However, when Hollywood hears “business casual,” they think hobo-chic--shredded, overly long jeans; thin-strapped tank tops commonly referred to as “wife-beaters”; and artfully scuffed suede sneakers (evidently the more impractical the material of your athletic shoe, the more it shows you have athletic shoes to spare).
Walking into the press hospitality suite at the Los Angeles Four Seasons, surrounded by urban streetwear-clad reporters from such outlets as Access Hollywood, US Weekly, and MTV News, I feel like the guest speaker at a high school on career day, here to tell the kids about the joys of accounting.
“Well, thanks a lot,” I think, silently cursing Paramount. I too would have worn the clothes I typically reserve for painting my house if only someone had suggested it. But on closer inspection, I realize there’s a trick to dressing poor while still looking wealthy. To achieve the hobo-chic look, your ensemble must be ill-fitting (either excessively tight or excessively baggy) and possibly even stained, it must be accessorized with Cartier watches, two-carat diamond earrings, and other outrageously expensive accoutrements.
These people look like hobos who have just robbed banks.
So though I imagine I’ll be able to find one of my husband’s old undershirts for my next trip, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any Rolexes hiding anywhere, so I resign myself to looking like a Wall Street in a bustle of Sunset Boulevards.
Then there’s dealing with the staff, or as I like to call them, the studio girls--attractive, vacant-eyed young women somewhere between the ages of 22 and 32 who are officially employed to help you navigate the chaos of the press junket, but unofficially employed to make you feel as if you have no business being there.
“I’m sorry,” says studio girl number one in a slow, modulated cadence as I attempt to enter the press screening of the film I am there to review, “but we don’t have you on the list.” After seeing that this pronouncement is not going to be enough to make me go away, she then finishes suspiciously, “Are you sure you’re supposed to be here?”
“Yes, of course I’m sure,” I reply, “since I can’t see why Paramount would give me this mini-vacation without expecting me to see their movie.” Studio girl number one then looks at studio girl number two who rolls her eyes and shrugs. Studio girl number one then hands me production notes and lets me pass with an exasperated sigh as though by permitting my entrance she is knowingly allowing me to scam her.
And as they glance wearily up and down at me while escorting me to the proper theater, I just know that this is all the fault of my horrible, embarrassing, businesslike Ann Taylor pumps! (Why oh why didn’t somebody tell me that rhinestone-appliqued cowboy boots are really the footwear that screams “journalist!”)
Finally, there’s the issue of dealing with the celebrities themselves, many of whom understandably abhor the whole film promotion process and will only bother hiding that fact for the likes of Mary Hart.
In front of you, lowly internet reporter, they will display noticeable irritation at having to answer any questions remotely related to their actual lives even though these are the same questions they cheerfully answered for Vogue magazine last week and will cheerfully answer again tomorrow for Entertainment Tonight.
“So, such-and-such star of such-and-such movie, I notice your character in this movie has a mother, do you also have a mother, and were you able to use that for your performance?”
"I’m sorry. The question of whether or not I have a mother is too personal. I can’t answer that.”
A good portion of the interview will continue in this manner unless the question is, “How was it for you to work with so-and-so?” And then the answer is always “Brilliant! He/She is just brilliant.” Apparently everyone in Hollywood is “brilliant” and I think how wonderful it must be to work in an industry where everybody’s work is brilliant and no actor is just okay.
So you see even though it’s not digging ditches, staying in five-star hotels, hobnobbing with celebrities and carrying home free goodie bags of movie memorabilia can sometimes be a tough job--at least it can give the old ego a beating. But I’m happy to do it for you, Townhall.com readers, because if we conservatives want to have an influence on Hollywood, we’ve got to be willing to enter the belly of the beast--even if the beast is laughing at our shoes.
Megan Basham is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide To Having It All
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