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Dress by Thai Nguyen Atelier

Jewelry by Ash + Ames

Alexander McQueen clutch from MyHabit

The biggest red carpet in the world.  Dozens of interviews.  Six and a half hours on air.  Four inch heels.  One STUNNING dress.  Hosting the Academy’s #OscarsBackstage this year was a blast!

It was a mad race to prepare for this event, late-night cramming on nominees and presenters, watching everything I possibly could and of course, dressing for the most high profile red carpet of the year, but it all came together seamlessly and I am very proud of the work that we did.

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Interviewing 9-time Academy Award nominee, Diane Warren.
Hitting the red carpet with my co-host, Orlando Jones

My co-host Orlando Jones was an absolute delight to work with, and put me at ease with his quick wit, intelligence, and enthusiasm. We felt so much in sync, we even ended up wearing matching looks in mixed metallics without even planning it.

Speaking of outfits, I feel so lucky to have worn Thai Nguyen Atelier’s gorgeous hand-beaded gown!  He is about to break through big time and on a night where diversity was the hot button topic, it was important to me to represent an Asian American designer, especially one who feels like family.  Let me explain.  When I was 19, my first job as a back up dancer was for a Vietnamese variety show, kind of like the MTV of the Vietnamese community.  Thai designed costumes for the show, and has since translated his mad skills into opening his own atelier and dressing stars for the red carpet.   Aside from his being the most stunning dresses I tried on, it just felt good and right, to support a fellow journeyman who’s now hitting his stride, to use this huge platform to turn the spotlight on someone’s work that is exceptional, original and impeccably crafted.  If Jennifer Lopez wears him on American Idol and Kelly Osbourne, Jeannie Mai and Tracee Ellis Ross all chose him for Oscar night, clearly, I’m not alone.

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From being a 19 year old back up dancer, to walking one of the biggest red carpets of the year, it’s more than just a pinch-me moment.  To see myself on an Oscar best-dressed list?   Completely surreal.  It’s icing on the cake to be mentioned on Jezebel’s list of least boring Oscar looks.

But the best part of all, was seeing my sister, who coincidentally works for the Academy, bring my 10-year-old niece down the red carpet and smile and wave to Auntie Di.   That was truly priceless.