After Lana's panel, I had enough time to run back upstairs and change costumes for the next two events: The Queen's Reception (a private cocktail party with Lana) and the dinner banquet, where I'd be sitting directly next to Rebecca Mader (Bex). Big costumes were discouraged for the banquet, so I had an interlude piece that was not an exact replica of anything the Evil Queen wears, but rather something a bit reminiscent of her style...black leather leggings, over-the-knee riding boots, and a blue Steampunk riding coat. It gave my back great relief, as the heavy gown had been taxing my muscles! I felt like pure sass in this outfit.
Maid Marian and I arrived at the cocktail party together. The room was dim, dance floor lit, music playing, and the bar was quite the popular centerpiece. Lana entered, and fans could barely contain themselves! She walked my direction as she made her way to the bar and stopped to appreciate my second costume. "Did your mom make this one too? Love it!" No, my mom did not make that one, but it was fun to wear nonetheless. Lana was swarmed by fans shortly after, and not much else happened here, other than striking up a nice conversation with her lovely bodyguard, Fred, whom I discovered I could make blush quite easily just by smiling at him. (I confess, I had a little fun with that one.)
The banquet was next. It had been pushed back an hour, so we were all incredibly hungry! I am pretty sure I sat at the very best table there...Bex was the most deliciously fun person to dine with! She is a great conversationalist - she can listen just as well as speak, and the conversations were never boring. She's very humorous and quick witted; she had us laughing almost the entire time! Bex is also very generous with her fans. I was able to briefly share my story with her and thank her for being part of a show that helped me out so much, and she was thrilled to have made such a difference. Her compassion was genuine.
Part of the package deal with the banquet was to have our pictures taken with the actor/actress that we dined with. Selfies were not allowed. The banquet was wrapping up, and the photographer had accidentally forgotten our table. Bex drew this to the photographer's attention and asked him to run back upstairs to grab his camera. In the meantime, her attitude was (in her beautiful British accent) "Sod that, I don't care what the rules are, you paid for this, so I'm taking selfies with each of you!" And she did. Bless her.
Here is the group picture taken by the photographer when he came back down:
(As a side note, the photographer was excellent and truly the nicest guy! He was very apologetic for forgetting our table.)
After dinner, Maid Marian and I raced back up to our room and set a speedy record for fastening my gown. We would be a few minutes late, but that was ok. I felt Regal again.
Upon entering the ballroom, I heard the wonderful emcee, Josh, announce, "While Lana is not joining us for this event, we do have our very own Evil Queen present! Would you join me at the front and start the dancing?" I strode to the front, head high, shoulders back, Evil Queen on. And the dancing commenced! The most amusing people to watch were "Sleepy" and "Happy"...they were hamming it up on the dance floor! Fun was had by all.
There was a costume contest midway through the ball. We got our full cosplay on, and I had a blast choking out my rival in front of everyone! This was greeted by many cheers. Bex and Beverley whispered in my ear, "Good luck! Your gown takes the cake here." I was flattered, and thoroughly pleased to have their support. My hat goes off to the mother and daughter team that won the contest though - they appeared as Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy (unfortunately, not pictured below...she was adorable)!
Yet again, we got 4 hours of sleep that night. It was worth it.