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In the early 2000s, promoter Pantera Sarah Uphoff captured candid moments of her celeb friends like Leonardo DiCaprio, Scarlett Johansson and Justin Timberlake

By Dana Rose Falcone
January 08, 2019 05:18 PM
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Sarah Uphoff, better known as Pantera Sarah due to her love of heavy metal music (Pantera is a heavy metal band), ran the show when it came to Los Angeles’ club scene in the early 2000s.

Before the days of smartphones and social media, the club promoter captured candid moments of her celebrity friends like Leonardo DiCaprio, Scarlett Johansson, Jason Mamoa and Justin Timberlake enjoying fun, uninhibited evenings at the nightlife spots she worked with.

Upoff recently offered The Hollywood Reporter a look at some of the never-before-scene photos from clubs like Dublin’s, Nacional and The Lounge — where she banned all phones except for her own — along with fun stories about today’s A-listers at the turn of the century.

She claims to have introduced Ryan Reynolds and Johansson

Uphoff told THR she considered Johansson, now 34, a “little sister,” and hosted the actress at the restaurant where she claims Johansson met future husband Reynolds.

“I had a restaurant Parc for a minute on Hollywood Boulevard, and she would come hang,” Uphoff said. “That’s where I introduced her to Ryan.”

Reynolds, 42, and Johansson started dating in April 2007, confirmed their engagement in May 2008 and got married in September of that year. The pair announced their divorce in December 2010.

“The most memorable moment I had with Ryan was when I tried to hook him up with Scarlett,” Uphoff added. “They got married. Didn’t work for long, but it worked.”

Uphoff used to live with Mamoa — and remembers the night he got that scar

Back in 2001, “Jason [Momoa] was my roommate,” the Wisconsin native, 45, said. “I met him when he was 19, through Michael Bergin from Baywatch. Jason had done Baywatch Hawaii.”

Now better known for playing Aquaman and Kahl Drogo in Game of Thrones, Uphoff knew Mamoa, 39, before a night out resulted in permanent face alteration.

jason-momoa
Mamoa in 2017.
| Credit: Michael Stewart/Getty

“When he got that scar on his face, I was doing a night at a club called Kress across from Vinyl,” she said. “He went to pregame at Birds on Franklin and some drunk 21-year-old smashed a bottle on his face. We always joke, ‘You were too pretty before.’ Thank God he’s got such a Cro-Magnon brow, it protected his eyes.”

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That Britney-Justin dance off never happened

The long-rumored, 90-minute dance battle between recently broken up Britney Spears and Timberlake, 37, supposedly took place in 2002 at one of the clubs where Uphoff worked during the first half of the 2000s. The scene was even included in the unauthorized Lifetime biopic Britney Ever After.

“The Lounge was where the infamous dance-off between Justin and Britney [supposedly happened] but actually never did,” Uphoff said of the hangout also frequented by Kirsten Dunst, the late Heath Ledger, Tobey Maguire and Gwen Stefani.

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2000 MTV Music Video Awards
Timberlake and Spears at the 2000 MTV Music Video Awards in N.Y.C.
| Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty

But Uphoff did witness some other fun moments with both pop stars. She says she got her belly button pierced with Spears, now 37, in Hawaii, where they celebrated New Year’s Eve 2000.

Uphoff, now retired from club promoting, says she met Timberlake when he was 16 in 1997, and took his band ‘NSYNC bowling on Sundays at Hollywood Star Lanes.

“I kind of just adopted them,” she said.

Uphoff went on to campaign for Barack Obama and reminisces about the days when celebrities could enjoy a night out without it being documented anywhere besides her camera film.

“You just can’t do that anymore,” she lamented. “You can’t say no to cellphones. It will never be the same.”