She’s a Scottsdale hair stylist at Sachi Salon most of the time but a bartender at special events like the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction on her days off.
Katie Carroll has been bartending at Barrett-Jackson for six years and calls the venue a great place for celebrity sightings and people watching.
“It’s awesome,” said Carroll. “The people watching is unbeatable. I meet so many interesting people from all over the world.”
“One of my favorite celebrities I saw was Justin Bieber a few years ago running through the crowd,” she added. “I didn’t actually get a chance to talk with him or anything.”
One celebrity she sees every year is Richard Rawlings from the reality television show “Fast N’ Loud” on Discovery Channel. Rawlings and his crew from the Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas, search for tired and run-down cars and restore them for profit.
“He’s so nice,” said Carroll. “He always takes pictures of everybody. He’s my absolute favorite person to see. I also met Ted Turner, who was married to Jane Fonda. He was also so nice.”
Carroll also met the late Burt Reynolds “two years before he passed away. He was very friendly and very tall.”
She said celebrities are good tippers and all are friendly. “I haven’t had any bad experience with any of them.”
However, Carroll has been hit on by a couple of celebrities, not to mention the more obscure attendees.
“Actually, it’s a boost to my self-esteem because I get hit on non-stop while I’m there,” said Carroll. “I won’t say who, but two super well-known people have asked me to come back to their hotels with them. I always say no.”
While you don’t have to dress up to attend Barrett-Jackson, many people do, she said.
“It’s definitely a mix of people because there are some who get very, very dressed up because this is their career,” explained Carroll. “This is what they love. They’re definitely passionate about it. Then there are people who are a little more casual.”
However, the night of the invitation-only gala on Jan. 13 “is definitely a dress-up night. The gala is when people get decked out. It’s a blast and there’s lots of good food and music. It’s a lot of fun.”
Indeed, the entire week-long auction is all about having fun.
“A lot of people who go there are visiting from very cool areas,” Carroll said. “So, they’re in a great mood. It’s really high energy. They’re always making fun of me because they don’t understand why I’m all bundled up. They’re like, ‘it’s warm here.’ People are just smiling and having fun. If you want something fun to do that’s going to put you in a good mood, this is it.”
She explained you don’t have to be a car enthusiast to have fun at Barrett-Jackson.
“There are a lot of things to do,” said Carroll. “They have a lot of interesting jewelry makers and people offering vacation rentals. There are people selling hot tubs. It is just awesome. Anything you can imagine, it’s there.”
Carroll admits she’s not a car person but has learned much about them.
“I’ve learned about the value of them and how a lot of these older cars were made,” explained Carroll. “I’ve learned why people spend so much money on them and how valuable a lot of them are. It’s definitely interesting. I’ve seen a bunch of really neat cars.
“I’ve seen one of John Lennon cars and one of Hitler’s cars. There’s so much history revolved around cars that people don’t even think about.”
While there are no signature drinks at Barrett-Jackson, Carroll said beer and bourbon drinks are the most popular.
And if you want to stop by and say ‘hi’ to Carroll, it might be tough to find her.
“They move us around every day,” said Carroll. “One day I could be in the main tent. One day I could be in the bidders’ bar. One day I could be out in the freezing cold. It just depends. I’ve been all over the place.”