GQ Men of the Year Awards 2017: I WAS THERE

gq awards

You’re probably wondering how on earth someone like me could have been invited to an event such as this and how in the world I managed to bag myself a ticket. I was wondering the same thing once I was told I was going. I still feel like the entire night was a dream.


One of the Coty brands, Hugo Boss, was sponsoring the GQ Men of the Year Awards for the fifth year in a row, and as I work on the Influencer Marketing team across all of the Coty luxury brands, I was able to attend as a member of the Hugo Boss team.

The Thursday before the glamorous event, I spent the day working at the Hugo Boss Fashion House in Camden, helping to pack 600 goody bags with BOSS BOTTLED fragrances. Like I said in my previous post, I’m the Queen of cardboard boxes and unboxing things. So this was nothing new to me. It was on that morning that I was told I was going to be attending the Awards, so this made packing all 600 bags a lot easier.

I really enjoyed the day as I was able to work at the Hugo. Boss. Fashion. House. That’s not something I ever imagined I’d be able to do or put on my CV. I was surrounded by clothes for the SS18 collection and even clothes from the runway that aren’t for public sale. There were a lot of famous names being thrown around and I even got a preview of the suit that Charlie XCX would be wearing when she performed at the event.

gq awards

The after-party

This is what you really came here for isn’t it. What was the party like, who did I see, how were the celebrities and was it everything I thought it would be? These are the kind of questions I assume you would have, but if you have any other things you want to know, just ask!

I met up with the girls from work and a few influencers we were taking to the after-party at The Mondrian Hotel for some pre-drinks. A very extravagant hotel right along the Thames with amazing views. As it was also night-time, the views were even better as all of the buildings were lit up, as well as the London Eye.

After numerous glasses of prosecco and some nibbles, we headed off in the direction of the Tate Modern where the Awards were being held.

As we were walking around the Tate to the after-party entrance, we came across the first celebrity of the night. Ronan Keating and his wife were leaving as we walked by, being swarmed by lots of paparazzi as they tried to get into their car. Hi there fellow Irish person!

We got to the Tate around 10.45pm and had to queue until the doors opened at 11pm. I didn’t mind as we were very near the front of the queue and right next to the smoking area where we had a few more glances of the rich and famous. Comedian George Lamb, and Liam Gallagher both came out for a cheeky cig while we waited. Got a little bit over excited when I saw LG. Was really hoping for a photo just so I could caption it ‘as you were’. Maybe sometime in the future, eh Liam?

And we’re in

Once the doors opened and we handed over our tickets (which I really didn’t want to hand over as I wanted a keep-sake) we entered the building and it was exactly like entering a concert hall on the night you get to see your favourite band. That feeling in your stomach of pure excitement and knowing the night had just begun and everything was only going to get even better.

Myself and two of the other interns that were also attending headed straight to one of the bars where drinks were lined up, ready and waiting to be drank. I now understand how the rich stay rich. Everything is free! Me and a free bar is not one of the best ideas I’ve ever come across but I spent most of my night on the dancefloor and stalking celebrities so I didn’t have too much prosecco.

Once we picked up our first glass of prosecco we headed to the railing where we could look over the balcony and see the end of the Awards and all of the celebrities sat at their tables. When we were making our way downstairs to leave in our coats, I kid you not, DOUGIE POYNTER from McFly was coming up the same staircase. He looked like a God. Beautiful. Stunning. Starstruck – that’s me, not him obviously.

gq awards

gq awards

The famous red carpet

When we got downstairs we discovered the GQ red carpet. Hundreds of photos later, we felt like real celebrities. Standing in the same place celebrities like Anthony Joshua, Stormzy and even Pele had stood mere hours before. I even met Tanya Burr and her boyfriend Jim Chapman who were also taking photos and vlogging.

Just past the red carpet was the entrance to the sit-down Awards area. So naturally, we snuck our way in and no one batted an eyelid. I was mega starstruck, stopping every few seconds when I spotted a familiar face. The downstairs area had already cleared out quite a bit but I managed to see Tinie Tempah, Winnie Harlow and David Haye. I even got a photo with David and asked if there were any fights with Conor McGregor in the pipeline to which he gave a firm ‘no’. Clearly too afraid to step into the ring with the Notorious I think.

After getting my fill of celebrity faces, we headed back upstairs to the after-party and danced and drank the night away. We caught up with the rest of the Coty team and I was introduced to Darren Kennedy, an Irish presenter and influencer who we had invited to the Awards dinner. An amazing person, and so lovely and down-to-earth, my manager snapped a quick photo of us before he was off catching up with friends. He also said I had a strong name which was kind of him.

The night went on and my feet were in a lot of pain but I was dancing right next to Vanessa White from The Saturdays so I powered through. Rita Ora walked past us at one stage of the night, and I caught a glimpse of Tom Daley at one point. We also caught up with Andy Jordan from Made in Chelsea who has worked with us before at Coty.

gq awards

Where was Zayn?

Due to health issues, Zayn couldn’t make the Awards and couldn’t collect his award in person. I didn’t end up at the same event as a member of One Direction, nor did I see Zayn at the same party as myself. Those two events are still firmly on the bucket list. Cillian Murphy also didn’t show up which I was gutted about.

A lot of celebrities that attended the dinner didn’t attend the after-party and there were soooo many that I was gutted I didn’t see. Jared Leto, Anthony Joshua, Stormzy, Jeremy Corbyn, the Stranger Things kids, Nick Grimshaw, Jaden Smith, Poppy Delevigne, Jourdan Dunn, Natalie Dormer (GoT!!) and Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders!!).

However, even though I didn’t see some of the above celebrities who I’m a major fan of, I did get to see a lot of other celebs during the night plus I was so lucky to even be at the event!

The goody bag

The goody bag which we received when leaving the after-party was completely different to the goody bag I had made up. There was a bottle of whiskey, a fancy Stella Artois glass, a script of The Ferryman play, a TV series boxset, a lot of aftershave, some men’s products and best of all, a £500 gift voucher for a private jet which I will most likely never use. The goody bag weighed a ton and must have been worth so much. All Christmas presents for my family of course. I’m not much of a whiskey drinker.

Who am I and what is this life I’m living

Never in my whole life did I think I would ever get to go to the GQ Men of the Year Awards. I always read up on it every year and had a look through the photos to see who was there, but to be there myself is just crazy.

I’m only 20 years old, am just a student at Liverpool John Moores yet I’ve been to the GQ Awards and partied with celebrities at one of the biggest nights of the year. What on earth. If I stayed in Lurgan or Belfast, I would never have had this opportunity. Even if I had stayed in Liverpool I would never have had this opportunity. We have to take these risks and go after what we want, or we could sit inside our comfort zone forever and never achieve anything because we’re too afraid.

gq awards

Feeling lucky

I am so, so grateful to how everything is turning out for me so far and how amazing this placement has been only two months in. To think that I am only two months into the working world of PR and have not yet even graduated makes me so excited to think how the rest of my career is going to turn out and the opportunities that will come my way. As they say, it’s only up from here.

A lot of things have to be sacrificed in order to have this lifestyle and amazing career. I haven’t been home to Lurgan in five months and haven’t seen my family or best friends in that time. I’ve had to leave my best friends in Liverpool and all the things I had come to know and love to start a new life in London where I knew nothing and know no one. It can be very hard at times, but if I don’t do this now then how will I ever know what I can achieve.

Hopefully all of these sacrifices and being extremely out of my comfort zone and challenging myself will be totally worth it.

So far, so good.



  1. September 14, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    This makes me regret not taking up a placement year so much haha, you’re living the dream and u deserve every last min of it x

    • orlaghclaire
      September 14, 2017 / 5:53 pm

      Told you to join me and Aoibh on the placement year hype 🙁

      Will miss you next year, and I’m sure you’ll be passing this year with no less than a first! I believe in you!

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