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Behind-the-Scenes at the 2005 VMA Pre-Parties

The real party isn't broadcast on MTV. It's the MTV Video Music Award pre-parties--and you wouldn't believe how much partying goes on before the show begins! Here's the inside scoop on the weekend's festivities.

Threats of a hurricane and the effects of its aftermath couldn't didn't keep away the likes of Carmen Electra, Christina Milian, and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, who all showed up at the Ocean Drive Magazine's Celebrity Gift Lounge Saturday. Originally, it was suppose to be poolside at the Ritz Carlton Hotel's Lanai Suites in Miami Beach, but the lack of sun moved the party inside. No matter.
The first stop was the Lulu Couture suite where celebrities had their choice of jeans, cotton shirts, funky embroidered Ed Hardy hats, and lace-less Converse. Electra and Jamie Foxx stopped by and picked up Lulu Couture's Military Jacket, which read "Rock & Roll"--perfectly appropriate for a VMA night. The suite even had someone on hand to tailor fit the company's jeans, which I just had to go for myself. Star treatment? Yes, please!

Next stop, Rafe Handbags. Electra stated the Rivington purse was "so Sienna." A Sienna Miller reference? Or Kooba purse reference? No sure. And Fergie was obsessed with their Copper Metallic Duffle. At the Lia Sophia stand, I picked up a candy-colored Cuff Bracelet. Fergie said she loved anything candy colored. If she was a fan, I had to have it.

Other notable items from the suites: Personalized key chains from "Key to My Heart" were ready made for scheduled VIP's; "Jet Set" travel kits were available from "Dr. Hauschka," a skin care line that's become a favorite on movie sets; the "Skin Doctors" offered up Facial Relaxer and Instant Eye Lift products; and, lastly, "Karma Guard," something I'd never heard of before but was excited to add to my stash.

With the right products in hand, I was ready to strip down for the Cain/AMP'D Mobile Pool Party. We were warned ahead of time--party arrivals could only be arranged by MasterCraft boat or Hummer. Naturally, I panicked! I didn't have access to this level of transportation! Fortunately, they arranged for me to arrive in style. I could get used to traveling in a Hummer H2.

Upon arrival, I was sure Eva Longoria, Beyonce, and Joss Stone would pull up in their personal hummers at any minute. After all, they were on the list of those expected to attend. Unfortunately, they were no-shows for the event--though the party wasn't short on beautiful model types. Chester Bennington of Linkin Park wouldn't have it any other way. As the event's official celeb sponsor, he lounged by the pool with his fiancé by his side.

All play and no work? No way. I pulled Chester aside for a little chat. How was he digging Miami thus far? "I got in last night, pretty late," he told me. "I haven't had a chance to get out, but I'm staying at the Setai [Hotel] and it's really cool. Other than that, I'm hanging here with our friends from Cain. They asked me to host it for them. I said, 'Sure. If it means I can sit by the pool and drink all day.'" Not a bad gig if you can get it. We went on to discuss his picks for Best Rock Video (a toss up between The Killers, My Chemical Romance, and Green Day's "best album they've written") and his new obsession with Missy Elliot's new album. We parted ways and I hopped into my Hummer.

With a little more color to my complexion, I was off to the Ocean Drive Music'05 party hosted by Jamie Foxx. This event would prove to be more work than play. Red carpets can be brutal and paparazzi intense. After waiting for three hours, celebs eventually trickled into the event.

The party seemed more like a press op than the place to be, but it was worth the wait when Foxx arrived with his entourage. No stranger to the city of Miami, he's been in town shooting Miami Vice with Colin Farrell. Farrell also stopped to speak with the press on the way into the event. He discussed the film, working with Jamie, and joked that his only musical talent is "play[ing] the cowbell." The conversation went astray when someone asked, "Are you single? Dating? What's going on?" He answered, "All of the above," and gracefully darted toward party.

With the host in place and party roaring, I figured it was time to jump to the next event. Rumor had it music video director Dave Meyers was throwing a shindig at the Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive. Hip hop blared upon entry and I felt like I was in a real-life rap video--complete with an interesting mix of cameos.

Spotted celebs: Jaime Pressly sitting quietly with friends on a white reserved couch; famed director Michael Bay chatting with Meyers (who is executive producing Meyer's first feature film); a Janet Jackson-less Jermaine Dupri posing on the red carpet; 'Lil Jon partying without a goblet in hand; Ciara blowing off the VIP area to party with the masses, doing a little "one, two-step" on the dance floor; Usher quickly slipping into the VIP with a large entourage; and finally, Kanye West chatting on his cell.

I'd heard the party would continue until 5 am, but I opted for beauty sleep before the big awards show. Stay tuned for our VMA sound byte wrap-up.



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