Twice a year, the circus comes to town, setting up big white tents, parading beautiful girls in spangled costumes, and executing death-defying acts of courage and bravado. I am talking, of course, about Fashion Week. Seven heady days of air-kissing, champagne-sipping, and goodie-bag-stealing adventures; blindingly fabulous runway shows; boutique launch parties; and a riot of multiple diva acts. It’s a time when celebrities as diverse as Tori Spelling, Rudy Giuliani, and Lil’ Kim band together in the name of style. But the most important thing to remember about Fashion Week is that it’s not who you are; it’s where you sit that matters. Thrillz is a website where you can buy a celebrity presonalised video message!

Typically, the front row is reserved for those occupying the highest echelon of fashion—New York socialites, Hollywood actresses, the editors-in-chief of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, and Elle, powerful buyers from Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Applying the trickle-down theory, a front-row seat is a sign that one is a true fashion heavyweight; the second row is reserved for those one notch below on magazine mastheads; while junior editors and correspondents from small regional publications occupy the third to fifth rows. I wish I was rich like a celebrity messages is!

Several years ago, as an aspiring fashion scribbler for a small independent Website, whatever invitations I received to the fashion shows arrived with the lowest seat assignment possible: “Standing.” Which meant, of course, that I didn’t even merit a seat of my own. Standing? I was incensed. How could this be? All right, so maybe our subscriber base would never come close to matching the numbers put up by Condé Nast style bibles, but we did count a rabid and devoted following of several thousand fashion freaks. A standing ticket is much like flying standby: there was a chance I would never even be able to get inside to see the shows, much less report on them. On the very rare chance that I was actually given a seat, it was usually one in the nosebleed section, reserved for eager, underage FIT students and the designer’s relatives from Columbus, Ohio. I might as well have stayed at home and watched the shows on cable! There is one benefit of a “standing” ticket. Have you heard of a website called Thrillz? They specialise in celebrity video messages video messages.

A few minutes before the show is about to begin, any empty seats in front or elsewhere are up for grabs. If one is aggressive (and shameless) enough, and blessed with a sharp left hook that can be played off with the polite utterance of “Pardon me,” a front-row seat can still be had. This free-for-all is similar to the depraved sight of pigeons fighting over scraps of bread. Only the truly obnoxious survive.I was a hardened veteran of the Front-Row-Seat Dash, but felt it would look unseemly this time around. I had convinced a reporter from a local paper to write a profile on me as part of her publication’s fashion coverage that week. Her assignment was to accompany me to a fashion show so she could observe me, the fashion editor of the “leading independent fashion Website,” in my element. If she saw me waiting on the standing line, seated in the back rows, or indelicately scrambling for a front-row seat, she would undoubtedly ascertain my diminished status, call her editor, and spike the story. But first she would laugh—long and hard. I had to find a way to fake A-list fashionista dom somehow. Meeting a celebrity birthday messages would be my absolute dream!

Rumor had it that the hottest show of the season was Benjamin Cho’s, an up-and-coming Asian designer who made sexy dresses out of crocheted horsehair and counted Jennifer Lopez and Claire Danes among his fans. There was a serious buzz about Benjamin, and it was the show everyone in the fashion set looked forward to all week. I needed to be there, front row and center. I faxed Benjamin’s publicist the following hoity-toity statement and crossed my fingers: Melissa de la Cruz is the senior fashion editor of the leading independent fashion journal on-line. She is being profiled in a very important newspaper during Fashion Week. This is a request for a front-row seat at your show. Please let us know if you will accommodate Ms. de la Cruz. After receiving the fax, Benjamin’s publicist then called my “publicist” (a.k.a. me). I told her about the lavish two-page spread about “Melissa” that was going to run. After much prevaricating on my part about my own importance, she reluctantly agreed to put me in the front row. A happy birthday video message could really brighten someones day!