Imagine you haven’t even started your new job, but two weeks before your first day, you get an email asking if you mind going to Lovebox Festival to meet influencers and tell them about the brands you’re going to be working with. How long did I consider the question? About 0.01 seconds I think. HELL YES!
As part of the Coty PR team, we invited a group of influencers and some members of the press to join us for #CotySummerFest at Lovebox Festival where they could enjoy a manicure by OPI Nail technicians, free drinks all night long, some Lancaster and philosophy products and take some cool pictures in our (very large) bohemian tent enclosure.
MY JOB IS SO COOL
Since I’ve only been in London two weeks (it seems like I’ve been here forever), I hadn’t gotten around to exploring East London yet, but had a lot of plans to as I really want to see how edgy and funky the Shoreditch and Hackney areas are. Once I stepped off the train at Hackney Wick, I knew this was my kind of place. Graffiti lined every wall in the vicinity, making it the most colourful area of London I was yet to see.
Some may have large objections to graffiti, and if it’s offensive then I would too, but as far as I could see, all of this graffiti just added so much colour and life to the area – I loved it!
The train had been quite crowded with Lovebox attendees all glittered-up but most of them got off at previous Hackney stations, so when I got off at my stop, it was quite desolate and I had no idea where I was going. I followed some signs for Victoria Park and made my way to the artist entrance. Yes, you read right, the artist entrance!!
I made it through about four gates with ease (no one asking me for any ID or asking why I was there or who I was with) until I got to the artist check-in cabin. I had encountered no queues whatsoever, it was all quite quiet and calm, much different to the main gate entrance I’m sure. I was picked up by one of the Lovebox organisers and she walked me through the artist area, pointing out Frank Ocean, Solange and Jamie XX’s dressing rooms (omg!!). There was even a Nando’s food van in their chilled out area.
The Lovebox organiser (Jodie) then led me through to the main VIP area where there were a few people hanging around, lots of tents, food vans and bars and then showed me to the Coty private area and gave me my lanyard and wristband that entitled me to access to the hospitality tent, a free snack and a free main. Ah, VIP life.
I haven’t had many run-ins with celebrities in my 20 years of life. I’ve been to many concerts but that doesn’t count as seeing an actual celebrity out enjoying their day-to-day life. The only celebrity I’ve met and managed to grab a picture with is Jimmy Carr and that was about six years ago, maybe more. I partied in Popworld with Ricky from TOWIE last Christmas but would you class him as a celeb? Probably not.
I have no idea how to act around important people. Do I smile and say ‘Hi’? Do I walk on and ignore them? They are just people after all. Do I stop and gawk for five minutes thinking ‘Is that really them?’, ‘No,’ ‘Maybe,’ ‘Could be.’ Or do I go crazy and be like ‘OMG YOU’RE (celeb’s name) CAN I GET A PHOTO?!’
My manager met Chris Hemsworth at the beginning of the week in New York when he was announced as the new #ManOfToday for Hugo Boss and she talked about it so calmly, whereas I would have been freaking out. I was freaking out at her just telling us about him, I would hate to have seen me in the same room as him.
When some people think of London, they think of English celebrities just walking around all the time, going to bars and clubs and lavish events. I knew that wasn’t the case, that I wouldn’t come across a celebrity unless I gate-crashed a premiere or launch party or anything exclusive. However, I had my first ‘OMG ISN’T THAT ___??!!’ on Thursday when I met a friend for drinks in Soho.
We arrived at Leicester Square just as the premier for Dunkirk had finished, which I was quite gutted about (Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy and Prince Harry had all been in attendance) and went for some food and drinks in the Soho area. We were walking in search of a nice bar when we passed two girls who were very well-dressed. I turned and knew instantly one of them was Sophia Smith. That name probably doesn’t register in many of your heads, but to me, she is the ex-girlfriend of Liam Payne from One Direction and is now a popular blogger. I just kept walking, not wanting to disturb or annoy.
Half an hour later, Jon and I were stood outside Be At One bar having cocktails when a woman dressed in a very nice black dress was stood opposite us on the other side of the road. She was on the phone and looked quite annoyed but when she looked up I was 90% sure it was Myleene Klass. Jon had no idea who she was either, but I was like ‘OMG IT’S MYLEENE KLASS!!’ Again, I just looked over (‘stared’ may be a better word to use) and let her get on with her life. I was trying to play it cool. Two famous people in one night, this was pretty exciting for a small town girl like me.
LOVEBOX FREAK OUT
As I was working, I stayed put in our Coty tent most of the afternoon from 2pm-6pm talking with the influencers and journalists. When there was a quiet moment, I nipped out and took a walk around the VIP area to see what was going on (and to see if I could spot any familiar faces). I nipped into the hospitality tent and almost went into shock when Laura Whitmore walked past me with two friends.
I’ve been following Laura for years now, being an Irish TV presenter, I actually wanted to follow in her footsteps and take the same degree as her at UCD so I could potentially have the same career path, but I needed an A Level in English Literature to get onto the journalism degree which I didn’t have, so my plan of being the next Laura Whitmore took a back seat. Before coming to London I had always wanted to meet her and her #LondonIrish friends as we have the Irish thing in common and she seems like a right laugh and her friendship group looks pretty cool. Also, her fashion is always on point. So to see her standing there right in front of me, I almost passed out on the spot.
BUT like every other famous person I had seen, I just kept on walking, acting like I hadn’t even seen her. I couldn’t exactly go up to her and be like ‘HI LAURA I’M ORLAGH I’M ALSO IRISH CAN I PLS BE IN UR SQUAD? (and can u pls set me up with your best friend Niall Horan k thanks)’
How do I act around these people?? How do I approach them?? Do I not?? Do I play it cool??
I went back to the Coty tent and told one of my managers who it turns out, knows Laura personally. I have 51 weeks to make the connection. Mission accepted.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not celeb obsessed or anything, I just get a little bit star-struck. Ok, maybe a lot. I haven’t grown up around celebrities or important people, so when I see them I get quite excited. Let’s see how many celebs I pass during my travels around London this year and how many of them I actually speak to.
Friday’s line-up was pretty great, with Frank Ocean headlining and other performances from Jamie XX, Solange, and Rag n Bone Man. I luckily got to see Jamie XX’s set and the main man himself, Frank Ocean.
None of the acts were really up there with musicians I’m dying to see, so I don’t think I would have paid to go to the festival myself, but I had an amazing time listening to Frank Ocean and felt quite privileged to hear him sing since he cancelled so many of his UK performances before Lovebox. And let me tell you, Frank sounds incredible live.
‘Attend a festival’ was on my London Bucket List and can now be ticked off! My first London music experience happened in my first two weeks of being here, so here’s to many more within the next year!
I got an Uber home (my first ever) (also on the Bucket List) which took an hour. It kind of shows just how big this city is. There’s so much left to explore!
At least my London Bucket List is being worked through at a good pace, although I keep adding to it every day which isn’t helping.