Although there is no camera in sight, L’Oréal Sherman, the maitre d’ at Michael’s Restaurant on 55th Street, lives by the philosophy of live TV: Think fast and keep your cool. “It’s like a game of chess, moving pawns and kings, ensuring the board is balanced,” says Sherman. Known as the lunchtime watering hole for high-powered fashion, beauty and media execs since it opened in 1989, Michael’s “is a six-degrees-of-separation kind of place,” laughs Sherman. “There is a different chemistry every day.” Sherman’s unique first name is another talking point. Originally from St. Paul, Minn., she was given her beauty-inspired moniker thanks to her mom’s fascination with L’Oréal products. “She worked in a salon and thought, ‘If I ever have a daughter, that’s what I’ll call her,’” says Sherman, who moved to New York to pursue musical theater. Asked about her most memorable patrons, Sherman recalls Bill Clinton as “charismatic,” the late Evelyn Lauder as “warm and personable,” and of Diana Ross: “I swear there was a fan hidden somewhere on her. Her hair and clothes floated around her as she walked.”
This story first appeared in the March 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.