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‘Just walk in’: Melbourne pro party crasher reveals secrets

All without an invite.Meet Kara Pylka, Melbourne’s gatecrashing granny, who by hook or by crook, gets herself into every major event.With a drawer full of old event lanyards, an expert knowledge of the service lifts and the inner doors and corridors of Melbourne’s key event spaces, and more front than Myer, this bold-as-brass granny doesn’t let anyone stop her from rubbing shoulders with our who’s who.Hugh Jackman is hands-down favourite, the Hemsworth brothers a close second and she has lost count of how many times she has scored a selfie with world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.Perhaps the surest sign Melbourne was back after two-and-a-bit years of being locked in the Covid doldrums was the sight of Gatecrasher slipping past the security ropes at Hamilton’s opening night at Her Majesty’s.So, what’s her secret?“They’ve been calling me Gatecrasher for years,” the “late-50s” granny says of her well-earned moniker.“Everyone secretly loves it. They say, I wish I had the guts to do it, what’s your secret? “I tell them it’s just having confidence, holding your head high and looking like you have somewhere to be.“They say, ‘do you go through the back, did you jump through a window?’. No, I just walk in.”A string of lanyards around her neck at the right opportunity has a vague air of authority about it.At Flemington’s famed Birdcage, Gatecrasher will hang around waiting for catering staff to turn up, so she can walk in behind a trolley of canapes.She always makes sure to look out for the more elderly security guards at the door (“most of them are pretty much blind”).Dropping the names of those she knows will be on the guest list, or saying she is part of the media helps.Dressing to the nines also helps. At a red carpet she shadowed Bachelor star Tim Robards on arrival.“I walked in with that Bachelor guy and they thought he was with his mum or something,” she said. “They didn’t bat an eyelid.”“Or how about the tennis? This year I just walked in. They have all old people working there and they can’t see. I just walked through (she pauses) twice!”Pylka has been proudly gatecrashing events for more than 30 years and told the Herald Sun she has no plans of retiring any time soon, much to the chagrin of security and PRs at every ruby-rug gathering.Word of warning: Gatecrasher is more buoyed than ever after being cooped up on the couch.“It was so booooring being locked up. I became mentally insane while stuck inside,” Pylka laughs.“That’s why I’m not married. I got divorced because he was boring. Watching footy all the time. Ughh. I just wanted to go out. I do it just to get out of the house.”Just last weekend Gatecrasher was dancing it up in the Heineken marquee at the F1 Grand Prix, after following Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott inside the exclusive Paddock Club and sidling up for selfies with AFL stars such as Bailey Smith.Before that she found her way to the on-ground seats next to Mick Gatto at the Shane Warne Memorial.She can thank Jonathon Brown for that. After snaring a general admission pass like thousands of other punters to the memorial at the MCG, Pylka spotted the prime-position white seats on the ground and thought, it looks more fun down there.Seeing AFL great and Nova breakfast host Browny making his way to a service lift, Pylka shuffled over.Boom!Down the lift and onto the ground she was ushered to sit next to Mick Gatto (“Mick always says hello”).She later got a selfie with PM Scott Morrison and hung out on the Warne bus en route to the Emerson nightclub after-party taking selfies with Warnie’s son Jackson while sharing a UDL and a laugh.“I always do everything in good spirits. There is no malice about me and I’m not harming anyone,” she says when asked of the glaring security breaches.“Celebrities are just humans after all. But they love their fans. You just have to go in for the kill, especially if you want a photo.”Gatecrasher says she has made friends with most of the PRs around Melbourne gatekeeping events, saying they just give a sigh or a what-are-you-gonna-do eye roll.One PR told the Herald Sun she creates what are known in the biz as cheat sheets, with headshots of talent so her staff know who to look out for and take special care of.“I also put a headshot of Gatecrasher at the bottom of the cheat sheet saying, do NOT let in.”PR guru Michelle Stamper of Stamping Ground says it is always mildly amusing to see the lengths some, including “Serial Gatecrasher”, will go to get into a party.“We’ve heard and seen it all, from DMs listing their credentials, to war dialling, using someone else’s name, or pretending to be a celeb’s manager,” Stamper said.“But instead of making it onto the A list, they end up on the serial gate crasher list which includes a headshot and a major mention in the pre-event briefing. That’s when you’ve really made it.”Having a career background in hospitality and security at corporate events since arriving from New Zealand in the ’80s, Pylka used to look after Eddie McGuire in the Olympic Room back in the day.She hosted Prince William (“I was in charge of his suit”) and the Queen during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.“It was crazy, let me tell you. Her Maj lost her silver gin flask that she would take a sneaky nip from after lunch. They were looking everywhere for it.”Sneaking into Madonna’s Rebel Hearts tour at Rod Laver Arena in 2016 through a service lift and dancing all night with “two gays up near the front row” doubles as her biggest get-away-with-it-moment and also the best night of her life.Having a photo taken with Princess Di when she toured in 1982, back before selfies were invented, was her biggest “Wow” moment.All before digital. The Kodak photo is lying in a box somewhere in her mother’s New Zealand apartment with thousands of others.There are just as many “almost” moments. Only last week at the exclusive Tag Heuer party in South Melbourne, Gatecrasher’s conversation with a Somalian supermodel was cut short as she was ever so politely asked to leave.A hand on the elbow and ushered out. Wasn’t that embarrassing?“Knock backs? I don’t care. Move on. Next party!”

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