I was fortunate to participate in an amazing event on the Saturday before the Academy Awards on 23 February 2019. I was at the gifting suite at the W Hotel in Hollywood, California, sharing the experience with a wonderful friend and artist, Dawn Reiffenstein from Divine Spark Art. I met amazing people, not only actors and actresses but media moguls, social influencers as well as behind the scenes specialists.
It was a crazy, busy and fantastic experience. The planning and organization just to get my books there was minimal compared to what the Celebrity Connected team had to do in conjunction with the W Hotel staff. I have only praise for everyone involved.
I loved walking along the stars on the sidewalks, and experiencing the atmosphere in one of the oldest areas in the city of angels. I saw Kinky Boots at the Pantages Theatre, and the glamour of the old theatre was still vibrant as ever, if a bit frayed around the edges. The idea that I was sitting where so many famous stars sat and waited on their names being called as winner of an Oscar, made me feel in awe. The wide aisles brought to my mind ball gowns and tuxedos, glamorous hairdo’s and the smell of perfumes and cigars.
We went for breakfast at the 101 Coffee Shop, where many movies have been filmed. A historical landmark in Hollywood, the great food and atmosphere both reminded one of the fact that we were sitting at tables where great ones have been before.
Of course no visit to the city of movies would be complete without visiting Universal Studios. A place where I became childlike with wonder and awe. Dawn and I had a lot of fun, and it felt as if we must’ve walked 10 kilometres. I learned how noises are created, went on crazy rides, and discovered the little girl inside of me didn’t mind being giddy with fun.
The day of the flight back to Canada, a place I’ve long wanted to see became a reality when we went to Santa Monica Pier. I love the ocean, the ever changing waves breaking then retreating, in a never ending song. There was a trapeze school entertaining us, and the atmosphere was one of holiday. It was great, and a truly beautiful sight.
Something very noticeable were the many tents and shelters by homeless souls who didn’t have a fixed home. Young people, older generations. Their eyes were empty, they had given up hope on life and themselves. Drugs have ravished their bodies, and inconsistent diets have completed the task. My heart ached for them, for the choices made, circumstances forced them to succumb to a life without light.
It made me realize that my message is important. Many many people feel the way I do, that we have a task ahead of us making sure we raise awareness about the challenges young people go through. Social media makes for an instant experience with smiles and happy moments, but don’t always go behind the scenes to explore what really happens.
I have made contacts I will have future dealings with, and I know I will always remember the Celebrity Connected event. It would not have happened without Alisia Nhoeuk from Holistic Hustle. She approached me after she had heard me talk, and introduced me to the CEO, Gene Sheynis. The rest is history, as they say.