KERRE’S AN IN-DEMAND MC, BUT ADMITS THE JOB INVOLVES A LOT OF PREPARATION
It’s awards season at this time of the year. In every city around the country, all sorts of organisations are celebrating the past year’s achievements.
It’s a chance for people to be rewarded for their stellar achievements and to inspire others for the year ahead.
As a professional talker, I’m often called upon to MC in the evenings and it’s something
I love to do. Who doesn’t love a party? People are in a celebratory mood, and they look gorgeous with the women all dressed to the nines and the men handsome in black tie or dinner suits.
The formal dress code means I need to gussy myself up too and that is quite the process. My hair needs to be styled and make-up applied. I envy my male colleagues who are called upon to MC. A shower, a splash of aftershave, a comb through their hair and they’re done.
Not me. The lengthy process involved in making me MC-ready means I have, on occasion, arrived at work with my hair in rollers looking like a Mrs Brown impersonator. The young ones in the newsroom, who grew up with GHD curling tongs, are incredulous. They’ve never seen anything like it. But if I’m finishing work at four, driving through Auckland rush-hour traffic and needing to be ready by 6.30pm, time is of the essence. The rollers mean my stylist, Luisa, just needs to brush out my hair rather than start from scratch.
The awards ceremonies involve all sorts of people. They’re run either by specialist event managers or by incredibly efficient personal assistants from head office. Venues are hired, caterers contracted, bands booked and scripts are written.
I’m the cherry on the icing on the cake. All the hard work has been done by the time I step on to the stage. And despite a career in public speaking that spans more than 30 years, I still get nervous before every event. My heart is racing in my chest as I stand in the wings and my mouth is dry. After all the effort other people have put in, I don’t want to let anybody down.
Once you’re up on stage, the evening is in your hands. There’s a fine line when it comes to crowd control. The awards mean a lot to the winners.
They need to feel special and celebrated. At the same time, the ceremonies come at the end of a long year, many attendees are away from home, the alcohol is flowing and they want to have a good time.
It’s a bit like keeping control of a spirited horse – you don’t want to keep pulling and tugging on the bit, but you do need a tight rein so that they don’t bolt on you. Once the evening is underway and the first award has been handed out, it’s the most wonderful feeling. When it goes well, people are relaxed and having a great time. Up on stage, it feels like you’re riding a wave of goodwill and positivity.
And I guess that’s why, despite the enormous, nervous energy expended, I always say yes when I’m asked to MC. This weekend, it’s the Hawke’s Bay Tourism Awards in Napier and the Security Industry awards in Wellington. I’m so lucky to be able to meet so many wonderful people and to see so much of this beautiful country.
As well as reading her column, listen to Kerre on Newstalk ZB, weekdays, noon to 4pm.