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Melanie Morris: Stars go through agony just to look good for 10 little yards of red carpet. Would I? Hell, yes

Hurrah! It's awards season. And as invitees to tonight's Meteors and tomorrow's IFTAs cram in one final circuit of the gym/syringe full of facial fillers/layer of fake tan before they head down the red carpet, I'm getting set for what must be the most enjoyable spectator sport of spring.

"It's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part". So we're told time and time again. And when it comes to awards season, never were truer words spoken. Because let's be honest here, Oscars, BAFTAs or IFTAs, it's so not about the prize-giving, it's all about who looked great, who wore what, and who was a mess.

When it comes to the preparations, I wonder do Irish actors, models, musicians and professional party people go to the same lengths as their British and American counterparts?

Do they, for example, botox their palms to prevent a clammy handshake. And under their arms to keep sweat marks at bay. Do they employ a celebrity stylist who'll suggest a gastric band as the most effective way to help them slim into -- and stay in -- their gown? Do they get their assistants to walk up and down the corridors in their new heels to break them in? I'd say given half the chance, they would. And if I were in their position, I would too.

There's nothing more terrifying than clambering out of a car to find a barrage of photographers ready to pounce. And then nothing more crushing than to see them put down their cameras when they set eyes on you, a mere mortal who doesn't make the grade either in terms of celebrity or appearance.

Over the years, I've been Louis Walsh's 'plus one' on a number of occasions in London. Each time we've arrived at a venue, I've been asked to stand aside, or simply airbrushed out of the printed shots. I'm obviously going to have make more of an effort.

While I don't want to 'do a Bjork' on it, and show up dressed as a swan, and while I don't really have the balls or the body to dye myself orange, forget my knickers and wear a navel-slashed number, there must be a middle ground that makes as impression.

I think Jennifer Aniston always looks great, but plays it far too safe, Cameron Diaz works a beach better than a ball gown, and Halle Berry has the weirdest taste in clothes. But I love Penelope Cruz's way with colour, Reese Witherspoon's Chanel wardrobe and the striking black gown and massive emeralds combo that Angelina Jolie rocked at last year's Oscars.

So, who at the weekend's Irish awards will have style? As presenter for tomorrow's IFTAs, I love Victoria Smurfit's genuine nonchalant approach to fashion. She takes it all in her stride, but always happens to have the season's sharpest look draped flatteringly over her immaculate frame. Her slick blonde hair and razor sharp cheekbones make her face stand out from the crowd.

Anyone sharing a stage with her will do well not to appear the frumpy friend. But I'd rate Charlene McKenna against her. Quirky, cute and impish, here's an accomplished actress who'll team a hot gown with great hair and make-up.

Another young hopeful whose retro style I admire and envy is Jade Yourell. With her abundant auburn hair, milky white skin and black winged eyeliner, she reminds me of a 1960s Liz Taylor type.

If Jonathan Rhys Meyers turns up, I hope he'll be all broody in his Henry garb, rather than those nasty Uggs and trackie pants he has a penchant for.

Tonight at The Meteors, and I know I'll be transfixed by Florence Welch's frock (as well as her 'machine') and presenter Amanda Byram will no doubt look every inch a rock goddess.

If venturing out to either event, and daring to brave the red carpet (more excruciating than the walk of shame), don't do as I've done and pass unnoticed. Instead take some tips from the experts ...

Ditch the coat/ scarf/bag, stand beside someone of similar size, or bigger than you, and wear something that exposes a nice bit of leg or cleavage, but not both -- unless you want to feature in some 'what WAS she wearing' column. And remember above all else, and unlike one society girl at last year's Meteors, if those photographers don't pap you the first time, don't be tempted to walk back and try again, and again, and again ... Be remembered for the right reasons, people.

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE Magazine


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