The real side of the Met Gala


It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Brandon Stanton, a.k.a. Humans of New York. I have been following him on Facebook for years and watched him go from snapping the average passerby on the streets of New York, to going around the world to feature real stories of real people from over 20 countries, following causes, meeting refugees, and, basically, changing people's lives as well as the world a little bit at a time.

Which is why when I found out that, just like last year, HONY was going to be at the Met Gala, I was only waiting to see what he would come up with this time. While the press avidly howls at the celebrities our on the red carpet and paparazzi snapped juicy candids inside, Brandon skips on frivolous details such as what designer they're wearing or who they are currently dating, and he just finds the right questions to make anyone open up about their dreams, fears and aspirations. As per his usual format, his subjects are the focal point of the picture and each photograph is left anonymous and only accompanied by one simple quote that he extracted from their chats, which can last up to 10 minutes. I love how he included such a various range of Met personalities, not only high-profile celebrities the likes of Nicole Kidman and Elon Musk, but also employers and less "famous" faces.

All photographs via Brandon Stanton.

“From the moment he could speak, he could discuss.”
"I'm afraid we're moving toward an environmental apocalypse where everyone is going to be
living in slums and I'm going to be a 60-year-old woman gasping for breath."

"We always tell each other: 'Whatever form you came in, I'd love you.'"

"I'm a fashion associate. I come from a family of doctors and lawyers, so I do feel frivolous at times. Fashion is a luxury. I know that everyone gets dressed in the morning, so clothing is a necessity, but a dress like this is not even for the one percent—it's for the .001 percent. But there's something magical about that. When I was a little girl, I put pictures of these dresses on my bedroom wall. It's what I aspired to. And this dress was somebody's dream and vision. Fifty artisans spent thousands of hours making this. That doesn't seem frivolous to me. That seems like servitude and artistry. It's people doing what they love."

"I grew up in India where a woman got married, settled down, and kept a house. I never thought I’d do anything different. I lived a very sheltered existence. I went to a British school, then a women’s college, and then I met my husband. I assumed that I’d be taken care of for the rest of my life. But shortly after we came to America, my husband slipped into a coma and lingered for another 15 years. We had a small child at the time. I’d never worked before, except for a part-time job in the bookshop at the Met. I was a very quiet person. And suddenly I had to make all of the decisions. I had to get a full-time job. It was empowering. I learned that I could be fearless, I could be angry, and I could fight. These were three things that I'd never had to do before. I was thinking recently that if my husband had lived, he might not have liked who I’ve become."

"We started dating shortly after she acquired a stalker—bad start, I know. So she had security with her 24/7. Our first date went great. It was the kind of night that was clearly going to end with a kiss. But I had to kiss her in front of the security guards. It was awkward. It was like our parents were watching. The next morning she knocked on my hotel room door. She was alone. She walked into the room and said: 'I can do better.'"

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