The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

La Loren

There are times when it’s hammered home to me just how unlike the average journalist I am. I think it’s something to do with one of my principles in life: that social convention is there to be flied in the face of. So estranged do I feel from fellow journos sometimes that I might as well be among aliens. Nowhere was this more evident than the press conference last week for Sophia Loren, who’d flown into town as a guest of the Italian Australian Film Festival.

Having been declined a one-on-one interview with La Loren due to her “tight schedule”, I arrived at the Shangri-La Hotel (so love the name!) in the city early to secure a front-row seat in the Grand Ballroom to ensure a perfect view of the 72-year-old Italian screen goddess. Paparazzi were plentiful, along with a plethora of broadcast and print journalists looking for a quote from Sophia – including me. The first few questions weren’t exactly riveting: ‘Who was your favourite leading man?’ ‘Did you ever consider becoming a singer as you have a lovely voice?’ ‘What would you have done if you hadn’t become a movie star’? Snooooooooooze. Time to liven things up, I thought. Regular readers of this magazine will know that I have a huge thing for older, glamorous women. But – I like them to be feisty, outspoken and opinionated, too. Vacuousness is just not for me. So, with this in mind, I threw my hand up, took the roving microphone, announced myself as “Katrina Fox, journalist with SX, a weekly magazine for the gay community”, and asked my question.

“Do you support gay marriage?” Silence. Then uncomfortable murmurings from the audience. Eventually, Sophia repeats the question: “Do I support gay marriage?” Pause. Cue a frown, handwaving and flicking of hair, then: “You know, I don’t think this is the right place to talk about these kinds of things. Let’s talk about movies, let’s talk about other things … there’s so many things involved in [gay marriage].” No kidding! So many things – like a group of people not having the same human rights as others. Yep, waaaay too complicated, Sophia. Sorry to have bothered you and thought that you might have appreciated a thought-provoking question instead of the shallow, bog-standard ones you’ve had to answer over and over for the past 50 years. Silly me.

Sophia’s response, while not unexpected, was a tad disappointing, but what really got me was the round of applause from the rest of the journalists in the room at Sophia’s reply. One guy at the back even piped up, “Stupid question”. Yeah, well, didn’t hear you come up with a better one, mate, so up yours! Unfortunately I wasn’t asked to leave. That honour went to a journo from ABC’s The Chaser who asked Sophia ten zany questions in a row, ending with ‘Do you fart?’ before being escorted out by security. Hmmm. Maybe I have allies in the industry, after all.

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