What the hell is the Sierra Mist Beach House, and why do so many reality-TV people seem to live there?
—Chris, Los Angeles
Let me be plain: Every year middling celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, AnnaLynne McCord, Audrina Patridge and Jamie Kennedy show up at pop-up beach parties in Malibu. Big corporations or brands such as Polaroid, Sierra Mist or Boost Mobile shell out five-figure sums to rent private homes on the beach, fill them up with free booze, food and stuff, and then wait for the invitees to come and take it all.
The rest of us stay outside. It's, you know, marketing...
There are roughly four such "houses" or stand-alone parties that go down every summer in Malibu. Some are more obnoxious than others. Ludacris is hosting a party at Cher's former estate on Aug. 22, but it's to raise money for his charity, not build awareness for a soda brand. Other houses, however, are more about reality stars hoovering through them and having their pictures took.
Why? Well, the stars want the free stuff. Clinique has offered free sun products in past houses, for example—albeit only to people lucky enough to be on the guest list and get past the front door.
And the guests also want the paparazzi. Yes, really.
"It's the young people who want their names on E! Online or TMZ," says Lash Fary, who is organizing the Ludacris charity event. "Once a star gets a little more established and you're looking to become a more legitimate star, you don't want that kind of coverage as much, and you don't go."
We're talking your more approachable celebs, like Molly Sims, Kim Kardashian, Denise Richards and Kelly Rutherford, or little bebeh stars, like Selena Gomez. I've also seen Nicole Richie at these things. They're usually holding up a product they're getting for free, or posing with a toucan or their kids or something.
All that said, am I heading to the Ludacris party? Hell yes.
Reading our Party Pics: Hollywood gallery is kind of like being in a crowded club with Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt.