By Stacey Blanchet
On the last Sunday of February, the world is watching as Hollywood honors its own. The glitter, gowns and gold are on full display. How do they all look so fabulous? Who are they wearing? AND, of course who is going to win?
Ladies and gentlemen, enter stage left Mr. Roger Neal. He has been a publicist to the stars for over 34 years. Because of his unique clientele he has the perfect combination for a Beauty and Couture Suite. http://nealpublicrelations.com/clients.htm. What is a Suite you ask?
It is where marketing and the elite meet. Mr. Neal has been hosting his Oscar suite for 20 years. Designers Sonjja Baram, Depaula Designs and Olga Blanc will display their show stopping gowns looking for a home on the red carpet. Jewelry designer Esther Eyre has created a special collection to accompany any Oscar gown. Handbag designer to the stars Marcelo Calabrese has created one-of-a kind Oscar handbags that are sure to be the talk of the town. Pop the bottles of champagne and dive into the delicious treats that have been created specifically for this experience. As the stylists and celebrities browse through items they will be pampered with facials, massages and manicures and pedicures to get them in the mood for Oscar weekend. What a fabulous world you have created Mr. Neal. How?
You have done Public Relations work in Hollywood for 30 years. Who have some of your clients been?
Well, I have been in business for 34 years, but who is counting?
My clients over the years have been Bob Barker, Wink Martindale, Donny Osmond, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Clarence Gilyard, Sheree J. Wilson, Joely Fisher, Bob Hope Milton Berle, Lee Iacocca, Stuart Weitzman, Katherine Bauman, GM Collin Skincare Paris, Persol, Kwiat Diamonds and Natalie K. Diamonds to name a few.
Is it natural to go from Public Relations to Suites?
I still do Public Relations as it is very natural to me. I started the gifting suites when I represented show designer, Stuart Weitzman. I had the idea to set up the suite and give away shoes to the stars that were walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes and Oscars. It has now expanded to include many brands.
How do you get the word out that you have a Suite?
I have been doing this for 20 years now that media and word of mouth are all that is needed at this point.
What is the purpose of your suite for the Oscars?
When I started this craze by accident 20 years ago, I did not intend for it to become what it has become. I do not like to think of my suite as a gifting suite but rather a Beauty and Couture Suite. We do gift celebrities but it really is about the charities we spotlight each year. The stars and nominees that visit our suite autograph something for charity and then the charity is able to auction off that item and raise money for their purpose. We also like to make donations as well.
I feel the purpose of my suite is to pamper the stars, stylists, nominees and presenters to get them ready for Oscar night. We want them to consider pulling our couture for their clients to wear on Oscar night and the after parties. Our suite is designed to spotlight the brands that are approved to be in our suite and give them media coverage that they may not have the opportunity to access.
What are your requirements?
Brands have to be unique or high end fashions that have a chance for me to get them on stars for the Oscars at that level. When I see the fashions of gowns, handbags, jewelry and shoes, I know instantly if it is the right fit. I also select products such as hair care, cosmetics, tanning, eyelashes, and massages that can be used on Oscar day.
As a special treat I have gourmet chocolates that I present to the nominees in a special way. I had a chocolatier spell out the nominees name in chocolate edible frames. I think outside the box for brands so that they can get major media attention and stand out.
You are producing “Oscar Night at the Hollywood Museum”? How many years have you been doing this?
The Roger Neal Style Hollywood Oscar Viewing Dinner is something we are kicking off as part of our 20th anniversary of the Oscar suites. It has already become such a success that we have decided to do it annually. I am honored to have Datang International Entertainment and Desert Rock Entertainment as my sponsors for the Oscar Viewing Dinner.
How long is your preparation for a night like this?
For the suite and dinner we work on it for about a year. When we finish this year’s we will begin right away on next year’s events.
Is it invite only or open to the public?
My suite and Oscar Viewing Dinner are invite only.
What special plans do you have for this event?
The Oscar Viewing Dinner is turning out to be the destination of choice. There will be 80 confirmed stars that include former Oscar winners and nominees. Presidential Chef Kurt Ehrlich will be serving up some magical creations only reserved for the Oscars. I am very pleased to be bringing back tradition as this is going to be a white glove sit down dinner affair. We are going to have nine screens to watch the Oscars. As the invited guests arrive before the Oscars, they will be treated with cocktails and hors d’ourves and able to tour the 3 levels of the Hollywood Museum in all its glory complete with the Academy Award exhibit with Oscar himself.
Why did you choose the “John Ritter Foundation” as your charity?
Amy Yasbeck, John’s wife has worked so hard to make sure no one suffers a loss like she did due to Aortic Health. We want to honor her work and help her raise much needed funds.
You are still very much a man on the move? Do you see yourself retiring any time soon? Why?
Ha. I am in show business. We never retire.
This business is very hard to break into. Any advice that is realistic? I started out in the mail room of MGM studios 35 years ago. I decided to leave and become a publicist and personal manager to the stars. You have to be a very hard worker, know how to network and be creative. If you are willing to put in the long hours every day and work hard, you
can do it.
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Don’t fret as Mr. Neal is here. The Roger Neal Oscar Viewing Dinner at the Hollywood Museum is the destination to be. It is now time to roll out the red carpet. It will be a sea of stars. Are they ready for their close ups? Where else do the past and present collide for these stars of the Silver Screen? The television sets are turned on and millions have tuned in. A year in preparation all comes down to one night. Envelope please…