The Red Carpet, Ten Years Later

red carpet retrospective | via vmac+cheese

So here’s an interesting story for you. Twice as an undergraduate student at USC, I got to be one of those screaming fans in the bleachers on a major red carpet event. The first time it happened, it was completely by luck. I think my roommate and I were walking to our room after Sunday brunch in the cafeteria, when an RA passed us and asked if we wanted to go sit in the bleachers at the Emmys and watch the stars arrive. “Obvi,” was our answer (however kids said “Obvi” circa 2002). The catch was we had to walk over to The Shrine auditorium (which is literally across from campus) right then and there. I remember I didn’t have a stitch of makeup on, I hadn’t showered, and I was in a really grotty tank top and shorts. But it didn’t matter. I think I somehow ended up on E! later that day in a crowd interview and was semi-mortified to be on national television looking like that.

The next year, I was an RA in a freshman dorm. I got a connection through another RA to a PR person at Fox, who was handling the red carpet bleachers (or something), and managed to finagle 37 tickets to the red carpet. 1 for me, 36 for my residents. I ended up being interviewed by E! again. So if you happened to be watching the Emmys red carpet arrivals on E! in September of 2003, you probably saw me!

Anyway, I got to thinking about both those experiences the other day when I saw a Golden Globes promo, and decided that instead of doing a red carpet review (because let’s be honest, you’ve probably seen about 1 bagillion of those today), I’d share some of the photos I snapped back in September of 2003. True story: I had to scan these all in. I didn’t get a digital camera until sometime in 2005!

I’m adding in my own notes on each photo to spare you too much of a Where’s Waldo game. Here we go!

andrew + jen | via vmac+cheese

The 2003 Emmys were long enough ago that Andrew Firestone and Jen Schefft were still dating. Remember when we thought The Bachelor might actually work? Or wait…did anyone actually think that? (I might’ve around that time!)

david schwimmer | via vmac+cheese

The last season of Friends was about to debut. Crazy, right?

bryan cranston | via vmac+cheese

Bryan Cranston was still on Malcom in the Middle (sooo different than Breaking Bad, no?).

jon stewart | via vmac+cheese

Jon Stewart was still awesome.

joe millionaire | via vmac+cheese

And in 2003, I could actually still remember what this guy’s name was. Recognize this dude? Joe Millionaire? Did anyone watch that awful (but amazing) reality show? Anyway, I had to Google his name, because clearly he’s had his 15 minutes, and it’s Evan Marriott.

robin williams | via vmac+cheese

And on the complete other end of the star spectrum, Robin Williams (ironically being escorted through the crowd by a guy I know from college).

matthew perry | via vmac+cheese

At some point I ran out of color film so the rest are black and white. Is it just me, or does Matthew Perry look pretty much exactly the same?

kim cattrall | via vmac+cheese

Major SATC swoon moment. Kim Cattrall looked flippin’ GORGEOUS. The first half of season six of SATC would’ve just finished up airing right around this time.

sjp | via vmac+cheese

Speaking of a SATC swoon moment….!!! In case you are wondering, the key to getting any celebrity on a red carpet to turn your way and wave is to have a large group of people scream their name as many times and as obnoxiously as possible. Eventually, even if they are in the middle of trying to give a professional interview, they have no choice but to turn around and acknowledge their adoring fans.

sjp + ellen | via vmac+cheese

And then SJP and Ellen were within like 20 feet of each other and the 2013 me’s head almost exploded.

simon cowell | via vmac+cheese

Simon Cowell refused to wave at anybody. But he kind of pulled it off anyway with that smile and open shirt. Very dapper.

ray romano | via vmac+cheese

I was within 5 feet of Ray Romano. Not pictured because I ran out of film: when Alicia Silverstone gave me her autograph. I have an entire sheet of paper with star autographs all over it, somewhere in my house.

debra messing | via vmac+cheese

Debra Messing, looking stunning, and obliging 50+ annoying college girls screaming her name.

matt le blanc | via vmac+cheese

Matt Le Blanc, before the indignity of Joey.

william h macy | via vmac+cheese

I don’t watch Shameless, but I hear good things.

conan | via vmac+cheese

CONAN! Towering above the entire crowd. I clearly remember that you kind of couldn’t miss him.

jennifer garner | via vmac+cheese

Jennifer Garner. How cute were her and Ben last night? When this photo was taken, Ben Affleck was still dating Jennifer Lopez. My, my, how times change!

Crazy college experience, no? Here’s another interesting factoid: about 3.5 years later, in May of 2006, I would graduate in the very same building these awards were held in! Hope you enjoyed these photos. It had been years since I had looked at them!

{Top Image Credit: Nancy Cohn Photography via Style Me Pretty; all other images and graphics by Victoria McGinley}


  1. 1.14.13
    Amberly said:

    These are great photos! I really enjoyed this look back! :)


  2. 1.14.13
    Amberly said:

    These are great photos! I really enjoyed this look back! :)

  3. 1.14.13

    Wow, time flies! And I feel that much older to start the morning. What an awesome experience you had!

  4. 1.14.13

    Loved this post! So much fun to look through the pictures you took!

  5. 1.14.13
    Pid said:

    Isn’t the last one Juliet Lewis ? I don’t recognize Jennifer Garner…

  6. 1.14.13
    Erin said:

    What a fun experience! It’s crazy to think how much has changed in 10 years with technology. I think my pics from 2003 were taken on a disposable camera!

  7. 1.14.13

    I miss Friends! These are some great pics…kinda cool to compare then and now!

  8. 1.14.13

    How fun! Loved your writing on these photos too. Did you use a tablet?

    • 1.14.13
      vmacandcheese said:

      Yes, a Wacom!

  9. 1.14.13
    Albertina said:

    OMG how fun!!! loved the story. I can’t believe Friends was still on…seems like ages ago!

  10. 1.14.13
    Tanvi said:

    I cannot help but wonder how these people must be feeling now, when their moment of fame is over. Crazy all it all changes.

    Fun post. Thanks for sharing.

    ∞ © ∞

  11. 1.14.13

    why the hell did i go to school in the midwest?!?!!? this is awesome.

  12. 1.14.13

    also, NAILED IT on that intro lettering, sista.

    • 1.14.13
      vmacandcheese said:

      Thanks! Loving all the MyFonts purchases. :)

  13. 1.14.13

    haha what a fun look back!! Thanks for sharing! :)

  14. 1.14.13
    Alyssa said:

    This is too awesome–and kind of amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to an awards show red carpet!

  15. 1.14.13

    What a fun experience and great post! It is amazing how much pop culture transforms and changes over the span of ten years, yet how it barely changes at all. I am of course referring to the Golden Globes set, which looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1987.

  16. 1.14.13
    Crystalin said:

    what a great post! Can’t believe Andrew and Jen were there, hahahaha.

  17. 1.14.13
    Alexa said:

    Okay this is such a trip! Matthew Perry does still look the same. Crazy. And Jon Stewart is still way awesome! This was fun, thanks Victoria!

  18. 1.14.13

    Funny story about Joe Millionaire- my husband & his roommates were obsessed w/the show, holding a big finale party where there were about 30 of us crowded in their college apartment. They would proceed to yell at anyone who dared to speak before commercials… I think people showed up to party & didn’t realize they’d be forced to watch the show :)

    What an awesome experience! I always wondered who got to be in the bleachers. Hilarious flashbacks too!

  19. 1.14.13

    haha this is awesome! SO MANY MEMORIES!

  20. 1.14.13
    Joelle said:

    I’ve done the red carpet at the Academy Awards twice, and it’s so much fun! I can honestly say I’ve seen some of the biggest stars, and I even have George Clooney’s autograph :) There’s a video somewhere floating around the internets of my bff nearly fainting because he came up to us. I love it! And I love all your pictures…they’re definitely something fun to look back on!

  21. 1.14.13
    Natalie said:

    YES I watched Joe Millionaire! It was one of the few reality dating shows where the star picked the more deserving competitor, in this case Zora…and yes, it’s embarrassing that I know that.

    And you should definitely watch Shameless. It’s amazing.

    Name’s Not Ashley

  22. 1.14.13
    Nnenna said:

    Such a cool post and I loved reading about your experience- thanks so much for sharing with us!

  23. 1.14.13

    How amazing, major originality on this post!! And really fun to think about ten years ago…I couldn’t even drive!

  24. 1.14.13
    Elisa said:

    So much fun to see the awards from a different perspective! Thanks for the extra comments they made me laugh :)

  25. 1.14.13

    What a great post! Trip down memory lane for sure… some of those celebs, I have no idea what they’re doing now!

  26. 1.14.13
    alyson said:

    This is so awesome! What a fun recap, and totally agree.. plenty of fashion posts from last night for all of us to find elsewhere (and everywhere).

  27. 1.14.13
    Chelsea said:

    Too much fun. You lucky girl. I love this post. xoxo

  28. 1.15.13

    Love this! Such a fun experience to share.

    P.S. Love the pic of you and Lucy on Meg’s blog today!

  29. 1.15.13
    Chelsea said:

    First and foremost, I love that you had to scan these in! Oh the pre-digital days :) What a freaking cool experience, one of the perks of living in LA definitely! Thanks for sharing!

    Haute Child in the City

  30. 1.15.13

    Loved this post. Great unique perspective. The font and circle thing you did is really cool! So funny to think of a time we used film for our cameras.

  31. 1.20.13
    Libby said:

    this is too funny – love seeing the Friends crew! what a cool experience!

  32. 1.25.13

    What a blast from the past, I love these! That might just be a new goal of mine as an LA resident :) So cool!

  33. 9.19.16
    Monica said:

    Whaaaa, so cool!! Glad you re-shared this post…Oh and I more than likely saw you on TV being interviewed by E! I was 100% in my “I want to be a movie director when I grow up” phase and the red carpet was my jam.

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