First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…an Hermès bag?
For Samantha Daniels, the divorce lawyer-turned-matchmaker whose life inspired NBC’s new show, “Miss Match,” premiering Friday, it’s the ideal happy ending. To reward herself for each job well done — she’s had 39 marriages since starting her business four years ago — Daniels has treated herself to a vintage handbag to add to the 100-piece collection she inherited from her mother.
“I knew I had to limit the number of bags I bought, so I started treating myself depending upon what happened with my couples,” says Daniels. “When they would get to the three-month mark, I would treat myself to a fun bag; if they got engaged, it would be a nicer bag, and if they got married, it would be a major bag. Once I had a client pay me a very large bonus when he got married, so I treated myself to a red Birkin.”
After becoming a regular at the Doyle auctions and vintage boutiques, Daniels also found herself drawn to the allure of vintage clothing.
Alicia Silverstone, who plays Daniels’ character, wears her share of vintage pieces in the show. Of course, there’s no plotline about the handbag collection — yet. Daniels serves as one of the show’s producers, reading scripts and making sure the storylines are based on beauty.
She started to realize that her life would make good TV at dinner parties. “When people found out what I did, the conversation would always come to a standstill and everyone had a million questions,” Daniels recalls. “So every year when the new fall lineup would come out, I’d be holding my breath thinking, ‘Oh no, this is going to be the year that somebody puts the matchmaker show on the air.’”
But it never happened and a year-and-a-half ago she found herself seated next to an agent who introduced her to producer Darren Star. “Right away I could see it was a perfect match, no pun intended,” she said.
Although Silverstone plays an attorney who only moonlights as a matchmaker, Daniels gave up practicing law four years ago to run her bicoastal company, Samantha’s Table, full time. “I used to throw a lot of parties in New York and eventually I had a mailing list of 7,000 people. Then I started realizing how many couples met at my parties and I decided it would be more rewarding to help people get married than get divorced,” she says.Daniels sees up to 100 clients at a time, charging between $5,000 and $10,000 for her services, which include six to 12 dates and a concierge and stylist. “I always meet clients for drinks in a casual, relaxed atmosphere because when I sit with them, I watch different things that are going on during the conversation, like whether they are making eye contact or showing up 25 minutes late or answering their phone while we are talking.”
If the clients are guilty of any of the above, Daniels is quick to squelch the errant behavior. “It’s all part of coaching,” she says. “I want people to be the best daters they can be so they actually make it to the wedding.”
Daniels, who says her pipe dream is to host a talk show on dating and relationships, is herself single and hoping to meet Mr. Right. “Obviously, I believe in matchmaking and the institution of marriage,” she says.
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