July 12, 2006
Short of hiring a publicist, dating Ronald Perelman, or renaming yourself "A," how do you get yourself listed as a newsworthy item in the gossip columns? It seems that you're nobody until you're somebody. I recently found myself in an item on Page Six, which, unfortunately, nobody else would know was me as I was listed as one of "three gorgeous Irish girls" sitting with Steven Gaines when Mike Tyson walked by with his entourage.
Not that I mind being included in the company of fabu caterer Janet O'Brien and effervescent Saturday Night Live photographer Mary Ellen Matthews, and the immensely entertaining author Steven Gaines (didn't really get the chance to socialize with Mike), but I'm actually more Scottish than Irish, drinking abilities not withstanding, and even have a little Cherokee Indian in me. Efforts to get my mother to sign up for casino royalty checks have not been met with success however.
I grew up in a strict WASP society in which you were only to find your name in print when you got married and when you died. Of course, there was no such thing as the Police Blotter in affluent suburban Connecticut newspapers. You didn't need to read Emily Post to know that being listed in the New York Post under the headline "Jailed Prince Hot for Hookers" is no place for a girl from Darien, Connecticut.
But now it's a standard business practice to get your name in print whether you're in the oldest or newest profession. Even local real estate agents have hired publicists to that end. And in true self-fulfilling prophecy style, a really good PR person makes you famous for being famous, the triumph of image over substance. An aspiring actor or musician knows they have arrived when their PR person's job is actually to keep them out of the press.
You can always hope for a fortuitous twist of fate, like dancing behind Lindsay Lohan at Boutique when her left breast pops out and your photo makes the international wires, but it's better to try to build your own brand image. Of course, the final arbiter of your name value is Google, and even if you are the famous ceramicist Lindsay Lohan of Lincoln Nebraska, you don't stand a chance.
I still battle with those other pesky Heather Buchanans and cannot understand how the rabbit-drawing and body-mapping Heather Buchanans rank higher than I do. Maybe it's time to do my own sex video. When you Google my sister Holly you are met with her name in the very first entry which reads, "Holly Buchanan has a brain that snaps, crackles and pops like nobody's" and are directed to her highly successful blog marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com.
When you get to moi, you find my pithy quotes like "never buy a bikini from a salesperson who calls you dude," or may be directed to my particularly popular podcast "My Boyfriend's Penis." Part of the problem may be that Holly aspires to be a web-marketing guru and my aspiration is to find a way to make a dress out of cotton candy.
It would be wonderful if we lived in a culture where good news was not an oxymoron and someone committing an act of unexpected kindness was worthy of national media attention. Personally, I think that anything Paris Hilton does is not nearly as interesting as the hijinx of those three gorgeous Irish girls. Keep your eyes peeled — we may just be hiring a publicist.
You can send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.