Christina Dun stands with friend Brittany Rizzuto at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTINA DUN

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By Prajakta Dhopade

Third-year journalism student Christina Dun brushed elbows with stars at the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles last Wednesday. She was chosen to be one of the casted audience members that got to sit in four onstage seating sections during the televised event.

“Being a part of the People’s Choice Awards was such a crazy experience,” she said, “The whole time I was there, it felt like a dream.”

Dun said she lucked out and got “the best seat in the house,” right beside the backstage entrance. Not only did she have a star-studded view, but she received high-fives from the likes of comedian Ellen DeGeneres, country-pop star Taylor Swift, Friends actress Jennifer Aniston, and The Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder, to name a few.

It was a few weeks ago that Dun stumbled across a tweet by Gotham Casting, a casting agency, advertising a chance to attend the People’s Choice Awards. She jumped at the opportunity and sent in her contact details along with a photo of herself.

“I got a call from California on Jan. 3 and basically rushed frantically to book my trip down there.”

The casting agency didn’t cover her travel or accommodation costs, but she and a guest were able to reach L.A. on Sunday, a few days before the show and just in time for the first rehearsal. Then on Wednesday, Dun checked into the Nokia Centre at 10:30 a.m. for the dress rehearsal on the day of the event. It started at 1 p.m. and continued for hours.

“It was just a long day,” she said. “Everything had to be perfect.”

While they were only at the sidelines, Dun and the over 140 other onstage audience members got a sneak peek of the highly anticipated A-list event. Dun said this is probably why they weren’t allowed to have cameras, phones or any contact with the outside world. But it may have also been to prevent pictures of the parade of tired-looking, naked-faced celebrities walking in and out of the dress rehearsal from surfacing.

Host and The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco “looked so tired,” but it was still exciting for Dun to see her because Cuoco was a build-up to the thrills of seeing all the other stars.

“We were nervous and had no idea what it would be like and I think it really sunk in when the performers were rehearsing and it was kind of like a private concert,” Dun said.

If you didn’t catch the awards Wednesday night, musicians Alicia Keys, Jason Aldean and Christina Aguilera performed on the Nokia Theatre stage in front of a star-studded audience of more than 2,000 people.

Dun’s seating arrangement also meant she was able to see what others couldn’t, like supermodel Heidi Klum stumble onto a Segway as she prepared to race across the stage with someone dressed as a monkey.

The whole experience of going to L.A. was especially rewarding for Dun as an aspiring entertainment journalist.

“I liked seeing all the hosts on the red carpet because that’s what I want to do,” Dun said. “It was nice to be in that atmosphere while it was happening.”

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