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TIFF media get pampered at the Essentials Lounge

Exhausted but wired from excitement, I arrived a day early for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Fresh off the tarmac, I made my way to Esther Garnick PR’s Essentials Lounge at the Hôtel Le Germain.

Usually at festivals such as TIFF, access to gift lounges, pampering, and star treatment are reserved only for celebrities and industry big-wigs.

Not this time.

Garnick and her talented team understand that everyone, especially journalists, get over-worked during the festival. The one-day event welcomed members of the media to experience pampering in preparation for TIFF madness.

Nicole Hyatt (left), the founder of Tan on the Run, delivers personalized services to clients with her mobile spray-tanning booth.

I signed up for a complementary session with Tan on the Run founder and airbrush tanning technician, Nicole Hyatt, who skillfully made my tan lines disappear with an organic, hypo-allergenic, aloe vera based bronzing agent.

“Spray-tanning hides skin imperfections such as cellulite and stretch marks without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays," Hyatt said.

"The important thing to remember after the session is to stay away from water, wear loose clothing and avoid rubbing your skin.” 

Looking sun-kissed and tropical, I went on to meet the Essentials Lounge “prep team” who gave guests expert advice on beauty and how to look instantly glamorous.

Winks Eyelash Boutique technicians provided guests such as Joan Porter ( and Lauren O'Neil ( with complimentary eyelash extensions.

I met makeup artist Maddox Lu of Benefit Cosmetics who provided tips and tricks to flawless looking skin.

“For any woman on the go it’s important to have a flawless, low-maintenance complexion. Benefit’s Professional Pro Balm, a gentle oil-free primer with vitamin E, is an important step towards that flawless look. It can be used over or under make-up, which not a lot of make-up primers can do,” Lu said.

Maddox Lu (left) with Jen McNeely (, Founder).

Ill-fitting undergarments can make even the most red-carpet-worthy dress look dreadful. It's no wonder women were lining up to have their busts measured by Claudia Tonna, Calvin Klein Underwear’s fit consultant. 

“In conjunction with the 30-year-anniversary of Calvin Klein designer underwear next month, we are launching a push-up bra with a soft plastic butterfly wire designed to give women comfort while making them feel sexy. It also gives them a nice profile, and really, it’s a lot cheaper than surgery,” Tonna said.

New Calvin Klein push-up bras in different colours are available at The Bay for an affordable $49 each.

John Frieda® Hair Care Canadian Creative Consultant Alain Larivée was on-site to provide hair consultations and styling for guests. Larivée’s biggest must-have? The Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer.

Alain Larivée (left) with Jessica Denomme of Esther Garnick PR.

“Here at TIFF, you need something to quickly transform your hair. Unlike last year, the weather is very humid. The one little must-have in your purse to fight against the humidity is the Flyaway Tamer from our Frizz-Ease line to keep the little hairs neat and finish the look with a moisture barrier hairspray,” Larivée said.

Gift bags galore filled with products to help guests survive TIFF.

As I bid everyone a happy festival, I was given wonderful products from Elizabeth Grant Skin Care, glacéau vitaminwater®, Gourmet B1tches, Raw Juice Guru, Joy-a-Toes, Tealish, Vitamints, Snazzy Napper, as well as the companies mentioned above.

I walked up York Street that evening with two heavy large bags full of gifts, looking like a very grateful bronze-coloured pack mule. 

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