Everything I Need to Know About Fame I Learned From Going to The VMAs
And The Award Goes To...
Hey guys, good news. Next week, an amazing show comes out on MTV called Mary + Jane, on which I play one of two starring roles! As a result, MTV invited me to the VMAs last Sunday where I got to stroll down their red (white) carpet and talk about my upcoming show. I’ve done step and repeats before, but never on this scale. If you’ve never been to a big awards show, go, and if you get your pick of the litter, go to one of the fun ones like the VMAs. Honestly, it’s more like the best concert of the year with sassy dresses and free booze than it is an awards show. It was my first brush with true VIP stardom, which leads me to the real point of this post: everything I need to learn about fame, I learned from going to the VMAs.
1. If You Can’t Dazzle Them With Talent, Baffle Them With Bullsh*t
When you walk down a red carpet, you are escorted by a handler who writes your name on a white board so that press knows what to interview you about. Your first stop is to step, pose and repeat (which is why they call it a step and repeat). After that, it’s a gauntlet of interviews, and people can and will ask you anything. My new belief is that this is the origin of all celebrity snafus. It goes fast! You have no idea what’s going on, and there are words coming at you left and right. Plus, everyone’s trying their good goddamned hardest to smile and be pretty without getting eye wrinkles or being awkward in any way. I have no idea what I said in some of those interviews, but I do know that I accidentally “leaked” that Beyonce was going to perform at the awards show, because they kept asking me who I was most looking forward to seeing, and I had no idea who was performing, and it felt like Queen Bey was a safe bet. If you can’t baffle them with talent, baffle them with bullsh*t.
2. You Can’t Get Away With Anything.
I borrowed a dress from a designer I know and love in NYC (Garo Sparo #ILive!), even though I live in L.A., which meant that I had no idea what I was wearing until the afternoon of the show. In the end, I wore a red gown with black gloves, so black shoes made the most sense. Unfortunately, I hate black shoes, so the only ones I own were bought off the street in Chinatown for a play I did two years ago, and which I DIY bedazzled down the heel. When asked “tell us about your shoes?” I had a moment of total panic before deciding to double down and commit to the truth. “They cost a dollar and I bedazzled them because I have OCD and repetitive tasks are calming to me,” I said, and it felt good. It’s easy to catch someone making mistakes when they’re trying to be perfect, but you can’t get caught in a lie if you commit to doing you. In the same vein, one of the interviewers asked me to guess the Rihanna song based on lyrics. I got none of them right. How was I supposed to know Rihanna was going to be on the test!I should have made a joke about it. Never be afraid to make a joke. Even when you are on the spot.
3. Alicia Keys Won The Night By Not Trying To Win The Game.
Let me tell you what: if you’re trying to turn heads by having a perfect butt and smoky eyes and a body that everyone hates you for, stop. There are infinite women trying to play the same game. The truth of it is, it ends up looking like a giant wash of T&A.
Case in point, Ariana Grande (who I love) shook her sh*t on an exercise bike in neon pink and a crop top, and her performance paled in comparison to Alicia Keys getting up onstage to present an award sans make up.
Up close, Alicia was breathtaking, and knowing how much stress I put into getting ready and how many products were on my face and how nervous I was on the red carpet whenever someone asked me about one of my choices, seeing Alicia do what she did without comment or explanation took my breath away. Kanye tried to wow us with a sexy Teyana Taylor-thong-sweat-exercise-dance music video (which was remarkably similar to the s-exercise troupe offered by Ariande Grande and Nicki Minaj, or at least a similar concept), but the truth is, we’ve seen that (#Flashdance) or something close to it before. What we don’t often get to see is real skin on real people.
Here's my searing critique of Kanye's 4-minute speech:
4. Never Perform After Beyoncé If You Want To Stay Relevant...Ahem, Britney.
I was super late to join the Beyoncé train, as in I didn’t join it officially until last Sunday night. “Single Ladies” felt less empowering and more encouraging of the status quo. But, Lemonade was a HUGE departure for her in terms of what she represents as an artist. True, she got the lion’s share of the show’s pyrotechnics budget, but it was well earned. Britney Spears went on after her, and honestly didn’t stand a chance. True story, I have tickets to see her tonight in Vegas, so you know I am a fan, but bevel, bevel, hair flip in Swarovski's are weak punctuations to the bold statement of a woman singing about love and loss in a powerful lower register.
Here's me being relevant:
Bottom line, the show was awesome, and the only way to be truly relevant is to do something that is truly relevant. I’m sure Beyoncé didn’t set out to be a woman who made powerful music about a cheating husband, nor did young Alicia Keys think to herself, “I know how I’ll turn heads! In sixteen years, I’ll stop wearing makeup!” but that’s what happened in two extremely talented women’s lives, and that’s what makes them forces of nature and worthy of the gaudy title of “celebrity.”
5. . You're Not Missing Anything.
Fame is weird. The people whose primary goal is fame are a little club of annoying people who take pictures of each other all the time and ask if they can borrow your charger during Rihanna's acceptance speech. Fame is like candy for dinner: it’s the best thing in the world until you realize you have a headache and are still hungry for something with substance. To be honest, most of the audience was Instagramming or Facebook Live-ing the whole thing, so you didn’t really miss much. Maybe the open bar, but I’ve got $5 on a bottle of André if you ever want to re-create the experience.