Miss Golden Globe

Tori Reid

On September 2, 1998, my life became magical for the next five months.  I was Miss Golden Globe. I had arrived. I’d done something right. Enough to be impressive. Noticed. Applauded. Highlighted. Beautiful.

 

While attending a screening for the CBS television movie About Sarah—on which I assisted my father, one of the producers—I met Yani Begakis. He was a soft-spoken, gentle-spirited man who was then the Vice President for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, (HFPA), a non-profit organization known for its philanthropic activities and for starting and continuing to co-produce the annual Golden Globe Awards.

 

At the time, I wasn’t aware of the organization, let alone their supreme importance in the entertainment industry. All I saw was a kind and interesting man with whom I enjoyed a twenty-minute conversation. We briefly spoke about the film and then about what I did, or better yet, had hoped to do. He softly asked questions and I answered, surprised he took such an interest in my goals.

 

A week or so later, I learned just how impressed he was when I heard I was chosen to serve as Miss Golden Globe and the HFPA ambassador during the 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony and season. Miss or Mr. Golden Globe is an annual title traditionally awarded to the child of one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, directors, or producers. The tradition began in 1963 and the selected person assists in the annual awards presentations.

 

You know, the pretty girls that hand out the statuettes and wrangle the stars? Well, I never paid much attention to them until I became one. Unbeknownst to me, the chosen woman, or occasionally man, is a legacy–a daughter or son of Hollywood’s elite. I was the legacy chosen that year, a legacy that, until now, I had been running from. 

 

For most of us, it seems that our deepest challenges involve our closest relationships. I’m no exception. For a long time, my relationship with my dad was that very thing: a challenge. Much of my life was consumed with striving to outrun my dad’s shadow. To be liked and appreciated for simply being me. And yet, on January 24, 1999, there I stood in the illustrious spotlight being watched by 55 million viewers–being acknowledged and celebrated because of my dad. For so long, I fought this, trying to avoid the unavoidable. Running from my name. I wanted to matter. Just me. All by myself. And there I was, my most prestigious achievement was being his daughter.

 

Was I really so golden?

 

For the rest of the evening, I floated about the stage. Belonging. Bold. Beyond confident. Far from being in the background, window dressing, or simply a trophy girl. I was a part of the ceremony, and the attendees made sure I knew. I enjoyed warm conversations with Brendan Fraser and Tom Selleck. Shared many laughs with Life is Beautiful’s Roberto Benigni. When Jim Carrey accepted his best actor award for The Truman Show, he gave me a sweet hug. While he delivered his comical, yet sincere acceptance speech, Lauren Bacall and I chatted softly.

 

The stars filled the room and the glamour was palpable. I stood among Angelina Jolie, the great Gregory Peck, and my crush, Don Cheadle. It was all so surreal. And of course, there was my dad, beaming with pride and joy. He was there because of me, and I was there because of him.  

 

The ceremony was underscored by a whirlwind of weeks of being featured and covered by E!, Extra, Access Hollywood, CNN, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, InStyle, Parade, and Jet magazine, through interviews, featured segments, photos, and official announcements. But even with all of that, when the lights went down, I struggled with feeling irrelevant. Invisible. Like Cinderella without her ball.

 

The boldness and confidence I embodied at the Golden Globes felt wonderful. I was comfortable in my own skin. But, I soon discovered that experience was a blip on the radar of my life. Underneath it all, I was still an insecure and vulnerable person who had not dealt with my feelings of insecurity and the post-traumatic stress from being raped. From then on, I found myself trying to replicate that feeling of being in the center of the magic to no avail.

 

For me, it was back to the shadows, a return to a world without focus or direction. It was onward to an arduous journey to find self-love, worth, and a happiness for me just as I am.  

Tori Reid is a magical talent with a penchant for listening, an unforgettable woman's smile and a little girl's curiosity to ask the right questions at the right time. Her preternatural abilities come from several key talents. Yes, she is an extraordinary listener, but this is really just an offshoot of her love of people. She loves their stories and uncovering why they do what they do.

 

Whether it’s receiving a birthday serenade from Richard Pryor, rapping with a prime Shaquille O'Neal, talking music with Rakim the greatest rapper of her generation, or crying with America's mom Phylicia Rashad (in her own Oprah moment), Tori is no stranger to Hollywood's bright lights and being at home under their bright glow.

 

Last summer, she launched her podcast, Simply, Tori! with dozens of listeners, but before year’s end, she created Here’s To Life with Tori Reid with distribution platforms such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Big Smoke in Australia, and other niche providers, expanding to millions of listeners. The show, featuring iconic personalities like Nikki Giovanni and Phylicia Rashad, is on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. Follow her on Instagram @iamtorireid. This is her debut nonfiction publication. 

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