Courtesy of BFA

Actress and Philanthropist

Cornelia Guest

Written by Saul Taylor

Cornelia Guest is a well-known philanthropist, owner of Cornelia Guest Catering and has segued into acting, appearing across film and television, including Twin Peaks on Showtime.

Do you consider yourself an influencer?

No. I think that’s a very tricky word, “influencer.” Instead of using that word, “influencer,” I hope I inspire people in what I do and how I rescue animals and how I live my life. So, I hope I’m inspirational.

What influences you?

My heart. And beauty. And mother nature. And wonderful friends that I have.

How many invitations do you get on average?

I have not a clue. A lot. Which is wonderful.

How do you choose what to go to and what to avoid?

I have to say that I have gone to some amazing parties. I’ve been very lucky. So I really try to see who’s going to be there, if my friends are going to be there, what it’s for and where it is. So a lot of things go into the mix. I just try to go to fun stuff that mean something to me or is meaningful to a friend of mine.

How many days do you spend on the road and where do you travel most?

I travel mostly between New York and Los Angeles, and Texas. I spend quite a bit of time on the road. I try no to be away for more than two weeks because I miss my animals so much. But if I have to be away for longer, when I get home I really try to be at home for two weeks, at least.

What is your go-to get-up?

That all depends where I’m getting-up to. So, I would say my go-to get-ups for formals are definitely Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta. I love their clothes. And for everyday, I’m in shorts, flip-flops, jeans and a t-shirt. A great Balmain blazer can take you anywhere. And a loafer. And a pencil skirt and a little t-shirt and a sweater over my shoulders, because I’m always cold. So those are my get-ups.

How long does it take you to get ready?

That depends, again, to where I’m going. But I’m generally pretty quick. I can do my own makeup pretty quickly. So I’d say half an hour.

Any insider secrets on what to wear?

Yes. Less is more. For me.

What is your arrival strategy?

Yet again, that depends where I’m going. Sometimes you like to sneak in. If I’m there for work, it’s the press line and the red carpet. But I love the red carpet. For me it’s fun. I think it’s fun to get dressed up, look pretty, and get your picture taken. I love it.

What is your drink of choice?

A glass of champagne. Rosé in particular. Or a glass of white wine. I’m not a big drinker.

Where do you stand on event food?

Since I have a catering company, Cornelia Guest Events, I’m quite particular. I don’t like fussy food. I like really good food. Plain. Simple. And beautifully turned out.

Do you dance or do you decline?

Oh, I dance!

What’s your jam?

I love all music. So I’ll just dance to anything.

What is the best event you’ve ever been to? What is the best event you have been to recently?

Well, recently, I went to this event that my friend Peter Marino, the architect, put on. It was in Venice. It was a masquerade ball and it was unbelievable. And Dior put it on. And I think it was the most beautiful party I have ever been to. The table settings. Being in Venice. Peter had an incredible mask on. And I had a MAC makeup artist come do my face in this incredible mask and I wore a hat and wore this beautiful Oscar de la Renta gown in lavender. It was just an unbelievable, magical night. To arrive to a huge ball, in Venice, at the Palazzo Labia, which was just redone… it really was unbelievable. Dior… I had never seen such beautiful tables in my life. Each room was different. The food was so delicious. They had, for vegans, these crepes! These vegan crepes with vegetables and artichokes in them. I think I ate six of them. And champagne! It was just the most incredible party I’ve been to in a long time. Another really memorable party was Valentino’s party seven years ago in Rome. That was also simply unbelievable.

What’s the worst event you have ever been to?

Oh, I can’t say. But there have been many.

What is the one annual invitation you can’t wait for?

Charles Finch’s Oscar party in Los Angeles is incredible. It’s so much fun. It’s a seated dinner and he seats it beautifully. They do it incredibly well. It’s at the Beverly Hills Hotel; the food… it’s just such a great night. Everyone is always so relaxed and having fun.

What are your favourite kinds of events?

That’s a hard question because… to say “your favorite,” you really don’t know until you get there. And every event is different. I love events for animals, but sometimes they’re terrible. I love to learn a lot about nature, so I love events for Mother Nature. But sometimes they’re just terrible. It really all depends. It’s really hard to throw a good event. It takes the Sun, the Moon, and the stars… and then a little luck.

What are your favourite venues?

That’s why the one in Venice was so amazing…. It was at the Palazzo Labia. No one had been there in years, so that’s amazing. When you have an event where no one ever goes, or a very iconic location, that makes an event all the more fun.

What makes a great VIP area?

I don’t like VIP areas. I think VIP areas are just sort of ridiculous. I think everyone should mingle and have a good time. And that’s what makes a good party.

What is the ultimate no-no for a VIP?

To behave like a VIP.

What is your departure strategy?

Never say goodnight. Just slip out. It ruins the party if you say goodbye. It breaks up the party.

Where do you stand on social media?

I love it.

What do you always take to a party?

20 bucks.

What are the best cities for a party?

The world is your oyster. Every city is a great city for a party.

Who is your favourite host?

Peter Marino is an incredible host. My mother was a great hostess. Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti are incredible hosts. Malcolm Forbes was a fantastic host. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were incredible hosts at Studio 54.

How do you entertain at home?

Very simply. I like delicious food; lots of it. And beautiful tables. I love to mix it up. You have to have a mix of people. And I never seat couples together.

Who is on your ultimate guest list?

Winston Churchill. Michael Jordan. Richard Burton. Elizabeth Taylor. My parents. My grandparents. Greta Garbo.

What makes a great event?

The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. And a little bit of fairy dust.