Another TIFF has come and gone, and all I’m left with is residual fatigue and lots of amazing memories. 30 minutes in the same room as Ryan Gosling? Check. Brunch with Sigourney Weaver? Check (well, kinda). Below are my most memorable moments from #TIFF16!
1. Variety Studio
Always a highlight of my TIFF, Variety Studio is usually located in a pretty small room with a handful of famous people going in and out, where you have to act cool, even when you really want to fangirl like you’ve never fangirled before. I’ve visited Variety Studio as a guest of Moroccanoil for the last few years, and I always walk away with lots of juicy star observations. This year, I breathed the same air as Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, John Legend, Gael Garcia Bernal, Gerard Butler, Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, Sam Claflin,
Miranda Cynthia Nixon, and the cast of The Eagle Huntress.
Despite being in the same room as Ryan Gosling for nearly 30 minutes, I didn’t actually talk to the Canadian heartthrob. But I did watch him, like a creeper that I am. Ryan was shorter than I imagined, and looked very serious the entire time he was at the lounge (unlike Emma Stone, who was animated and smiled a lot). Strangely, I didn’t see the two interact very much – Emma was mostly with her people and Ryan with his. The only time we got to see Ryan’s warmer side, was when he spotted the star of The Eagle Huntress Aisholpan in her native garb, and went over to introduce himself. After a brief chat, he offered to take photos with Aisholpan and her family. I wasn’t quite sure whether the Kazakh family actually knew who Ryan was, but they were happy to snap a few photos with the actor. At the end of his visit, Ryan took some time to sign a postcard for Airbnb and Make-A-Wish foundation, and while waiting for the elevator, he stood right in front of me for nearly 5 minutes. It took all of my strength not to be that person and ask him for a photo; I played it cool instead…but those were the longest 5 minutes of my life. File this one under #TIFFregrets.
Just like in prior years, the British actors were my faves. They just seem to have a camaraderie that the Hollywood actors don’t seem to posses. This year, I watched the cast of Their Finest, including Sam Claflin, Gemma Arterton, and Bill Nighy, work the room and charm everyone in the vicinity. Bill Nighy made eye contact with anyone around him and said “hello”, which shouldn’t seem like a big deal, but it really is, because most of the stars don’t even make eye contact with the “civilians”. Gemma looked relaxed and beautiful, as did Sam, who seemed to be in a good mood and looked very friendly. Sam played the Holt Renfrew claw machine and had to try a couple of times before finally winning. It was cute to see how competitive he got. He also came by the Moroccanoil station to learn more about the products and walked away with a goodie bag of his own.
Other lucky guests who took home some Moroccanoil included John Legend (who chose to walk 6 flights of stairs down instead of waiting for the elevator), Cynthia Nixon (who came in looking a bit stern, but seemed to liven up at the sight of Moroccanoil…seriously!), Richard Gere (who popped in for a few minutes and was gone in a flash), and Gael Garcia Bernal (who was just as cute as I remember from back in 2007 when I met him at MTV, but didn’t spare a minute to sign the Airbnb/Make-A-Wish postcard, which was disappointing).
2. Brunch at Brassaii
Stargazing is a pretty popular activity during TIFF. You can find throngs of fans camping out on King St, in front of theatres, and waiting outside of various hotels, but did you know that you can have brunch at Brassaii, where all sorts of movie stars arrive to attend the Hollywood Reporter Lounge? It’s true! My friend Al and I stopped by Brassaii to try their new brunch menu, and in just one hour, we watched Sigourney Weaver walk in and out (apparently she requested a special vegetarian soup), and saw Felicity Jones in a pretty striped outfit. Had we had more time to hang out, we would’ve also seen Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, Douglas Booth and Bill Nighy, Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, Pharrell and Taraji P. Henson (who was greeted with a banana cream tart, lemon meringue tart, a white chocolate/dark chocolate brownie, and a Happy Birthday song). It’s so easy – the stars literally come to you, and you don’t have to jockey for position, or stand in lines for hours – just enjoy delicious food like Oreo Pancakes and Fried Chicken and Waffles, while trying not to pass out when Ryan Gosling strolls by.
More after the jump!
3. beautyBOUTIQUE/PHYTO Paris TIFF Suite
Every year, Shoppers Drug Mart sponsors a TIFF beauty lounge, where media are invited to sit back and get pampered. This year, I had my makeup done by the lovely makeup artist from Stila, before a quick hair touch-up from PHYTO and a quick glamour photoshoot. A perfect way to start any day, but especially much-needed on a busy TIFF one.
4. Mongrel House
Last, but certainly not least, Mongrel House was one of the most fun places to party during TIFF, night after night. It had everything – Ethan Hawke playing table tennis, Sandra Oh dancing to karaoke, vintage arcade games, various sponsored activations (like complimentary Aero chocolates and Holt Renfrew claw machine), as well as delicious food and drinks. We stopped by twice and even when it was raining cats and dogs, the crowd never seemed to mind. With live music and plenty of space to hang out, this was a perfect place to kick back after a long day of TIFFing.
Photo Credits: 1-3 – Rex/Shutterstock; 4 – Mike Chen; 5 – c/o Overcat PR; 6 – Ryan Emberley