I'll tell you right now that I am not a celebrity. I know that may be hard to believe what with my extravagant lifestyle and frequent trips to both Marshalls and Ross for quality clothing at bargain prices. However, I've always wanted to live like a rock star (well, a rock star in their 50s who just naps a lot) so when Laura invited me to accompany her to the Eco-Oscars gifting suite at the Beverly Hilton I hopped a plane ($129, y'all) and prepared to party like I was Jennifer Lawrence ('s second assistant).
The Eco Oscars gifting suite, if you are not familiar, is actually a pretty awesome event. Celebrities get invited to partake of new products that are friendly to the environment and they get to leave with gift bags full of make-up, facial toners (girl, you know I took two) and trips. Media (which is what I was) get slightly smaller bags that include a light-up lip gloss but not a trip to the Bahamas. I asked Laura if we could somehow finagle a trip to share between the both of us, but she's a pro and gently told me it wasn't going to happen because we weren't wearing red wristbands or being escorted around by young women in fashionable black attire. And still I tried.
I hit the trip booth first where i flashed my wristband and was asked where I was from. "I'm with Jezebel," I told the woman.
"Hi Jezebel," she said. I tried to explain that my name was Mark and that I only wrote for Jezebel but she had already decided that this was my name and referred to me only as such during our brief interaction which resulted in absolutely zero trips that Laura and I could take or gift extravagantly to others (as well as the realization that in Los Angeles, Jezebel is not a strange name for me to have). Striking out in that department, I decided to ask whether any celebrities had come through the suite earlier (it was 5pm and the suite closed at 7) and she nodded at me happily saying "yes, lots."
"Which ones?" Laura asked.
"Oh, you know, everyone. People from Gravity," she replied.
"Like who everyone?" I pressed on, not letting it go. "Like Sandra Bullock?"
"Like Carolyn and John," she said, consulting a list, which I'm certain contained neither the names Carolyn or John. I'd never heard of Carolyn or John (who may have played some of the lesser vampires and werewolves in Twilight; we were told they had also been around), but just at that moment I spotted someone from Vanderpump Rules and ran over to take pictures. (Because this is how press do.)
While almost the entire cast of Vanderpump Rules had been through earlier in the day, Tom and Ariana had decided to come in the evening, possibly because of acrimonious relationships with other cast members (pure conjecture. I am entirely too obsessed with the show, which is excellent. Do you watch?) and possibly because this was the only time they could get their shifts covered. I felt like a paparazzo shouting "Ariana! Ariana!" through the small crowd that had formed around her. When she finally acknowledged me, our conversation was brief, although fruitful.
"I love the show!" I said a little too exuberantly after we had taken a picture. (Thank god Laura didn't use a flash.)
"Thank you," she said nervously looking around for Tom (with whom I did not take a picture). And then I made my fatal error.
"Do you still talk to Stassi?" I asked loudly. "Is she going to be here?"
"Not really." Ariana replied. "And she's in New York."
"Does anyone still talk to her?" I pushed on. "What is going on with Stassi? "
"Not that I know of, " Ariana said and quickly turned away leaving me looking out of place once again. Laura and I retreated to the next booth over which featured a line of beautiful leather outfits with jersey lining, which looked very comfortable. I was offered a handful of $20 off coupons and I eagerly stuffed them into my official gifting suite bag, planning to hand them out to my friends later as a sign of my celebrity status. "I'm taking the trip myself," I imagined myself saying to an enthralled other party, "but here, please take this coupon good for $20 off fine leather goods. You know what, just take two. I have plenty."
Neither Laura nor I were offered a jacket or a dress, but we were told that no one was getting one at the suite and could go to the actual store that sold them for a discount.
"What if Kim Kardashian walked in here?" Laura asked. "Would you jut give her one?"
"Maybe at a discount," the booth attendant told us. "People have been trying to take them but the owner isn't into that. If someone paid for it, sure, they could have it."
"But this is a gifting suite," I said. "I thought everyone just took what they wanted."
"We have the gift cards," she replied. "Someone tried to offer me $100 for a $400 dress, but it just wasn't happening." And then Lil Jon's son walked in and suddenly we were outclassed.
As Laura and I walked back to the entrance, where there were snacks, I considered what class of celebrity had to pay for things at giveaways. You must really know you're not on the A-list (with the likes of John and Carolyn) if you're offering to open your wallet and shell out what's inside.
The snack table, which was in full view of a step-and-repeat, featured a variety of cheese and vegetable options (which were fresh and delicious and miniature and my first of several dinners), but as I fumbled with a piece of micro organic purple cauliflower, a woman came up to me and said "will there be more meat? Do you know if there will be more meat?" Apparently, there had been more meat earlier in the day, but now it was all gone, leaving attendees with only twigs and berries to feast upon.
Here's the comely spread:
Before we left, Laura and I made another tour of the room. We drank many margaritas as we talked to a woman who offered us cards for eco-friendly spa treatments, got really excited about a new line of cosmetics that harvested all their mica in Utah and refused slave labor and chatted for several minutes with the event's PR person who was patient with me even when all I wanted to discuss was why NO ONE talks to Stassi anymore.
As we walked out of the glamorous suite, with its abundance of luxury products and crudites, and into the torrential downpour that had overtaken Los Angeles, a valet offered to fetch our car but Laura and I put our gift bags over our heads and ran for it, content for the moment to remain the little people.