After 3 whirlwind days in Los Angeles and one day to decompress, I’m ready to fill you in on my Queen of Katwe Hollywood premiere and after party experience! I mean, this is my fourth time doing it and every single time it’s unique and different and also wonderful and awe-inspiring. Just hours before, we were sitting in a room at Walt Disney Studios interviewing the director of the film, Mira Nair. Soon after that, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga, and Martin Kabanza were seated before us in tears and bringing tears to our eyes recalling precious moments of the filming experience. That in itself is pretty surreal, and when they were leaving we didn’t say goodbye, but see you later at the premiere and after party. Pinch me because I think it may all have been a dream!
As per tradition for these trips, we lined up on the famous Dolby Theater steps, the very same ones that celebrities walk when attending the Academy Awards. Thank you to Marshall for snapping this fantastic photo of the group!I brought along 4 dresses to choose from for the red carpet. All black dresses because that is my comfort color, but they were all very different. The other 24 bloggers and I chatted and shared photos and inspiration of our outfits in a Facebook group and I grew more and more nervous as I saw the beautiful selections they were choosing. I had a few great thematic jewelry pieces I had borrowed and was hoping for a sign to help me decide what to wear. Fashion is not my strong point. As a stay-at-home mom/work-at-home mom, I don’t leave the comfort of casual clothing and my favorite place to shop is Target. Ultimately I opted for a short patterned dress with black wedge heels that made me feel like a million bucks. It was abnormally hot and muggy this particular evening, I wore my sweater at first but immediately had to shake it off soon after. We approached the burgundy carpet and began our stroll down Hollywood Boulevard. As you can see, I was constantly surrounded by beauty! Flash bulbs, fans, paparazzi, you get a chance to feel like what it’s like to be famous for 15 minutes of fame. It’s funny to hear the crowd ask eachother, “is that someone?” as us bloggers walk by and take our time to pause for photos. More often than not, we hear “please keep moving” as we photograph the cast of Queen of Katwe and their families on the carpet. As we approach the entrance to the historic El Capitan Theater, I was lucky enough to be in a great position to photograph the young stars. Their smiles were genuine and brought me to tears again (theme of the trip), we learned that Madina (who plays Phiona Mutesi) is quite the dancer, and my daughters both study dance and perform so these photos I captured were extra special. The inspirations for the movie Phiona Mutesi and Robert Katende arrived as did Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Mira Nair and I got another fantastic set of pictures! We were ushered into the theater with time to grab popcorn and a drink. We sat second row as the venue filled with families and friends of the cast and crew of Queen Of Katwe. As the curtains opened and the movie began, hoots and hollers came from the crowd. It’s an amazing feeling to know the very special people behind every aspect of the film were potentially in attendance of this Hollywood event and with pride they cheered for their grand accomplishment.
It was the second time we saw the film in the same amount of days. We watched the screener the night before to prepare for our interviews. I need to tell you to bring a BOX of tissues with you. The movie will move you, especially if you are a mother, especially if you have young children, especially if you have a beating heart. It’s emotional, it’s inspirational, and it’s a true story! My review will come next week, so stay tuned for that! Watch the trailer below:
The night was not over. Though I was exhausted from crying and our long day, a second wind came over me. I left the theater and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe across the street for the after party! The vibe was electric. Music was pumping, people were everywhere, there was food, drinks, dessert and it was a fun time! We found a spot to sit and I was impressed by a mother and her young daughters so polished and beautiful. I find out one of the girls is Disney Channel star Skai Jackson. As they are literally at our table, I didn’t take a photo but instead complimented the mother on her outfit and the beauty of her girls.
The music picked up and soon dancers filled the floor. I walked over to see Madina and Martin tearing it up and shot this video of them having so much fun along with a host of many other teenagers.
Lupita joined the crowd and I got to see her gorgeous lavender outfit up close.
The day and night were so memorable. I came home to brag to friends and family about our experience, but mostly to encourage them to see the movie with their families, with their children, with their friends!
Queen Of Katwe opens in select theaters today; everywhere on September 30th and I cannot wait to take my family to see it!
for more #QueenOfKatweEvent posts, interviews, and red carpet experiences from our trip, check out the following link, http://jenisonajourney.com/tag/queen-of-katwe.
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My trip that included the Queen Of Katwe Hollywood Premiere and After Party was hosted by Disney but every moment documented is 100% my own.