Friday, August 27, 2010
Last night I took my first nose dive into being a member of the press on a red carpet line (though this one was green) for one of the biggest pre-US Open events of every year: Taste of Tennis sponsored by BNP Paribas! Some of the biggest ballers in the world teamed up with a number of the world's top chefs for great food, a few cooking lessons and lots of partying all to benefit the New York Junior Tennis League.
It was strange being on the other side of the rope after having spent many working hours as a publicist producing and managing events like TOT. That being said I was prepared for some moments of calm followed by an intense crush of celebrity arrivals, flashing bulbs and yells of, "Victoria, to your right!" and "Andy, just a few questions please!" Oh, that might have been me and it didn't work. A-Rod wasn't in the mood for talking - just cooking with chef, TV host and Billy Joel ex Katie Lee.
The first arrivals on the carpet were the chefs including Lee, Fernando Navas of SushiSamba, John Villa of Tao and Bart Vandaele of Belga Cafe. The ballers were next up and the first to arrive was Victoria Azarenka followed by Christina McHale, Sorana Cirstea, Sabine Lisicki, Amer Delic,Vera Zvonareva, Gilles Simon with Thierry Tulasne, Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters who was bravely working harem pants. Tennis Channel commentator and ex-baller Justin Gimelstob was also on hand and came through the line.
The pictures aren't the best quality - apologies! - because I literally had my hands full, but I achieved my big objective which was to record some interviews with the ballers. Vika, Sora, Lissie, Bepa, Kimmie and Gimel were gracious enough to stop by and answer some questions about tennis and food so look out for that video (edit: click here to see the interviews) shot and and now being edited by my friend Sam Zalutsky (www.SaZamProductions.com).
Oh yes, Grammy-winning musician and supremely handsome John Legend was also in the house for the evening. *sigh*
Once the green carpet arrivals were complete we headed up to the main event on the second floor. For some reason I had been told press was not allowed into the party but all that was required was a showing of our media credentials and we were in. The venue was packed with what must have been 150-200 people. The food was extraordinary as you can imagine and the music and drinks (not to mention the cute boy factor) were off the charts. Sam and I stopped by every food station to sample the world-class offerings save for some of the desserts.
While at the party I spotted Brad Gilbert, Sven Groeneveld, Lissie, sexy Sergey Demekhine (coach to Bepa and an ex-model) and Fernando Verdasco, who waved me off for his dinner plate when I asked for a picture *super sad face*. The only other sighting of the night was Mardy Fish carrying a bag and racquet as he headed out of the W Hotel.
All in all it was an awesome night. I can see why this event is one NOT to be missed!
Check out more of the images from the green carpet and beyond after the jump (click on the headline.)
[Photo(s): Down the Line!]