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Seeing red at the SD Film Foundation’s Oscar Party

“I don’t get dressed up very often, and I never wear red.”

Nobody watched the Oscars on February 9. But lots of people watched Connie Sundstrom at the San Diego Film Foundation’s Oscar Party, held this year in four ninth-floor penthouses at 41 West in Banker’s Hill. “Sophia told me to wear a long dress,” said Connie, “and this is just something I had in my closet from Nordstrom — basic, right? It just happened to be red. And I’m shocked. I don’t get dressed up very often, I don’t go to this stuff, and I never wear red. I had no idea the reaction I was going to get. I’ve been getting compliments from everybody — especially from the back end. It’s been going on all night long, since I walked in the door. I should have walked in backwards.”

I took her point. As I approached, a seated woman asked Connie to turn around and began kneading her backside. “It’s real,” she mouthed to her companions, before exclaiming, “That’s some Shakira stuff right there!” As we spoke, a gentleman leaned in toward me: “She looks pretty good in red. She should wear it more often.”

“From the back!” she answered him. “I look good from the back!”

The red may have something to do with it. “Sophia was like, ‘Make sure you wear something that pops, because everything in the background décor is going to be white.’ Color is better; black is boring. When I went to prom, like 40 years ago, every single girl wore black, but I wore cobalt blue. And so in all the pictures, I stand out.”

That was also Karen’s reason for her off-the-shoulder red dress, purchased online: “So I would stand out amongst everyone else. Is that okay? It says that I don’t want to be like everyone else. I’ve seen only one other lady here in red.”

That other lady was Rosalba, a model hired to make the proceedings that much more glamorous. “I work with Leonard Simpson; he’s one of the directors tonight. I’ve been with him almost a year now; we do charity events like this one all over downtown.” (The Foundation’s proceeds help fund its FOCUS film tour of San Diego high schools.) “I was chosen by the designer for DCC Collection to wear the red dress.”

Eliza Friedman was there auctioning her Jewels With A Purpose jewelry. Like Connie, her red dress revealed a nude sheath underneath. “I bought this from Neiman Marcus for Christmas, and didn’t get a chance to wear it. It’s a powerful color; it gives me self-esteem.”

Chiropractor Dr. Gianne Brintwood also shopped at Neiman Marcus; she bought her dress to compete in the Mrs. California 2019 contest. “And I won. I wore it tonight to support the Go Red for Women movement. I am the biggest cheerleader for the American Heart Association. My uncle died at 40 from a massive heart attack, and both my parents had strokes. I’m 61, and I feel like every day is a blessing.”

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A study in scarlet - Connie, Karen, Rosalba, Eliza, Gianne.
A study in scarlet - Connie, Karen, Rosalba, Eliza, Gianne.

Nobody watched the Oscars on February 9. But lots of people watched Connie Sundstrom at the San Diego Film Foundation’s Oscar Party, held this year in four ninth-floor penthouses at 41 West in Banker’s Hill. “Sophia told me to wear a long dress,” said Connie, “and this is just something I had in my closet from Nordstrom — basic, right? It just happened to be red. And I’m shocked. I don’t get dressed up very often, I don’t go to this stuff, and I never wear red. I had no idea the reaction I was going to get. I’ve been getting compliments from everybody — especially from the back end. It’s been going on all night long, since I walked in the door. I should have walked in backwards.”

I took her point. As I approached, a seated woman asked Connie to turn around and began kneading her backside. “It’s real,” she mouthed to her companions, before exclaiming, “That’s some Shakira stuff right there!” As we spoke, a gentleman leaned in toward me: “She looks pretty good in red. She should wear it more often.”

“From the back!” she answered him. “I look good from the back!”

The red may have something to do with it. “Sophia was like, ‘Make sure you wear something that pops, because everything in the background décor is going to be white.’ Color is better; black is boring. When I went to prom, like 40 years ago, every single girl wore black, but I wore cobalt blue. And so in all the pictures, I stand out.”

That was also Karen’s reason for her off-the-shoulder red dress, purchased online: “So I would stand out amongst everyone else. Is that okay? It says that I don’t want to be like everyone else. I’ve seen only one other lady here in red.”

That other lady was Rosalba, a model hired to make the proceedings that much more glamorous. “I work with Leonard Simpson; he’s one of the directors tonight. I’ve been with him almost a year now; we do charity events like this one all over downtown.” (The Foundation’s proceeds help fund its FOCUS film tour of San Diego high schools.) “I was chosen by the designer for DCC Collection to wear the red dress.”

Eliza Friedman was there auctioning her Jewels With A Purpose jewelry. Like Connie, her red dress revealed a nude sheath underneath. “I bought this from Neiman Marcus for Christmas, and didn’t get a chance to wear it. It’s a powerful color; it gives me self-esteem.”

Chiropractor Dr. Gianne Brintwood also shopped at Neiman Marcus; she bought her dress to compete in the Mrs. California 2019 contest. “And I won. I wore it tonight to support the Go Red for Women movement. I am the biggest cheerleader for the American Heart Association. My uncle died at 40 from a massive heart attack, and both my parents had strokes. I’m 61, and I feel like every day is a blessing.”

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