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Cynthia Erivo attended her first Met Gala in 2017.

“Walking on the Met Gala carpet that year was really fucking nerve-wracking,” she told me Sunday night at UTA’s pre-Met party at Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad. “I had just finished ‘The Color Purple’ [on Broadway]. I went with Coach.

“I was new so I didn’t know what to expect,” she continued. “It’s that weird thing where I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m supposed to be here.’ It was a lot of imposter syndrome.”

Monday’s gala will mark Erivo’s sixth time in attendance.

Asked to describe this year’s look, Erivo teased, “It’s almost like I have run through a garden and things have fallen on me.” Her signature long nails were already in place on Sunday—they’re an earthy palette and decorated with small flowers and foliage.

This year’s theme is “The Garden of Time” to coincide with the Costume Institute’s corresponding exhibit, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

And, yes, there may be a “Wicked” component. “There’s always going to be an aspect of ‘Wicked’ in everything I do,” Erivo said. “But sometimes you may have to search for it.”

Erivo has had two fittings for her ensemble. “Any final touches that need to be done will happen tomorrow,” the Tony winner said.

Erivo will start getting ready at about noon after a five-mile run. “I did 10 miles yesterday, so I have to ease my way back and I want to be able to walk,” Erivo said, laughing.

She’ll also have some spa treatments: “I feel like I’m being treated like a princess.”

When asked if she knows who the surprise performer is at this year’s ball, Erivo smiled, “I do,” before she made her way toward the back of the party to catch up with Gabrielle Union and CNN’s Abby Phillip.

Also spotted at the party were Awkwafina, Dwyane Wade and Jamie Dornan.

The Met Gala red carpet arrivals begin Monday at about 5 p.m. ET. Make sure to check out Variety’s extensive coverage, including interviews and all the fashion, at as well as across all of our social platforms.

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