Celebrities

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Celebs here, there, everywhere in Charlotte

By Théoden Janes
tjanes@charlotteobserver.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Seven Olympic gold medalists were at Foundation For The Carolinas on Wednesday, smack in the middle of the biggest, most political event Charlotte has ever seen. But during the “Kids Health Goes Gold” program, I heard politics come up only once – and I was the one who brought it up.

Me: “What do you think of all this DNC craziness?”

Gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman, 18: “I’m really honored to be able to help spread the word to eat healthy and to stay hydrated and take care of your body. Hopefully, all these kids want to eat healthier and work out more.”

Me: “Are you political at all?”

Aly: “I try not to be. Right now, we’re just all focusing on the kids health program.”

Kids Health Goes Gold is a children’s health and wellness initiative created by locally based Edge Health. Featured guests included gymnasts Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and Jordyn Wieber, swimmers Rebecca Soni and Dana Vollmer, soccer team members Lauren Cheney and Abby Wambach, physicians from Carolinas HealthCare System, and 180 paying members of the public (largely kids).

Raisman and Wieber arrived in Charlotte on Tuesday and got in a shopping spree at Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 at Carolina Place, and got manis and pedis. On Wednesday, after the Edge Health event, the gymnasts visited Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center, then caught a plane to L.A. While President Obama is delivering his acceptance speech tonight, the young women will appear at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“Sometimes I wake up,” said Douglas, 16, “and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, where am I? I forgot where I am! What time is it? What day is it? What month is it?’ ”

It’s AlbaTown

America Ferrera, Kal Penn and Alfre Woodard loaned some star power Wednesday afternoon to “Conversations with the Next Generation,” a town hall meeting at Discovery Place. But it was the young woman sitting on the right-center aisle in the third row who had audiences in the museum’s 3D Theatre atwitter (and Twitter-ing).

And while Ferrera, Penn and Woodard bailed after their part of the program was done, Jessica Alba and her husband Cash Warren stuck around till the end of the two-hour event, with Alba often taking notes, occasionally leaning her head on Warren’s shoulder. When her fellow actors were on the stage, she snapped photos with a white iPhone.

The actress, who is as well-known for her stunning beauty as she is for her film roles (if not moreso), tonight will co-host the big Super-O-Rama fundraising party at The Fillmore with Warren. Scheduled musical guests are Pitbull and Scissor Sisters.

If you were in the center of the city Wednesday, drooling men – er, convention-goers – had several opportunities to see Alba out and about.

She had lunch at CNN Grill (aka Vida) at the EpiCentre, was spotted leaving The Dunhill Hotel before the Discovery Place event, and in the evening attended one of the most star-studded (and exclusive) parties of the week, at 5Church. Among the other guests: Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games”), Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”), Zach Braff (“Scrubs”) and Woodard.

Also sighted

Walking south on Tryon Street on Wednesday we ran into MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, who told us he loves the cable news network’s setup at the EpiCentre. “It’s like the Roman Colosseum!” … Shortly after, we ran into Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera on the other side of the street heading the other way. His favorite meal this week: fried chicken at Nana’s Soul Food off West Tyvola. “If I lived here, I’d be in real trouble.” …

For the “Where Are They Now?” file: Keshia Knight Pulliam (cute Rudy Huxtable from “The Cosby Show,” now 33 and gorgeous) attended the Musicians on Call party at The Fillmore late Tuesday night. Rapper Common was the headliner. …

Away from the fray of the DNC, “Bachelorette” star Emily Maynard dined at The Palm Restaurant on Tuesday night. So did Gov. Bev Perdue, who then headed off to give her convention speech at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hilary Trenda contributed to this report

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