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Donya Blaze

Taking a Lunch Break

1003_mockup.gifSorry, folks. Our fair Diane Clehane is off for the day, but Lunch will be back next week. (Hmm, wonder who got her usual perch at Michael’s?) In the meantime, check out some of her recent celebrity spottings and interviews:

Naomi Campbell and Her Supermodel Castmates Dish About Their New ‘Face’

Shirley MacLaine Stops by a Birthday Party for Liz Smith

Lisa Vanderpump Dishes on Beverly Hills Housewives, Wendy Williams Holds Court

NYC Media Come Out for Love & Hip Hop 3 Premiere

Love & Hip-Hop 3 Premiere

Over 400 members of New York media and bloggerati packed Kiss & Fly in the Meatpacking District Thursday to watch the premiere episode of VH1′s Love & Hip-Hop 3, which airs Monday January 7. For those not in the know, that’s the show that goes inside the lives (more personal than professional, really) of hip-hop stars.

While the show’s first outing focused mainly on rapper Jim Jones and his family and friends, this season has a lot of upstarts whose affiliations with the music world are flimsy at best. I’m still trying to figure out what it means for Rashidah Ali to be a “shoe consultant” to the stars, but, hey, whatever works for you.

Here are more photos from the event, courtesy of photographer Stephen Knight: Read more

How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)


In his over 20 years in the fashion business, Elle creative director Joe Zee has worked for such titles as Details and Allure and styled advertising campaigns for companies like Gap and DKNY. And, in our Media Beat interview, the Toronto native and star of Sundance Channel’s All On the Line with Joe Zee was very clear about how he got to the top.

One: he worked for people he could learn from, namely legendary fashion stylist and editor Polly Mellen. (“She taught me what it was like to have a passion for something.”)

And, two, he worked his butt off. “I won’t put stock in people who tell me they wanna work in fashion, because they wanna be glamorous. They wanna be famous. They wanna be well known,” he said. “If you wanna be those things, wrong business.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does

How Elle’s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)


In his over 20 years in the fashion business, Elle creative director Joe Zee has worked for such titles as Details and Allure and styled advertising campaigns for companies like Gap and DKNY. And, in our Media Beat interview, the Toronto native and star of Sundance Channel’s All On the Line with Joe Zee was very clear about how he got to the top.

One: he worked for people he could learn from, namely legendary fashion stylist and editor Polly Mellen. (“She taught me what it was like to have a passion for something.”)

And, two, he worked his butt off. “I won’t put stock in people who tell me they wanna work in fashion, because they wanna be glamorous. They wanna be famous. They wanna be well known,” he said. “If you wanna be those things, wrong business.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does

Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does


As creative director for Elle, Joe Zee describes his as an “interesting, sort of nebulous title.”

“I work with all the visuals from cover to cover, so when you read the magazine, whether it’s the model, the celebrity, the styling, the fashion, the photography, all those things come into my play,” Zee explained in our Media Beat interview. “It’s really sort of helping to define a visual signature for the magazine.”

And @mrjoezee gets pummeled with questions daily from women trying to mimic the seemingly effortless style of their favorite celebs. The number one question he gets? No, not that white pants after Labor Day thing — seriously, are we still discussing that?

“I think the biggest question I get all the time is people want my job. How do I do what you do?” said Zee. “I love my job, and it definitely is glamorous after all these years. But there was a lot of years of no glamour to get to that point.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does


As creative director for Elle, Joe Zee describes his as an “interesting, sort of nebulous title.”

“I work with all the visuals from cover to cover, so when you read the magazine, whether it’s the model, the celebrity, the styling, the fashion, the photography, all those things come into my play,” Zee explained in our Media Beat interview. “It’s really sort of helping to define a visual signature for the magazine.”

And @mrjoezee gets pummeled with questions daily from women trying to mimic the seemingly effortless style of their favorite celebs. The number one question he gets? No, not that white pants after Labor Day thing — seriously, are we still discussing that?

“I think the biggest question I get all the time is people want my job. How do I do what you do?” said Zee. “I love my job, and it definitely is glamorous after all these years. But there was a lot of years of no glamour to get to that point.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel


In All on the Line with Joe Zee, Elle creative director Joe Zee helps struggling fashion designers save their businesses. And, although reality shows come a dime a dozen these days, Zee says the decision to step in front of the camera for Sundance Channel was not taken lightly.

“I loved the idea of being able to do this, but it was important to me that it be authentic. It was important to me that it be original, and that it would be genuine, and that I could actually come in there and help people,” Zee said in our Media Beat interview.

And he says that the many sides of his personality you see in the show are the real deal.

“The reality is we do what we do, because I am authentic in that position. I don’t do it because of the cameras. I don’t do it for any heightened drama. I do it because I really believe in it. If I’m mad at you, I’m really mad at you and, if I’m really excited about you, I’m really excited about you. And those moments exist with or without what’s going on. So, I think my reality TV experience is the fact that I can be myself.”

Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for L.A. Fashion

For two seasons of Sundance Channel‘s All on the Line with Joe Zee, Elle creative director Joe Zee was part mentor, part professor and part psychologist for struggling fashion designers. But, for Season 3, Zee said it was time to shake things up a bit.

“We had done seasons one and two in New York, and not that it’s tapped out, but it’s time to sort of really grow what the series can be about,” he explained in our Media Beat interview. “And I think West Coast fashion has really sort of evolved in terms of what the importance of it has been in the past few years. And also this is the world I live in. The celebrity culture in America is huge and only getting bigger, and what someone wears on the red carpet, on television, or in the media can ultimately change a struggling designer’s business.”

So, how much does Zee’s on-screen persona align with the real thing? All of it, he says.

“The reality is we do what we do, because I am authentic in that position. I don’t do it because of the cameras. I don’t do it for any heightened drama. I do it because I really believe in it.”

Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

LeVar Burton: ‘Roots was my first audition’

Back in the late 70s, actor LeVar Burton was a sophomore at USC when he landed the starring role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark mini-series, Roots. In fact, Burton was so uninterested in TV (and film, too) that he didn’t even have an agent.

Roots was my first audition. The business had exhausted all the normal means of finding professional talent. They’d seen every young, black kid in L.A. who had an agent, and they were beating the bushes,” Burton said in the final installment of our Media Beat interview. “My goal was to graduate with a BFA (a bachelor of fine arts majoring in drama) and move to New York and work on Broadway. I had no aspirations toward television or film work at all. I was a theater baby.”

So, how has he managed to rack up this crazy long list of credits? ”You would be surprised,” he said. “For me, it’s not like I’m making the decisions. It’s just about what the universe brings to me.”

Part 1: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books
Part 2: LeVar Burton: By Not Focusing on Reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”

LeVar Burton: ‘You didn’t come to New York without sitting down with Sue Simmons’

Media Beat banner
Another accomplishment beloved broadcaster Sue Simmons can add to her resume? Being indirectly responsible for getting LeVar Burton his hosting gig at Reading Rainbow. In our latest Media Beat  interview, the actor and founder of RRKidz said that, although he’d already done some public TV hosting in Boston, it wasn’t until he came through New York that his career took off.

“I was on my way to Africa, and [Reading Rainbow producers] saw me on a Live at Five interview with Sue Simmons — you didn’t come to New York without sitting down with Sue Simmons on Live at Five — and they saw me, and they tracked me down before I left town and talked to me about the show. They pitched the idea and I thought, ‘This is a no-brainer.’ A half an hour of television in the summer to get the attention of kids where they are, where they’re hanging out, and bring them back to literature? I’m in.”

Part 2: LeVar Burton: By not focusing on reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

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