On March 12, I lost my red carpet virginity in a 20 year old dress, when I attended the 2015 ASTRA Awards – or subscription TV awards at The Star, in Sydney. It was largely a painless experience – unless you count the moment I was made to wait on concrete beside the ruby pile when the assembled publicists misinterpreted my barrage of questions –
“When do you want me on the carpet?”
“Where should I stand?”
“Are you ready for me, yet?”
“Is she allowed lips that size in broad daylight?”
(I didn’t ask that last question. I may – or may not – have thought it however).
Anyway, my relentless curiousity (or annoyed impatience) attracted a rather gorgeous young man with an earpiece who asked if I was media.
‘No,’ snapped my protective date – Phyllisse Stanton – CEO of Aurora TV – and all-round cool woman. ‘She’s the talent and I run Aurora.’
Oops. So now I’m quickly ushered onto the red rug and asked to head for the Media Wall. Sure, I can do that. Now, um… that’s…where is…can’t be too hard to spot…isn’t that just… Yes. Embarassing. Awkward. But the glam and flashes hadn’t gone to my head (yet), so I wandered back to Gorgeous Man with Earpiece (love your work, GV).
‘Um, hi, where’s the Media Wall?’
He pointed towards a white wall with media logos plastered all over it. Oh, you mean that wall. Finally I had a target. So I made my way there while luxe car after luxe car disgorged its primped passengers all around me. As I walked, I tried to savour the moment. It was a little cool and exciting and wow – is that Hollywood gossip reporter, Richard Reid? Yes it is – and next thing I know he has his tongue in my ear. Mwah-mwah darling, welcome to the ASTRAS.
Richard has done a few billion red carpets, so I watched him do his thing. Effortless. Charming. But I rejected his understated chic and chose ‘ham’ for my first foray into Pap Land. And the jaded photographers lapped it up.
‘Over here! Here, just over here, and here, here!’
So after a couple of fleeting interviews with journalists who kept looking over my shoulder for the ‘real stars’ (!) and a pre-ceremony schmooze inside, it was time for the Awards. Finally.
The opening stage act was a big, bold gorgeous performance of The Jacksons – Can You Feel it?. An appropriate ditty given the size of the butterflies doing the moonwalk in my stomach.
And then… Awards were announced. People made speeches. I tried to stay present. Then it was time. Super songwriter Sia’s dancing muse, Maddie Ziegler took to the stage with her troupe and twirled around to mega-tunes, Chandelier and Titanium. I tried to sing along, but my saliva had gone on a break. The troupe was meant to represent the ‘New Talent’ category – mine. You get the connection. Young, lithe, spangled little dancers – and me. Total synergy.
And the nominees are… Now the heart gets busy, racing, pounding.
And the winner is… Um. Uh. Silence. Pause. Nothing. No winner. What? Dramatic effect, really? WTF???! But after what seemed like three hours, my name was announced. Oh. My. Stars. Bring on the giddy. And the tingling.
You can watch my acceptance speech below – if you wanna.
Needless to say, the night was one of those life-highlight moments. It felt extraordinary and ordinary all at once. But Foxtel’s chief wiz, Brian Walsh, captured the feeling of the night in a speech that likened working in the TV industry to a magic carpet ride.
I gotta agree with the man. And I can’t wait for my next, shiny trip.
Some photos. Click to enlarge and view as slideshow.