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Hollywood insiders gathered Wednesday night at the Hyde Sunset Kitchen & Lounge in West Hollywood to toast the new class of ambitious up-and-comers.
The Next Gen honorees shared what it feels like to have their name on the list. “It’s like waking up on Christmas day and having no idea what’s in the box,” said The CW director of scripted development Matt Thunell.
The Weinstein Co. senior vp production and development Julie Rapaport compared the honor to getting an A+ on a paper, while 20th Century Fox TV vp casting Stephanie Herman said it felt like her birthday.
“It makes it all worthwhile delivering this issue all those years ago in the mailroom,” joked Oasis Media Group manager Ben Rowe.
See more Next Gen Class of 2014
The group of execs described their experience of being showered with congratulations all day following the release of THR‘s Next Gen issue.
“I can tell who I’m acquaintances with and who I’m friends with,” said Verve agent Adam Weinstein. “All the people I’m acquaintances with have called or congratulated me over email, and all the people who I’m friends with have just given me a bunch of shit.”
Many acknowledged that the most fervent support came from their family. “My grandma was so excited she put it on Facebook,” laughed Authentic manager Dara Gordon. Rowe joked that he’s just happy his grandmother finally knows what he’s doing for a living.
Funny or Die EP Betsy Koch likened the Next Gen class of 2014 to being its own family of sorts. “A dysfunctional family,” she quipped.
Read more Next Gen 2014: Hollywood’s New Class
The event, sponsored by Mercedes Benz, American Airlines, Lifetime, Samsung Galaxy and Travaasa Experiential Resorts, saw the 35-and-under honorees mingle with dozens of alumni of recent years. In yearbook-like fashion, party attendees wrote superlatives next to the Next Gen-ers‘ portraits on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that then appeared on the Samsung Curved UHD TVs on display (Herman was voted best eyes, Thunell best eyelashes).
As guests dined on sliders and asparagus fries with brown butter chocolate chip cookies and berry tarts for dessert, they sipped on cocktails inspired by American Airlines’ top three destinations: Los Angeles, London and New York. When they weren’t posing for fun pictures at the Mercedes Benz-THR co-branded photobooth, they could get their arms hennaed by an artist in a lounge designed by Lifetime in the theme of its upcoming biblical miniseries, The Red Tent.
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