This week, I've attended two such events, one of which was the launch of Maria Sharapova's new candy collection, fittingly called "Sugarpova". (The other was Novak Djokovic's event at the Uniqlo store).
My younger brother and I arrived an hour early at the Henri Bendel store, where the event was scheduled. While waiting, we had the chance to take a look at the different tastes available for sale, including tennis-ball-like chewing gum.
The whole collection is gluten-free, so the many players who are now following this diet can eat as much candy as they like ;)
Upon arriving to the store, Masha gave interviews outside, while inside free candy was distributed among the waiting fans, along with Sugarpova stickers and fake tattoos in the shape of the Sugarpova lips logo. Shortly afterwards, she came inside for some more interviews with what felt like every member of the press who was there. We waited (somewhat) patiently until the interviews were over, hoping she'd go through the crowd for autographs and pictures. She did, but it was too crowded to get close enough to her, so instead we tried to sneak upstairs, where we knew she'd be giving another interview (this time to CNN).
Unfortunately, that cunning plan failed, as her interview was in a closed off section of the store, and not where we were standing. The only thing left to do was to wait for her downstairs, hoping she'd oblige for some more fan interaction. And here, I've got another advice for you - if you're hoping to interact with players, bring a kid with you. Just as we slipped to the front of the group of fans still left in the store, the organizers decided to arrange a short autograph-only session, but only for the kids. My brother went first in line, and I followed him hesitantly, but the guard waved me through, and I certainly didn't object to being considered young enough ;)
And so, we started waiting for the CNN interview to be over, while being repeatedly told that we can only get Maria's autograph, and nothing else. So, here's advice #3 - when you get such instructions, ignore them, especially if you're at the beginning of the line. As soon as Masha came to us, I asked her (in Russian) if we can have a photo, she agreed with a smile, and - voila, a pic with my brother and a pic with me. And so, we left the store happy and delighted.
Oh, and the candy? Delicious. We bought a bag of "Spooky Sour", which is a gummy candy in the shape of tasty (and mostly sweet) spiders. It was empty after about 24 hours, and I've only ate one candy of the lot...
For a few more pictures (like my picture with Maria), visit my facebook page, where you can also find photos from the first day of qualifying and from Novak's Uniqlo event. Detailed posts about those will come later this week!