my experience at the aol build and allegiant world premiere.

Copyright 2016 Ronica Davis - Theologians.net

I blog for The THEOlogians, a news site for Theo James, who is my absolute favorite actor. Last week, I got to fly to New York City to attend the World Premiere of The Divergent Series: Allegiant, attend the Red (actually BLACK) Carpet, and was a guest at the after party. Theo is a lead in the movie, and he plays the character Four. In addition, I managed to get a ticket to the AOL Build session featuring Theo James and Shailene Woodley. Below is an account of both experiences!

AOL BUILD

I woke up Monday morning, my stomach in knots. I didn’t know what to expect, and I’d never navigated the MTA on my own before, so my main concern was making sure I got there on time without getting lost! Turns out I didn’t even need to worry about that. The trains weren’t running right, so I had to call an Uber. Then traffic was a hot mess. I was very nervous, but I got there in plenty of time.

Check-in was easy. I just showed my confirmation and they let me up to the fourth floor. I was disappointed to see that all the seats in the front and second row were taken. I’d managed to find a seat in the third row, next to one of the employees, and I was OK with that. Much better than the back! I’m short, so the closer to the front the better!

I hadn’t known I could take photos, so I didn’t bring my really good camera. As a result, the image quality on my photos isn’t up to my usual standards. I also hadn’t known I could take video. Turns out that my seat was right next to where they walk in, which was a bonus I did not expect. You may have seen the video on Instagram.

A video posted by Ronni (@lilrongal) on

Before they walked in, a guy came in to warm up the crowd. I was enthusiastic and they took note of that, and it came in handy later. The interview was fun and enjoyable. I forgot there were cameras on as Theo and Shailene charmed the interviewer and the audience. When it came time for questions, the AOL employee next to me made sure to flag down the question guy for me. He asked me what my question was, then he had to get approval. Turns out the publicists didn’t like my first question. Luckily, I had another one prepared, and they liked the second question, which is the one I asked on camera.

Ronni asks Theo a question (AOL Build)

It was awesome. Very very awesome. To have Theo look right at me, and then talk directly to me was a dream come true. Wow. I’ve only been wanting to meet him for years…YEARS…and even though this wasn’t exactly a meeting, for that moment, he knew I was alive and acknowledged me. Not only that, but I am genuinely curious as to what he will come up as a writer and a producer, and I think (hope) he picked up on that. He’s so smart and funny, I think anything he does will be brilliant.

I floated all the way back to my hotel!

ALLEGIANT PREMIERE

I'm at the Black Carpet! OMG!

I’m at the Black Carpet! OMG!

Stomach still in knots, I made my way over to the AMC Lincoln Square at about 4:30 p.m. Official check in was 5:45 p.m., but I wanted to get in line early. It was drizzling outside, and one of the guards tried to tell me to go back home because the lobby was too crowded—there was also a My Big Fat Greek Wedding event going on. (HA, fat chance) I found a little hidden niche with some other bloggers and hung with them as we were escorted to a line until time to check in. Talking to them helped calm my nerves and my stomach.

Soon, a representative called us over and handed out envelopes with the movie ticket and after party ticket, as well as a shiny blue wristband that allowed us entrance to the tent and fan pen. My packet was the last in the bunch, so I was nervous until she finally pulled it out! We were allowed to walk on the black carpet and take photos with the posters, but I elected to secure my spot in the front row of the fan pen instead.

 Hanging in the Fan Pen with Stacy!

Hanging in the Fan Pen with Stacy!

Then we waited. People slowly trickled in, press members, VIPs, the Damn Daniel guys, random celebrities I didn’t recognize, or people I recognized but couldn’t place, and the like. I could see camera flashes outside the door, some people thought it was lightning, but I knew that meant someone cool was coming in. The first actor in was Jeff Daniels, who did an interview and took photos. Then Keiynan Lonsdale came in with his plus one, Jordan Rodrigues, who he’d worked with on Dance Academy. (I had a full on fangirl meltdown at this point, because I am a huge fan of Dance Academy and Jordan Rodrigues played my favorite character!) I gave him a flirty wave as he stood on the carpet, and he gave me a small smile and waved back. Night made and I hadn’t even seen Theo yet.

Bill Skarsgård (Matthew) came in and I snapped photos of him. He came right to the fan pen and took a selfie with me. He was so funny. He’s so tall and his eyes are gorgeous. Nadia Hilker (Nita) spent a lot of time with fans, signing autographs and taking selfies and seemed like she was having a blast.

Nadia Hilker with Ronni from @TheologiansNet at the #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

Bill Skarsgård and Ronni from @TheologiansNet #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

The next several minutes were a blur. The carpet got very crowded. There were loads of children all dressed up. There were lots of press and publicists and family members and friends, and it got loud. I saw Naomi Watts (Evelyn) posing for press, and Divergent author Veronica Roth stopped by the fan pen for a split second. I was next to Stacy from Page Turners (who I’d already known because of all the book events we both attend, and also I won a contest from her years ago), and she and Veronica are friends. Veronica made a regretful face at Stacy before being pulled away by industry folks. I managed to get a selfie with Ansel Elgort (Caleb), and I totally photobombed a photo with Miles Teller (Peter).

Miles Teller & Folks!

Miles Teller & Folks!

Shailene Woodley (Tris) stopped right in front of me but she was distracted by the industry people. I said “Hey girl heyyyy” and she turned around and said “Hey—”. A look of recognition came over her face (she totally remembered me from the AOL Build!) and she said “Hey, how are you?” Then she was whisked away.

#ShaileneWoodley at the #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

@AnselElgort with Ronni from @TheologiansNet at the #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

Theo James (Four/Tobias) didn’t even get to me on the carpet before he was snatched away. I was a bit disappointed—I really wanted to see if he’d remember me from that morning. Once he went past, that was pretty much it. Zoe Kravitz (Christina) was busy chatting with people on the carpet, but I got a couple of nice pictures of her.

#TheoJames at the #AllegiantPremiere last night (Photo by @lilrongal from @theologiansnet)

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on


I TOOK THAT PICTURE!!!

Click here to see more photos from the Allegiant Black Carpet!

Soon after the frenzy of the carpet, they led us out to the theater. There were two theaters—the cast theater and the fan theater. I was in the fan theater. We had assigned seats. They gave us free popcorn and beverages, and the movie score played in the background while we waited for the movie to start.

Movie Time!

Movie Time!

I enjoyed the movie! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really hoped it’d be better than Insurgent. I thought it was, especially the second half. I was on the edge of my seat, and I was surprised when it was over. I like when I get lost in something like that.

After the movie, fans lined up outside and inside, waiting for the celebrities in the lobby who were heading to their fancy cars. I ran outside and grabbed an Uber to the after party. Traffic was bad, but I got there at a decent time.

They didn’t let us keep the after party ticket. It was so cool, so I’m glad I got a photo. There were different ones. I got Caleb.

After party ticket

The place was huge! There were flashing blue lights, “Allegiant” lights on the walls. Loud music, people milling around, a really amazing coat check (seriously, the coat check was impressive), and the size of the main room went back forever. There were couches in the main room reserved for some of the industry VIPs. There was also a separate VIP section that we could peek in, and a private VIP section where most of the celebrities went as the night went on. I really wanted to go in there. REALLY did. Just to sit down and chill with everyone. But I was glad to be at the party at all.

Theo was already in the VIP section when I got there, so I knew there would be no chance of talking to him. The “Damn Daniel” guys didn’t go into the VIP section at all, they hung out together, enjoying all the yummy food and talking to fans. Pasta, seafood, a cold bar, and yummy desserts were all over. Lots of people walked around with trays of tasty small bites. I couldn’t understand why the people serving the champagne kept swerving away from me—do I really look *that* young? I had to go to the bar to get a drink.

But before I did that, I got to speak with Jordan Rodrigues. He recognized me from the fan pen and maybe even from my tweet—he’d “liked” it earlier that night when I tweeted about seeing him there.

He liked my tweet!

He and I talked about acting and career choices, among other things. He was easy to talk to and very nice. We had a great chat! He told me that it was really nice talking with me, which made me happy. I also got to talk to Keiynan Lonsdale, who is *beautiful* in person. Onscreen doesn’t do him justice. He too was very nice, and he is super tall. Jordan is just right.

Jordan Rodrigues!!

Jordan Rodrigues!!

Ray Stevenson (Marcus) stayed out in the regular part of the party, but he didn’t talk to anyone except people he knew. I got to chat with Veronica Roth about living in Chicago and how crazy it is that we live in the same city but I only get to see her at events like this. (I met her two years ago at the All It Takes Divergent premiere in Los Angeles, but she didn’t remember. Not that I expected her to.) Theo came out once (probably to use the bathroom), and security was all over him. In fact, security saw me spot Theo and whisked him (he seemed confused) in the other direction. How rude.

Erin and Me

There was a photo booth, so Erin of Once Upon a Twilight and I got in and posed all cute and stuff. Then we mainly people watched, munched on good food, chatted with Lauren and Michael from The Young Folks, and had a really good time. We danced, too. It was a party, after all! So why not dance?

Too soon, the night was over. I sat and watched some of the celebs leave, only because I am nosy like that. Ansel left with a big group, holding hands with his gorgeous girlfriend. I yelled “Happy Birthday” to him and he gave me a smile. Theo left with a big group of people, surrounded by security. It was like a kindergarten class: “Now everyone hold hands so no one gets separated.” I headed back to my hotel then, ready to sleep for a million years, but the adrenaline wouldn’t let me.

Things I Learned:

1. Actors in general are very tall. Most of them towered over me. (Or maybe I’m just very short.)
2. The “red carpet” is not just a time to pose for pictures and look pretty. Those actors are working hard. Taking photos, talking to press, giving fans a thrill, trying to keep up with all the frenzy. I can see how it could be overwhelming.
3. Lots of random people walk the carpet. Producer’s children, plus ones, family members, random celebrities that have nothing to do with the movie just to name a few.
4. Press is everywhere.
5. The carpet is LOUD because there are so many people.
6. No matter where you are, there is always a “better” place you want to be. (Or maybe this is just me.) I was in the fan pen, but I wanted to be important enough to be on the carpet. I was at the party, but I wanted to be important enough to hit the VIP area. Then the super VIP area. And yet, there were people standing out in the freezing rain, wishing they were were I was. Interesting how that works, no? With that said…

I am everlastingly grateful to Lionsgate for giving me the opportunity to experience this taste of Hollywood glamour. It was an intense, amazing, crazy, adrenaline-pumping time and I loved every minute of it. I hope to get to do it again next year!

Yay!

Yay!

*shameless plug*
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Fire and Grace

Me and Suzanne Sterling 2012

As you know, I was blessed with another opportunity to study with Suzanne Sterling. I had the chance to study with her last year, and honestly, that workshop changed my life. This year, it was even BETTER!

There was singing, clapping, yoga, ecstatic dance, hugs, tears, and an amazing sense of community and bonding. Just letting go and being free was amazing. So much was moved in me this weekend. I came out buzzing, feeling remarkably lighter and freer. And my dreams were super vivid last night. Certain things I needed to let go of–I let go of them in my dreams. That’s not to say that something won’t trigger me again, but for now, I’m liberated of those bad feelings and I’m going to bask in it while it lasts!

She talked a lot about shatki: the yoga of sound. About how we, as humans, are self-wired for expression. In just about every non-westernized country, people are greeted with song and dance. Doesn’t matter if you speak the same language or not. People are united through music.

We’re always trying to regulate our nervous systems because we want to feel good. It’s why people eat chocolate cake, or smoke marijuana. And we’re hard wired to move trauma through our systems through expression. If you DON’T move that trauma, disease takes hold. In this country, we’re not really allowed to feel our traumas. We’re expected to do the “spiritual bypass” thing–locking the trauma away and being “fine.”

NO BUENO, FOLKS.

As Suzanne said, you need to do the “fuck you” before you can say “I forgive you.” You gotta go to those uncomfortable places and move it out. Dance with it–you’re always working. But you have to move it so it won’t become stagnant and more harmful.

Sound is a PHYSICAL thing. You can SHIFT a situation with sound! Sound affects respiration, heart rate, brain waves, and consciousness. We’re affected by sounds we can’t even hear. Shabda, yoga of the word, is immensely powerful. Mantras are powerful and can stay true or become true. They invoke a certain consciousness. So… let your mantras bring you abundance and light and love! Don’t say things to yourself like “You’re an idiot” or “You suck, you’ll never amount to anything.” Those are mantras and they’re very real, and they will manifest. Everything we say is out there. And once you admit to the universe that you’re ready for something, it will come. I have experienced this myself. Back in April of 2002, I said out loud “I wouldn’t mind becoming pregnant.” I kid you not, two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with Aidan. The universe heard that and RAN WITH IT. So universe? I’d love my writing discipline back please and thank you. Still dreaming of hitting that NYT Bestseller list someday…..

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Imitation of Life, the second one. The maid, Annie, says “There’s no shame in looking prosperous. It just shows the good Lord you’re ready when He is.”

Doing yoga has made me WAY more sensitive to sound and the things that affect my environment. I do NOT like bars anymore. Too assaulting for me. Adam loves the show Breaking Bad, but I can’t watch it. Too much screaming. ANYthing with terrified or tortured screaming in it really affects me and I don’t like being exposed to it. I just unfollowed someone on tumblr for posting too many pictures of violence and blood. She can post whatever she likes. I don’t need to see it. Hammering, banging, pounding. All those sounds are so jarring to me and I just can’t stand them anymore. I don’t like any violent sound. But I also hate the sound of people chewing and people walking in shoes on hard floors. I don’t know what that says about me, but there you go.

The yoga practices were way more vigorous than I remembered, but that’s OK. I was able to keep up. I must have done well over 100 chantarungas this weekend. I know for an Ashtanga yogi, that’s nothing (they do hundreds in a single practice probably), but for me, that’s a lot! I feel much stronger now. And I welcomed the challenge. I want arms like Gabby Douglas. Those muscles aren’t going to get defined by themselves. ;)

Pushing myself to my edge–that place where there is sensation but not pain–is how I’m going to grow. And doing loads of chatarungas (safely, of course) and getting defined arms is just a physical manifestation of this practice. It works in life transformation as well. My authentic truth is finding it a bit easier to breathe tonight, which is wonderful because I’ve been tamping it down for many, many years. I feel the seeds of Suzanne’s teaching already working in me. My life is already being transformed. It feels great to surrender to it.

Go into the places that are uncomfortable.
Breathe there.
See what happens.

I’m Back, Plus a Giveaway!

YAY! I’m back from my Disney trip! It was really fun! I will add more details in a later post, but I did want to say this: DUDE!!! ADAM AND I GOT PICKED TO BE IN ONE OF THE PARADES! Yes, we really truly did! Amazing and fun and awesome! Here’s a sneak peak:

Sweet, right? So, I’ll take more about that later this week or this weekend. Right now, I want to get this giveaway going for you guys! It’s a good one!

So, you’ve heard of Shabby Apple, right? They sell really cute women’s dresses. REALLY cute. Like this one:

And guess what? This just happens to be the dress that I’m giving away! How awesome is that? You know you want to get in on this, so just follow all the fun directions in that nifty Rafflecopter thingamabob down there *points below* and I’ll let you know if you’re the winner!

This contest, my very first giveaway, ends February 20, which isn’t much time to get your entries in. And you have the chance to earn 37 entries, plus the opportunity for more over the next few days. What are you waiting for? ENTER RIGHT NOW! And GOOD LUCK! :D

P.S. You need to have a valid US shipping address to be eligible.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Test Audience Experience (Multimedia)

The Rosie Show Test Show

Today, Adam and I attended a test taping of The Rosie Show. As you may know, The Rosie Show has moved into Harpo Studios, and the show will begin airing next month on OWN.

I’d never attended any sort of big scale show like this, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I freaked out about my outfit. They asked for bright colors and warned us that the studio would be cold, so to wear long sleeves. Well, guess what? All of my bright colors are summer clothes, thus short-sleeved or sleeveless. All of my long-sleeved clothes were pretty dark. I wore a boring grey tee-shirt and skinny jeans.

When we got to the studio, we stood in a big line. Someone came down the line asking people for funny stories about meeting celebrities. I told them about how I met Mario Lopez when I was 17 and wanted to stick my finger in his dimple.

When we got inside, Adam gave them our name, and we had to show them our IDs. Once we were checked in, they handed us a blue card and a green card to fill out. We were then moved into a room where they searched my purse and had us walk through medal detectors. Then it was time for a potty break. Harpo Studios has one men’s room and two women’s rooms. Smart. There were still lines.

We headed upstairs to the holding area, where they passed out bottled waters, pens to fill out the cards, and cupcakes from Sugar Bliss. They were cute and yummy.

The Rosie Show Test Show

The green card had information that could probably be used in a show as filler. The blue cards had a number on them and asked for some basic contact information. After we snacked and turned in our green card, it was time to head into the studio. They called a bunch of people by name, and then the rest of us by the number on the blue cards, which they collected as we filed into the studio. They were NOT kidding when they said the studio would be cold. IT WAS FREEZING. And naturally, my bladder began sending signals as soon as I got settled. Typical.

Someone came out to warm up the audience, and I was really amazed at how warm and responsive the crew seemed to be. We were introduced to the house band. The leader is the person who wrote “Dick In A Box” for Saturday night live. How cool is that? Then, Rosie ran across the stage and yelled “You can’t see me!” and everyone screamed. She looks fantastic. She opened the show with a monologue that was very funny. Then she introduced the guests: Randy Jackson, Noland Gould (who plays Luke on Modern Family), and Crystal Bowersox.

It was fun watching the guests. It was really cool when Randy Jackson talked about his new eyeglasses line, and then announced that all of the audience members were going to get a free pair! Wooo! Crystal sounded amazing, and Nolan was hilarious and super cute.

At the end of the taping, Rosie stood on stage and allowed people to take photos of her. If there were children in the audience (she allows kids–how cool is that?), she let them actually come on stage. She was really great with the audience, making personal connections and letting people ask her questions in between segments.

The Rosie Show Test Show

I snuck and took this tiny video of her thanking us for being there:

We got to watch them tape a short segment for Access Hollywood, then we were led out. We were then given gift bags (which consisted of a The Rosie Show tee-shirt, a small bag of Garrett’s popcorn, a bag of PopChips, and a Vosges peppermint candy cane bar). We were given a coupon for a free frosting shot from Sugar Bliss, and a postcard to mail in for the free Randy Jackson sunglasses. We’re also going to get tickets for a real taping that’ll take place in October or November!

I’m looking forward to it. I also know not to drink a thing and to layer like a mofo. It’s really, truly freezing in those studios. And I apologize for camera quality–I didn’t want to take any chances of having my Canon T3 confiscated.

Thanks for reading! :)