When Charlize Theron Owned Cannes – And Sean Penn Nailed The Tricky Plus One Thing

When Charlize Theron Owned Cannes – And Sean Penn Nailed The Tricky Plus One Thing

It's a tricky tightrope being the 'and guest' of a celebrity. When Sean Penn stepped out with Charlize Theron at Cannes, he became the poster boy for plus ones everywhere – this is how you do it Sean style...

I will never forget the night I went to the Bridget Jones premiere (the first one – yep, I'm that ancient). My hair looked strong – if a bit 90s stripey highlights, my Westwood dress was working hard, and I had the clutch to end all clutches. And then, as I followed my famous best friend down the red carpet, and gave my best blue steel pose and dazzling smile, I heard it – the sound of at least 100 paparazzi photographers yelling in unison at me 'YOU! GET OUT THE WAY!' As I scuttled away into the cinema like a cockroach in eveningwear I realised something very important that night – you have to know the red carpet guest rules. So here they are – the plus one big four...

1. Don’t go Gaga meat dress – not tonight Josephine. It’s really not about you and any sign that you’ve made even the slightest bit of effort will elicit sympathetic (read bitchy looks from other angry plus ones thinking, ‘does she not even KNOW that it’s SO not about US?’ and slightly irritated looks from paps who will be drawn to your eye-catching outfit and disappointed when they realize you’re not even an evictee from Big Brother 3. This is why Sean Penn is the master, a black well cut suit, is perfect for this gig. And if he's to wear a teeny Cuban heel to balance out height differences, you know what? We’re going to let it slide this time. 



2. Get out of the way. What’s that sound? Oh that was just the sound of 50 camera lenses dropping the minute you appeared. Learn to like the phrase ‘move! ‘ and ‘get back!’ and don’t whatever you do make the grave mistake of being pulled into a picture by a well meaning celebrity friend. Because you know how that story ends? With a whole bunch of paps yelling, ‘GET HER OUT – ON YOUR OWN!’ Your phone is your best friend in these instances, pretend you have a million texts coming in and type furiously like you’re some sort of fast moving CEO who doesn’t possibly have time for trivia like the red carpet. And don’t let anyone whatever you do, see that you‘re actually engrossed in a level of candy crush.

3. Perfect the art of the self-deprecating smile. One that says, ‘This isn’t about me! It’s about my talented partner/friend/person I met on Tinder this afternoon and I am so confident and together as a human being I am HAPPY to just bask in their glory’. Is any of this true at all? Is it hell. But trust us, scowling (see Kanye) is really not a good look when you’re a WBTW (wind beneath their wings). Big smile, short memory.



4. Remember to keep your hands free. Congrats, you are tonight’s official handbag holder! And you can add coat rack to the CV if it’s a winter event. But there is kind of a bonus to being a plus one – you get all of the free champagne, all of the nice limo ride, (well, Uber if you’re the plus one of someone who once appeared on Masterchef) all of the PR flunkeys sucking up to you, and absolutely none of the hideous pressure. No one will be tweeting about you ‘OMG HOW bad was her fake tan and I could totally see her VPL’. So here’s to staying in the shadows, where the lighting, after all, is just perfect.

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