Ever since the Obamas moved into the White House, the image and ambiance of Washington, D.C. has been transformed.
Apart from the policies put forth by the president that have altered the national landscape, the nation's capital has slowly turned into Hollywood East.
It is not merely that the press has treated the First Family as if they were A-list movie stars, or that the president and his wife have appeared on more entertainment television programs than all of their predecessors combined, it is the manner in which Washington, D.C. has taken on the attributes of the entertainment capital of the world.
When Obama first took office, Washington Post writer Sally Quinn commented to CBS News, “All of the power is concentrated here, and power is a great aphrodisiac and Washington has become the place to be.”
Following the Obamas' arrival in D.C., reality shows based in the nation's capital began sprouting up, including the CW network's “Blonde Charity Mafia,” MTV's “Real World: D.C.,” and Bravo's “Real Housewives of D.C.”
However, the show that now seems to rival many of the celebrity gatherings in Hollywood is the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD).
What was once a tiny gathering of 50 or so reporters has turned into a week-long string of parties, complete with elaborate gift bags for celebrity guests similar to the “swag bags” of the Left Coast award shows.
Much like social events that take place prior to the Academy Awards, pre-event parties pave the way to the actual WHCD, where approximately 2 to 3 thousand familiar faces gather together to ultimately be entertained by a tag team composed of a celebrity comic and the president of the United States.
The annual event is now the hottest ticket inside the Beltway and is sought after by well-known journalists, politicians, political consultants, and an increasing number of Hollywood stars.
This year, during the lead-up to the WHCD, Allison Janney, who portrayed C.J. Cregg on the NBC drama “The West Wing,” had some fun at the expense of the real life White House press corps.
Remaining in character, the actress took to the podium and conducted the daily briefing. Janney explained to reporters that the actual White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, was having a root canal.
In addition to the mainstream media, the WHCD is now covered by the entertainment press as well, in the form of the major trades, domestic and international tabloids, and even TMZ. The same excessive indulgence that often accompanies the lavish Hollywood affairs is now part and parcel of the yearly D.C. dinner party.
Like all major Hollywood events, the WHCD rolls out its own red carpet upon which the biggest names in entertainment, journalism, and politics strut their stuff as a gaggle of photographers captures their every half-smile.
The same perennial question that red carpet reporters in Hollywood shout at celebs is now being echoed at D.C.'s own glam walk: “Who are you wearing?”
Donning sophisticated designer gowns and walking the D.C. red carpet at this years WHCD was a parade of A-listers, which included a sampling of young celebrity fashionistas such as “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson, reality TV celeb Kendall Jenner, Bollywood actress and “Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra, Victoria Secret model Adriana Lima, and former Victoria secret model Karlie Kloss.
Numerous other famed faces attending the annual gala this year included legendary singer Aretha Franklin, legendary actor Morgan Freeman, “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher, superstar couple Will and Jada Smith, “Scandal” actors Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn, “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, “Homeland,” actor Damian Lewis, “Black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson, “Downton Abbey” star Michelle Dockery, “Glee” cast member Darren Criss, “Independence Day: Resurgence” stars Jeff Goldblum and Vivica A. Fox, and Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren, who paid tribute to Prince by dressing in his trademark color.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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