My previous Cannes adventures
This is my third time at Cannes and each year people are jealous and excited at the same time! "Wow, you are going to Cannes!!!! I wish I could go there one day!"
The same excitement follows when they hear that I spend a lot of time in LA, Hollywood to be exact. The idealistic vision of such places often clashes with the reality I experience. Cannes is a great place to meet international filmmakers you hardly have a chance to talk to otherwise.
My first year in Cannes was a rainy nightmare. I had two market screenings of a tiny film I was cast in and was the only actress to appear for it. Staying at a dungy, cold and moist guest room of a friend's apartment without Internet access was not the glamorous Cannes experience one would think of.
Last year, my trip to Cannes fulfilled common expectations. The famous Chopard party at a private jet airport, a fabulous dinner event at the Palme D'Or restaurant, meeting with a fancy European management company over lunch at the Eden Roc, the Relativity luncheon...you name it. Cannes all of a sudden seemed to be a daydream you never want to wake up from!
This year, Cannes was like Vegas: great while it lasts, but after a few days one happily awaits the departure.
My Butterfly Ballet Launch & Designers
This trip to Cannes launches the start of my online store and lifestyle blog. An interview with Canal+ on the Croisette is the perfect kickoff followed by a meeting with a successful fashion brand from LA. Often people prefer to meet in Cannes rather than on their home turf. "I don't have time in LA, but we can definitely meet in Cannes." It is the strangest thing!
Designers have been asking me to wear their dresses in Cannes and for other red carpet functions. I am always flattered and love getting new stylish outfits either in the mail or at the showroom. Some of the outfits I am allowed to keep others I have to send back. This time Fragment Berlin was one of the designers for my Cannes adventure. I love working with up-and-coming designers as much as with already established brands! It is all about the mix!
As everything else in life, this comes with a price. The outfits do not always fit and sometimes you have to let down a designer when you absolutely cannot wear a dress that exposes certain body parts.
Hotel du Cap Eden Roc
This place is a must be for events as well as for meetings on quieter days during the Cannes Film Festival. The Hotel du Cap is highly guarded. An array of hotel employees greet you driving in and I am surprised they don't ask for a background check or make me strip down. An interrogation about whom we are meeting and why we are here ensues until we fulfill all the requirements on the guard's huge checklist. He rubs his head in disbelief that we passed his test and are actually qualified to enter the holy grounds. I feel like I am about to meet the pope!
The Eden Roc is like no other place on earth. It is truly breathtaking. The ocean view, the yachts, the wind blowing softly creating small waves on the edge of the inviting infinity pool, the sun glimmering on the water. This is more than a place to be, it is the most heavenly version of paradise on earth!
About a thousand pictures later, we enter the Vatican of the Cote D'Azur, the main building of the du Cap hotel. Hotel guests stare from the bar: new arrivals at this place are definitely noticed. They seem like inmates hungry for fresh meat, yet concerned that intruders would interrupt the gilded cage feeling they usually indulge in. The servers act like guards making sure that everything is in order and put outsiders in their place by constantly following them around. I keep wondering if they tuck all of their hotel guests into bed at night, to make sure all their cattle is safe from the angry wolves luring in the mountains behind Antibes.
Two Bellinis later and I am slowly starting to feel comfortable. I have been here before, but only to events. This is the first time I see the calm before the storm. Workers tirelessly build the runway for the De Grisogono party outside. Rich Italians come to our table. In this palace, they are the rebellious ones, too curious to stay away. I run into friends, who are usually fun, warm and entertaining. This place, however, seems to turn them into frozen versions of themselves. My sweet smile comes in handy and it turns out to be a productive evening.
A few days later at the De Grisogono event, one of the hottest parties in town: I see Hailey Baldwin and her best friend Josephine Skriver. One is a celebrity daughter with 1.4 million Instagram followers; her stunning IVF born Victoria Secret model friend "only" counts 500 K. No matter how gorgeous you are the last name is always more important!
I wonder if Skriver's stem cells were picked for the purpose of utter gorgeousness. What will the De Grisogono party look like in thirty years? Will everybody periscope about one another and IVF babies will run the show? The no more plastic surgery, everything is taking care of before birth approach. An acquaintance of mine starts to take pictures with every celebrity attending the party! It is time to go...the longer a party goes the less interesting are the people attending. Or they are drunk and won't remember one word of the exchange that might seem important to you at the time!
German mentality at the Cannes Film Festival
You know it is a German event when the welcome committee consists of a huge ponytail guy blocking your way: "Can I see your invitation? I doubt you are on the list."
I put on my biggest smile while a German lady comes running towards us, excited to see me: "Of course she is on the list." The ponytail guy hesitantly moves asides and generously opens the way into a sea of grey: for many Germans blending in is key! My flashy, colorful dress causes immediate attention, especially by the photographers.
You also know it's a German party when food and drinks are no longer served fifteen minutes before the end. The punctuality includes all aspects of life, even parties. I run into German producers who are surprised that I have started a lifestyle business while I am also acting. For many Germans, doing two things at the same time just doesn't go together.
A common concept in LA, which at times even makes my eyebrows twitch, is nearly unheard of in Europe. They have never seen an actor/writer/director/producer/model/singer/dancer/reality personality/dog walker all in one person. In Germany, you do one thing and stick with it! If you study business you have to work in a bank.
Later that day I see a famous German TV host turned actress miserable at the Carlton bar. She had already tried to get a foot in the door during Oscar season in Los Angeles. In this very moment she realizes how high the bar is in Cannes. She still has to work on her coolness factor here!
Discretion is key
I am trying to get a work out in which is conveniently interrupted by an American steward for private planes. He comes out of the sauna in an Adonis-like manner, only covered by a towel wrapped around his waist. He boasts about the stars and directors he is serving on private jets. He starts to complain about this one particular producer until it turns out that I know this guy. The flight attendant blushes and is begging me not to blow his cover. His is legitimately scared as people get fired for gossiping all the time. If I have learned one thing in this industry, it is to keep my mouth shut about any drama including my own. So, his secret is safe with me!
Secret villa parties
My friend and I get invited to an unofficial villa party. It is literally a secret as nobody is able to find it at first. They call it "secret" as it is mostly producers and directors celebrating one of their projects. Just like everybody else in Cannes, they are terrified of nagging actors asking for parts. Since my friend and I are specifically asked to not tell people what we do for a living, we eat and drink on the sofa while one interested person after the next start sitting next to us, inquiring. All of a sudden, people do not mind that actors are amongst the mix. The tables have turned!
Periscope-the new thing to do
Yet another villa party up in the hills: narrow winding roads, gorgeous view, nice pool, fun music, an artist painting Formula 1 race cars. My friend is periscoping the event...taking pictures and posting on Facebook is so yesterday! She is a social media rockstar, my FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and now Periscope tutor.
I take a first attempt at Periscope and instantly land 126 likes from strangers who see my video of this party somewhere in Wisconsin or Minnesota. This is nuts! I start thinking about where spies are even able to meet these days, constantly having to fear they could end up on Snapchat or Periscope. The park bench probably is no longer a safe place.
A filmmaker interrupts my thoughts and starts a conversation, or should I say monologue. He has a lot of advice for actors. Funny part is, I never asked for such. We get an invitation to the Grand Prix in Monaco. Sounds tempting...perhaps, next year!