When I graduated from college my new, leatherbound diploma featuring a double major in English literature and journalism in one hand and a letter of recommendation from the dean of the journalism school in the other, I knew with absolute certainty that I had made all the right decisions about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life — professionally speaking.
Here’s the thing, career wise I’ve been extremely lucky in the sense that I have always loved what I do and have done. As certainties go, I knew I was not cut-out to report on wars, civil strife, politics or subjects that had a life and death aspect to them. No, my “calling” was lifestyle and all the nuances there on. Sociologically speaking lifestyle is a fascinating subject.
So, I set out on my great adventure reporting and writing about fashion, beauty, decoration, artists, writers, food, the business of retailing, and people of interest in those broad categories. Along the way, Jack Nicolson invited me to dinner; Sean Connery told me I should be at home taking care of my child and not out working in the evening; Michael Caine saved me from Sean Connery; Arnold Schwarzenegger invited me to California, Sophia Loren was difficult; Jacques Grange told me that rooms that were dark should have dark walls to enhance the drama; Karl Lagerfeld sent me flowers with an original sketch; and Diana Vreeland wrote a lovely note.
Now, before you think that because of these encounters and others I’ve told you about over the years, that I might think I’m a person of interest. Please disabuse yourself of that judgement. I have absolutely no illusions. The only reason I was cast into these and other similar situations was because my last name was the publication for which I was working. If ever I had a doubt, it was instantly erased when I was in my early 20s and an internationally prominent hostess invited me to her birthday party.
She called and said that I “must” be at the celebration because it “just wouldn’t be as much fun” without me. Then — long pause — she said: “Oh yes, will you be bringing a photographer?” At the time I was working for Women’s Wear Daily.
You see? Reality check. I thought it was extremely funny and still do.
I never felt as if I have been anything more than a conduit of information for others, but at the same time meeting people who were (and are) creative, interesting and passionate about what they do has made my life immensely interesting and for that I am eternally grateful.
And, quelle chance, the saga continues as I wrap up my final interviews for the book. This weekend I fly to a party at a renowned wine chateau and next week an evening in a closed museum in Paris for an interview with one of France’s greatest hostesses. Then I must stop and write, write, write.
This stream of consciousness post came about because I was thinking about how much fun I’m having meeting and interviewing scores of fascinating people and don’t want to stop. I keep thinking, “just one more,” but then realize my deadline is in jeopardy.