Orange County School of the Arts

Legacy Lounge MTV VMA’s Gifting Suite: What it’s like to be treated as a star

A purple carpet. Bright lights. Camera flashes. Attention fit for an A-list celebrity. And in the middle of it all? Yours truly.

SN+A Project Manager Van Nguyen, Insider Cassandra Hsiao, and SN+A CEO Steve Nguyen.

For the first time in my journalistic career of five years, I was treated as a star. Every year, PR companies partner up with up-and-coming brands and lifestyle products in luxury gifting suites, where celebrities kick off the awards event in style. I was invited to join the PR company Steve Nguyen and Associates’ Legacy Lounge Iconic Suite presented by Roxx Vodka held in The London Hollywood Hotel. The event was to celebrate MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards (VMA’s). What made this gifting suite different was that an emphasis was placed on treating media like celebrities.

Insider Cassandra Hsiao with Jessie Nole.

With my escort Jessie Nole who graciously carried all the gift bags I would soon collect, I went from booth to booth and received the same things many celebrities were given. I met Allison Holker who danced with Riker Lynch (R5) in the last season of Dancing With the Stars as well as Kendrick Sampson who is set to star in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder alongside Viola Davis. It was quite the experience to be treated like a star next to them, from beauty treatments to photo shoots.

Insider Cassandra Hsiao with Dancing with the Stars’ Allison Holker.
Insider Cassandra Hsiao with Kendrick Sampson from ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.

I had my pictures taken by Chi Lee, professional photographer, and felt like I was doing a Vogue cover shoot.

Photo credit to Chi Lee Photography at Steve Nguyen & Associates' Legacy Lounge Iconic Suite.
Photo credit to Chi Lee Photography at Steve Nguyen & Associates’ Legacy Lounge Iconic Suite.



Stylists from Brambila Salon re-curled my hair and magically twisted a braid into a flower above my ear. The salon is nested on the shorelines of Santa Monica beach with skillful professionals trained to make clients feel fabulous.


BigR Audio’s founder, Rich Bracke (aka Big Rich) introduced me to BigR’s latest product, the WristBoom, a speaker that rests snugly on your wrist like a watch. Available in six different colors (and more on the way), WristBoom connects to the iPhone via Bluetooth, giving users an opportunity to share music without carrying around extra weight.


BigR’s headphones practically sing environmental consciousness. Made from renewable material such as beechwood and bamboo, the headphones’ ingenuity lies in its interchangeable parts. If the cables broke, instead of purchasing a brand new set of headphones, clients can simply buy new cables. Not only does this save money, but also gives customers an endless selection of headphones custom to their choice. BigR plans to launch a website where customers can design unique looks for their headphones.


Cat lovers will love Feline Company, a clothing line that features cute tops and beanies with cat designs and puns. Better yet, 5% of the profit is donated to Panthera, an organization that rescues endangered cats such as jaguars and tigers.


Kahoy Kollection allowed me to choose a pair of adorable big-framed sunglasses—just my type. The sunglasses are lightweight and the earthy tones give it a unique, stylish look.


Thibiant of Beverly Hills emphasized how important skin care is, gifting celebrities and media with skin products to ensure radiance. We were given a gift card for the Genesis V treatment and other skin creams.


Hate airport travel? Savvy Travelers has a collection of products that’ll make travelers’ lives a thousand times easier. With mouth wipes, hand wipes, screen wipes and makeup removers, customers can travel lighter and cleaner. Their sheets remove 99% of surface contamination.

Savvy Travelers CEO Tina Aldatz is also the author of a book called “From Stilettos to the Stock Exchange,” a memoir about how she became an entrepreneur.


Abstract Charms was one of my favorite stops. The company collects stones, rocks, gemstones, amulets and charms from all over the world and also customizes jewelry for customers. (Take a look at the bead necklace with a leaf pendant I was wearing).

The suite was indeed luxurious and thorough in getting celebrities and media prepped for MTV’s VMAs. I can’t wait for my next taste of the celebrity lifestyle.

Photo Credit to Chi Lee Photography at Steve Nguyen & Associates' Legacy Lounge Iconic Suite.
Photo Credit to Chi Lee Photography at Steve Nguyen & Associates’ Legacy Lounge Iconic Suite.