This Thursday, January 31st, Chris Gaida will be signing his book "Arm Candy" at The Grove's Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles at 7:00pm.
Gaida took a few minutes to chat with me about his life on the carpet. Enjoy.
1. How did you get this fantastic job being a "Red Carpet Escort"?
The opportunity of becoming a Celebrity Escort fell into my lap...so to speak. I was temping in NYC at MTV Networks when someone asked if I was interested in being an Escort for a VH1 Divas show. I was VERY unsure of this offer because the term escort... well you know. I took the chance and it turned out to be a legitimate job that I had never heard of. It was incredible and changed my life in many ways.
2. What does the job entail?
Some people think I just stand around and try to look pretty. That is NOT the case at all. It requires a great deal of work. Being organized, staying on top of all last minute changes, handling many different personalities, timing and being able to navigate through a hectic environment are some of the skills required. Basically I handle a specific celebrities evening from red carpet to after party. I make sure both the Producers and the Celebrity are able to get all that they need from the event and that everyone is happy. The number one rule is to never be out of eye sight of the celebrity.
3. Who was your favorite celebrity to walk?
I have had so many incredible experiences and I almost always get along really well with the talent. Some of my favorite peeps include Julia Roberts, Queen Latifah, Ricky Martin, Susan Lucci, Jenny McCarthy, Fergie, and Enrique Iglesias.
4. What was the worst carpet/event you ever walk down?
Bad red carpets have not really existed however a celebrity that I felt did not appreciate me or seem to even want me in their presence was Sharon Stone. Maybe she was having a bad day or maybe she just didn't like me, but I was really upset about working with her the first time. I had another opportunity to escort her again (which I didn't even want to try) and she was the exact opposite. She even gave me a hug and was sweet all evening.
5. What are some of the fun things you cover in your book?
I cover everything from who I thought was a Diva to 10 ways to break into parties no matter where you live. I wrote my book as honestly and as raw as I could even when the stories didn't put me in the best light. I wanted to capture my real thoughts and opinions as I worked on various shows over the years. I want the reader to really know what it is like to be at these A-List events and work with celebrities. For me, it has been a dream come true, but definitely a journey where I learned a great deal about myself. I also hope that people learn some lessons from my experience that help motivate them to go for their own dreams, no matter what they are.
6. If you had a "red carpet" celebrity bucket list - who would be your top five on it?
For my Bucket List I have escorted just about everyone I have ever wanted to. The great thing about entertainment is that everyday there is a new talented artist or actor that I would love to escort to an event. As far as people that I think would be awesome to escort that I have not... The President of the US, Martha Stewart and Oprah.
7. With your stunning Hollywood looks - do you ever get stopped for photos on the red carpet?
LOL Thank you. I have gotten some people thinking I am on this or that show. One fun story was in NY when I was with Lynn Herring who acted in the soap General Hospital. I escorted her at the Daytime Emmys and she wanted to grab dinner across the street. We snuck out an emergency door and ran across the street before anyone at the show could notice. While eating with her and her husband, she was spotted by some fans and they took pictures with her and her husband. They also thought I was famous and took a few pictures with me. I kept telling them I was no one famous, but they took them anyway.
8. Any advice for fans when they meet their favorite celebrity?
My advice for fans is that if a celebrity is having dinner or with their families leave them alone. If they are at an event or promoting a movie, book etc then go to town! I do think personal time should be respected, but if they are at something to promote a product or themselves then saying hello or taking a picture is not only acceptable but most times appreciated.
9. Do you still walk the red carpet with Hollywood Elite?
Yes I continue to walk and hope to continue to be requested. I did step back for most of last year so that I could write the book without feeling pressures to shape it in a certain way. I wanted to capture my real feelings and revisit my memories and the excitement that I felt as these experiences happened. I seriously thought about living back in Pennsylvania while I wrote this book so that I could have a clear head and feel what I felt growing up as a star struck kid. I stayed in LA though because that is where my life is now.
10. What have you learned or taken away from being a Red Carpet Escort?
I have learned so many valuable lessons, but the biggest lesson is NOBODY IS PERFECT! I hope people get that from this book and really think about it. I wanted to show the amount of work that is required to make these shows happen and that celebrities are not perfect. Celebrities are people who had dreams that were able to make them come true. Yes they are talented an beautiful, but so are all of us. I hope people realize what they see on the screen and in ads requires a lot of work and to strive to be perfect is pointless. People need to strive to be the best that they can be and to stop trying to compare ourselves to other people. Be inspired, but don't beat yourself up because you don't think your good enough.
More info at www.armcandybook.com