With the Tribeca Film Festival coming up to kick off the summer red carpet season, we sat down with the super stylish and extremely down to earth red carpet regular Adrianna Costa to get the inside scoop on red carpet do’s and don’ts. After interviewing celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp and attending events like the AMA’s and Golden Globes, she’s got red carpet style down pat. From how to get the best stories to what to wear and what to bring, here’s her expert advice on navigating your next star-studded event. She even spilled her most embarrassing moment interviewing a well-known A-list celeb (you’ll never guess who!).
Stylitics: Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up covering the red carpet at Extra?
Adrianna Costa: I grew up watching Good Day LA as a kid with Jill Reynolds, Dorothy, and Steve. It was more of an entertainment show than a news show, and I used to play hookie from school to watch them. I knew I wanted to perform, but I loved the live aspect of broadcast. I studied broadcast journalism at UC Boulder, which I loved; and I’ve always loved interviewing people and anything and everything pop culture, so the red carpet was a natural fit.
S: How do you find time to keep up with all the latest celebrity news?
AC: I spend the first few hours of every day on the Internet checking out who wore what, the biggest gossip, and pretty much every entertainment site out there. For the best celebrity news, I love People, Perez Hilton, TMZ, Gawker, CNN news and entertainment, and all things wedding. I’m basically an expert in the wedding world now, from designers to celebrity weddings, to hairstyles; everything.
S: If you could interview any celebrity, who would it be?
AC: Kate Hudson, she’s my fashion icon! I also love Johnny Depp, Madonna, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes… but really I’d love to sit down with someone who’s been convicted of murder, like a Manson or something. I’m fascinated by crime shows. A good interview is less about who you’re interviewing and more about the material you’re getting. Leonardo Dicaprio is also great in person.
S: What are some downsides of working the red carpet?
AC: It’s really stressful! There’s so much behind the scenes madness, and much more going on than meets the eye. There are always publicists who won’t let you ask the big questions, you’re always worried about getting into someone else’s shot, or you’re missing an A-list celebrity because you’re already talking to a celebrity. It’s all very pre-planned.
S: So how do you get the best stories?
AC: Have a relationship with the publicist so they trust you not to make the person look bad. Address the headlines, but do it in a way that doesn’t put the star on the defensive. I once got a sound bite from Jodie Foster about Mel Gibson during something controversial, because I just asked a question! It was featured on People.com. It was picked up everywhere.
Shop Adrianna’s amazing closet on Stylitics!
S: What’s your most embarrassing red carpet moment?
AC: I was interviewing Ewan McGregor and was like, “so, are we going to the after party? We taking shots after this?” And he’s been sober for years! I will never bring up drugs or alcohol on the red carpet again; that’s a mistake you don’t make twice!
S: How do you prep for the red carpet?
AC: Lots of research. People write questions for you, but I usually write my own questions as well. Some people like to wing it on the red carpet, but I like to be as prepared as possible. You have to do more research than you need to.
S: What’s in your red carpet emergency kit? What are the essentials?
AC: Always have water – you can get really dehydrated – and a bag of nuts or something. You can be on the red carpet for up to 8 hours! I also take blot pads and powder – a huge must, because you get shiny out there all day. I do my own makeup and have done for years, and there aren’t makeup artists on site. So powder, gloss, and a baby comb. And I always bring a jacket. To condense, I’ll just take a leather jacket and fill the pockets.
S: What’s your personal favorite red carpet outfit that you’ve worn?
AC: My personal favorite red carpet look was at the AMA awards. It was a Lazaro dress that was short, almost too short – we got it shortened, but I didn’t think it would be that short! And it was fitted at the top with black lace, one shoulder. My shoes were Giuseppe Zanotti and were a nude zebra print. I really loved that look.
S: So what are some trends to watch for on the red carpets this summer?
AC: This summer will be all about the tailored look. I don’t like baggy. I love pantsuits and nice heels. I think it’s going to be more about two pieces and not as much about shift dresses. Cutoffs are going out, and it’s going to be more about structured pieces, black and white… I’m a messy person – I love sweat pants – but to go out, it’s all about having a waistline. And I’m scared of flats. I put wedges on everything! I always, always wear heels. I’m only 5’4″, so you’ll never see me in flats.
S: With prom coming up, what advice do you have for the best red carpet ready prom looks?
AC: I have a wedding coming up, so as I’m combing through hairstyles and designers and celebrity style, it’s all about building a theme. Whether it’s boho or 1970′s or structured, or even “what would Kate Hudson wear,” emulate a look, but put your own twist on it. Don’t follow trends for the sake of it; know what works for you. If it’s a-line that works, wear a-line, like Adele – she’s really found a trend that works for her.
So whether you’re getting ready for prom season, the Tribeca Film Festival next week, or Cannes this summer, you heard it straight from someone who’s in the know. If you could bump elbows with anyone on the red carpet, who would it be? Tell us in the comments!
Written by Jessica Novak, Marketing Manager for real-time trend insights company Stylitics. Jessica is a blogger, runner, coffee addict, avid alliterator, and chambray enthusiast.