PODCAST: What really happened at the SA launch of ‘Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story’
What went down when stars and media from across Africa travelled to Stellenbosch for the launch of 'Queen Charlotte - A Bridgerton Story.'
On the latest ‘Who Said That’ podcast, journalist Kay Selisho takes provides an inside look at the high profile launch for ‘Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story’ which took place in Cape Town last week | Picture: The Citizen
There is a scene in each Bridgerton season where the characters receive an invitation to a high society shindig or the big party of the season and that is exactly what it felt like when my email invitation to the South African launch event of Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story arrived in my inbox.
However, two months would go by before I could catch my flight to the Western Cape to make my way to the picturesque Winelands of Stellenbosch ahead of the big event.
Catching flights, not feelings
I caught my flight last Saturday, the day before the event, chauffered in an Uber chosen from a tier of my liking courtesy of Netflix.
I had checked in online so I seamlessly went through customs, boarded my flight and landed in Cape Town in no time flat to be welcomed by the designated Netflix desk set up at Cape Town International Airport.
Dinner in wine country
There, my chariot awaited… A corporate shuttle comfortably drove me to the group dinner at Klein Goedrust Wine Farm.
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You would be forgiven for imagining a stuffy, buttoned-up event considering the venue but it was a casual evening where guests from South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya got to mingle and get to know each other ahead of the main Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story event all while enjoying tasty, freshly prepared food and perfectly chilled drinks.
Later that evening, I checked into my accommodation at the Protea Hotel, Stellenbosch and I was, quite honestly, met with more than I imagined.
Fine, fine accomdations
You see, as a journalist, trips are a frequent thing so, in some cases, you come to accept modest accommodation as a standard. But, on this trip, I was quickly reminded of the standard that Netflix was trying to set in line with the theme of the show.
I walked into my lounge and was met with a welcome gift complete with fine snacks, beverages and trinkets that would come in handy during my stay. I ended my first evening by touring my room and preparing for the next day.
The big day
NOTE: The podcast lists the show’s premiere date as 14 May, however, 4 May 2023 is the correct date
The next morning, I got my make-up professionally done after breakfast before rushing to get ready for our 11 am start.
The quality of the face beat made up for the misfortune of my intended outfit not looking as good as it looked in my head, resulting in me having to wear my backup dress – a simple red, dress in line with the garden party theme. It sadly just wasn’t giving “high society.”
Though I didn’t look anything like the guests of Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story who went all out interpreting the theme, I looked decent enough to do what I was really there to do, which was to report on the day’s events.
Phone at the ready, I joined the other media to capture the red carpet looks as guests showed off their outfits and stopped for interviews.
Nigerian, Kenyan and Tanzanian guests such as Sharon Ooja, Mercy Eke, Idris Sultan and Kunle Remi and Catherine Kamau -Karanja knocked it out of the park in outfits that can only be referred to as showstoppers.
Taking the show’s overarching theme into consideration, I had one simple question for some of the red-carpet stars; “What is your favourite love story throughout history and why?”
Guests such as Basestana Kumalo, Dineo and Solo Langa, Arsema Thomas and the queen herself, Golda Rosheuvel stopped to share their heartwarming answers.
Rosheuvel hit the red carpet in a look by local designer Victoria Ongansie while Thomas had fun in her Ezokheto silk print dress.
The main event
Once the red carpet wrapped up, we made our way inside Quoin Rock Wine Estate to enjoy the perfect weather in an event MC’d by former Miss South Africa turned beloved TV presenter and businesswoman, Jo-Anne Strauss.
She welcomed the day’s musical guests such as South Africa’s first black, female conductor Ofentse Pitse and her all-female orchestra who played some beautiful renditions of classical tunes and an assortment of classical spins on pop classics – something that Bridgerton has come to be known for.
Msaki also joined some musical acts from across the continent to do their own spin on the hit African Queen, much to the delight of Roshuevel and Thomas.
The day ended with a screening of the first episode of Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story and I don’t know how the rest of the day’s guests felt about the episode but I am certainly intrigued and I will be bingeing the third installment on Shonda Rhimes’ television adaptation of the Bridgeton stories.
Queen Charlotte – A Bridgerton Story goes live on Netflix on 4 May 2023.