I recently returned from Hollywood. I was flown there and back, housed more than comfortably at the Hyatt Regency on Avenue of the Stars. I was there (ahem!) on official Christianity Today business, accepting an award for an article about food and animal welfare. I can still see the plush of the red carpet, the glamour of the designer gowns, the gleam of the chandeliers in the grand ballroom.
Given the deeply theological person I am, and given the sophistication of CT's readers, let me get to essential matters: What did I wear? A black chiffon dress with just one problem: a visible hole near the hem, which I discovered five minutes before show time. I had to wear it—I had brought nothing else. So much for class and beauty.
I slunk into the ballroom late feeling disheveled and underdressed, with barely enough time to fix my face. I found myself surrounded by flocks of unearthly beautiful people. I sat across the dinner table from a bejeweled and tuxedo-clad couple who treated me to stunningly perfect profiles. During the televised ceremonies, a parade of famously gorgeous faces filled the stage and mega-screens mounted beside it. At the after party, in line for exquisite vegan fare, I stood in front of—or, rather, beneath—one of the presenters, a goddess in a swooping gold lamé gown, bronze makeup, and a flawless face. I could hardly stop staring. Among such company, I was, at best, faceless.
And how does such beauty enter a ballroom? Not the ordinary way, I discovered. The celebrities waited behind a 40-foot banner with the Genesis Award logo in front and a red carpet at the base. A gaggle of photographers, some of them perched on ladders, jockeyed for position. The entire area was heavily ...1