I get the sense Joanna Coles is one of those people whose unbridled enthusiasm for everything lends her a dorky quality that make her gargantuan ambitions somehow endearing. Since she took the editor-in-chief spot at Marie Claire two years ago, the magazine's newsstand sales have plunged nearly 30%, but you get the feeling she doesn't let it get her down! And anyway, people are paying attention to Joanna this Fashion Week because she just hired Project Runway judge Nina Garcia away from Elle. Fashion people sometimes say bitchy things about Joanna, mostly "that Joanna Coles is a nerdy poser who has to pay Nina to sit next to her at fashion shows," because fashion people are ridiculous and so is Joanna, a little bit. Just today Fashion Week Daily ran a huge long interview with her along with a little gossip item that seemed harmless but was actually sort of cruel! Read that and our Coles FAQ — and just for kicks, see a pic of Nina Garcia in a realllly short skirt — after the jump.
It's the oldest trick in the book: disarm your enemies with faux-dumbness and then stab 'em in the back while they're making fun of you—and also rake in some cold hard cash while you're at it. Today's USA Today fluffernutter sandwich about 55-year-old Cosmo girl Kate White is an object lesson in how this is done. On the "dumb blonde" front: "Cover lines on Cosmo are paramount, because they help sell, in a good month, 2 million copies on newsstands alone. On the upcoming August cover, which she's still massaging, White points to one—'Erotic sex!'—that she says is a grabber. 'We've used the word 'sex' in a lot of combinations, but we've never said 'erotic sex' before. I like the idea of the reader going, 'Oooh, erotic sex,' 'White says, a gleam in her eye." Heh. But watch out! This lady is actually sharpening her knives when you think she's sharpening her eyeliner pencil. Oh: and sticking them into Bonnie Fuller.
Cosmopolitan editor Kate White threw a book party of sorts at Michael's today? The hostesses, who—for the record—didn't look too abused, asked why I was there. "For that book thing whatever," I said. They pointed me to the bar. The first thing that caught my eye was Elizabeth Hasselbeck. She was still wearing the harlequin dress that merely hours earlier had weathered the heat of battle with Rosie O'Donnell. Her face was still unnaturally tan. And one long deep wrinkle, as if she had traded in all the little ones for this one, perfectly bisected her forehead.
What's up with Cosmo editors and long-ass book titles? As Radar has noted, Kate White's self-help tome will change its title from How to Set His Thighs on Fire: 86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, and (Especially) Sex to the demurer, but still wordy You on Top: Smart, Sexy Skills Every Woman Needs to Set the World on Fire when it comes out in paperback this June. "You always hope for bigger sales in paperback," White is quoted as saying. But maybe White means 'You always hope for bigger sales than Bonnie Fuller's in paperback."
We're almost certain that no one's as sick to death as we are of the tired old 'Men's Health editor Dave Zinczenko = inferior cunnilingus' joke (with the exception, perhaps, of "Adorable" Dave himself). So we were flooded with a mix of emotions when we learned that he'd once again provided us with a perfect setup. In an AdAge piece on how he and Cosmo E in C Kate White will edit sections of each others' respective mags' May issues, Dave describes the switcheroo like so:
Via Eat The Press we found this excerpt from Cosmo EIC Kate White's new contribution to literature, How to Set His Thighs on Fire: 86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, and (Especially) Sex. It's pretty much what you'd expect: Kate thinks confidence is sexy, Kate thinks sexiness comes from attitude, Kate uses the word "sex," "sexy," or "sexiness" at least once per sentence. But what really set our own thighs on fire (well, it was this or the eczema) was the following bit. Read it slowly. Savor it. See if you know where it leads.
• As expected, the Times dumps its unwatched Discovery Times channel. [Media Mob/NYO]
• Did Bill Keller's gin-heiress wife kill Boldace? Probably not, but she sure didn't help. [WWD (second item)]
• We love conflicts of interest; the Pulitzers board, not so much. [E&P]
• Forbes media kibitzer James Brady wonders, "Is Cosmo editor Kate White the smartest dame in the business?" Of course she is, Jim. Until you find someone else to slobber over next week. [Forbes]
• New Yorker fashion director Michael Roberts moves to Vanity Fair, presumably preferring a publication that does little things like fashion spreads. [Media Mob/NYO]
We'd like to wish a belated happy birthday to Cosmo EIC Kate White's secret weapon, her daughter Hayley, who celebrated her 16th birthday yesterday. We understand the Super Sweet 16 party is this weekend — don't know the venue, but we're betting on Lexi Lehman's Crush, the go-to opium den for Manhattan's most privileged minors.