LOVE IS ALL AROUND: The 40th annual Matrix Awards on Monday honored a group of distinguished women, with equally distinguished women introducing the award winners. So if it all seemed like one big love-in — well, it was. The awards honored Sheryl Crow; Tina Fey; Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa; historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; Gayle King; Bloomingdale’s Anne Keating; Google’s Marissa Mayer, and Susan Chira, foreign editor of The New York Times.
And the array of presenters, which included Oprah Winfrey and Katie Couric, wasn’t chopped liver either. “Gayle has always, always, always been there for me,” Winfrey said before the largely female crowd of 1,300 at the Waldorf-Astoria. “Last week was rough for Gayle when a new, unauthorized biography [of me] came out….She has never ever been jealous or envious of a single moment in my life except when I got on stage and sang with Tina Turner.” In regards to the biography, Winfrey simply noted, “This too shall pass.”
This story first appeared in the April 20, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Introducing Goodwin, Lesley Stahl said, “‘Prayer and reapportionment’ was her Harvard thesis. Can there be any doubt she’s an intellectual?”
As for Keating, Couric stated, “Once Anne sinks her teeth into something, she’s like a pit bull, a very lovely pit bull. She all but invented the phrase corporate philanthropy.”
Fey said that while promoting her new movie “Date Night” with co-star Steve Carell, she was often asked how she juggles career and family, but no one ever posed that question to Carell. “There’s a certain kind of scrutiny in this business that does not apply to men,” Fey said. She later joked that she will be pitted against fellow award winner Crow (who was wearing a nearly identical floral print Dolce & Gabbana dress) in one of those “Who Wore It Best” celebrity weekly features.
Other presenters were Mariska Hargitay, Seth Meyers, Anna Quindlen, Maria Bartiromo and Jill Abramson, managing editor at the Times. The luncheon recognized women who change the world and raised money for scholarships for women studying media. “There is enough estrogen in this room to make Arnold Schwarzenegger ovulate,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, president-elect of the New York Women in Communications.
As one of the token males in the room (and the event’s emcee), Brian Williams, “NBC Nightly News” anchor and managing editor, perhaps couldn’t resist injecting some bite to the event. As the audience was heading for the exits, Williams joked, “Please remain seated while Oprah’s plane clears New York airspace.” — David Moin and Amy Wicks
THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG: Alyce Alston has a new gig. The former president of emerging businesses at Reader’s Digest Association, who left her post and longtime boss Mary Berner only a few weeks ago, has landed at American Achievement Corp., a company that makes inspirational products that “celebrate special moments in life.” Alston will serve as president and chief executive officer. — A.W.
RESTYLED: Little-known fashion media site StyledOn relaunches this week with a hire from Gilt Groupe and new content that combines shopping, editorial and community. The site, which made its debut in September, has about 4,000 unique visitors a month and covers fashion, culture and interiors. Brands can post look books and other content. As soon as traffic grows, the site plans to charge for advertising and sponsorships.
“We’re giving people a forum to play and connect and get inspired,” said chief executive officer Leora Kadisha, a recent graduate of Boston University. Chief operating officer Elaine Chang was previously director of new business and international operations for Gilt Groupe and vice president of strategy and operations for MTV Networks’ digital music business.
The firm, based in New York’s SoHo, has nine full-time staff, and an undisclosed amount of funding from Omninet Capital. Kadisha’s father, Neil Kadisha, is a co-founder of Qualcomm. — Cate T. Corcoran
YOUR NEW BFF?: MSN is hoping viewers will make Jenn Falik their new best friend. The beauty publicist — who has moonlighted for seven years as a beauty expert on a number of shows, including the “Today” show and “E News” — is appearing in a new original Web series on MSN.com called “Beauty BFF,” which premieres today. Part of MSN Lifestyle and Bing Video, the first season comprises 24 episodes, each featuring a different beauty subject. Topics include mastering the art of the at-home manicure, guest-starring Essie Weingarten, and Oscar Blandi teaching Falik how to master a perfect blowout. — Julie Naughton
LEAVING SAKS: Caroline Packer, Saks Fifth Avenue’s vice president of public relations and special events, handed in her notice on Friday. After six years, Packer will be leaving the retailer at the end of this month. Packer had joined Saks from Club Monaco, where she was public relations director. Prior to that, she held a similar position at Louis Vuitton North America. — Marc Karimzadeh
MCCOLLUM’S NEXT LIFE: After a five-year run as associate editor at ForbesLife magazine, Adam McCollum has joined BPCM as a senior account executive handling men’s and luxury accounts such as IWC and Christian Lacroix men’s. His hire is not such a reach, considering the agency’s clients include the city of Marrakesh, which just tapped BPCM to oversee lifestyle, fashion and trend coverage. — Rosemary Feitelberg