Thursday, February 20, 2014

My red carpet adventure

I've been sitting here staring at the "write new post" button for a while now and let me tell you, it was tough to click it and start writing this. I'm exhausted. I am so tempted to take a nap until my creative writing class at 2pm, but I suppose it makes more sense to write now instead of late tonight.

The reason I am so tired is because I woke up at 4:15am yesterday morning to get to the O2 Arena in by 6am to meet Anna and Megan. We decided to try to get wristbands for the Brit Awards red carpet. Yes, I know, we sound crazy. We are crazy. But we planned ahead and packed the necessities so we would survive the day without freezing or starving to death. None of us had class to we thought, "why not?"

It was in the 40s when I left to go to the arena so I wore leggings, jeans, two pairs of socks, leg warmers, boots, a cami, a long-sleeved shirt, a huge sweater, my rain jacket, my peacoat, gloves, a hat, and my biggest, warmest scarf. I packed a sandwich, chips, water, ibuprofen, a blanket, playing cards, a notebook, a sharpie, a book, an umbrella, and a few other odds and ends. I was so prepared for the day and I think that's probably the only reason I survived it.

The Baker Street tube station was abandoned when I got there and it was so odd to have the place basically to myself. I'm used to commuters, tourists, students, families and teenagers clogging up the platforms and escalators. I went straight down to the jubilee line and got right on the train that was sitting at the platform. I sat down and relaxed, and the train left about two minutes later. It took about 20 minutes to get to North Greenwich and when I got off the train I saw Anna and Megan get out a few cars back. I yelled to them and we greeted each other and started to ascend the escalators to the exit. When we got outside, we were stopped by a few girls who asked us for our names and wrote numbers 176-178 on our hands. They brought us over to the rest of the people who were already there waiting and sat us down near a huge advertisement screen which was a part of a wall covered in blue, circular lights.

It was dark and cold, but not bitter. I felt pretty warm actually! We opened Megan's travel blanket and covered  ourselves with the blanket I brought. We only had to wait until 9am so we were feeling pretty good about everything.

Time was moving pretty slowly but I enjoyed having the chance to look around the O2's exterior and all of the shops and buildings that surround it. It's located on a peninsula and there are piers and a gondola over the Thames which I saw from afar. The whole place seems futuristic to me and it was really awesome to see it in person. There was also a Costa, Subway, and Tesco nearby so we used those places to get some food and stay warm for a little bit in shifts.

Around 7:30, Anna and I were in Tesco and I saw her answer her phone while she was standing in line to buy a croissant. Her mouth opened and she looked nervous and when she hung up she said that Megan said all of the girls around us started running towards the red carpet area all at once and she didn't know why. Anna threw her croissant back on the shelf and we ran to Megan as fast as we could. She was right, they had all piled up near the building and the red carpet and there were two O2 security guards with megaphones yelling at them to step back. We realized that whatever happened was definitely a false alarm and we decided to sit on the benches outside of Costa and get hot drinks since the makeshift line we had been in didn't really exist anymore.

We watched the girls freaking out and screaming and running back and forth every time they thought there was a new line being formed for wristbands. It was a mixture of sad, amusing, and terrifying to be honest. Most of the girls were between the ages of 12 and 15 and they were mostly there for One Direction. Now, I love them (which I'm sure you all know), but some of the hysterical behavior of those young girls was disturbing to say the least. I wondered where all of their parents were and why they weren't in school on a Wednesday.

Around 8:30am they actually did send those of us waiting for wristbands to an area where they wanted us to form a single file line. After being caught up in a stampede and shoved into bicycle racks, we got in line and we weren't too far back. We could see the front of the line easily but we couldn't see the back at all. It wrapped around the corner and went far back.

Eventually, the security guard called groups of 50 over and moved them to another area to get wristbands. She called numbers 1-50, 50-100, and 100-150. We were dying because we were really close to being called and then some time passed and the security guard returned. She said that they were done calling numbers and that now they'd just go by the order of the line we formed. I was so annoyed! We would have been next and some of the people in line had just gotten there. They let us in and we ended up sitting in the second row of people. We were so nervous because it was only 9:15 and we knew it would be hours until anything happened on the red carpet. We figured by 4pm there would be more excitement but that was still almost 7 hours away. There was a lot of space in the area we were in but there were high fences behind us about twenty or thirty feet. We found out that we could leave and come back as much as we wanted but when the area started to fill up they would close it off and we wouldn't be allowed back in. We took shifts and got food, used the bathroom, and warmed up a little. When we were in the red carpet area I had to keep standing up because the hard pavement was too uncomfortable to sit on for hours at a time.

I tried to read a little but I was too uncomfortable and distracted to get too far in my book. Anna, Megan, and I played some games and we even played a few rounds of MASH using my notebook. That was a real throwback and it was funny trying to remember all of the categories we used to have.

Around 2:30/3pm there were camera guys and a few reporters from CNN walking down our section of the carpet, right after the crew took the plastic off of it. At that point everyone stood up and we never sat down again after that.

I saw a bunch of crew members in blue jumpsuits up on the roof of the O2 at various times and I wondered what they were doing. I watched the red carpet come together and all of the last minute adjustments being made. Men and women in suits and business attire strolled past in large flocks and security guards patrolled the area with their ear buds and long, black coats.

Around 4:15pm, paparazzi and press had arrived. They were in their own little section within our sight, but far from our little red carpet area. There was a circular area for cars which was between us and the press and the main red carpet was just past that. We were near the red carpet for boat arrivals and people who aren't famous.

Don't worry though, this story doesn't end in disappointment.

Shortly after everyone was in place on the carpet, the first famous person arrived. I had no idea who he was, which ended up being a pattern because I know far less British music than I thought. His name was Rizzle Kicks and apparently he's a rapper. He was really nice and came all the way over to our red carpet to sign autographs and take photos with people.

After that, many cars started to arrive and more people I didn't know got out and entered the red carpet for their photo-ops. About an hour or so into it, Ellie Goulding arrived and she looked gorgeous! She turned and waved to us and blew us a kiss. She seemed so sweet. Unfortunately, she didn't come over to us, but it was still so exciting to see her outfit and to watch her pose on the red carpet. That was a pattern with the rest of the big stars we saw, like Bastille, Tinie Tempah, Lily Allen, Alex Turner, Jessie J, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw.

We didn't see Katy Perry, Beyonce or Lorde at all, so I'm assuming they went through the back. They didn't make red carpet appearances outside.

Daft Punk walked right by us, or at least I think it was them. It totally could have been two random guys in suits with robot helmets but they did pose for the press and Daft Punk won an award so it was most likely really them.

By 7pm we were getting really tired. I was so sore and I couldn't feel my feet. The girls around us were being really rude and some of the American girls who go to our Uni were arguing with a British girl when she asked them to please move back a little to give her more room. I was sick of hearing their rude comments and I was so close to saying something to them but I held back. They were saying how they should have just watched from home and that they couldn't see a thing. One of them said that she gets impatient at concerts and so one time she spit in some girl's hair. I was disgusted but all of her friends laughed and told her how "bad" she was. They kept complaining about the smell, and they're right- it did smell bad occasionally. It was definitely a sewer or low tide but they kept making dumb fart jokes and I wanted to smack them. My impatience, exhaustion and frustration was growing and cars basically stopped coming around 7pm. We were all getting so mad and every time a van pulled up the girls would scream their heads of thinking it was One Direction. Only publicists and unknown people would get out.

Finally, a security guard near us told some girls that they'd stop arriving at 7:30. It was 7:20ish and One Direction still hadn't arrived. We were so upset and about to give up when a van pulled in. It didn't park where the main red carpet area was. It stopped right in front of us. 

My heart stopped.

Paul Higgins, One Direction's manager, and some of their other well-known crew members exited the van. The screaming began.

Another van pulled up and replaced the van before it.

The doors opened, and the first one out was Harry Styles.

Up to that point I was judging those little preteens so hard because of their crazy behavior and hysterical screaming for no reason, but when I saw them all get out of that van, look right at us and wave, I lost it.

I was so excited and they ran straight towards us. They were let into our area and they started down at one end. I was near the middle so I waited and stood on my tip toes to see who was approaching. Harry walked by us pretty quickly but I got to see him and he was so beautiful and nice to everyone. He stuck his tongue out at us and smiled a lot too, haha! Zayn was sweet as well and took a lot of selfies with the girls right in front of me. Liam did the same thing and I was trying to get my paper and Anna's pen to him but when he turned to take the selfie with that girl I accidentally stabbed him in the head with the pen. I don't think he felt it because it wasn't super hard, but I definitely could have written on his scalp since the pen was open. Anna and I were laughing about that the whole way home. Niall was on crutches because he just had knee surgery, but he was really outgoing and friendly. They all tried to sign as many autographs and take as many pictures as they could, but management was pulling them away pretty quickly. Louis walked right by me and I honestly didn't even realize that it was him because of his hair.

I couldn't believe that they were all right there in front of me. I was less than two feet from them all and even though I don't have any of their autographs and all I have is some blurry pictures of them, it was so amazing to be that close.
Harry Styles was so nice and obviously handsome! :)

It's so weird to see celebrities on the internet, in magazines, on television and in movies for years and years and then finally see them in person. They were all so small and slender. They're really good looking and you could definitely tell that they were happy to be there and see us all.

When they left we all were told that it was over and that it was time to leave so we grabbed our stuff and made our way out through the crowd of crying girls. I'm not even joking, some of them were sobbing.

We checked out the inside of the O2 for a few minutes and then got on the tube. My body felt so strange because I was sore but basically numb from standing out in the cold all day. I feel quite odd today as well. I'm not necessarily sick, but I definitely feel like I could get a bad cold after that. I still feel very disoriented.

I don't think I would ever suggest that to anyone else and I definitely wouldn't have made it without the things I wore and brought, but it was an experience I'll never forget. Now I can say that I've been to a red carpet event and I met some of my favorite people in the world!

I'm going to Paris, France tomorrow morning until late Monday night, so hopefully I can rest up and be 100% ready tomorrow when I have to wake up super early again. If you need to contact me while I'm gone just iMessage me, Facebook message me, use Viber, or email me. I will not have wi-fi the whole time but hopefully I'll be able to keep my phone charged and post when I can.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone, and thanks for reading!

xx Sheila

(P.S: I went to Camden Town and Little Venice recently and I loved both! Definitely great places to visit for a nice stroll and some shopping. Get a crepe at Camden Market! I had Nutella and banana.)

Little Venice


  1. I'm so proud of you! Independence is sometimes lonely but pays off in the end if you persevere. Good for you, Sheil. Love u, enjoy Paree!

  2. Wow Sheila! Making your dreams come true! Good for you! I enjoy seeing all your pics and reading about your adventures. Have a great time in Paris!

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