Ever find yourself standing in a room full of famous people awkwardly wondering, "what the heck am I even doing here?" That was me, Saturday evening, standing in line behind Arianna Huffington as we filed through the lower level of the Washington Hilton Hotel to hit up the D.C. pre-party scene with a host of other celebrities attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner weekend festivities, each one of them wearing more sequins than the next. To be clear — I am not a celebrity. I am a girl who likes to awkwardly stand in the corner at parties and watch what everyone else is up to while humming along to Robyn by myself — really, it's kind of what I do best. That's my comfort zone. The White House Correspondents' Dinner? Washington D.C.'s superstar equivalent to the Super Bowl? NOT so much my scene. It's almost like I was setting myself up to fail.
And yet, when you find yourself in a party pulsing with blue lights, vague music you think you've maybe heard before, and a crowd of people you feel like you know having seen them once or twice on TV, you suddenly feel, well, a little unstoppable. You kind of want to see how far you can play the part of imposter before someone eventually calls you out. I figured, at any second, someone in a dark suit and an ear piece would come up to me and say "excuse me, ma'am, there's been a huge mistake and the nerds don't want you at their prom anymore," but no one did — and I found myself being one of the last women standing as Lorde blared on the speaker at a pre-party hosted by Bloomberg, guests waving to each other glibly while filing out the door with their handlers in headphones close behind them (except for Martha Stewart, who, for whatever reason, was slinking her way back in wearing a gorgeous gold v-neck gown that instantly made you think that really, anything could happen).
So what do you do when you find yourself in a not so huge room surrounded by some of the biggest names in the world? YOU TAKE SELFIES, obviously. I may want to vomit every time I find myself in a room with more than, say, seven people, but if there is one thing in this world I know how to do, it's whip out the ol' smartphone, make a silly face, and snap a quick pic... which is exactly what I did. Hey, when you find yourself in uncomfortable situations, it's best to just stick to what you know. Emboldened by my obsession with a good Instagram pic and a few tried-and-true go-to poses, I gave myself a quick pep talk and decided to let loose... and yeah — things got a little awkward. Here's my guide to surviving behind-the-scenes on D.C.'s biggest night.
1. Make friends with the first person you see
Which in my case, just so happened to be Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Happy just to see a familiar face walk through the door, I instantly went up to him like I would my best friend: "OH MY GOSH I'M SO GLAD YOU'RE HERE," I gushed. Never mind the fact that I've never actually met this person before in my life — I was determined to bond. Except then his husband Justin Mikita walked in the room, and we all kind of smiled wordlessly and then the moment was over... but not forgotten.
2. Find a group of people who will let you hang out with them... or at least near them
For me, this was the rest of the cast of Modern Family. C'mon you guys — they just seemed really nice. And really busy. Julie Bowen stayed still for about .12 seconds before flittering off to some other corner of the room. But hey, at least Eric Stonestreet had time to hang! So we basked in the glow of over-saturated blue light and each other's company, and the world was as it should be.
3. Point out things you have in common
For instance, Katie Couric and I both have names that start with K, and an affinity for practical evening wear with pockets. Fast friends! And while I'm sure the two of us could have spent hours talking about our many similarities, literally every person AT THIS PARTY wanted to talk to Katie too, so I had to make do with the 15 seconds I had with her.
4. Compliment everyone's outfit
Like by shouting out "ah Connie Britton we're twinz!!" when you see her in the hallway wearing the same bold shade as you. Awkwardness at its finest.
5. Go where you feel most comfortable
For me, this was obviously the cheese table, where I stayed for a solid 15 minutes before chasing down...
Seriously? This guy is ready. to. party. Sipping on the classiest martini you've ever seen, he was the most popular person in the room by far.
6. Make another round to see if you missed anyone
Like George Stephanopoulos. Down for anything, he just sort of seems like someone you're going to want on your side at events like these.
7. Switch up locations
Working the room is fine, but who knows? A quick change of scenery might put you face-to-face with a mega supermodel like Irina Shayk...
... or Chanel Iman. Honestly, powder blue has never looked so good.
8. Do one last sweep for any Game Of Thrones stars you may have missed
Because you never know when Jaime Lannister might creep up on you.
9. Know when to call it a night
You know, like when everyone else is making their way to some fancy dinner the President didn't think to invite you to, and you're the only person left in the room. Snap a few quick pics to remind the world you were there, and then end scene.
Images: Kathryn Kattalia