It’s been a pretty wild winter at Michael’s. Far from suffering from the seasonal doldrums, the place has been operating on full tilt every Wednesday with a fresh array of A-listers that always make for some pretty good people watching. Today was no exception.
Besides the jam packed dining room filled with boldface names, Peggy Siegal was hosting a party for Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt to celebrate the release of their latest picture, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I caught up with Emily (I loved her scene-stealing turn with Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada) when we both stopped by Katie Couric’s table to say hello. “It is a bit unusual,” Emily said when I asked her about the movie’s quirky title. “I’m hoping that it will make people want to check it out and see what it’s really all about. It’s really a lovely love story.” I saw the trailer, I told her, and it does look pretty romantic. “It is! I hope people will like it.” Emily has been making the rounds to promote the film and has a funny Q&A in this week’s New York magazine where she talks about she and her husband, John Krasinski (the cute guy on The Office) being neighbors with Jimmy Kimmel. Everyone, it seems, loves her hubby including Katie. “He’s just so adorable,” Katie told Emily, who could hardly disagree.
I was joined today by Bravo’s newest reality star, matchmaker Lori Zaslow, whose show Love Broker premiered this week, Bravo’s SVP of Communications Jennifer Geisser, and communications manager Ryan McCormick. I caught Lori’s first show and her Monday night appearance on Watch What Happens Live! A new Bravolebrity is born!
The White Plains native and former executive recruiter started her matchmaking business, Project Soulmate, in 2009 with childhood friend Jennifer Zucher and wasn’t looking for TV fame when Bravo came calling. Andy Cohen loved her “big personality” and was determined to get her on-air. “Bravo loves the love space,” Lori told me. After an eight-month courtship, she finally relented and agreed to do the show. The series was shot in eight weeks last summer. Lori admitted being a little nervous about seeing the finished product. Based on the first episode, it seems she had nothing to worry about. In the days since the premiere, she’s been deluged with calls from folks looking to make a love connection, including plenty of mothers looking to find mates for their sons. Says Lori, “I realize just how good this could be for our business.” Yup.
The married Manhattan mother of two told me that she’s always been a “natural connector” matching friends, family and strangers with potential mates, ‘Mommy’ friends, nannies and even housekeepers. But she’s clearly most passionate about helping people find love. “No one can’t live without love. It’s scientifically proven that married men live 10 years longer than single men,” she says. “Why isn’t love put first in people’s lives? Today people are working so hard on their lives and careers, but they don’t make time for love. It’s all about striking the right balance.” Lori works exclusively with New York clients, so I asked her why it’s so hard to find the right person in Manhattan. “It’s so easy to meet people here, but it’s really hard to connect,” she explained. “There are too many distractions.” That’s where she comes in. Most of her clients (“98 percent”) are men, and she needs “20 times the amount of women” in order to find the right mate for those looking for love. How does she do it? “I’m fearless when it comes to love,” she says. “I will always go up to anyone who looks interesting and ask, ‘Are you single?’ Most people are flattered. Who wouldn’t want to meet someone great if they’re looking?”
Lori says that there is no bad place to meet “your soul mate” — it’s just a matter of being open to the experience. The gym, Whole Foods on Sunday nights when most men do their shopping, and even jury duty are fertile ground. Just don’t go looking in places where you wouldn’t ordinarily go. “Don’t join a runners’ club if you hate running,” she advises. “Like goes to like. Be who you are. Enjoy yourself and enjoy your life.”
Here’s a rundown on today’s crowd:
1. HollywoodLife.com editor in chief Bonnie Fuller and PMC vice chairman Gerry Byrne. In attendance: BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti, Ann Lawlor, The Weinstein Company’s Meryl Poster, fashionista Fern Mallis, Mesa Global’s Mark Patricof, style expert Jill Martin, AdWeek‘s Lisa Granatstein and HollywoodLife.com publisher Carlos Lamadrid.
2. Terry McDonnell and CBS News This Morning‘s Gayle King
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, who was brandishing a cane. A little birdie told me the mayor was hobbled by too much bronco busting. Be careful out there!
4. Wowowow.com’s Joni Evans and Liz Smith. Great to see you!
5. Katie Couric and Cindi Berger. I don’t know how these two managed to eat one bite, since there was a steady stream of well wishers who stopped by throughout lunch. Pretty much everyone at Peggy’s party in the Garden Room stopped by for a picture or to exchange air kisses on their way out. But you can never have too many friends in this business, can you?
6. Piers Morgan’s executive producer Jonathan Wald, Donnie Deutsch and a blonde gal we didn’t recognize. After Jon and the mystery gal departed, Donnie worked the room like nobody’s business and even pulled up a chair to a neighboring table.
7. Lori Zaslow, Jennifer Geisser, Ryan McCormick and yours truly
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and Emilia Saint-Armand
9. PR maven Lisa Linden and Linda Hanick, vice president of communications and marketing for Wall Street’s Trinty Church
10. Vidicom’s Christy Ferer and Patricia Matson. We were coveting Christy’s fabulous red handbag all through lunch. She told me its the ‘Martha’ bag (named after famous fan Martha Stewart) made by the Parisian label, Perrin. “It’s the same leather as Hermes at half the price!” Christy told me. The chic shape looked like a mini portfolio with a discreet convertible top handle and lots of nifty compartments inside for a gal on the go. Very nice.
11. Jason Binn, who stopped by my table to say hello and introduce us to Rue LaLa’s founder Ben Fischman in from Boston. “He only comes to New York once in a while, so we had to come here since it was Wednesday.” Indeed.
12. A fashionable foursome: Patrick Murphy, Mary Murphy, Joan Jakobson and Sharon Hoge
14. Steven Swid
15. Random House EVP Jon Meacham
16. UBS’s Areyeh Bourkoff
17. Charles Schueler
81. Chris Taylor
18. Showtime’s main man Matt Blank
20. Julie Macklowe, sporting a gorgeous, short new ‘do. “I got bored so I cut it all off,” she told me. Tres chic!
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher and designer Dennis Basso
23. CBS News research honcho David Poltrack
24. Jordan Ringel
25. Attorney Joel Moser
26. Producer Steven Haft
27. Benetton USA president Ari Hoffman
28. Catherine Saxton with Bruce Orosz, who, we’re told, is the grand poobah of polo (the sport, not the brand) in Miami and China.
29. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford, who was celebrating his birthday week with his good friend, Bloomberg’s Chuck Stevens
Faces in the crowd: Joy Behar, Jodi Applegate, Lynn Sherr, Gil Schwartz, Bill McCuddy and Roger Friedman, on their way to the party in the Garden Room… Kira Semler and Vi Huse, celebrating the early return of spring with their monthly champagne lunch at the bar. Cheers! Just asking: We spotted a gal with the shortest black dress we’ve ever seen worn to a business lunch as she left the dining room today. The skirt had the word ‘Pop’ written in bold pink letters down the front, her legs were bare and she was wearing go-go boots. Who is this fashion maverick? If you know, drop us a line.
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