I am applying for jobs in event planning again after a break of three years. I was so burnt out I thought I would never do it again, which was a shame since I loved it and was great at it (probably because I loved it). A post on Casapinka reminded me of one of the great experiences I had in that phase of my career. This one was a doozy.
A couple of year ago, when I was in public relations, I worked a big fundraising event in New York for a very worthwhile charity involving women and microfinance. Surprisingly, Vogue magazine contacted us to arrange a table for Anna Wintour and guests! You have no idea how giddy this made me. No one else in the office was as impressed though.
So working at the sign-in table with about 10 young DC women, I was the only person who recognized the designer John Galliano,(!) when he arrived. Now if you have seen him before you know that a lot (well, most) times he looks like a strung-out street junkie. Well, he did not disappoint that night either. He wore a VERY loosely woven macramé vest, calf-length khaki pants and sandals...in April! In fact, even I would say that combination of his extreme tan, smarmy Dali-like mustache, eyeliner, and his waist-length uncombed hair, gave him the look of a person who probably smelled bad. He, however, was escorted by the incredibly gorgeous and classy Anh Duong.
I have a magazine spread on her from 10 years ago in one of my fashion scrapbooks and she looked exactly the same!
At sign-in, I had almost missed them. I arrived just in time to see some of the girls look around as if they had no idea what to do next. They could not find his seat arrangements. (I've always had the feeling that they were not even trying, instead thinking he was a gatecrasher because of his appearance.) That's when I came to the rescue. Seriously.
I walked up to table, found their packets immediately, welcomed them, handed them their materials, and wished them a great evening, all without ever consulting the guest list or asking "the girls" what the problem was. The "girls" probably hated me but they were making the company look bad. I could tell from the look on his face that he thought they were idiots. I don't remember getting a thank you from either guest, but that doesn't matter. I still say I met J. Galliano and Anh Duong and that I made part of their evening better.
I sure showed up those DC chicks who had been trying to change my sign-in system from the minute they got there. I guess I showed them that it wasn't the system's problem, didn't I?
Of course, I spent the rest of the evening explaining to all the organization higher-ups who Galliano was too. If only I could have instructed everyone working the event to stop making that face when looking at him. I was probably the only person who treated him with respect the whole night, and that event was supposed to be a benefit. He probably did not give a dime. Would you blame him?*
*Actually I would, but it wouldn't make as good of a story.