CLOSE TO REALITY: Vanity Fair is about to get its own fictional treatment — up to a point. Due out in July, “Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy,” by Vanity Fair deputy editor Doug Stumpf, is the story of a journalist having trouble making his mark at glamorous Glossy magazine until a young Brazilian shoeshiner tips him off to a major insider trading scam.
Having come from book editing, Stumpf had never been a reporter himself, so he interviewed Vanity Fair writers like David Margolick and Ned Zeman. Nearly every character is named after a real person in Stumpf’s life — Fred Turner, for example, was his assistant. The shoeshiner has a real-life counterpart who worked near the old Condé Nast offices on 350 Madison. “Everyone at Vanity Fair knew him,” said Stumpf. “We all kind of took him under our wing.” Running into the shoeshiner later and hearing about his new gig shining at a Wall Street investment firm inspired Stumpf to write the book.
There are some unmistakable parallels between Glossy and Vanity Fair.
Owned by a non-interfering man by the name of “Al Lieberman” (clearly based on Condé Nast Publications chairman S. I. Newhouse Jr., and only coincidentally evoking his longtime editorial director Alexander Liberman), Glossy has writers described as “a phalanx of big guns who had been around since the Stone Age…Any hope of the Big Guns just ignoring me evaporated when my new salary was leaked to a gossip column, and it turned out I was making as much or more than some of them.”
The editor in chief of Glossy, Ed, is described as a “New England WASP,” who “tends to dress like he’s about to go trout fishing,” and who favors “dogwood-pink corduroys.” (Stumpf said he’s not sure if Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter, whose little-used first name is Edward, has read the drafts he gave him.)
But though Warner Bros. picked up film rights two years ago, this is far from “The Devil Wears Prada,” mostly because the movie script has already edited out the journalism gig and replaced it with, in Stumpf’s words, an “Eliot Spitzer character.” But there’s also that sentence in Stumpf’s acknowledgments, which offers “gratitude without end to my mom and dad and Graydon Carter.” — Irin Carmon
This story first appeared in the May 17, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
GETTING DOWN: Don’t think that actors on the biggest show on television are too cool to get on the dance floor at a party. The cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” did the electric slide with vigor to classic pop hits at Entertainment Weekly/Vavoom’s upfront party Tuesday night at The Box. Chandra Wilson (who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey), led the group, while James T. Pickens (chief of surgery Dr. Richard Webber), Sara Ramirez, Rebecca Gayheart and others followed along. The cast of NBC’s “Heroes” and “Friday Night Lights” also showed up at the event, as did Eva Longoria, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, who held court at a corner table in the balcony, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, Angie Harmon and Ice T, and his wife, Coco, who stopped by the Lucky Upfront Suite earlier that day to load up on clothes by Primp, Lia Sophia jewelry, and Cosabella lingerie. — Stephanie D. Smith
SUGAR HIGH: Last year, speculation swirled that e-mail newsletter DailyCandy was on the market, with a hefty price tag at about $100 million. Though chatter has simmered (and the rumor was never confirmed), the company is expanding its footprint over the next year and adding experienced staffers to help grow its operations. DailyCandy tapped Catherine Levene to become the company’s first chief operating officer, while Alyson Racer was named vice president of advertising sales, reporting to Levene. Both join from The New York Times; Levene was previously a vice president in the paper’s digital unit, while Racer was formerly vice president of advertising. The hires will help DailyCandy expand its advertising efforts and branch out into new markets. Previously DailyCandy chief executive officer Pete Sheinbaum oversaw the ad sales team, a staff of five two years ago. Now that DailyCandy has 16 editions and over 20 people responsible for sales and marketing, “I will spend more time on strategic initiatives, new markets, and product development,” he said. “My time needs to be spent more externally.”
Those initiatives include DailyCandy’s new mobile platform, which launched this winter, and exploring cities abroad to expand DailyCandy’s international reach. Enhancements to the newsletter will also be unveiled this summer, which will allow its 2.4 million subscribers to access seven years’ worth of DailyCandy archives quickly. Sheinbaum said subscribers are still growing in the double digits — its New York version is growing at a 25 percent clip as young women seek out what do in the city after they “graduate, come to the city after college, or start a new job.” — S.D.S.