Before launching into a post about celebrity-watching, I want to say that my heart goes out to those affected by the unthinkable violence in Norway yesterday, as well as the ongoing famine in East Africa.

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

I’m not very interested in celebrities or celebrity gossip. I don’t read People or watch E! Entertainment Television. I don’t browse Perez Hilton. I wouldn’t recognize a Kardashian if I passed one on the street.

And yet yesterday afternoon, I found myself in a swank department store in Melrose Arch, elbowing photographers and trying to get a decent shot of actress/supermodel/tabloid darling Elizabeth Hurley (I’ve seen Austin Powers so I was able to recognize her) at an appearance for Estée Lauder. I didn’t mean to do it — I swear! It just happened.

Photographers jockey for position as Liz (that’s what gossip columnists call her, right?) signs autographs.

Customers strain for a glimpse of the celeb.

I don’t feel too trashy about becoming a paparazza for a day; the event was for a good cause. Liz represents Estée Lauder in its Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. (According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, breast cancer is the leading cancer faced by South African women.) Customers purchased Estée Lauder products and then lined up to meet Liz and have their purchases autographed. Fifty percent of the proceeds went to support breast cancer awareness and research.

Placard promoting breast cancer awareness.

Liz’s appearance was of particular interest to cricket fans. Her beau is retired Australian cricketer Shane Warne, one of the best bowlers of all time. Shane accompanied Liz on her trip to South Africa, providing good fodder for the local paparazzi.

Liz addresses the crowd — very articulately, I might add. Shane is in the background. 

Shane would be a handsome chap, if it weren’t for all the spray-tanning, hair gel, peroxide, and botox. (Sorry. I’m a gossip columnist today so I have to be snarky.)

My initial intention was to hang back and watch from afar. But I soon found myself swept into the spirit of the event. Everyone was having a good time. There was delicious free food, and no one cared when I pushed my way to the front and pretended to be a real photographer. TV crews interviewed enthusiastic fans, who showed off their newly autographed products. Even Liz looked happy and at ease, despite her uncomfortable-looking (albeit stunning) dress and impossibly high heels.

Liz poses for a photo with one of her fans.

Liz’s impossibly high-heeled shoes.

This gorgeous Amazon, clad head-to-toe in black leather, was Liz’s bodyguard. She was polite and friendly but did not take any sh*t. I steered clear of her.

You’ve gotta love a man who’s proud to show off his autographed exfoliator.

Stalking Liz and Shane provided a fun change of pace from my normal blog content. And it gave me an excuse to shop for new jeans. I might like to do more celebrity work.

Capturing the moment.

These girls were the life of the party.

Hey Perez, are you looking for a Southern Africa correspondent? I’m available.

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