I was really, really proud of myself last week, because I successfully juggled ALL the crazy projects I am working on at once: MOMocrats website, MOMocrats podcast, MOMocrats newsletters -- and actual writing for pay!
I was still working IN THE ZONE when I received another email from the Ford Motor Company:
Ford Teen Driving Safety Campaign Joins Variety for Power of Youth Event
Ford is one of many automakers that sponsors a teen safety program. I dragged my daughter to one of their events a few years ago, and now that she's actually able to drive, I have been waiting for them to come back to Southern California so she can experience it behind the wheel. I signed up on their website and everything, and was a little bit miffed that I had not received an invitation to sign up for their event on Saturday.
So I did what any other mother with a contact would do: I sent off a wheedling email, asking if there was any way we could attend this event that was closed to the public. And my contact there was good as gold: she got us in.
But I really should have read the initial email with the press release.
And I should have realized that something was up when we pulled into the driveway at Paramount Studios and the guard asked, "Are you guests -- or talent?"
That was my first clue that this Ford Teen Safety event was not what I expected.
The second clue was when we arrived on the scene to check in and discovered a scene that looked like this:
There was a banner welcoming us to Variety's Power of Youth event. It turns out that this is an annual party the venerable Hollywood trade publication throws to honor the entertainment industry's youngest philanthropists and showcase their favorite charities.
I really should have read the rest of that press release.
We were near the entrance of one of the lot's fake standing city streets. I was supposed to look up another Ford contact at their tent, and could see it -- but first, we needed to get through a registration line, which consisted of about a dozen really beautiful youngsters -- all dressed to the nines -- and their parents.
In front of us was a gorgeous, skinny girl -- who appeared to be about 12 -- wearing about a pound of makeup and high heels that were killing me just to look at them. In front of her was a gorgeous African-American woman (who I guessed was a few years older), also wearing dangerously tall shoes. A young woman who looked a lot like the oldest daughter on Modern Family squealed an excited greeting. They hugged.
I glanced at my daughter, who was wearing cut-off shorts, a t-shirt, sneakers and no make-up.
Did I mention that it was about a hundred degrees on Saturday? I was feeling really sorry for all those young girls in full makeup and heels.
"This is not what I expected," my daughter said.
Me neither. "You know, there's a really good chance they won't let us in," I told her. "If not, we'll just do something else," I said.
An event worker went through the line distributing Cartoon Network-branded sunglasses. Cartoon Network was one of the sponsors of the event, as was Ford. Workers offered bottles of chilled water to those of us in line. We took some.
My contact at Ford was good as gold. We were on the list, even though we had no right to be there. We were given our badges and wristbands and made a beeline to the Ford tent.
The Jonas Brothers were there, being interviewed along with a kid in a wheelchair. I took a photo as surreptitiously as I could -- and captured a shot of the Jonas whose name no one can remember.
There was a lot going on with the teen celebrities and the Jonas Brothers and the like, so the Ford safe driving team were very welcoming, even eager to be interviewed and take us for a safety demonstration. It turned out that Saturday's presentation was on the dangers of texting and driving -- something I would have known if I had read that press release. This is why my kid is genuinely surprised in this video, when the instructor orders her to take out her phone and start texting.
Once I shot that footage, my job was done. We were free to wander around and enjoy the party, but neither one of us could shake off the feeling that we had crashed an event where we didn't belong.
We stuck around long enough to take a few more photos.
There was an Allstate booth where everyone was invited to pledge not to text and drive, so we stopped there. And when I grabbed Friday's copy of Variety, which touted the event -- and revealed that one of the honorees was indeed, Sarah Hyland, the actresss who plays Haley on Modern Family.
We stopped at the Ford booth one more time so I could get one more interview... and then, we made our way back to our own car to drive home. We had to walk down some steps to get there, and I'm really clumsy and have a bad habit of falling down stairs (even wearing flat shoes), so I always do this really, really slowly -- so I totally blocked another young event attendee, who wanted to go up.
"DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT WAS?" my daughter whispered.
It was Mark Urie, a favorite of hers when he starred in Ugly Betty. He has a new CBS-TV show, Partners.
"Well, that was your first Hollywood party," I told her. "I bet some of the photos will be in People magazine. Not of us, of course."
She was fine with that. And so am I.
But next time: I really have to read those press releases.