A few weeks ago an email landed in my inbox that made me slam my laptop lid shut and proceed to have heart palpitations for the next twenty minutes. I had been shortlisted – out of an incredible 36,000 talented individuals – as
Biggest Drama Queen Best Newcomer at the Cosmopolitan Influencer Awards. After the initial shock wore off, once I’d screenshot the email and sent it manically to my closest friends and family and the neighbours cat, after I’d thanked all the wonderful souls on Instagram who may have nominated me, the ‘but what the fuck do I wear?!‘ panic set in. Then came the imposter syndrome. It’s classic isn’t it that at a moment in which we should be really proud of ourselves, we start to doubt our own self-worth. As the big night drew nearer I tried my best to put those thoughts aside and focus on the important things in life: shoes.
My mum and I went shopping and I chose a dress from Reiss that I’d fallen in love with the moment I’d seen it on the model online. Thankfully, my fear that I’d look like an over-ripe avocado in green didn’t ring true and the gorgeous material and flattering cut made me feel genuinely good about myself. I knew I wanted heels that I could actually walk in and that I’d be able to wear again and when I spied these pink floral bouji babes from Dune it was love at first sight. Thank the gods of podiatry that kitten heels are back in! I tried them on with a pair of jeans and was pretty sold on how much they’d jazz up a day-to-day outfit after the event. I received lots of very kind offers from brands to dress me for the evening but I really wanted to buy my own outfit; partly as self-recognition of the achievement and partly because I wanted to be able to just genuinely enjoy the night without worrying too much about getting the Instagram shot or tagging the shit out of every little detail. I plan to wear the same outfit to my graduation in July and as silly as it may sound, the fact that I bought it with money I’d worked hard to earn meant a lot to me.
The day came and I checked in to St Martin’s Lane Hotel in Covent Garden, who very kindly hosted me for the night. The experience was second to none and I was very pleasantly surprised when I went to drop my dress off rather early to find that a room was ready and waiting. Bonus time = nap time! The deluxe room is an Instagrammer’s dream. Think floor to ceiling windows, a gigantic mirror just crying out for an outfit selfie, leopard print carpet (oh yes!) and a queen size bed clad in crisp, white linen. After fannying about making use of the glorious natural lighting to take photos for a solid hour I ventured into Covent Garden for essentials: stick on nails and eyelashes. I also grabbed a slice of pizza and was feeling pretty smug as I hopped into that big bed to devour my pepperoni pal, until I realised that I’d forgotten to pack any knickers. All the glamour. Thankfully St Martin’s Lane’s super central location meant that I could hot foot it to Calvin Klein and harass the shop assistant for ‘NO VPL! As long as there’s NO VPL!‘ without too much trouble. £12 on a single pair later and I was vaguely reminded of the time that I made the same panty-faux-pas at Reading Festival, only circa 2011 Beth went to Aldi and bought a multi-pack of aged 5 years briefs, so I like to think that I’ve progressed a little since.
Despite the lovely big glass desk and the ultra-modern bathroom, I sat on the floor to do my make up. Some habits die hard. I stuck with my trusty favourite Bobbi Brown foundation and Benefit Hoola combo, but also gave a new concealer and blush that Bare Minerals had kindly sent me a go and…well, if it was legal to propose to a concealer I definitely would. After throwing half a tub of highlighter at my face and hoping for the best I whipped out a Bobbi eyeshadow palette and got to work. Eye make up is never something I’m that confident on; I either end up looking like Jennifer Lawrence or Kung Fu Panda and there is literally no in-between. I went with classic nudes and browns and then got a bit cocky, gave my brush a good lick (take your judgey pants off) and jazzed up the situation with my favourite gold glitter shade. I don’t usually wear fake eyelashes because they either make me squint or fall off into my cleavage after 26 minutes, but I spied the Fleur de Force halves in Boots and got a bit brave. I can honestly say that they’re the only lashes I have ever worn that I actually forgot I was wearing. We won’t talk about my hair because I did that thing where I forked out at the hairdressers for a blow dry and then got really upset that they hadn’t done it they way I would’ve done.
The event itself rivalled the Chelsea Flower Show. The styling – in what is probably the UK’s fanciest tent – at Kensington Palace was phenomenal; wild blooms literally overflowed from every corner, pillar candles flickered and Laurent Perrier was practically on tap. After some initial butterflies, I spotted a few familiar faces and relaxed in to soaking up the evening. Dinner was served on long golden tables and I opted for the vegetarian option of kale risotto with goats cheese. The huge floral centrepieces were absolutely gorgeous, though it did feel as though I was talking to fellow diners on the other side of the table through an entire bracken. Pandora, the sponsors of the awards, had kindly left gifts from their new golden collection as the name tags for each place setting and Cosmo deserved an award themselves for the biggest mirrorball in existence.
Although I didn’t win, I wasn’t at all disappointed. Any nerves surrounding the actual award itself had dissipated long before the event as I allowed myself to be genuinely proud at simply being there. Being shortlisted was a real honour and I spent an evening in a room with some of the faces in the industry that I’ve looked up to since day one. When I woke up the next morning in such a gorgeous bedroom with the goodie bag and a bunch of the most beautiful flowers that my absolute angel of a friend had delivered to the hotel next to my bed, I simply felt grateful. Grateful and hungry. Thankfully, the Asia de Cuba breakfast menu at St Martin’s Lane is a thing of absolute beauty and Cuban Toast (crispy sweet butter brioche rolled in coconut & almonds, guava purée, & mascarpone cheese) and a frothy coffee in bed almost rivalled the night before. In fact, if menu porn is your thing then just have a little peruse of the entire ADC menu…then book yourself a table. For breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So, The Cosmo Influencer Awards: a floral fiesta, kitten heels, emergency knickers and carbs in bed.
A humongous thank you to the wonderful babes at St Martin’s Lane for letting me sleep over in the leopard-clad room of dreams and to Asia de Cuba for serving the best hangover breakfast known to woman.