By an (Australian) country mile (or should that be kilometre?) G’Day USA Gala in LA is the best event in LA. Bar none. Well maybe except if I was nominated for an Oscar or Golden Globe. Actually probably not even.
There’s something so comfortable about Australians that make them (us!) so easy–and fun– to be around. I’m not sure if Americans share that opinion but I think they might.
Take the G’Day USA Gala here in LA. Held around Australia Day every year it symbolises the union and mateship between America and Australia over the years. Not only do we bring our best actors and performers over (Margot Robbie was honoured this year), we also bring chefs (Curtis Stone who really is more than just the spunky Coles guy) and great business people (eg Mr H).
The G’Day USA Gala in LA not only showcases and honours our great talent (mainly in entertainment) but it encourages American investment and partnerships in Australia. That’s basically how I get my guernsey–by the Australian government and organisations like AusFilm encouraging companies like Mr H’s to invest more in Australia or bring their productions to Australia.
What does it mean to be Australian?
I’ve been to a few awards shows now. I love them but there’s something so different about this one. The schedule is jam-packed as are the awards shows (you don’t go to catch up with the people on your table) but the program is so much more fun and engaging. And just a little bit more low key whilst maintaining its pizzaz and hoopla. Take for example Rebel Wilson singing a duet with the very fun Hugh Sheridan. It’s a classy number and well performed then you look down and see Rebel has her shoes off. Clearly those shoes were far from comfortable.
Part of what it means to be Australian is finding a very comfortable place being self-deprecating–and to hang shit on others. When honouring Big Little Lies “other” Producer (we met her on stage during the Golden Globes but many not in the know wondered who she was) Bruna Papandrea, Isla Fisher gave the best speech.
You can only describe her words, spoken truly eloquently and from the heart, as magically Australian:
“Audiences would know Bruna had Reese or Nicole ever once given her the microphone.”
Then, “I get the shit movies and I still have to give the speech.”
I mean, priceless! That there is what we mean by being very Australian. And I love it.
And a little video clip that sums up what we feel to be Australian–same same but oh so different!
The Lucky Country
I think Margot Robbie summed it up best:
“I moved to America seeking more opportunities, I bought a house here, I started a business here, I had found prosperity and success in this country.
“I’m sure many Aussies in the room know that in school we’re taught that Australia is the lucky country, and it is… but we’re also taught that the United States of America is the land of opportunity, and I’ve always thought if it that way.”
“As a girl from the lucky country living in the land of opportunity, I can say with absolute certainty, when you have opportunity collide with luck, incredible things can happen.”
(Thanks to Variety for the quote as I was too busy enjoying to scribe!)
Whenever people ask me if we’re staying here in the US they’re shocked when I say no. It’s because we are from the lucky country and we don’t have to escape to have a better life. I love my Australian life. But what I haven’t been able to properly articulate is what Margot Robbie so eloquently put it: we are given an opportunity here in the US and we’ll make the most of that opportunity given we’ve been given some good fortune and opportunity.
While we had Jess Mauboy performing, Delta and Human Nature that’s not what I’m talking about!
With Mr H away in India I was lucky enough to “freeload” with a friend whose fiance was off with Mr H in India. None of us thought anything of it–I got to go to my fave event, Mr MGM got to go with someone with his special person being away (me!) and Mr H didn’t have to feel bad that I would miss out on the event.
But oh the reaction from the Americans was hysterical. They were almost embarrassed we were there together. A little chuckle from one couple, a little red-faced was another and the smirks and giggles as we might have been “swinging” was mentioned.
“And they’re OK with it?”
“Of course they are, they enabled it!” I said somewhat surprised at their reactions.
More awkward laughter. I almost felt like I was doing something wrong then. We’re friends with no ulterior motive, no Hollywood sleaze or miss intentions yet I felt like eyes were on us.
It was, needless to say, very strange indeed.
Oh, did someone say Jess Mauboy? Yeah, here’s a little selfie we took:
I Still Call Australia Home
If we were write a post, though, on the differences between Australians and Americans it would have to be the ending. So very LA!
The Americans are out the door rushing to valet as soon as our second national anthem is playing. If they’re lucky they’ll beat the queues and get out of there ahead of the others.
The Australians are pouring another glass of wine and singing proudly with the celebs, politicians and diplomats up on the stage ready to party on at the after-party. Yep, the fun is only getting started as everyone–celebs, politicians and all–are headed to the after party.
I’ve posted a few moments on my Instagram story and preserved them as a highlight so hop on and relive it with me!
Oh yeah, Michelle was in that one
Unlike Awards Shows’ after parties there is no second red carpet or necessary outfit change, it’s time to let your hair down. Apart from a couple of big names (deeply disappointed Margot Robbie didn’t party on but I did hear she wasn’t feeling well) everyone was up on the dance floor and having fun catching up.
Not one to shy away from the action I had a lovely catch up with Kim Ledger (Heath’s father who took the Lifetime Achievement award for the late, great Heath Ledger). As we were talking I had this surreal moment when I was describing what Mr H does. I explained he (well not he “he” but he he) was responsible for putting Christopher Plummer in the place of Kevin Spacey for the movie “All the Money in the World.” Struggling to come up with the name though I said, you know, the J Paul Getty movie, something money. His reply was, oh yes, Michelle was in that one. Doh. Of course, Michelle Williams, that Michelle, no one much. Oh LA!
But we were chatting away being perfectly normal.
You’re The Voice
Then there was the finale as the whole crowd was singing, “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham. In groups we stood side-by-side singing at the top of our lungs. I didn’t see that at the Golden Globes After Party.
No sir, Australians love to party and don’t mind letting their hair down. They’re not too important to be singing and interacting with anyone who wants and it all makes for a mighty fine evening.
G’Day USA Gala in LA
It was the same last year.
And I hope to find out it will be the same next year too!
Maybe I’ll find an Australian designer to “dress me” next year.
xx It Started in LA xx
Here are some write-ups in the Australian press on the event: