The Academy Awards Experience

It’s hard to know where to begin, to even try to recap the epicness that I just experienced in Los Angeles. So I’m just going to start with the biggest day and work my way backwards.

Bellas — being on the red carpet for the Academy Awards was an absolutely surreal and magical experience. Sunday was the realization of a dream so big, I never even dreamed it for myself. Who ever dreams that someday, they’ll be working the red carpet at the Oscars? Not this girl.

And yet…on Sunday there I was. Close enough to touch the stars.

All day, Luvvie and I were like…whoa! Is this real life? And yes, yes it was.

Let me tell you ALL about the official Academy Awards experience and the amazing people who helped to make it all possible!

Our producer, the incredible Stephanie Frederic, let us know that we needed to be on the red carpet by noon. “Wear comfortable shoes, cause you’ll be on your feet for eight hours,” she warned us. And boy was she right. Under my fabulous dress by Sofistafunk, I wore sparkly leopard print flats by Just Fabulous. And I was so grateful for them, given all the standing and walking we had to do!

The beginning of the red carpet is slow and easy. That’s when fellow reporters and cameramen can banter and network and there’s a really cool feeling of family amongst the red carpet veterans. Luvvie and I were so lucky to be working closely with people who know the ins and outs of red carpet etiquette, we had to jump in head first and learn FAST!

Behold — the FGW Productions team! From left to right – Don Mann, Afrobella, Tanya Hart (producer), Kurt Voss, Stephanie Frederic, Ellis Hampton, Chinh Doan, Luvvie, Deekay Kendrick.

In the early stages, the folks on the red carpet are mostly your fellow journalists and camera crew. That certainly doesn’t mean that the fashion behind the scenes isn’t worth seeing!

For example: Janell Snowden of VH1 looked stunning in a Rachel Gilbert dress.

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Taryn Southern for US Weekly wore a gorgeous gown by Peter Langner with jewels by Charles Winston.

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Debbie Sumual with Voice of America Indonesia, wore a “very traditional” Indonesian gown featuring both batik and beads, by Indonesian designer Raden Sirait, with SUPER COOL earrings from Jewelmint — want these!

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Maria Menounos is gorgeous in person and I loved her dress! She told me she didn’t know who the designer was…but it turns out that it was by Maria Lucia Hohan.

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Cynné Simpson of ABC7 in Washington DC is super cool in person and was gorgeous in Calvin Klein — she clustered three vintage brooches together to accentuate the look. And Cynné’s dress definitely captured one of the top trends of the day — asymmetrical, one-shoulder necklines. It looked great on her!

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Lara Spencer was resplendent in Carmen Marc Valvo, and she was very approachable and nice in person!

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If I had to choose ONE dress as THE DRESS of the day…I’d choose Nancy O’Dell’s. Her canary yellow Chagoury Couture gown was a certified showstopper.

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I’ve been seeing internet chatter about the dress, but I think anyone who’s afraid of color won’t like it. I thought it was gorgeous in general, but on someone with a deeper skintone it would have REALLY popped even more.

One of my FAVORITE trends on the red carpet – natural hair! And that went for stars behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera.

Superstar publicist Sonya Ede of SYE Publicity rocked her short natural hair with supreme confidence and a gorgeous navy asymmetrical gown.

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Fun fact — the stunning Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts rocks her natural hair! She wears it straight and short, but her stylist proudly informed me that she’s relaxer free!

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Before the celebrities hit the red carpet, renowned chef Wolfgang Puck came around to show us all of the goodies — the smoked salmon Oscars and chocolate Oscars he’s so famous for. And he generously gave us chocolate Oscars of our own!

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From that point on, the red carpet became a whirlwind of celebrity activity. For an overview of my experience, check out this video recap!

 

 

I can’t begin to name how many celebrities I saw, but I can tell you about the wonderful encounters I had.

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Esperanza Spalding is lovelier in person than she is in photographs (and she’s GORGEOUS in photos). I asked her about her Oscar performance and she admitted it would be special, but could say nothing more about it. I understood why, when we watched the telecast from backstage.

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George Clooney is deliciously handsome in real life but his personality makes him even more attractive. Where some celebs bolted inside ASAP, George Clooney took the time to engage with almost every reporter on the carpet. He’s charming, witty, and smart. And I was close enough to touch him!!!

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James Earl Jones and his wife seem like a lovely, happy couple. I was just honored to be so close to a living legend.

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When I mentioned to Louis Gossett Jr. that I am a born and raised Trinidadian, he put on a Trini accent and mentioned callaloo! And then we gave each other daps. Wish I had it on camera!

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Viola Davis was my pick for best dressed of the evening, because I loved the cut and color of her natural hair, and I thought that particular shade of emerald green was absolutely glorious on her.

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Luvvie did SUCH a great job with her celebrity interviews, and she got to interview some of the stars she was truly dying to talk to! Like Melissa McCarthy who is sweet and adorable and super funny!

After most of the stars hurried past and into the theater, there was a bit of a lull as we all waited for arguably the most famous couple in Hollywood. And all of a sudden there they were! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie create a veritable frenzy wherever they go. They didn’t have time to work the press line, but they did pose for a few shots, and in person Angelina is slender, certainly. But she certainly isn’t frail or emaciated. She’s slim and looks really toned. And Brad Pitt is an undeniably stunningly handsome man. They’re almost too gorgeous to look at.


After the red carpet, it’s time for the celebs to hurry inside for the Oscar telecast, and time for members of the press to get off the red carpet PRONTO. For some, the work day has ended. For most, it’s only half over. Anyone who does video pretty much heads straight to the edit bay. And the rest of our crew? We headed backstage to view the Oscar telecast in the press room.

Backstage, no photos are allowed. All of the female reporters have their shoes off and are rocking the flats they brought with them. Everyone is drinking coffee. There was a buffet of delicious food, but there were only saucers, not plates — so most people were going back for seconds and thirds, even fourths. The stars are ushered backstage for their interviews after they’ve won, and it’s a fascinating insight into what they’re like as people. Christopher Plummer isn’t a man who suffers fools gladly, we learned from the brusque answer he gave to a reporter. Octavia Spencer has become savvy in the art of question answering, as we witnessed from her deft refusal to answer a particularly controversial question. And Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin is handsome and charming as you might expect.

And in case you thought the Academy Awards ended with the telecast…you’re wrong about that. Cause after the red carpet and the awards itself…there’s still no rest for members of the press. After THAT comes the rush for traditional press to edit and post those Oscar recaps the morning after!

It’s been almost a week and I’m still coming down from my Oscar high. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who followed our tweets — even my family joined Twitter for the first time, just to keep up with what was happening! Thank you to everyone who tweeted us and used the hashtag #LuvBellaLA. Our tweets literally reached millions!

And the best part of ALL? Sharing this unbelievable experience with one of my best friends in the whole world. I’m SO PROUD of us!!!

Afrobella and Luvvie at the Oscars
Thank you Stephanie Frederic, for believing two bloggers could bring online attention to this most venerable of awards ceremonies, it was such a pleasure and an honor for both Luvvie and myself. Here’s hoping we get to do it again!

Check out Luvvie’s recap right here – and stay tuned for MORE Oscar weekend recaps! We still need to tell you all about what we wore!

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Comments

  1. Hi Patrice,

    What an amazing experience! I’m so proud of you.

    You look gorgeous in these pics!

  2. Congrats! Kudos! And hoping this is a sign of more to come! How awesome for you both!

  3. Wow! Such an amazing experience!You brought us bloggers to a different level. Kudos!

  4. Ohhh la la…. these dresses are really superb. I really like these type dresses ..

  5. Mabella agrees that the experience was surreal – we all felt it here at home in Trinidad watching it on tv. We love the dress that you wore – those colours always look good on you – the designer really captured your essence. Your hair and makeup also looked fab – who did it? As for the jewellery – where did those come from?

    We are proud of Luvvie also.

    From what we saw on the day and from this post, both of you greatly enjoyed your First (of many more) Oscars!

    Continue to grow and still remain you. Love and Hugs

  6. Carmella says:

    OMG I’m so happy for you!! What a great experience. Life is a crazy and amazing thing. You looked amazing and I never knew you were Trinidadian! I knew I loved you for a reason ;)

  7. SOOOOO awesome!!! words can’t even describe how happy I am for you!! Such an incredible experience to remember on for years to come…and hopefully more like it in the future! looking forward to more recaps;))!!

  8. This is so inspiring! Love the behind the scenes insight too. Congratulations!

  9. secundra beasley says:

    I teared up reading your story. Thanks for sharing it (especially the behind the scenes photos. Congrads to you and Luvvie.

  10. I literally got teary eyed reading this. I’m so proud of you two.

  11. Yo, when I saw Nancy O’Dell’s dress over at Luvvie’s crib I stopped there and gawked for like 5 min. I hadn’t seen it on the broadcast (and I didn’t see anyone talking about it after) so I was in awe. WOW, what a dress. I SHOULDA seen more coverage of that dress!

    This was a fab recap! So glad you got to experience this and you looked gawwwwww-jusssss! Glad you got to wear your color! ;)

  12. Queen Eye Cee says:

    You are worthy of & deserve this phenomenal experience because you are awesome, I’m so very proud of you & Luvvie!!!

  13. Awesome experience. Congrats to you both.

  14. I clapped all the way through the post! Felt like I was right there with ya. Its so exciting! proud of you sis!

    Peace

  15. This is amazing! I am so happy for you and Luvvie! It looks like you guys had an amazing time.

  16. I enjoyed your academy experience, a job well done. I especially liked the part where you mentioned you were from Trini. I am also from Trini and just came back from Trini carnival it was fabulous. Keep up the good work

  17. CaribbeanGirl says:

    So, so happy for you. Truly an amazing experience. Your dress was beautiful on you. Thank you for introducing me to Sofistafunk (now on my MUST list). Continue to reach for the stars. And, be thankful. When I think back to where you started, when I first read your blog – I smile and nod in amazement – did you ever think?

  18. Wow!!! Seems like such a fabulous experience. I cannot even begin to imagine how this must feel. You look stunning and happy. Great way to go, lady!

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