When Zach Galifianakis hit the red carpet at the Los Angeles premiere of The Hangover 3 Monday night, he brought along a formerly homeless woman named Elizabeth “Mimi” Haist. And she’s no newcomer to the red carpet, either. She has been Galifianakis’ date to The Campaign and The Hangover 2 premieres as well, but no one knew who was the tiny woman on the actor’s arm. “All the fans were taking photos and I waved at them, I said, ‘They don’t know who I am!’” Haist told the Daily News of her prior premiere experiences. So who is she?
Galifianakis and Haist have been friends for almost 20 years, according to the Daily News. Galifianakis met Haist at the Fox Laundry when he was just starting out in Hollywood back in 1994. He befriended Haist at his local laundromat where she volunteered, surviving on the tips patrons gave her. Eventually Galifianakis stopped going to the laundromat, but two years ago, when Galifianakis found out that Haist had become homeless, he tracked her down and set her up in a one-bedroom apartment where he pays the rent and utilities. He also recruited his friend, actress Renee Zellweger, to the cause, and Zellweger outfitted the woman’s apartment with furniture and makes sure Haist’s fridge is always stocked with food.
Since then Haist has been escorting Galifianakis to red carpet events and enjoying herself. “I dress up nice and a friend helps me with my makeup. It’s fun, not something I’ve ever dreamed I’d experience. The limo takes me home afterwards,” Haist told the Daily News.