On Wednesday, December 7, 2015, celebrities from all different mediums and backgrounds gathered to the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, CA for the 2015 People's Choice Awards. This awards show is dictated completely by the voice of the people, and major contenders were up for some envious awards.
As an invited member to the awards show, I was expecting to learn more about the journalists that were present during the event, the management behind the event and of course, who the celebrities were wearing! Which I did. But the greatest lesson of all, I believe, came after the awards show.
I might be 17, but I don't drive. Before we came to this event, my dad and I decided on a place where we'd meet to be picked up, synchronizing a perfect time and venue. We were ready to roll.
As I waited for my car to arrive on Figueroa Street, I had a lot of time to observe people. I saw all different types of people walking to the LA Live center. Some spoke English, others spoke Spanish, and still others spoke Chinese. Some were dressed like an A-list celebrity, and some weren't. Some mumbled to themselves, expressing rage and regret that they can't quite vocalize but they know it haunts them. Others chatted busily on a cell phone, typed quickly on their iPad and took tourist-worthy pictures of the beautiful skyscrapers I've spent so much time admiring.
Despite their differences, however, they each had a story to tell. I remember seeing a woman walk out of a restaurant, dressed in a beautiful black dress, with a slight pout on her face. What caused that pout? I saw her wait outside the restaurant for what felt like hours, only to return back disappointed, as if she was waiting for someone that never quite came.
I saw children, of all ages, all colors and all personalities, but one thing they didn't lack was their innate curiosity. They were excited to be out and about in a bustling city with endless things to see, do and taste. Maybe they weren't going to the People's Choice Awards, the Staples Center or a fancy place to eat. It didn't matter -- they were excited about the journey and the people they were with rather than the destination itself.
Due to traffic, my habit of people-watching continued. After the first hour of waiting on that famous street, I began to feel a bit creeped out. Not that anything bad was going to happen to me, but the time spent waiting caused my mind to fortify doubts, create fear and to foster fixedness on a city that I adore. I wasn't open to their stories anymore, I was more concerned about seeing my dad and going home. (Which, to anyone who knows me, knows that I would much rather be in Los Angeles for as long as I can!) I saw people as threats, as weird and as typical for a city this unique.
But, then again, why was I talking? Here I am, standing on a street for over an hour, wearing a floor-length evening gown and a People's Choice Badge. I'm pretty sure people had doubts about me too, and I repeatedly heard comments that questioned a) what I was wearing and b) why I was wearing it. I was no better than those people, as because we are gifted with uniqueness, so are the stories and perspectives we have to bring to the table.
Sometimes, the true story isn't in what celebrities you talk to, or what designer are you wearing or what events you got to attend. In all honesty, I would have traded the entire evening at the Awards just to gain this new perspective. I am reminded of why I chose journalism to captivate my heart -- the daily opportunity to shed light, preserve stories and share the voice of everyday people doing incredible things.