The Hollywood Awards Season will be coming to an end this weekend. As I sit in my living room on Sunday watching the 86th Annual Academy Awards, I will be reminiscing about my incredible night at the Oscars last year - one of the most fun nights of my life! I have been wanting to share my experience for almost a year now, but I needed to wait for some time to get permission to use these photos and videos.
For the past six years, my amazingly talented husband, Peter Kyte has been the production designer for the Elton John Aids Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, and his company, Senovva Inc. provides the video for the Academy Awards show(you will see their name on the credits at the end of the TV broadcast)! Every year since my husband has been working on the event, I have hoped to be able to come along. Last year it finally happened! Senovva asked me to take photos to document the transformation of the tent in the West Hollywood Park where the event was taking place. This was a very different gig for me, as I normally photograph babies and children, but I went with it and had lots of fun! The work that goes into creating such a prestigious event inside a 20,000 square foot tent is extraordinary!
This is what it looked like when I arrived
Everyone has a specific job (some have more than one!) and things can get pretty intense!
It's coming along...
I had to go back to the hotel to get pampered for the big night! Celebrity hair stylist extraordinaire, Eli Thomas helped glam me up! He even turned down Julianne Hough that night to get me in, but I've got connections...he happens to be one of my husband's best friends! Lucky me! :-)
And the real fun begins!!
I had to lose the big camera at this point so I could "blend in" and enjoy the night. So I borrowed a point and shoot camera from some friends for the rest of these photos! I followed Senovva's videographer, Shawn Klein up and down the (white) red carpet, snapping away at all the celebrities, and making background appearances in many red carpet interviews! Some of my a videobombing can be seen on YouTube, like this one: (I'm at 0:58)
I even ran into an old friend on the red carpet! Keltie Knight and I were both Radio City Rockettes, and we also danced on The Road to Vegas Tour with Collective Soul a few years ago! She is now a reporter for The Insider!
Guest performer of the night: Emeli Sande
This beautiful actress, Allegra Riggio (with husband, Jared Harris) actually asked ME for a photo with her at the end of the night! Hers turned out way better than my awful iPhone picture!
I ran into another friend too! Abby Miller of "Dance Moms". You may not know this, but when I went to college in Pittsburgh, I used to teach dance at Abby's studio! I loved teaching her kids, as they were all so talented, disciplined, and respectful! Later, I went on to work professionally with many of her former students! John Corella (producer for Dance Moms) used to compete in dance competitions with me back in the day! It was so fun to see them!
Thank you again to Julie (pictured above) and Dave for letting me run around with your camera to capture all the pre-party fun!
If I had my big camera, I would have been stuck behind the ropes with these guys in the press tent -
I was much happier here:
with True Blood's Ryan Kwanten
with movie director Aric Avelino
with my husband
The whole experience was just surreal! As a former dancer and model, I have worked with celebrities on numerous occasions, but NOTHING compared to my evening with them at this Oscars party! Maybe it was because I wasn't actually working, and was able to just be myself and have fun! It felt like being at a really big wedding, where everywhere you look there are familiar faces, and everyone is happy and laughing and being silly, and dancing, and taking selfies! The exquisite dinner was prepared by Chef Gordon Ramsay and his team. It was followed by a charity auction benefiting the Elton John Aids Foundation that included over-the-top donations such as a weekend at Steven Tyler's home on a private cliff in Hawaii. Some people bid nearly $500,000 for Sir Elton John to play 5 songs at their home for an entertaining evening with their friends! Then the guest performer, Emeli Sande got the after-party started when she performed and guests hit the dance floor! There were several other bars and lounges set up in the 20,000 square foot space, and everyone continued partying through the wee hours of the morning! The above picture with my husband was actually taken at about 3:00am, and I was ready to rip my feet off!
I want to mention that the lavish Decor Design was by Anthony Todd, and the Executive Producer is Virginia Fout of VF Productions.
What a night to remember!
Thank you so much to Senovva Inc. for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime!
Here is one last video from Senovva & Shawn Klein. It really captures the essence of the whole evening! (You can catch me for a second taking a picture of Anna Paquin & Steven Moyer)