For a handful of "regular people," Sunday was the chance of a lifetime to get up close to some of Hollywood's hottest celebs.
AsNancy O'Dell, Tiki Barber and Brooke Burke interviewed celebrities on the red carpet, behind them in the bleachers, were dozens of fans in special VIP seats with a great view of the red carpet arrivals.
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And we were among them –– a lucky few who'd won a seat thanks to an office raffle. My sister flew in from Sacramento after only a few moments of cajoling and we drove up at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and parked at a special VIP lot, got our tickets and jumped on the shuttle. Standing in line we decided to come up with code words for celebrities –– "Magenta" would be a really big-shot celebrity, "Pale pink" equals a D-lister.
When we arrived at the Beverly Hilton, we lined up outside with other excited fans. Everyone had their cameras, sunglasses and their "golden tickets," which were actually pink or blue. Pink got you access to the upper bleachers. Those holding blue were disappointed at first but there was a surprise in store for them. Just before the limos started arriving, the blue passes were pulled down below to be on street level with the celebs. Some of them even got to shake hands with the likes of Beyonce and Tom Cruise. Amazing.
Production assistants with Dick Clark Productions briefed us on what was expected of us, the lucky few: We were to scream, wave and chant. Easy enough.
What he didn't tell us was it was our responsibility to KNOW who we were chanting for. That proved to be the toughest challenge of all.
There was the moment when someone yelled out "George Clooney" when it clearly wasn't. When we thought Kate Beckinsale was Evangeline Lily from Lost ... and when we thought Mary-Louise Parker from Weeds was Kate Beckinsale. The folks behind me called out "Will Ferrell!" when it was clearly Colin Farrell. Close. And the woman in front of me continually yelled out "I got his picture, who is he again?!" It was a blast.
The stream of limos was impressive. Who knew there could be so many in one area? There were a few taxis on the red carpet and an orange Scion. Odd. Also, it was very interesting how the limos were choreographed to drop off members of the same TV show all at once.
Then there was the moment that I spotted Kim Zolciak, Bravo's "real Atlanta housewife" who isn't really anyone's wife, as she walked across the carpet headed inside. Suddenly, Ms. Zolciak and her party were walking back to their limo and heading out of the area. Not being privvy to the conversation at the entrance, one can only assume Ms. Zolciak was told "uh, you're not a celebrity HERE, honey." See the pic of her driving away here.
Salma Hayek upstaged Tom Cruise by arriving at the end of the procession. She looked glamorous and turned to the fans to thank us for a hanging in there as she waited for her interview with Nancy O'Dell.
We packed up our stuff, took a few more pictures in front of the Golden Globe banners and headed out around the side of the building while the stars headed in. We were exhausted from screaming and acting like teenagers.
Then unexpectedly, yet another brush with fame. Suddenly the limo carrying the very-late Jake Gyllenhaal drove past, and proved you don't need to be in the special VIP seats to spot a celeb in Beverly Hills.