LOS ANGELES—Intrepid photographer Alex and I began our 777 Tour at JFK airport yesterday, where we boarded a regular, non-themed plane unequipped with Rihanna. (Of course, she was mostly naked nearby, on the airport newsstand.) I barely had time to grab a coffee but Alex managed to house an apple, a KIND bar and a muffin of indeterminate-type origin. Despite being very slight, dude eats like Brad Pitt in Moneyball, so I can already tell we're going to be best friends.
"You packed … light," he said on the plane to LA, eyeing my little duffel suspiciously. I assume his two enormous rolling suitcases are full of camera equipment, trail mix, bear claws and Kudos bars. This is all very good, as everything I've read about Rihanna is how much she loves eating. This is what's going to get us our intimate access, I can feel it.
But as we meet our fellow passengers, packing panic seems to have set in early. It's not easy to pack light and for conditions in Mexico and Stockholm, especially when all of the outfits have to impress Rihanna. I'm wearing lots of studded assless leggings and vinyl majorette jackets, because they're both stylish and all-weather.
We'll be leaving LAX on the special 777 today, which I certainly hope is painted with a jaguar with Rihanna's head, or at least wrapped in a giant Zig-Zag. (Upon our arrival at the airport hotel, several of my future 777 tour mates made a beeline for the lobby bar, while others went in search of marijuana dispensaries. It's safe to say that this will be the subdued craft of a shy pop-star and her adoring press corps.)
Alex and I have been doing some Real World-style meeting of the other 777 castmates. We're doing a lot of singing and talking about RiRi like she's Godot, or a yeti. A girl named Nicole is planning on attempting to seduce her, because you know, why not.
There's a general sense of "Are we really doing this tomorrow?" and "How is Rihanna going to survive seven concerts in seven days?" and "Would touching her clothing if she passes through the aisle heal any of our ailments?"
But we all agreed when one 777-er said aloud, "This is awesome—Taylor Swift would NEVER agree to this."
Next stop: Mexico City.