They’re just like you and me—except more bedazzled
I can’t recall if this past Saturday was my seventh or eighth time attending the Film Independent Spirit Awards as a guest of sponsor Piaget (I may have missed one year—it’s all a blur). But I can say with confidence that by now, I am an awards show veteran.
I know how to dodge the red carpet gauntlet, how to play the “where is my table game” as I linger around the spots where celebrities are seated, and how to surreptitiously snap photos of the A-listers when we’re all crammed beneath a tent awaiting our Lincoln and Chevy Suburban chariots to arrive. (Exhibit A: the shot below of Rachel McAdams at the conclusion of the ceremony.)
My surreptitious snap of Rachel McAdams
When I attended my first Spirit Awards in 2009 (just two years after Piaget assumed the sponsorship), I reveled in the event’s irreverent, boozy, daytime atmosphere. By the time my sister picked me up that year, I floated into her car on a sea of Jameson. Since then, I’ve learned to drink (more) responsibly—and to hold these truths about celebrities to be self-evident.
1. They’re going to wear only what they truly love.
Shortly after I took my seat at a central table beneath the big-top tent that serves as the ceremony’s home on Santa Monica Beach, I was joined by an older woman with a big brunette up-do and a shredded black, white, and gray wool coat that looked way too warm for the day’s 80-degree temps. I could tell she was a New Yorker before she opened her mouth.
“Cindy Adams, New York Post,” she said by way of introduction.
Ha! Adams is no mere New Yorker; she’s the quintessential New Yorker. The legendary Page Six columnist wasted no time in quizzing me about my connection to Piaget. She was disarmingly honest about her feelings on awards season: “I hate these things. But they invite me, so I have to come.” And she tsked-tsked me for not wearing a watch. (I told her I couldn’t afford a proper dressy timepiece!)
As we chatted, the enormous gold and diamond New York Yankees championship ring on Adams’ finger caught my eye. I asked if I could see it up close and managed to get a not-so-great pic with my phone. She was quick to point out that her name is spelled out on the ring and that “Steinbrenner gave it to me.”
Cindy Adams’ Yankees championship ring
I appreciated her brusque but not unkind personality. When she departed in the middle of the ceremony without a word of farewell to anyone, I was not surprised. Cindy Adams does—and wears—what she wants.
When she walked away, the beautiful, young women seated to her left looked my way. She had the face of a model. But as I learned, she wasn’t just any model. She was Alexandra Richards, the daughter of model-actress Patti Hansen and Rolling Stone Keith Richards. She wore a flouncy orange-red dress accessorized with a stack of simple gold bangles and a thin gold lariat anchored by a diamond-pavé sphere.
2. The women look their best when they wear rich colors.
Take Piaget ambassador Jessica Chastain, the ravishing redhead who stars in this year’s Oscar-nominated The Martian. On Saturday afternoon, she wore a cleavage-revealing royal blue dress by Elie Saab, accessorized with a sapphire, emerald, and diamond necklace, and she couldn’t have looked lovelier.
Piaget ambassador Jessica Chastain at the 31st annual Independent Film Spirit Awards (photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Piaget)
Extremely Piaget 18k white gold necklace set with sapphire beads, emeralds. and diamonds
3. If you want to take a selfie with a star, just ask.
As I waited for my driver at the entrance to the big tent, I turned around to find best supporting female award winner Mya Taylor sitting on a chair behind me. Taylor made history on Saturday by being the first transgender actress to win an Independent Spirit Award for her turn as a prostitute on the streets of Hollywood in the Sundance darling Tangerine, which made waves last year for its unique selling point: Director Sean Baker shot entire film using the iPhone 5s.
Taylor gave a hilarious acceptance speech. When I see celebrities, I rarely do anything more than smile in their direction, but this time, I felt emboldened. “Congratulations on your win,” I told Adams. “You were really funny up there.”
I pressed on. “Mind if I take a photo?” She didn’t. “Better yet, how about a selfie?” It was that easy.
Spirit Award–winning actress Mya Taylor and me (with nominee Cynthia Nixon in the background)