To celebrate the 16th birthday of his public relations firm O’Keeffe & Company, founder Steve O’Keeffe hired, of course, Molly Ringwald. The star of “Sixteen Candles”! Get it? Who knew she was available for corporate gigs?
But there she was Thursday night at Ireland’s Four Provinces in Falls Church, where hundreds of guests from Virginia’s tech world showed up for free drinks and a photo with the 1980’s teen star, whose fans just never went away.
Jessica Klem, an exec at the PR firm, showed up wearing her pink “I [heart] Jake Ryan” t-shirt, bearing a faded photo of Ringwald’s “Sixteen Candles” heartthrob co-star Michael Schoeffling.
“She looks amazing!” Klem gushed after a first glimpse of the guest of honor.
So, uh, awkward question, but — how much does it cost to get Molly Ringwald to your party? Come now, we all know she’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.
Ringwald’s fee for a three-hour mingle in a NoVa pub: $23,000, O’Keeffe acknowledged. And worth it, he said. “We always want to make our party a destination,” he told us. For the company’s 10th anniversary, he brought in actress Bo Derek. — star of “10,” remember? On the 11th, he hired astronaut Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 fame. No party last year because of a down economy, but O’Keeffe was determined to come back big this year: “It’s our way to give back to the community,” he said.
And now, Ringwald. The movie roles haven’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 she’s gone multi-media with her perma-fame — penning an advice book (“Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick”), starring on an ABC Family show (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”), headlining Broadway musicals, recording an album that hit No. 7 on Billboard’s jazz chart.
O’Keeffe played tunes from that CD, “Except Sometimes,” as guests packed shoulder to shoulder awaited the star’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 O’Keeffe to blow out the candles on a cake, recreating an iconic image from “Sixteen Candles,” and then, before giving over the rest of her evening to autographs and photos, addressed the room briefly. “Based on all the women in the audience,” she joked, “I’m sorry I’m not Jake Ryan.”
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