Written by: Nikki Gastineau

Before I tell you anything about Outlander in the City I need you to know two things: I am not a fan girl but I am an introvert with some anxiety issues. I don’t geek out over television/movie stars. That’s just not me. Also, I am a people watcher. I see stories in everything because observing the world around me is like reading a book that is being written in real-time. I don’t often “join in” groups at parties because I prefer to watch everything from a distance.

So by mid-week, my anxiety and introversion had set up shop in a rather large corner of my mind and they began to make me second-guess my decision to attend this huge party where I might be forced to interact with (gasp!) strangers. As per usual, my stubborn nature won the battle and I arrived in New York City on Friday with my family determined to have an amazing Outlander adventure and a family mini-vacation. Now, on with the story.

From the moment I stepped into Papillon, I felt as if I was wrapped in a Highland wool blanket of love, happiness, and whisky. The electricity in the air was almost palpable as everyone waited for the special guests to appear. There was so much laughter and so many conversations that it was difficult to hear. It was almost impossible to stay on track anyway as everyone bounced from one topic to the next like a bunch of sugared up teenagers waiting for the arrival of a boy band.

Anne and Mary arrived far earlier than me and managed to secure a table that turned out to be a most fortuitous location. When the special guests arrived, they were escorted by handlers through the restaurant and to the back room, right in front of our table. Our table would be the first one that they passed when they came out of the room to mingle with guests. But why would I even care about that? I’m not a fan girl.

When the actors were released from their VIP holding pen, Nell Hudson was the first I had contact with. One minute I was sitting at the table and the next thing I knew I was out in the floor chatting with her. I don’t even remember making the conscious decision to move. It just happened! She said that she was afraid that people wouldn’t want to talk to her because they hate Laoghaire. I assured her that I do have quite a bit of hatred for Laoghaire but that she, Nell Hudson, is positively lovely. She smiled and instantly drew an entire group of fans into a conversation about the filming of the second season of Victoriawhich starts soon (or has already started…some details are foggy at this point). Truly, this is a lovely woman with a gentle spirit and such a disarming smile that it makes a Laoghaire hater completely forget the character that she plays on screen. It was only after she moved on to mingle with others that I realized I didn’t get a photo with her. But what would a non-fan girl care about that anyway?

Mary and Anne didn’t miss their opportunity to have their photo taken with Nell.

Over the course of the next few hours the stars made their way to our tiny corner of the restaurant. Gary Lewis could not have been more generous with his time and his delightful personality. He chatted with our group for several minutes. During that time, Mary made a compelling argument for him to join Blake and her on the podcast as part of the #Gonelander series. After the explanation of Gonelander he agreed that he was, indeed, gone and would consider it. After he moved on to mingle with another group we realized that, despite some great pictures, we didn’t capture him on video saying that he was a Gonelander. Stay with me through the end of this post and you’ll see why our disappointment was short-lived.

Did I mention that Gary Lewis is a hugger?

Stephen Walters was exactly like I would have expected him to be. He’s full of life and funny and moved easily between the groups. Richard Rankin is well, I just have to say it, he’s adorable. The only tweet with words that I managed from the night said exactly that. There’s just no other way to describe him. Mary was fascinated with his lapel pin so he took it off and gave it to her. If I’d only thought to compliment his shirt.

I can’t tell you much about what Steven Cree said. I can, however, gush to you about what I saw him do. When he approached our group, everyone had their photos taken with him and he engaged everyone in conversation. As he began to walk away, I asked for a photo and handed my phone to someone. Other phones also appeared and I have some great photos taken by several people. He was polite and patient through the numerous camera flashes. He then went off to mingle with other groups. Throughout the night I saw him sit among guests at five or six different tables. A casual observer could have looked at each table and assumed that it was a group of friends out for a night on the town, not paying guests sitting with an actor from a hit television show. There was not one ounce of pretense in this guy and he seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself. I follow Steven on Twitter and find him to be hilarious. It was pretty cool to see that he’s the same guy in real life.

We had a difficult time catching up with Duncan Lacroix. It seemed as though each time he got near our table, the handlers would whisk him away with a promise that he would return. When he finally did make it to our table, he made it well worth the wait. I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t hear most of what he said because I was too busy taking pictures and watching the reactions of everyone around us. After checking in with Anne, Teddie, and Mary about the conversation, I was sad that I had missed it but knew exactly why the ladies in the photo were wearing such rapt expressions on their faces. Duncan was telling a story about how he related to Murtagh’s unrequited love for Ellen Fraser. In theater school he met a young woman who instantly stole his heart. He knew she was the one, and yet they were cast into different plays and he never saw her again. He still thinks of her to this day. Girl, I don’t know who you are, but if you’re reading this you need to drop everything and find Duncan Lacroix! As if that wasn’t enough, Duncan was also wearing Cait’s “I’m an Unusual Lady” shirt. It’s difficult to not like a guy who will do that to support his co-worker.

It’s difficult to imagine a bigger smile on either face!

I’m not even sorry that I missed him telling this story because I got to enjoy the looks on everyone else’s faces.

I had continually missed the opportunity to meet Grant O’Rourke. He spent all his time on the first visit to our table attempting to grasp the knowledge that Blake was not there. Near the end of the night, I finally caught him in a free moment and asked for a photo. I tried twice to take a selfie and both pictures were terrible. It seems that my lack of coordination had diminished over the course of the night for reasons that I understand but probably don’t need to elaborate on as I believe I was not the only person in the restaurant experiencing such difficulties. What happens at Outlander in the City stays at Outlander in the City. Right? Back to Grant, he laughed at my failed attempts and handed my phone to someone and asked them to take our picture. I have no idea who you were, but if you’re reading this thank you. This is probably my favorite cast photo.

Early last week the event organizers began to drop hints about a newly-added special guest. There were a great many guesses but most of them were wrong. I think everyone was surprised to see new cast member Wil Johson who will play Dr. Joe Abernathy in Season 3. I actually never got a chance to talk to him or grab a photo, but Teddie was gracious enough to summarize their conversation for me. Wil has not read the book because he wants to portray what’s provided in the script first and foremost and to work with the director’s cues to the character of Dr. Abernathy. He noted the difference in the two mediums (book/film) and wants to be true to the role as presented to him for filming. Teddie gave him a head’s up that he was in for a big Outlander love fest and he said he was thrilled to have the role.

As the night wound down, I was regretting my missed opportunity to snag a photograph with Nell. I saw that she was making her way to the back room and I seized the moment. She was wonderful and gracious and even though it was probably the thousandth photo she had posed for, she looks as though she had just walked in the door. This is the point where I realized that I might, indeed, be a fan girl.

As the night came to a close, the cast and guests began filtering outside. As Teddie, Mary, Anne, and I were leaving, we noticed that Gary Lewis was standing on the sidewalk. One of them had the presence of mind to ask if he would do a video for Gonelander. He did! As a reward for sticking with me, I give you Gary Lewis.

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When I woke up on Sunday morning I found that I was quite emotional about the entire experience. It was only when I was waiting at the gate with my family for our flight that I realized why. The entire day on Saturday was full of fun and joy. We were all there because it’s exactly where we wanted to be. We were all there to celebrate something that we have fallen in love with and to share that love with each other. There is something magical about being among people who know exactly how you feel about something because they feel it, too.

As I reflected on the night I realized that I hadn’t actually had conversations with the cast even though you wouldn’t think so by looking at the pictures. I had somehow found a way to bridge the gap between introvert and extrovert. I engaged enough to ask for photos and then spent the remainder of the time watching the cast interact with their adoring fans and marveling at the generosity of their spirits as they took time to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to them. This was about as close to a perfect night as it gets.

Before I end this, I want to say a special thank-you to the members of the Outlander Cast Clan Gathering who joined us for brunch on Saturday. It was amazing to meet you. I was overwhelmed by your kindness to me and to each other. Since falling down the Outlander rabbit hole I have wanted to sit with people who love to talk about Outlander as much as I do. Guess what? You are those people! You are MY people! You aren’t the reason that I began writing for this blog. I started because I had so many feelings about Outlander that I needed to write them down. Our editors were kind enough to give me the opportunity to share those thoughts with you. While you weren’t the reason I started, you, my friends, are the reason that I will continue. You inspired me and I want to do good work for you.

Oh and one more thing, I am totally a fan girl.

Did you attend Outlander in the City? Do you have any stories that you would like to share? We want to hear them!
Source: OCB

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