Toronto International Film Festival is a tricky time for those who cover the festivities. On the one hand it’s incredibly thrilling to have so many talented people descend upon our hometown, but on the other…running around from film to film, from one interview to another, having to submit articles, and then having the energy to attend late-night parties is not for the faint of heart. But then again…some people would kill for the opportunity to experience it all. So instead of complaining, both media and industry types buck up and survive it all. What definitely helps year after year are the amazing TIFF Gifting Lounges, which offer both celebs and industry insiders a chance to pop in for much-needed hair and make-up touch-ups, mini manis, mini massages, delectable bites and of course, freebies!
Each year, it seems like more and more lounges pop up in Toronto, so even hopping from one to another in an attempt to cover them all may seem like a gruelling task all on its own…but hey, someone’s gotta do it! Below are the highlights from the lounges I got to visit during this year’s TIFF!
1. Esther Garnick PR’s Essentials Lounge
Essentials Lounge is a much-needed media haven year after year. Its sole existence is to arm the press with the essentials necessary to “survive” TIFF and “recover” once the festival is over. At this year’s lounge, we were gifted with face-savers like Elizabeth Grant’s Essence of Torricelumn treatment to repair and renew tired skin, and Collagen Re-Inforce Rejuvenating Gel Eye Pads to practically erase any evidence of sleepless nights and fatigue. Both worked their magic on my skin all week long! Magic, I’m telling you.
Our amazing Essentials gift bags also contained hair products from Aveda (smells so good!), makeup from Hard Candy Cosmetics (fun colours to play with), Calvin Klein underwear, Centrum Vitamins (TIFF flu is a thing, people!), Ethical Bean Coffee (for that extra boost of energy), Nike+ Fuelband (to count how many calories one can burn running from one premiere to another), HP Slate 7 tablet (because it’s much easier to carry than a laptop, and just as useful for blogging on the go), and lots more. Needless to say, with thoughtful gift bag contents that are actually helpful during TIFF, Essentials Lounge was a lifesaver for many bloggers and media types covering the festival this year.
2. Variety Studio
While Variety Studio, hosted by Holt Renfrew and sponsored by brands like MoroccanOil and British Airways isn’t a gifting lounge per se, it was definitely a place to be during the festival. Where else could you watch Susan Sarandon get an intense MoroccanOil hand massage (smells and feels amazing) while holding her dog Penny in her lap, Michael Fassbender (whom I actually missed AGAIN!) getting his flirt on, Jude Law eating brownies on the couch, Matthew McConaughey storming into the room and greeting everyone in his thick Texan drawl, Abigail Breslin talking about her “guy” and looking all grown up while also enjoying a MoroccanOil treatment…I mean, the room was swimming with celebs for days, and I was super lucky to have been able to get a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes. Plus, Jared Leto smiled at me and I chatted with Demian Bichir, so there’s that.
More after the jump!