Forget the Cheese Plate—Book Julia Roberts

I used to be obsessed with Julia Roberts.

This wasn’t a restraining-order level of obsession and there was no real stalking involved—mainly because I was 13 at the time and could not drive a car—but let’s just say I was intrigued with America’s Sweetheart.

So much so that in the space of two years, I accumulated nearly 30 magazines in which Julia graced the cover, read her biography approximately seven times, memorized a timeline of her life’s work and recorded hours of interview footage on the VCR. These all are things not to mention on a first date.

I also convinced my father to drive me to the video store during a major snowstorm the day “Runaway Bride” was released (and listened to my mother yell out the door, “you’re going to get into an accident over a damn movie!”) and wrote a letter to Rosie O’Donnell, begging her to have me on her show to meet my idol. The so-called “Queen of Nice” never wrote back.

My interest in Julia Roberts was admittedly concerning, but can you really blame me? We’re a society that idolizes not only celebrities, but the fictional characters they play on TV and in the movies. And now some apartment communities are capitalizing on that.

When Bozzuto-owned Residences of the Avenue opened in Washington, D.C., in June, “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell was the evening’s most sought-after guest. Bushnell appeared for 90 minutes and signed nearly 200 books as part of the rooftop party event for local media, residents who had recently signed leases and handpicked D.C. movers and shakers.

The party’s objective was to attract media attention and persuade some of D.C.’s elite—particularly those with a vested interest in the HBO series—to move into the building. In other words, every woman in her 20s or 30s.

Property Manager David Raley says all who attended the opening party also were led on a property tour of the 12-story building that included a plush walk-in bedroom closet. In creating a replica of the closet used by Carrie Bradshaw (played by actress Sarah Jessica Parker), who was a columnist and New York City apartment resident, Residences on the Avenue partnered with a nearby Neiman Marcus, which helped to stuff it full of gorgeous ball gowns, cocktail dresses and, of course, designer shoes. Bozzuto also raffled off a $500 gift card for a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes, provided by Neiman Marcus.

Raley says the closet was a hit with prospective residents in attendance, who stayed longer than most do during a typical tour.

I probably would have signed up for a meet-and-greet with one of Julia Roberts’ character’s fictional dental hygienists if given the opportunity, so the interest in the replica closet is of no surprise to me.

For more marketing tips, check out Ali McSherry’s article, “Paging Carrie Bradshaw,” in the October issue of units, which mailed Oct. 8. The e-version is available here.