Jun.24 / 2014

My First MMVAs: Calgary Style

The MMVAs are the biggest party of the year for Canadian music. Where else will you find the streets filled with rock stars, screaming teenage girls and confetti raining from the sky?

I was pumped that this would be my first year working the MMVAs. Funny enough, I wasn’t physically there. I was invited to host the Samsung Galaxy S5 party in Calgary, which turned out to be an absolute blast.

I was ready to take on my first red carpet, but instead I would be doing live hits from the Samsung Galaxy S5 MMVA Street Party. Gulp. Nervous? Absolutely. But, I’ve been diving into the pool head on for the past two months, so I might as well bring it up a notch and take on the whole other beast that is live television!

First and foremost, I needed THE dress. I was getting major wardrobe anxiety because it was the day before I flew out for the MMVAs and still I had nothing. I love that M3 has been a non-stop roller coaster since I started, but it hasn’t left much time for dress shopping. I was nervous that leaving it so last minute would be a nightmare.

Turns out, it was just the opposite. My choice was the first dress I put on and it fit like a glove. A very tight non-breathing glove that was left out in the rain too long, but fashion is pain, darlings!!!

The shoes were also killer (and by Fergie; apparently she designs shoes now, who knew?!?) and my biggest challenge was to not fall and kill myself wearing them. Katie, our stylist in Toronto, hooked up a sister big time and for that I am so grateful. I would have never been a Glambot without her.

More importantly, the dream dress was gold and matched the new gold Samsung Galaxy S5 I would have all night, accessorizing my look to the max.

gaby mmva dress

On my journey to Calgary, I Instagrammed my wannabe cowboy hat that I was wearing to the airport and got schooled by all my Calgarians.

gaby calgary hat

“That’s not a cowboy hat!!!” Clearly I need to step up my game. I didn’t get a chance to go to Lammle’s which is apparently cowboy hat heaven, but I did get to give Chromeo some authentic ones to wear during our live hit. And yes, I was a bit Jealous that they got to keep them.

gaby chromeo

Like all live television, it wouldn’t be exciting without some last-minute hiccups. Autoerotique’s flight was delayed and Chromeo were coming straight from Bonnaroo, so they wouldn’t get there in time to do the first live hits, but they would be edited into the rebroadcasts later. The Samsung people were all wonderful and we had our Tim Gunn “make it work” moments.

“How do you like working on the fly?” Jackie, one of the masterminds behind the night, asked. “Well I guess I’m going to learn to love it right now!”

We shot a few live hits that they fed back to Toronto, which is still fascinating TV magic to me how quickly people in production can make it all come together. Kudos to all the stellar production peeps making it all happen!

I was so happy I got to give away the MMVA to Autoerotique for Dance Video Of The Year for Asphyxiation. The video is the sexiest thing I’ve watched since Eric Prydz’s Call on Me. If there is actually a dodgeball league out there that exists like this then sign me up! Something tells me my butt jiggle wouldn’t translate quite as well.

I was most surprised at how heavy the award was. It must have been about 20 lbs, it felt like a small toddler and I was having nightmares of dropping it on Autoerotique’s foot on live TV.

gaby award

Autoerotique was bummed that he didn’t get to keep the MMVA (we send them back after the awards for engraving) so what better to do in that situation than make an Instagram spoof video!!!

After 12 hours of being a Glambot, I was exhausted. Shout-outs to Karen, my angel in Calgary, for helping me get my look together and making me feel gorgeous with her makeup and hair skills. Between the boys club of my producer Adam, Keys N Krates, Autoerotique and Chromeo, it was so refreshing and helpful to have a woman around to look out for a sister and zip me in and tape everything to make sure nothing fell out on live television. No Janet Jackson moments for me!

And the MMVA for Best Brand Integration goes to… my fantastic producer Adam Lordon!

gaby and adam

When all the hits were done, we got to watch the rest of the MMVAs and enjoy the party. Dancing onstage with Chromeo was a highlight especially since I missed their show when I interviewed them last month. Clearly my C-3PO dress inspired me to do the robot. I couldn’t breathe but I danced for an hour in that dress and heels. That’s how much fun I was having.

gaby dancing

Calgarians are awesome, everyone was sweet and lovely and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my first MMVAs anywhere else. Thank you to Violet, one of my favourite people, who captured the night in some of these stellar shots. I had butterflies all night, but Violet also became my biggest cheerleader, texting me, “You are a f*%$!*&# legend!” Thank you Violet; not quite a legend yet, but she sure knew how to make a girl feel confident and good, a staple quality of any photographer.

gaby group

The night was a success and it was over before I knew it. I was also hosting the evening at Flames Central and I was told it was time for me to wrap up the party onstage with Chromeo. The venue was about five stories high and very dark and after wearing those spikes for nine hours, I was stunned I hadn’t even stumbled down the stairs once.

And then it happened.

The last 10 seconds of the night I was showing the love to Chromeo for their killer set and thanking Samsung and all the wonderful people of Calgary for coming out. Suddenly, I felt my footing get lost on a little slippery patch on the stage. Of course this was happening to me! It was like slow motion as my shoes lost their grip on the floor and with mic in hand and I fell right on my butt. In front of the whole crowd, totally ungraceful and totally me. Well if that isn’t an encore, I don’t know what is! I saw a meme I liked with the quote, “when you stumble, make it part of the dance” and that’s just what I did. I laughed it off and just got up and added a little shimmy. I was surprisingly not that embarrassed to fall on my butt in front of all those people. It was actually kind of relieving that I could be me again.

One of my favourite episodes of Sex and the City is when Carrie falls on the runway flat on her face and becomes fashion road kill. She says one of the most poignant statements I believe we should all live by: “When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.” If Jennifer Lawrence can do it winning her Oscar, I’m sure no one was bothered by me doing it at the Samsung MMVA party.

gaby end

In the morning, when I looked at my crumpled party dress and hair extensions strewn upon the floor and my fake eyelashes on the night table, No Doubt’s Underneath It All came into my head.

gaby clothes

When the biggest party of the year is over, and the glitter is cleaned up off the floor, we all go back to reality. We all return to being who we really are and doing our best to work hard and follow our dreams every day. For me, that also happens to be the klutzy girl who sometimes slips in her high heels…Okay, lots of times.

But even though the parties and sparkles are fun, being human and yourself is even better.

Until next year, MMVAs!!!

Photos by Gaby Henderson, InlandAV and Violet Brown




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