was completely expecting the umbrella jokes to run rampant, especially if it started pouring as The Weatherman predicted. What I did not expect was for the rain to come at the exact moment I got to talk to Rihanna on the carpet – just as her bodyguard emerged behind her and held an umbrella over her head. Talk about irony right there. “Do you always travel with an umbrella holder?” “No! I didn’t even know he was there, I swear!” she laughed.)
Lucky for me, one of my favorite red carpet pals, Kara, was there with her adorable brother, Devin, in tow, making my staying for the event itself inevitable (because, honestly, who wants to stick around for a fancy dinner with New York socialites when you don’t know a soul?). The NY Mag girls were in attendance as usual, as was lovely Alison from South Africa with the lovely accent and even lovelier personality. Other than that, the carpet was rather deserted and suspiciously tame. We went inside after speaking to the three aforementioned do-gooders (and I mean that in a positive, unsarcastic light – not in the facetious “Jessica Simpson is giving money to underprivileged models with nose jobs gone wrong in the Congo” sort of tone) and devoured the decadent cuisine for which Cipriani is known.
Then we rocked out to Rihanna and Akon, who I must say are have quickly risen to the top of my list in terms of musicians I would actually go out and by a CD of. I’d previously met Rihanna, when she performed at the EW Must List party in June, which I covered as the in-house reporter, but she is truly stunning, like a china doll with the most perfect skin. You want to touch her because she doesn’t look real, yet refrain for fear of leaving fingerprints. Although I only had my small digital Canon and had a room full of obnoxious bankers and brainless models in front of me (agencies purchase tables at these type of events and send their products there for face time) – by the way, do you know how absolutely hilarious it is to see middle-aged Wall Street types shaking their booties and grinding their hips to the live music of Akon? – I tried to film a bit of each performance as it was, if I do say so myself, quite an entertaining evening.
And thus, I give you a clip of The Most Overplayed Song of the Summer, Which You Still Won’t Turn Off When It Comes on the Radio Because It’s Just That Freakin’ Awesome. (Ignore the annoying guy with no rhythm at the table in front of me.)
AND my newest celebrity crush, Akon. Who knew? He did a little striptease number for us, which I must say helped sway my opinion of him just a teensy bit (in a good way, of course). But just look at that smile! Those abs (sorry, Scott – second only to yours, of course!)! That bling!