NEW YORK — Not all the entertainment was onstage at the 31st Annual FiFi Awards Monday night — presenters at the event had their own cheeky moments backstage.

Among the zingers — aside from when Harvey Fierstein showed a reporter the red suspenders he had hidden under his tuxedo — was when the Broadway actor said: “Winning the [Tony] award is better than losing it,” referring to his Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical honors for “Hairspray” the night before. “But that’s why I took this gig,” he continued. “I figured if I lost last night, at least I’d get a paycheck and applause today.”

When asked if he was a fragrance fan, Fierstein said, “I like fragrance, but I don’t like over-fragrance. I guess people should wear a lot to sell more, [but] sometimes I wish perfume came with a warning label: ‘Will smell up an elevator.’” Fierstein named Chanel No.5 among his favorites because it brings back memories of the “fermented bottle of No.5” sitting on his mother’s bureau, which “my father brought back from the Navy.”

Red suspenders weren’t the only backstage discovery. A few degrees of film-industry separation also were uncovered. FiFi’s presenters Al Thompson and Brande Roderick discovered their link through Owen Wilson, who starred with Thompson in “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Wilson also plays Hutch in this year’s “Starsky & Hutch,” in which Roderick will appear.

Another Broadway player in the Tony — and now also FiFi — fraternity is Sutton Foster, who won a Tony in 2002 for her role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” A year later, “I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it,” she said. Foster presented at the FiFi’s Monday — after presenting the night before at the Tonys — quipping, “Lately it’s been hard to task manage.”

Presenter Frenchie Davis, who currently appears in “Rent” and was a finalist on “American Idol,” said, “I love fragrance, [specifically] anything floral, but especially Creed. Anything that makes you feel pretty is good.” Prior to belting out a rendition of “It Don’t Mean A Thing” with a twisting Fierstein onstage, Davis said backstage that her stint on “American Idol” was “just a fragment of who I am as a woman. There’s so much more to me.”Presenter Hilarie Burton, an MTV veejay of three years who helped announce FiFi’s nominees at Bloomingdale’s May 6, finds behind-the-scenes aspects of the fragrance industry most engaging. “It’s interesting to meet [insiders] and see [development] processes in the new fragrance categories,” she said, noting that she was wearing Gucci Eau de Parfum. She didn’t rule out the possibility that this interest could some day translate into getting involved with her own fragrance project.

“When I heard there was something as decadent as a FiFi, I had to be a part of it,” said presenter Elisabeth Rohm of “Law & Order,” who mentioned the 20 fragrance bottles arranged on her bureau. “This is a night you get to be a girl — a great, indulgent, feminine experience.” She was wearing her favorite scent, Il Bacio from Borghese.

While a number of presenters had never heard of a FiFi, first-time presenter Eva LaRue, from “All My Children,” has known about the awards for several years. LaRue’s FiFi’s quotient was upped by “good friend” Kelly Ripa, who also starred on the soap opera. “She had just gotten “Regis and Kelly” and then presented [at the FiFi’s],” LaRue said, thinking back to hearing of Ripa’s FiFi’s experience several years ago.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus