This weekend, for my first time, I went to Washington, DC, for the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. And mostly to maintain a record for my own memory and ensure myself that I wasn’t dreaming, I decided to jot down my best moments from the many-great-moments-packed weekend. Plus there are some stories too good not to share. So in no particular order, here they are:
1. A progressive walks up to Christine O’Donnell in a prom dress at a bar…
No, it’s not a joke. Failed Delaware Tea Party candidate for the United States Senate Christine O’Donnell was at the MSNBC after-party. We talked. She complained that the media was unfair to her (as it often is to women candidates).
O’Donnell said: “Nobody knows who I really am.”
I said: “Well, I know you’re not a witch.”
And she laughed. Which was admittedly awesome of her.
2. Zou Bisou Bisou!
Megan Draper is my favorite character from Mad Men. Seriously, if she’s not yours, you should get your head checked.
At the New Yorker party, I met the fantastic actress Jessica Pare who plays Megan and promptly expressed my profound horror that Don Draper would cheat on her. WTF! We hung out for a while and talked politics along with Jessica’s musician boyfriend John Kastner (he of awesome hair) and the always-fun Meredith Fineman.
Jessica told me she’s a “total nerd” and reads Mother Jones cover to cover. As if she could get any cooler in my book!?!?
3. All of my woman journalist heroes in one room
When I started out in the media three years ago, one of the first things I did was look for inspiring role models from whom I could learn. I had the extraordinary honor and privilege of meeting many of the greatest women (and men, too!) in media this past weekend including but not limited to: Candy Crowley, Cokie Roberts, Mandy Grunwald, Lynn Sweet, Gayle King, Dana Bash, Clara Jeffrey, Tammy Haddad, Karen Finney, Tina Brown, Nell Scovell. And of course it was great to see all of my fantastic Fox News colleagues as well, including Alisyn Camerota, Martha MacCallum, Andrea Tantaros and many more — and ol’ friends like Arianna Huffington, Alex Wagner, SE Cupp and Krystal Ball. So many fantastic, inspiring women voices in the media to make us all proud!
4. Hanging with the best fairy godmothers imaginable
I would never have even gone down to the so-called #nerdprom if Rachel Sklar and Glynnis MacNicol had not encouraged me and invited me to share their room. Talk about amazing and inspiring women leaders! If you don’t know about their important effort to create “the old boys club” for women, you should. Find out about The Li.st here.
5. I apologize for every joke I ever made about Callista Gingrich’s hair
First of all, it looks pretty damn awesome in person. Second of all, I finally met Callista (along with Newt) and not only was she absolutely lovely but Callista told me that she enjoys watching me on Fox News and said, “You do a great job of holding your own!” Very sweet of her to say so.
6. Confessing my love for Kathleen Sebelius — to Kathleen Sebelius!
Sometimes, you gotta just go for it. There I was, steps away from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius who I indeed have a big crush on in every way imaginable. So I told her as much. And then quickly pointed out that I have a partner and, you know, I’m not going to try and do anything about it — but I just wanted to tell her she’s awesome. (I tried to forget about the Plan B thing for a second…) Admittedly though it was a bit awkward when I saw her the next day. She waved coyly. I blushed. What was I thinking?
7. Seeing DC Moving and Shaking
Best summed up in this tweet from the Huffington Post’s Michael Hogan, who I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with — accurately capturing the mystique of the nerd prom’s official stenographer and unofficial king, Politico’s Mike Allen:
Best thing about DC, as always, was spying @mikeallen in the wild. Caught him documenting hors d’ouevres with a phone cam today.
— Michael Hogan (@m1keh0gan) April 28, 2013
8. Holding hands with Ian McKellan
Let’s be clear about something: There are actors and then there are actors. And then, in a class basically occupied by only himself and Patrick Stewart (!), there is Ian McKellan. I was a big fan before I met Ian. Now I am a supernova of a fan. Such a fun, lovely and thoughtful gentleman. I’m smitten!
It was definitely a peak experience when my friends Patrick and Sunny introduced me to Ian. But when, a few hours later I saw Ian at another party and he joyfully shouted at me, “Where the fuck have you been?” I thought I had died and gone to some sort of Shakespearean heaven.
And in case you’re wondering, the low point was definitely stepping on Sharon Stone’s toe. Otherwise, the weekend was amazing — with many other great moments and conversations and such than I could include here!