Full Circle

Imagine:

It is 3pm on a lazy Monday afternoon. You are sleep-deprived and a bit grungy, caked with layer upon layer on make-up (each of the previous applications having run off your face due to the intense heat inside the room you are now occupying – that room having been your classroom for approximately the last 4 hours).  You are hungry.  You are not in the best of moods.  But class lets out early, and you are once again free to check your phone.  Your boss has texted you.  You happen to work at MTV, so your boss is the sweetest, most layed back person ever.  And on the screen, it asks, “Do u wanna go to the award show tonight?”

WAHHHHHHHH!!!!! Haha. I think that was my first response.  My father had told me to keep an eye out for the “Do Something Awards,” a show that I had seen advertised time and time again on the radio and at work.  Apparenlty Jet Blue was doing something (no pun intended) with the show, and being an avid Jet Blue employee, had wanted me to watch it.  Never in a MILLION years did I think I would go.  So, I called her up, rushed home, and grabbed Jenny to come with me (good thing tickets tend to come in twos).

Sprinting down Sunset in some of the highest stilletos we owned, we waited on the corner for one of my fellow interns to drop off our tickets.  The doors closed at 5:45 and it was 5:44.  Still a block away.  And just when I was at the height of my freak-out, she walked right up to me, handed me the ticktes with a smile, and I dashed off, sweaty-faced and bright-eyed towards the Palladium.  Jenny and I both got in, took our seats, and thankful we were FINALLY there, waited for the magic to begin.

Never in my life had I ever been to something like this.  For my first award show, it was absolutely perfect!  The concept is to recognize both celebrities and extraordinary citizens for their philanthropic work within the global community.  Everyone from Snoop Doog to Christina Applegate to Kellen Lutz to Kathy Griffin (who was about 300 feet from us) was recognized for their charitable work around the world.  The other just as amazing “non-famous” (if you will) do-goooders shared their stories of kindness in order to have a chance at winning $100,000 for their project.  There were certainly some amazing stories shared.  And it was refreshing to see so many people so eager for the change that we all need to happen: end to genocide, hunger, poverty, unemployment, ect.  It was quite uplifting.  Humanitarian work has always been a huge part of my life and something that I care very much about.  And this was not just your average glitz and glam awards show, though it was still unreal to see that many stars in one room.  The whole place had such a great atmosphere.

http://www.dosomething.org/programs/awards

Also during the award show, many bands – including Natasha Benningfield and Lifehouse – played, but for a few minutes each.  Lifehouse and I go wayyyyy back.  My first concert (when I was 10) was Lifehouse and Matchbox 20.  So, clearly, I was very excited to see them again.  The rest of the people in the room, however, did not share my sentiments.  The audience had not been so enthusiastic about the first performance, so Mr. Announcer Man had to actually ask us to all get on our feet for this one.  And I wanted to dance.  SOOOOOOO badly.  But, of course, when you’re on live TV and cameras are EVERYWHERE, it is not the best idea to be dancing your heart out in the middle of a croud of 1,000 standing (but not moving) people.  So I bobbed up and down awkwardly trying to contain myself, without sucess.

After everything was over, Jenny and I decided to be SUPER classy and stop at Denny’s before going to the after party. 

After a quick bite, we hopped inside and started mingling.  Now, believe it or not, both Jenny and I are pretty shy when we’re around people we don’t know.  So, we promised each other we would talk to at least 5 people before we left.  As we were weaving in and out between bodies in the crowd, I spotted a familiar face staring back at me.  He was a band member, though I could not remember which one from what band (I’m awful at faces and names), with long brown hair, riddled with tatoos, wearing a white wifebeater (you’re stereotypical rockstar look, eh? haha).  He looked at me as if he knew me, so, embarrased, I smiled and walked away.  We tried looking for other people to converse with, and failed, so we just planted oursleves in the middle of the room, hoping to bump into someone.  And we did.

I turned around, and who did I see?  That same unnamed guy.  He introduced himself.  Ben. Apparently he had thought that I was one of his friends from Australia, a girl named Holly.  THIS girl named Holly (haha..this happens to be actress and singer Holly Valance):

He and a couple of his friends, Bryce and Rafael, were chatting, and we joined in….about everything: music, boys, travel, sports, politics.  I think we literally covered every topic possible.  And by the end of the night, I had 3 phone numbers…each one of them had promised a hang-out soon…each of which I knew was quite genuine.  Ben took a little more immediate action and invited both of us to Fatburger.  And after getting we finally found our car, got lost, and were devilishly late, we finally pulled up and joined him.

The next hour was amazing.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a cooler guy.  We learned everything we could about each other, he and Jenny and I.  Haha.  I’d have to admit.  He definitely ranks in the top two coolest Australian men I have ever encountered (he’s right up there with tourguide Matt from my Sophomore year trip to Australia).  He’s a vegetarian, doesn’t drink, smoke, and is madly in love with his 4-year-old pitt bull, Gibson (named after the guitar).  It was so easy to talk to him, and so nice to see that stardom had not gotten to his head (quite a change from some of the people we encounter at MTV).  It was only as chairs were being hefted onto the tables that we left.  And even then, he still wanted to keep talking an hanging out.  He had invited us over to his place, but being about half an hour away at 1:00 am with work in the morning did not seem smart.  So we headed back to Oakwood.  Then he suggested: why not hang out at our apartment?  We both were both TOTALLY fine with that and led him on in. 

Lexi and Julia were still up with David James and Mike.  Haha.  I can STILL remember the look on David’s face when I said “Heyyy!! We brought a friend! This is Ben.”  As Jenny subtully slipped in “From Savage Garden….and Lifehouse.”  And again…the next hour was full of friendly conversation and interesting stories about band members and life on tour and life in general.  I don’t know why, but I am so amazed at how well he clicks with people.  Maybe it’s just a him still, or maybe we’re just the kind of people he gets along with well.  He’s invited Jenny and I to a few shows and a strip club (which both Jenny and I want to see…haha) and will hopefully not be too busy to actually spend some time with us.

It still astounds me that this was my day.  Never in my life did I think that one of the members of Lifehouse would be sitting in my apartement in LA.  It’s funny how things kind of come full circle like that.

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