This Thursday was the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS soirée at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes. (This hotel is basically like Eden. It’s probably the nicest hotel in France. Maybe all of Europe. I can’t really say. Check it out for yourself.) Anyway, many of my friends and I volunteered at the event. We were so excited for it, especially my friend Alli and I, because we were told we were going to have a really cool job. Unfortunately, it was completely disorganized and didn’t go at all how we expected. But I can’t complain, because it was such an interesting night!
Without much direction, Alli and I went to the tent where the dinner/auction was to take place, and were helping out setting up tables. Suddenly, I received a phonecall from this guy, Alex, who works for amfAR and likes the two of us a lot. “What are you doing right now?” he asked. “Helping in the tent with Alli…” I responded. “You need to leave,” he said. “We need you and Alli at Registration with Duncan ASAP.”
Next thing we knew, Alli and I were running across the ground of the Hotel du Cap, ending up in front of the black carpet, sitting behind mini HP computers, learning how to check in the guests to the event. Suddenly, celebrities, models, designers, socialites, and loads of other people with a lot more status and money than I, were streaming in front of my computer. The night was so stressful, especially when a guest didn’t have photo ID (which was necessary for check in) and therefore thought I was a giant ass for asking, because of COURSE I should recognize the face of this beautiful model, and how could I possibly hold them up when they are SO important? It was embarassing.
The highlight of this job, however, was when I was speaking in french to this lovely couple (who first addressed me in French, of course… I was switching between the two languages all night…) and asked them for ID, a credit card, anything with their name. The nice gentleman handed me his credit card, and when I read “Damien Rice” (a wonderful Irish singer of whom I am a big fan…) I was in shock. Needless to say, they were quickly checked in… AND, I got to touch his hand (wrist) when I was marking the invisible X for security. It didn’t sink in until afterwards how amazing that really was.
Once check in was finished, Alli and I finally ate, and then went into the tent during the auction to watch a bit (they had nothing for us to do, but we were lucky to be two of the few volunteers who were allowed in the tent.) We unforutnately missed Bill Clinton’s presentation and Annie Lenox’s performances, but we did see a lot of other celebrities. Some of my favorite sightings: Mike Myers, Josh Hartnett (he walked so close to me!), Emile Hirsch, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Hurley, Paris Hilton… and loads of cool designers.
Unfortunately, the evening wasn’t as successful as the amfAR team had hoped… barely anyone was bidding in the auction, and it was really sad. I feel like a lot of the guests forgot that the event was about raising money for AIDS research, and felt like it was just another chance to flaunt their latest beautiful dress (cough – Paris Hilton – cough cough).
But what an amazing (and exhausting) experience it was. I’ve never had a night quite like that one.
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