Saturday, June 26, 2010

FIRST LOOK! The first birthday party of M-Net's All Access is a red carpet, super-swanky, star-studded affair.

You're seeing it here first.

The party Friday night to celebrate the first birthday of All Access turned into a megawatt celebration, luring local A listers from soap stars to musicians, beauty queens to TV presenters and models.

M-Net's superglam weekly magazine held its All Access first anniversary party at Scarlett Ribbon at the Stoneridge Lifestyle Centre in Johannesburg where the show's stars all gathered, together with a falanx of local A listers in attendance all welcomes by party planner to the stars, the glowing Edith Venter. From Cindy Nell, Loyiso and the dudes from Locnville to Liezel van der Westhuizen, Graeme Richards, the soap star crowd from Binneland Sub Judice, Kerishnie Naicker and Vanessa Carreira, to specially invited ordinary viewers and fans of the show - all partied up a storm till late in the night.

I took great photos and talked to the stars on the red carpet - a red carpet that was rolled out by All Access themselves this one time and who can themselves usually be found alongside it. I have a complete wrap-up of was was excellent (and not so excellent!) of this wonderful birthday party.

Click on READ MORE below for a complete wrap-up of the All Access first birthday.

All Access rolled out the red carpet for its first birthday party Friday night at Scarlet Ribbon.

It was All Access themselves, M-Net's weekly glossy entertainment magazine show on Friday nights, who rolled out the red carpet at the new entertainment venue, Scarlet Ribbon at the Stoneridge Lifestyle Centre in Johannesburg to celebrate All Access' first anniversary - complete with big, burly security guards dressed in black suits who kept the uninvited at bay.

The All Access guys Mark Bayley, Jason Greer and Ewan Strydom dressed to impress in black tuxedos.

Entering the doors every single guest was met by the simply glowing party planner extraordinaire Edith Venter, flanked by the guys and girls of All Access - the girls looking beautiful in cocktail evening fashion fantastic creations and the guys looking handsomely dapper and dashing in black tuxedos.

Beauty with a purpose: The radiant All Access presenters from Koula to Bridget Masinga were sumptuous sirens of beauty at the first anniversary party.

Having the All Access presenters themselves actually be on the red carpet rght at the entrance and welcoming their A lister guests and fans alike, was a great and ingenious opener for the evening.

Creme de la creme cocktails greeted All Access guests upon arrival.

I worked the red carpet taking photos and doing interviews, but guests were immediately treated to a cocktail bar before they descended down the broad red carpet stairway to the party venue below where Krone champagne waited for a toast.

The dazzling Edith Venter always knows all of her guests by name and welcomes them personally. Here she is with All Access producer Paul Venter and All Access presenter Tammy-Anne Fortuin.

Sipping on the cocktails in cosmo glasses upstairs were lovely. Really the only first of two not-so-great things about the All Access party (the seriously under par goodie bags for an event such as this was the other) was the cash bar greeting the invited guests below. For a party of this stature put on by a show such as All Access it was kind of low class to then have a cash bar - especially if, like me, you were not told about it beforehand and didn't bring any money.
I can't remember when last I was invited to a TV shindig where guests were actually asked to pay for drinks. Bring on the tap water! Also, while I would interview some stars, they would order drinks, only for the waiters to bring it and then when the stars have to open up their bling purse to pay, would be told by waiters (making sad faces) that they don't have enough change, guests thereby ''losing'' even more than the price of a drink when they couldn't get exact change back. The champagne to celebrate during the toast and cutting of the All Access cake however, were free and distributed to everyone by the waiters.
(The organizers told me on Monday that the red and white wine from Val de Vie was on the house, as well as the Ciroc cocktails and Castle Lite. - Ed.)

Hunky and handsome: the All Access pretty boys Ewan Strydom, Jason Greer and Mark Bayly are just incorrigible together. Too many jokes, jibes and ''boys will be boys'' action to keep up with.

The All Access team got together for a simply wonderful moment and a perfect, beautiful photo-op cutting the multi-layer All Access birthday cake and toasting with all their guests to All Access' first anniversary. It was an honest, heartfelt and true moment.

Ready to blow out a candle for All Access' first birthday on its first birthday cake.

Kerishnie Naicker, Tammy-Anne Fortuin, Loyiso Bala, Pabi Moloi and Mark Bayley sharing a red carpet photo op moment.

''Now, it's exactly a year to the date, the 25th of June 2009, that All Access first appeared on television on M-Net at 19:30,'' said Mark Bayley as everyone gathered on the stage for the cake cutting ceremony and toast. ''As the minutes counted down to that magical moment for us, we were gathered together - there were about 25 of us - in a boutique hotel in Greenpoint, Cape Town,'' Mark Bayly said, as he recounted the moment exactly a year ago when the first episode went out on air.

''As that moment approached, there were several moments going through our minds. One was: We can't believe this is actually happening - we're about to go on air. We can't believe that we had to bring our own drinks to this affair. How are we going to look on this show? And most importantly, How are we going to be received? Well, a year later, how the wheel has turned. We are now at one of Johannesburg's swankiest new venues, at a party put on for us by none other than Edith Venter. And instead of 25 staff, we have 600 guests who didn't have to bring their own beer and are all responsible for the success we've enjoyed over the last year. So to all of you, thank you very, very much!''

Jason Greer interviewing some of the cast of M-Net's Binneland Sub Judice.

After Mark Bayley's birthday speech that they cut the cake, toasted All Access and then Loyiso and the twin brothers Andrew and Brian Chaplin of Locnville belted out the tunes. Later I spoke to Paul Venter, producer of All Access about what he thinks contributes to the success of All Access as an entertainment magazine show.
''I think its a unique combination of first of all M-Net - we get such great support from M-Net's side, they have the best shows and series that have so much hot stars and celebrities you can interview and press junkets that's available - together with the fact that also for the first time, we can also showcase local talent and stars - from upcoming new talent to the local greats in the entertainment industry,'' he told me.

The uber-publicist to the stars Jared Stokes and Brümilda van Rensburg.

Idols host Liezel van der Westhuizen with Sandi Schultz from Binneland Sub Judice.

Nadia Valvekens and Michelle Pienaar from M-Net's Binneland Sub Judice.

Terence Bridget, Rolanda Marais and Paul du Toit from M-Net's Binneland Sub Judice.

They're too funny in real life. The All Access okes Ewan Strydom and Jason Greer doing his ''Blue Steel'' impersonation.

The lovely Koula and Mark Bayly from All Access sharing a moment.

Besides a fantastic cheese table laden with a smorgasboard of cheeses and biscuits, the All Access birthday party also had an incredible and decadent dessert table that was really extraordinary. And yes, celebrities are just ordinary people too. I saw several (won't mention names) who filled special serviettes with the table's delicatessen delights that went straight into their purses to take home for later! And you really can't blame them.

The beautiful All Access dessert table was a dreamy, decadent delight of cakes and sweet tooth power puffery that lured celebrities with everything from nougat trays to cakes almost too beautiful to eat.

All Access' first birthday party will feature as one of the inserts in the next All Access episode going out on 2 July at 19:30 on M-Net.

All Access, Fridays on M-Net at 19:30