On Sunday night, sometime after the George Clooney joke but before the Leonardo DiCaprio joke, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick came onstage to present their daughter, Sosie, as the 2014 Miss Golden Globes. They were very proud, and it was sweet, in an embarrassing Mom and Dad sort of way — but it raised some perennial questions about what, exactly, the Miss (or occasionally Mr.) Golden Globes job entails. The basic facts: Miss/Mr. Golden Globe is always the child of a celebrity, and he or she stands to the side of the stage during the ceremony. There is usually a brief introduction by the parents, but then Miss Golden Globe disappears again. So we called two former Miss Golden Globes — Clementine Ford (1998) and Rainey Qualley (2012) — to talk about their experience and find out exactly what happens behind the scenes. Some answers below.
How do you become Miss Golden Globe?
It was easy enough for Ford: "My mom [Cybill Shepherd]'s publicist called and said 'Hey, do you wanna be Miss Golden Globe? And I said, sure!' Usually, though, there's an interview process. "They just asked normal questions about what I was doing, questions about my mom [Andie MacDowell]," says Qualley, who wasn't chosen the first time she interviewed. "They called me two years later and asked if I was still interested."
What does Miss Golden Globe actually do?
Tell winners where to go, basically. It is almost exactly what you see on TV, and there's only one rehearsal ahead of time. "They tell you where to stand," says Ford, "and you take the presenter, and you stand on this side, and if someone goes off the wrong way, you stop them." The trickiest part, according to Qualley, is when giant groups of people come onstage. "Modern Family won an award when I did it, and the entire cast came up. So trying to sheepdog everyone into the right wing was hard, because I'm just one person."
Did you meet any cool famous people?
"Antonio Banderas was telling me about how his wife [Melanie Griffith] had been Miss Golden Globe, and she wore this short, short skirt, and it was so clear how in love with her he was," remembers Ford. "There was someone who — I don't want to say her name just because I felt bad for her. But she was so nervous that I had to keep telling her, 'You're gonna be okay, you're gonna be okay.' She was shaking, and she was terrified to go out and present."
Okay, but why would you want to be Miss Golden Globe?
For Qualley, it was something she'd never done before. "I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, so I'm not used to going to events like that, really." Ford, who went to the Golden Globes every year with her mom, Cybill Shepherd, just did it for fun. "I was either 18 or 19, and I had no ambition. [Laughs.] I had just dropped out of college. I was a loser. And it was just like, Look, this cool thing that I'm doing!"
Do you get recognized on the street now?
"I guess certain people remember," says Qualley, who's now pursuing a music career along with some acting. "It seems like a much bigger deal when you're directly involved." And Ford says she owes her entire career — parts on The L Word and The Young and the Restless — to Miss Golden Globe. "A casting director brought me in afterwards, told me what I needed to do, gave me a phone number of a manager, and my life just kind of went from there. And it was great, because like I said, I was kind of a college dropout. My mom's show was just ending, and there was all this stuff going on personally, and I had no direction. And then this casting director brought me in, and here we are."