As you’ve come to expect from me, here’s the honest-to-goodness truth about what it was like from Mayim’s perspective.
1. Preparing. Stylist Ali was certain this dress she chose for me months ago would be amaaaazing; I was skeptical: too bright, too blue, too tight. But I trusted her, mostly because I am so stressed with the divorce and everything relating to that that I can’t really fight anyone on anything fashion-related right now. And she knew that. And she used it to her advantage! My favorite beloved hair/make-up artist was available for last night and that always makes me feel trusting, because she’s so cool and relaxed and super honest and low-stress. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get me ready and I was ready to walk out the door by 3 p.m.
2. Red Carpet. I’ve had some great red carpet experiences, and I’m just going to go ahead and tell you the truth, no sugar-coating it: this was not an one of those red carpet experiences. I arrived on the later side which meant a lot of the “big” stars were there at the same time which means being passed up a LOT by most of the outlets that wait for the “big” stars to come by them and therefore don’t want to spend their time on the non-big stars. So you’re basically walking a loooooong line of interviewers and cameras and producers literally telling your publicist to her face, “Yeah, no to Mayim.” Some just pretend they don’t see you, or hear your publicist. It’s just how it works, and you can’t take it personally, but it’s kind of awkward and insane if you imagine doing that for an hour! And it was insane.
I realized that I was okay with it last night, though, and I told my trusty amazing fantastic tattooed rock-and-roll publicist Heather that it was okay and we could stop trying so much and that we could just do photos. So I hit the photo line. I was in good company, as John Hamm and Jessica Chastain lined up when I did. (Jessica said she loved my dress!) I tried to make eye contact with Liev Shreiber as he strolled by, but we need to pretend we’re not dating when Naomi’s around, so I shook it off and swallowed my pride when he didn’t even hold my gaze. (That’s a HUGE joke, for those of you who may not have caught it. I am not dating Liev Shreiber and probably never will.)
The photo part of the carpet went better than I expected, mostly because I wasn’t right after or before someone super duper famous. If that happens, basically no one takes your picture because they are looking for a shot of the person ahead of you or behind you and you smile and keep walking and it can be unbearable (this happened to me at last year’s Twilight premiere, actually). Anyway, it went okay. I forgot that my right hand can’t really rest on my hip (because of my accident almost six months ago), so I tried that for one torturous picture and then repositioned myself as stylist Ali told me to: with one hip cocked, arm close to my side, my purse slightly in front, other hand slightly behind, standing up super straight and sucking in my tummy. “Bright colors are UNFORGIVING,” she cautioned as I got into the limo to leave. Yikes.
Despite all of that crazy posture stuff, I think I did okay. And I loved my hair and make-up and I got inside to the theater finally and I found my cast mates easily and had a little wine and watched the show.
3. The Show. It was pretty good. I like the “peer” vibe of the SAG Awards. And I always love Claire Danes. And Daniel Day-Lewis gives such amazing speeches. It was unclear to me why they had a (very nice, mind you) seat-filler sitting next to me…They knew I was flying solo, but I would have rather sat next to Melissa Rauch, my cast mate and buddy, who instead was on the other side of my (very nice, mind you) seat-filler. Anyway. It was sort of awkward, which seems to be the word of the night/my life. But it was okay. I saw some very big stars; Russell Crowe and Sacha Baron Cohen were maybe four tables away, and throughout the evening I could check in to see what both were up to. (They were usually watching the show.) That’s what I call good seating! Denzel Washington strolled in and I lost my breath a bit when that happened. It was, as always, very overwhelming and exciting to see all of these big stars. Seriously exciting. And since I don’t watch TV, it’s helpful when there are movie stars around because for sure I know who most of them are.
4. The Food. There was a vegan meal, and it was… exotic. There was some barley that tasted so much like Kasha that maybe it was. Also there was some tiny adorable couscous with pomegranate seeds and cauliflower, and then there was broccoli with pine nuts. Let’s just lay it down right here and now, no holds barred, I am just being totally honest: something I ate made me so incredibly bloated that my lovely Thomas Knoell jeweled belt (which Ali selected well before Michelle Obama wore one to the inauguration!) dug so deep into my waist and ribs that it became painful to sit. Or stand. Or walk. All I could picture was unzipping that dress. So I skipped the after party and tried to unzip my dress in the privacy of the limo, just for some relief, please! Well, picture my weak right hand. And the angle involved. And the tightness of the dress. You guessed it: it wouldn’t unzip. It caught on the inside lining right at the waist. I was stuck.
I almost cried when my hand wouldn’t work and my tummy hurt and our show lost and Jim Parsons lost and I was “alone” there and blah blah blah. But I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I was grateful that I don’t live far from downtown, the amount I was able to unzip gave me a little relief, and when I came home, my almost-ex unzipped me and listened as I talked about the seat-filler making me feel awkward. Even though he was very nice, mind you.
5. The Homecoming. Our 7-year-old actually wasn’t yet asleep when I got home, so I ate some vegan risotto while the almost-ex sat with him (yes, recipe will be in my book out this fall by De Capo press of amazing vegan things I feed my family that non-vegans will love too). And I tweeted to Ali and my Jewinthecity.com friend Allison Josephs who noted I looked “frum and fabulous” on the carpet. And I typed this for you.
6. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will drag myself into hand therapy to have a hand treatment before I go to Houston to speak at the Jewish Federation there for a bunch of Lions of Judah, supporters of Jewish programming and social outreach, and I will meet hundreds of women I have never met before who I may never meet again. I will be reminded of the cities outside of the bubble of Hollywood where women from all backgrounds accomplish greatness for the world with their time, their money, and their love for humanity. I will be entertaining as they ask me about being Jewish in Hollywood, and I’ll tell them what it’s like to work with Jim Parsons, and what it’s like to be a working mom. And I will be as amazed at them as they are of me. Because we’re all amazing in our own way, right?
7. Beyond. When I fly into Houston, I will study via Skype with one of my closest friends, as we do weekly. We are studying Joseph, like from the Torah. That Joseph. We will study from my hotel room, likely after I’ve ordered some french fries and a salad (my hotel fare in general in cities where “vegan” isn’t a standard option). I’ll be alone, in a city where Jews mingle and create and host actors from Hollywood who 24 hours before then were walking a red carpet, asking to be seen, to be interviewed, to be validated. Because that’s what my job entails.
But those same actors also love to learn and to explore and to try and understand how one man thousands of years ago could become so transformed from the life he was forced into that his own brothers don’t even recognize when they come face to face with him years later. How do we transform? Why? What remains and what stays the same?
I travel to cities all over this country to be reminded of real people; real women doing real things with their lives to make others’ lives better. If I can be a part of helping them do that, I’m grateful. But I most certainly relish the opportunity to be off of the red carpet and transformed into the person that feels more like me. I think you recognize me on the carpet or in your Federation, but I sometimes don’t know which me is more me. Because it’s confusing.
I study weekly because it’s a constant reminder that although things may be uncertain, as a Jew, I always need to know where I have come from and before Whom I stand.
Happy end of Awards season. I’m glad it’s over. And women of Houston: here I come, just me. Alone, transformed again, and waiting to be inspired.
For more tales from the red carpet, read Mayim’s recap from last year’s Emmy Awards, attending a red carpet event while fasting for a Jewish holiday, and behind the scenes at the Golden Globes.