To celebrate the 16th birthday of his public relations firm Oâ€™Keeffe & Company, founder Steve Oâ€™Keeffe hired, of course, Molly Ringwald. The star of â€śSixteen Candlesâ€ť! Get it? Who knew she was available for corporate gigs?
But there she was Thursday night at Irelandâ€™s Four Provinces in Falls Church, where hundreds of guests from Virginiaâ€™s tech world showed up for free drinks and a photo with the 1980â€™s teen star, whose fans just never went away.
Jessica Klem, an exec at the PR firm, showed up wearing her pink â€śI [heart] Jake Ryanâ€ť t-shirt, bearing a faded photo of Ringwaldâ€™s â€śSixteen Candlesâ€ť heartthrob co-star Michael Schoeffling.
â€śShe looks amazing!â€ť Klem gushed after a first glimpse of the guest of honor.
So, uh, awkward question, but â€” how much does it cost to get Molly Ringwald to your party? Come now, we all know sheâ€™s not doing this for fun. And even far more faded stars and reality TV also-rans can command four or five figures on the paid-appearance circuit.
Ringwaldâ€™s fee for a three-hour mingle in a NoVa pub: $23,000, Oâ€™Keeffe acknowledged. And worth it, he said. â€śWe always want to make our party a destination,â€ť he told us. For the companyâ€™s 10th anniversary, he brought in actress Bo Derek. â€” star of â€ś10,â€ť remember? On the 11th, he hired astronaut Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 fame. No party last year because of a down economy, but Oâ€™Keeffe was determined to come back big this year: â€śItâ€™s our way to give back to the community,â€ť he said.
And now, Ringwald. The movie roles havenâ€™t been as big since her 1980s cover-of-Time heyday, but she never lost her A-list status in the mind of Generation X, and sheâ€™s gone multi-media with her perma-fame â€” penning an advice book (â€śGetting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstickâ€ť), starring on an ABC Family show (â€śThe Secret Life of the American Teenagerâ€ť), headlining Broadway musicals, recording an album that hit No. 7 on Billboardâ€™s jazz chart.
Oâ€™Keeffe played tunes from that CD, â€śExcept Sometimes,â€ť as guests packed shoulder to shoulder awaited the starâ€™s arrival.
And then there she was: White satin cocktail dress, silver shoes, bobbed hair, a vivid red. We moved in with a camera, but a handler cut in front of us: No photos, he insisted, as Ringwald scampered away. But she looks amazing! we whined quietly.
She joined Oâ€™Keeffe to blow out the candles on a cake, recreating an iconic image from â€śSixteen Candles,” and then, before giving over the rest of her evening to autographs and photos, addressed the room briefly. â€śBased on all the women in the audience,â€ť she joked, â€śIâ€™m sorry Iâ€™m not Jake Ryan.â€ť
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