Now here's a question I get asked alot. It was a funny one to ponder as there's been so many - but I settled on listing the ones that either inspired me in the early days or throughout my career, or were memorable simply because I couldn't actually believe I was lucky enough to be there. None of these were events I produced myself - but they are certainly ones that have burnt themselves into my memory for a number of reasons. I figured chronological order was best:
Event: New Year's Eve, 1984 into 1985
Venue: Dunk Island
Producer: Dunk Island Staff?
This is the very first proper grown-up party that I can remember, and it had a huge impact on an impressionable 9 year old. It was the year of Dire Straits "I Want My MTV" and the song played on repeat all night. There was a flashing disco floor! I saw smoke coming out of machines! I was allowed to stay up until after midnight for the first time! I still vividly remember the smells, the sounds and exactly how I felt. And I was completely sober all night - no channelling of my inner Drew Barrymore (not until I was at least in double digits). I don't doubt this caused the first stirrings of a future in PR...or a love of partying all night long? Definitely both.
Event: My Father's 50th, November 1995
Venue: The University of Sydney
Producer: My Mum
My mother has always been the ultimate party thrower, and I would feel very flattered if someone suggested that even a fraction of her magic had rubbed off on me. She spent a year organising what is without question one of the best events I've ever been to: imagine a 1945 theme (the year my father was born) with 120 guests at a sit down dinner at huge tables the shape of an "X" in The Great Hall at Sydney University. Everyone wore ballgowns. We had performances by Jeanne Little as Marlene Dietrich and Tom Burlinson as Frank Sinatra. If my Mum had been in the industry, she would have been at the top of her game.
Event: My 21st, August 1996
Venue: The Australian Museum
Producer: Mum again
This was a pivotal moment, because up until this point I believed, like so many people do, that an event was made up of 4 simple factors: Venue, Guest List, Entertainment & Catering. How wrong could I have been? My Mum spent months and months organising my 21st and I knew NOTHING about what was going to happen until I got there on the night. Imagine drinks in The Skeleton Room amongst the T-Rex's, a dark tunnel leading guests to the top floor, a sushi station, French crepe station, and the best DJs in Sydney. Mum even had a fully draped off area for a sit down dinner for the 25 "oldies" while the kids went crazy next door. I laugh when I see the pictures - my outfit was hotpants, knee high boots and a huge hairpiece (I was going through a serious gay-clubbing phase) but the event was breathtaking and it was this precise moment that I decided it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Thanks Mum! (& Dad for paying for it.)
Event: The Cointreau Ball 1997
Venue: An assortment over a 24 hour period
Producer: Colvin Communications & David Grant Special Events
OK technically I was helping out on this one, not a guest - but I was there! I certainly count myself very fortunate that I was able to witness a part of what is without a doubt the most legendary series of parties ever thrown in Australia. I got in just at the end! (they finished in 1999). And this one was a party that officially ran for 24hrs: from 9am on Saturday morning until 9am Sunday morning. Imagine a city breakfast-trip to Terrigal-lunch & games-drinks at a hotel-masked ball-after party (and hundreds of celebrities running thorughout the corridors of the hotel in the wee hours). I will never forget the assembly of 400 people in their PJ's in the hotel foyer at 7am on Sunday morning, champagnes in hand, followed by a bus ride back to Surry Hills for the most glorious gospel breakfast in an old church. Out of this world.
Event: Ministry of Sound, August 1998
Venue: SPACE, Ibiza
Producer: Ministry of Sound
What would a list of memorable parties be without a mention of Ibiza? My sister and I went travelling in '98 and went to Ibiza for 4 days...and stayed for a month. This day party was supposed to be our last hurrah - we had even dropped our backpacks at the port and bought the ferry tickets for 10pm that night. That all changed when we met the Ministry of Sound crew who refused to let us leave...they even drove us to the port to get our bags and moved us into the official Ministry of Sound apartment indefinitely. So what started off as a simple day party turned into a WEEK long party where we didn't pay for a single thing. I turned 23 that week and they made it so memorable, taking us out on the Ministry of Sound boat and jetskis. A week later our health had deteriorated to the point where we had to escape - so leaving a letter of immense gratitude and a bottle of vodka, we tiptoed past sleeping people everywhere and out of the apartment. Hilarious.
Event: Pamela Anderson's Bachelorette Party, July 2006
Venue: The Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas
Producer: David La Chapelle
This one I attended purely by accident, as my sister and I were accosted by 10 gorgeous looking young boys in the casino at The Bellagio Hotel. Welcome to Vegas baby! They spirited us up to Pammy's room where we partied the night away (and the next day). This was a very private soiree thrown for her by her best friend, photographer David La Chapelle and 10 of his hand-picked interns. The only girls there were the bride-to-be, myself and my sister. I have a hazy recollection of lying on a bed in between Pammy & Rob Solomon (the guy from "1 Night in Paris") and trying to help her get a private jet out of there the next night. So she married Kid Rock a few days later, divorced him 3 months later and immediately married Rob Solomon. Who she then of course divorced 3 months later too. Surreal to say the least.
Event: A Night At The Playboy Mansion, August 2008
Venue: The Playboy Mansion, LA
Producer: Max Soto
WOW - I really never believed I would get an opportunity to go to the Mansion, which would have to be akin to the Holy Grail of Parties (I'm still working on getting to the Vanity Fair Oscar's after party.) I was lucky enough to know a friend of the guy running the party, which had a dress code of Rockstar for the guys and Lingerie or Schoolgirl for the girls. Needless to say I passed on the lingerie, and went as a Barbie-esque school girl. I'm proud to say I looked like a total tart. I watched naked people swimming, frolicked through the zoo with the monkeys, and partied on in The Grotto. Some guys there actually thought I was a bunny - my Lord, the wonders of modern makeup. If only they knew that under the spray tan, blonde wig, spack-filla, chicken fillets and suspenders was a 30-something B-cup brunette. I didn't have the heart to tell them the truth... ;)