The Toronto International Film Festival has always brought much excitement to the core of the city this time of year. When I first started reporting “all things TIFF” it was, and still is, a festival that still takes my breath away.
My first official press conference
was with Heather Graham. Since it was a family movie, the publicists asked if I wanted to bring my young son along. I admit that we were a bit star-struck. Okay, he probably didn’t actually know who she was and thought of her as a nice, pretty lady that he took a photo with.
This was something special- it was my first step of many, as press, covering one of the world’s most important film festivals. Having not only the opportunity to go beyond the red carpet but also have trusted access continues to be what I covet the most.
With that privilege and honour came, even more doors opened, beyond my dreams. I had “pinch me” moments where I found myself amongst celebrities at parties, press junkets and also inside various lounges where they were offered gifts and beauty/wellness services as they were getting ready for their public appearances.
while being within arm’s length of Hollywood stars was not always easy, as I fangirled internally. No one asked them for selfies back in the early years when I started covering TIFF. We could ask to take proper photos only if, and when, it was appropriate. We knew when to give them space.
Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal were as funny and kind as you can imagine. Mark Wahlberg (and brothers Donnie, and Paul) have always been good about spending quality time with people they meet. Alex Skarsgård was super approachable the time I ran into him at three parties where he said, “Hey, are you following me or am I following you to all the parties tonight?” Partying with Val Kilmer was next level bananas. I could go on!
One of the most cherished invites behind the scenes during TIFF has always been the BaskIt Style Lounge by GLO Communications. They are considered the go-to for providing visiting A-list celebrities and filmmakers with welcome packages filled with thoughtful goodies to help make their stay during TIFF a warm and hospitable one. The company discreetly hand delivers the packages to the VIP guests staying at the finest hotel across the city.
As selected media, it’s always fun to have the opportunity to get a sneak peek at all the goodies and services during TIFF. This year marks the 13th year of the BaskIt Style Lounge.
This year, the lounge was held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Toronto. Here’s a sneak peek at what the A-listers are getting …
The VIP Treatment:
St. Tropez was on hand to provide full body glow by Sophie Evans, Celebrity Skin Finishing Expert and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after by the stars. They also provided pampering hand massages using the luscious St. Tropez Luxe Body Serum.
Marc Anthony hair care is a popular fixture in the Canadian beauty industry. I was already a fan of his Argan Oil line and hoarded many products before they updated the packaging. The line has also extended recently with the launch of the new Repair Bond and Rexcuplex Defrizzing Smoothing Cream, a 4-in-1 styling product that experts are already loving. Marc Anthony’s Strictly Curls line remains as one of the most popular for those who want more control. Just launched is the Strictly Curls Flex Gel. Guests were offered hair blowouts and styling at the lounge just in time for all the festivities.
Skin glow-ups continued with lip, eye and face touch-ups on the spot with popular Stila Cosmetics. And fan favourite nail brand OPI was present with the latest collection of polishes based on Zodiac Energy. Not only did guests receive manicures but also energy readings. Perfect as we currently are in the midst of Mercury Retrograde and 7 planetary Retrogrades are also in effect.
We brushed up on stylish oral care as we were reminded of just how handy and technologically savvy Philips Sonicare products truly are. The most advanced electric, cordless toothbrushes on the market in our books. The Sonicare Prestige 990 Power Toothbrush includes SenseIQ technology that not only senses if you’re brushing too hard, too short, or if you’re missing a spot but personalizes the right care for your lifestyle. Pretty cool. We also discovered the Cordless Power Flosser — a convenient and portable water flosser ideal for those who want to “get’er done” as efficiently as possible. Plus, you can take it on your travels as it’s the most compact one we’ve ever seen. No more excuses.
Whether it’s back-to-back screenings at TIFF or just needing a bit a shade recovering from late-night parties, Victoria Beckham Eyewear was present for us to explore a collection of stylish and fashion-forward pieces. Former Spice Girl has proven to be a true style icon amongst the fashion-set for her sophisticated lines and luxuriously high-end craftsmanship.
It’s our favourite carbonated water maker and guests were offered a refresh as well as takeaway bottles that are conveniently made for individual servings on the go!
We all raised a glass to all the filmmakers coming into the city with Rueda Wines from Spain. This wine country offers an interesting selection to suit many preferences. We explored the country’s versatile Verdejo grape with sommelier Renée Sferrazza. For the record, I like sweet. She recommended the Bodega Gōtica Badajo and was spot on!
David’s Tea and “the perfect mug” (with infuser and lid!!) were popped into our totes on the way out the door. Ideal for my late-night writing sprees. Lucky for hubby it’s his favourite Valarian Nights that I brought back home.
Of course, is it even a film festival if there’s no popcorn involved? Was excited to see a jam-packed bag from the Toronto Popcorn Company snuck into my bag. YUM!
For the notables coming in they will receive everything in a very stylish duffle bag from Bellroy.
Thank you GLO Communications for inviting us in! Happy TIFF season!