Unlike many of my colleagues, I’m a veteran of the PRWeek Awards. In fact, like only Gideon Fidelzeid and Julia Hood on the editorial team, this year’s was my sixth. It’s quite nice to get to the point where you don’t have to buy a new dress every year, being as it’s highly unlikely anyone will realize if you wear the 2003 number again. (Though, for the record, I did buy a new dress for last night. The 2003 model also made a reappearance in 2005, and I think it’s time to retire it.)
But never before has one of my awards dresses had such a workout. For last night, I was summoned to the stage to accept an award on behalf of a winning agency that wasn’t able to attend.
My sixth awards; I thought I’d seen it all. But what was this? I was nervous! “Don’t trip, don’t trip,” I muttered through my clenched teeth and lip gloss as I swung my legs from the knees to navigate the surprisingly steep steps in a somewhat constricting skirt. Once aloft, how I basked in the glare of the stage lights and the flash of photographer Larry Ford’s lens, as I stood sandwiched between GCI Group CEO Jeff Hunt (incidentally the first time he and I had managed to be in the same room together despite several attempts otherwise) and the great comedian, Tom Papa. Gripping the award and flashing my best smile, I got the best taste yet of how it must feel when you know it’s your own toil that has led to this moment. Suddenly, I saw our awards in a fresh light.
As I walked back down to the floor and sat with the mortals (and other winners) again, my heart raced and I prayed that no one would see my hands shake as I picked up my wine glass for a celebratory slurp. The real winner was ClearBlue Communications, but for that moment, I tasted it for myself.