Friday, September 21, 2018

What's Inside A TIFF Celebrity Swag Bag?

The contents of a Toronto International Film Festival Bask-It-Style Celeb Swag Bag
Photo by Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

Being a celebrity definitely has its perks, and getting loads of free stuff is a big one. In town for the Toronto International Film Festival, celebrities can pop around to different lounges and get treated to anything from food and cosmetics to soaps and footwear. Bask-It-Style, by GLO Communications, offers up a bit of a twist on that scenario, bringing their curated bags of goodies directly to the hotels where the busy stars stay during TIFF. This was the tenth year for Bask-It-Style's annual gifting bonanza and I got a peek at the VIP treats during a media day preview at the luxe Thompson Toronto Hotel.

Hannah Mary McKinnon and me. Photo by Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography 
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Celebrities who have been gifted through hotel partners in previous years include some of my personal favourites: Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz and Helen Mirren. If she had her druthers, author Hannah Mary McKinnon would also choose Helen Mirren to play a character in the movie version of her latest novel, The Neighbors, an intense domestic drama where secrets from the past begin to slowly unravel a marriage. McKinnon's book was including in the Bask-It-Style bag, giving celebrities a suspenseful, engaging read for those moments when they're too hyped up from the day's events to fall asleep at night.

Chris Houston from DK Canada (you know I love their books!) was also on hand at the media day. He gave us a first look at DK's newly revised travel guides, including this one featuring Italy (because that's where my family really wants to travel next). Included in the Bask-It-Style gifting was DK's Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in Your Everyday Life, allowing Hollywood's stars to study the other celestial bodies.

Celebs (and media) were also gifted the all-new Ripley's Believe It Or Not! A Century Of Strange! Essentially if TIFF attendees have no time to read a novel, they can always take in an interesting fact or two while sitting on the toilet. You know what I'm talking about. A Century of Strange is the latest book from the best-selling Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! series. It details over 1,000 incredible feats of nature, from thrill-seeking daredevils to talented animals.

Photo by Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

I was excited to take home luxurious skincare products from vegan-friendly Biossance. The brand offers clean, non-toxic skincare using the highest standards in the industry, with a blacklist of 2,000+ toxic ingredients that never go into their products. I have to tell you I've been using three of their products for a couple of weeks now and they have not at all irritated my sensitive, (aging!), rosacea-prone skin. These are the three, in case you're on the lookout for new skincare: Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil and Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum (available at Sephora). Biossance squalane is derived from 100% plant-based, renewable sugar cane.

I'm not a car enthusiast by any means, but when you get a chance to sit in an iconic DeLorean, that's what you do. TURO is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace that allows you to choose from a unique selection of vehicles, like this limited production 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, available to rent from a host in Burlington, Ontario. Celebs received a credit for this car service.

Photo by Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography
Any good swag bag must have snacks. And Bask-It-Style offers up lots of them, including these Crazy D's prebiotic sodas, which help you to refuel in a healthy way. The first soda sweetened with prebiotic root vegetables, it's organic, vegan and has no added sugar, caffeine, preservatives, colours or flavours. I particularly enjoyed the cherry cola variety because cherry cola is my all-time favourite pop/soda flavour, but we all know regular cola is like pumping sugar into your veins. In contrast, Toronto-based Crazy D's sodas offer the gut-healing properties of prebiotics. Celebs were also treated to food and drinks from Nomz (the almond energy bites are delish!), Toronto Popcorn Company, Green & Black’s, Eska and Greenhouse Juice Company.

What else is in the swag bag?

This year, Bask-It-Style saw celebrities receive a variety of goodies in (vegan-friendly) bags designed by Sully Wong. Here are some of the other gifts in the bag:

One of six jewellery styles from Anne-Marie Chagnon
Gift card for Creeds couture dry cleaning services & bag of Creeds Coffee Bar Custom Roast
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (great for blending your own hand soap!)
Healthy Crunch Trail Mix
House of Hayla HOH Monochromatic Heels (vegan-friendly, glam, vibrant footwear!)
Natur-a Fortified Almond Beverage Minis
Pilot Coffee Roasters Cold Brew
Sharp Magazine

Books, coffee, cold drinks, tasty snacks, even high heels - it seems celebrities don't even need to pack much for TIFF. Everything they need will be waiting when they arrive! (As long as there are a couple of couture dresses lying on the bed.)

Questions for you

What gifted item would you most like to sample? Which celebrity would you choose to drop a bag off to?


  1. Well; you do want a new car Joann—that Delores looks like it might do!

  2. I meant DeLorean, that darn auto-correct!

    1. Haha, yeah my car is almost as old as that DeLorean!

  3. The Crazy D's prebiotic sodas sound interesting, so if George wants to drop some off I would not complain.