If you think The Oscars is all caviar, Champagne, big stars and free stuff, you’re right!
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This Sunday, Feb. 24, when Hollywood royalty comes together at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the 91stAnnual Academy Awards, I know exactly where I will be; at home. I’ll be in my favorite organic cotton robe, propped up in my bed, watching The Oscars with the dog and cat hogging our comfortable real estate.
And yet, I’ll know exactly what it feels like to walk down that red carpet, to mingle with celebrities, to snag swag at VIP gifting suites and to indulge in non-stop caviar. Because last year, I was there, thanks to winning the live auction for this once in a lifetime experience at the LeapFrog fundraiser for Kinderfrogs School at TCU.
It was hands-down one of the most incredible experiences EVER, courtesy of our dear friends, Angelique, and Mike De Luca! The coolest part? Not only was Mike producing the Academy Awards for the second year in a row, but they are seasoned insiders of the industry too.
I am going to reveal to you exactly how the entire weekend went down for the Chosen Ones of the entertainment industry (and me!). It was also one of the most stressful experiences of my life, and I’m gonna tell you about that and what I learned.
Prepping for the Oscars is a full-time job!
Celebrities start their Oscar-prep early, meeting with top fashion stylists to plan their red carpet looks. And I did that, too. Nearly eight weeks before the Big Day, Angelique and I met with Dallas’s top couturier, Michael Faircloth, to get measured for gowns that would be chic, slimming and comfortable.
And because I had a dream dress made just for me, I wouldn’t have to worry about being caught in one of those awkward “who wore it best” situations with Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett.
Unfortunately, the dress wasn’t quite ready by the time Jason and I headed west, so the designer promised to overnight it to arrive by noon on Friday. Now hold that thought, because I am coming back to it in a minute.
I also kicked my beauty routine up a few notches and put my hair game into overdrive with taped-in extension. I reached out to a few experts in the beauty industry and Ben, the co-owner of Novak Hair Studios and his ultra-talented sidekick Madalyn Porche were recommended with the best of the best reviews.
On top of the standard norm of manicures, pedicures, lash extensions and spray tans, I hired local celebrity makeup artist, Shannon Dowling, owner of Something You, to teach me some camera-ready makeup tricks for the big weekend.
Watch Out Hollywood, Here Comes SFWI
The buzz of excitement was in full effect as we waited in the DFW Admirals Club before our flight. Celebratory cocktails were in order!
The Christy & Angelique Show at DFW Admirals Club
Day Before the Oscars
Then it was time to head to the Dolby Theater for rehearsals. Check-in and security at the Dolby Theater were tighter than a bandage dress on a Kardashian. Thankfully, we breezed through each checkpoint along the maze of backstage hallways thanks to our name being on the “I Am Cool, You Are Not” list.
Stepping into the actual theater was surreal. I was shocked at how small it looked compared to seeing it on TV. There were scattered groups of people seated in the rows of chairs and also some standing around the sides of the auditorium as people rehearsed on stage.
Houston, We Have a Problem
It’s hard to process what happened next, but it went something like this. Michael Faircloth texted me with a dress update. He shipped it, but UPS had lost it, and he suggested I start implementing Plan B. Or rather, Plan WTF.
I am going to interrupt this fabulous story about the Oscars to share my Five Rules for Dealing with Dress Disasters. I followed this to a T and ended up with a dress that was even more stunning than the one I was originally going to wear.
I wish someone had shared this wisdom with me that day. It would have saved me a lot of time, especially when an internationally televised red carpet walk was less than 24 hours away!
Dealing with Dress Drama
- Breathe, take a sip of Champagne and relax. You got this.
- Make a list of everyone you know who can help you, reach out to them immediately and call in some favors. In my case, I called my go-to personal shopper from Neimans to pick her brain. I also called the hotel concierge for help as well as a couple of boutiques that carried dresses by designers that I knew fit my body well. The concierge set up an emergency appointment with a seamstress while I hopped into an Uber to do a blitz shop before stores closed in less than an hour. I felt like I was on one of those game shows where you have 60 seconds to solve a puzzle before the buzzer goes off.
- Kiss your budget goodbye. This is no time for bargain shopping. Great if you find something on sale, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you can’t decide between dresses, buy them all and handle returns later. Time is of the essence!
- Confirm that the bra and Spanx you have still work with your new dress.
- Breathe, take another sip of Champagne and relax. You did it!
I’m not going to lie; my adrenals went into overdrive when I received that text. We had to cancel special dinner plans at Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica in lieu of a wardrobe crisis. Oh, and in that lost UPS box was the De Luca’s daughters dress too. So while I was frantically pulling my plan B together, Angelique was in a panic to find a gown for their 10-years-old daughter.
With five previous failed attempts, I finally secured a seamstress through the hotel concierge begging over the phone that I would pay double for the emergency alterations. She accepted. Jason and I then hopped into an Uber and arrived at Oscar de la Renta 45 minutes before closing. Since they knew we were coming, they had five dresses pulled and already hanging in a dressing room.
All the dresses I tried on were lovely, but only one was worthy of an Oscar nomination. Hopeful that UPS would still deliver the dresses before the night was over, I asked if my purchase would be returnable. They told me no. Whatever, I didn’t have a choice in the matter, so I charged away!
Suddenly I found myself in need a strapless bra. Our next stop? The Grove Mall. While on our way to buy a brazier, I got THE phone call. UPS had finally delivered the Faircloth designer gowns. Umm, that’s what I call a day late and a dollar short! Insert eye roll and facepalm.
We finally made it back to the hotel for my 8:30 pm alterations appointment. When the seamstress started pinning my dress, she told me she had been waiting all day for an emergency call like this! Insert another eye roll. I guess I would too if someone offered double for my services. I never asked her rate, and I assumed the total would be around $500-600. After she pinned my hem and a little bit in the waist, she told me the amount would be – drum roll, please. Thirteen hundred bucks! I mean, I just love being taken advantage of. It just warms my soul. She had me by my lady balls. What could I do?
Fast forward to 10 pm; I was well on my way to having a brand-new Oscar de la Renta gown ready by Sunday at 9:00 am. I knew it looked great on and made me feel like one of the movie stars I was there to see! Now it was time to change into a fun number and hit the Oscar pre-parties.
Celebs and Swag
Saturday evening was all about the pre-party. We had an invite to the most exclusive, most high-profile of them all, the Night Before party. Hosted by none other than Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg on a sounds stage in the Fox Studios lot. I know, right!
The party benefited the Motion Pictures & Television Fund, which provides social services, financial services and other programs for seniors who worked in the industry, as well as those who care for them. I am not sure how much of our $15K couples ticket went to benefit these programs, but I was relieved that it was a gift and didn’t end up on my Palladium Card along with (gulp) the new dress.
By the way, this event raised over $5M. I suspect it had a bit to do with all the incredible selection of corporate sponsors – there were 11 of them that I counted, and I know this because they all gave out amazing swag! Ford even gave away a Mustang that night! I felt like a kid in a candy store going from one sponsorship booth to the next trying out all the experiences this pre-Oscar’s party had to offer!
MPTF Oscars Pre-Party
When we left around 2 am, we were so loaded with swag, I thought I was going to need a Sherpa to get it all back to the hotel. Thank goodness I brought an empty piece of luggage with me. I may not know which way is up or down on any given day, but I definitely know how to strategize when it comes to extreme VIP gifting.
As one Cinderella Moment ended on Saturday night, an even bigger Cinderella Moment began the next morning at the Ciel Spa with hair, makeup and a spray-tan that was so thorough I felt like I had highlighted, contoured and bronzed in just about every crack on my body.
Finally, I was red-carpet ready and now choosing between the fabulous custom made Michael Faircloth creation or the brand-new Oscar de la Renta gown I fell in love with. I knew I couldn’t wear them both, so I let the SLS concierge and my photographer help choose. Of course, Jason agreed with them too. Can you guess which one I picked?
Oscar de la Renta Oscars Dress
The check-point situation was balls-out crazy, and our 15-minute drive to the theater took over an hour. Now I understand why celebrities are always late! I finally experienced the magical walk down the Oscars Red Carpet and here are three things I learned:
- It’s VERY crowded.
- It moves super fast.
- Being 5 feet tall is the perfect height to film people’s butts in front of me.
Mira Sorvino & Ashley Judd on the Red Carpet
So Fort Worth It on the Red Carpet
Press Photos with the De Luca's
We were finally in! But it was only 3 pm, and we still had nearly 3 hours until show time. There wasn’t much to do but eat caviar in the green room. FOR REAL! The green room was sponsored by Rolex and tricked out to look like a chalet in the Swiss Alps.
I noshed nonstop on caviar and smoked salmon, washing it down with flutes of Champagne. I also chit-chatted with my new BFFs, maybe you’ve heard of them? Laura Dern, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Taraji P. Henson, Armie Hammer and Eva Marie Saint. They were all there! (Although the BFF part may be slightly exaggerated).
The VIP overload continued once we took our seats in the theater. (Which were BTW next to the entire cast and crew of Dunkirk! I mean? WOW!). Angelique sat on the fourth row with her mom and two children while Mike took his position backstage at the nerve center.
Jimmy Kimmel hooked everyone up with a “lunch box” of delicious snacks so, even though the event lasted THREE HOURS, we were never hungry!
Super cool moment of the night? We got to move up to the 4th row with Angelique when her mom took their sleepy son back to the green room!
Jimmy Kimmel's Academy Awards Lunch Box Reveal
I Loved The Movie Chadwick Boseman
Post Oscars Producers Wrap Toast
Once the show ended, and we gobbled down the last Jimmy Kimmel snack, we joined the crowd heading backstage to celebrate the wrap with the crew. Along the way, we had a quick chat with Chadwick Boseman. I tried to act casual, even though I was super freaked out to be in the presence of the leader of the Kingdom of Wakanda!
Being backstage with the entire Oscars production crew for the wrap party probably wasn’t much different than a post-production wrap party at Casa Manana, except Jimmy Kimmel was there! Other than that, totally same same.
Jimmy Kimmel's Post Oscars Toast Backstage
90th Oscars Governors Ball
We finally arrived at the Ray Dolby Ballroom for the Governor’s Ball around 11:40 pm and the party was ab-so-lute-ly poppin’! Once we evicted the seat-stealing randos from our reserved table, we settled in, sat back and let the waiters pamper us with more caviar.
Mira Sorvino & Ashley Judd Outside The Governors Ball
Inside The 90th Governors Ball
Did you know Chef Wolfgang Puck whipped up more than 60 delicious dishes for ball attendees featuring luxe ingredients like wagyu beef, French black truffles, and edible gold? But for me, it was all caviar – easier on my no-meat diet. I heard that there was $35,000-worth of caviar at the ball, and I estimate I consumed about $1K of it. Plenty left for the other 1500 guests! But I did save room for dessert!
My biggest regret was not getting up and walking around more. I did, however, walk to the dessert bar, shaving probably 10 calories off the thousands upon thousands that I consumed at that all-you-can-eat-high-fructose-buffet. In case you think all I did was eat, the truth is, I also drank a lot. You would too if they were pouring $150K worth of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne.
A highlight from the evening? When producer Darla K. Anderson, winner for Best Animated Film for Coco, stopped by our table to get a quick pic with Mike.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Post-Oscars Party
In case you thought we were wimps who quit partying once we were seated with champagne and caviar, you THOUGHT WRONG! We took our stamina to the next level and headed to Jimmy Kimmel’s after-party in West Hollywood at The Lot, which was also his wife Molly McNearney’s 40th birthday bash. I was so energized, I could have stayed up ‘till the cows came home. I just didn’t want the night to end!
Jimmy Kimmel's Post Oscars Party
I spotted Jennifer Aniston, and I almost tinkled myself. She is absolutely gorgeous. I was determined to get a picture without looking like a mental patient in the process– and I did. I’ve posted it below. I mean, we’re practically BFFs now that shes found out how tight we are with Chadwick Boseman. #TeamAniston for life, baby!
Although this was another big foodie event, we were stuffed from our caviarpalooza at the Governor’s Ball. The drinks were flowing with multiple cocktail stations and mixologist, and I was starting to see a pattern between Jimmy’s party and all the other Oscar events: the presence of MUCHO SWAG.
Dude, this party was SWAGALICIOUS, and we shamelessly snagged as much as we could possibly carry. Jimmy thought of everything (or rather, his party planners did) and our parting gifts were boxes of Shake Shack burgers and fries for the road. When we got back to the hotel room, I slammed those fries like a mother and even tried a teenie tiny bite of the burger – I didn’t want to disappoint Jimmy. Then, I slept like a baby.
SoFortWorthIt Oscars Swag GIVEAWAY!!!
The Oscars are exhausting, y’all. I’ll definitely be cheering for all the stars this year, especially since I know the kind of caviar-Champagne-and-swag-filled night they’re experiencing. And you know what? I want you to experience what it’s like to get arm-loads of bags and swag too!
That’s right folks, I’m giving away EVERYTHING* I was given from the sponsored gifting suits at the pre and post Oscars parties. This collection of loot is valued at over $1000.
**Please read the TERMS & CONDITIONS for the official rules at the giveaway link below, including following all requested social media accounts and being subscribed to the SoFortWorthIt newsletter for your entry to qualify.