DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL: Brad Pitt may be reconciled to seeing his newborn daughter’s face on every newsstand in America thanks to People magazine, but, for heaven’s sake, don’t ask him whether he cheated on ex-wife Jennifer Aniston with current lover Angelina Jolie. According to two well-placed sources, Pitt’s publicist, Cindy Guagenti, was recently telling celebrity wranglers they would have to promise not to ask about certain areas of his personal life if they wished to secure him for their magazine covers.
That raises the question of whether Esquire, which has booked the star for its October cover, agreed to any such restrictions. An Esquire spokesman declined to address the question directly, joking, “The only detail I can confirm is that he is not our mysterious “Sexiest Woman Alive.'” (He did confirm that it would be Pitt’s first appearance on Esquire’s cover.)
Guagenti, meanwhile, said it was “not true” she had been setting limits on interview questions. But asked whether that meant all topics were up for discussion, she hedged. “We chose that magazine for a specific reason, which I can’t really talk about, because it just fit with what our line of thinking is,” she said. Could it be that Esquire agreed to let Pitt get away with a first-person, “as told to” piece, à la the June issue’s cover story on Tom Hanks? Guagenti declined to elaborate.
While Pitt has a well-documented animosity toward the paparazzi press, Guagenti is not known as particularly aggressive, as Hollywood publicists go. That said, an experienced celebrity wrangler said it was distressingly common for publicists to demand ground rules, even in cases, such as Pitt’s, where the topic being put off limits is the only one readers are likely to care about. “They always try to get away with as much as they can get away with,” said the wrangler. “It’s like, ‘Media train your damn client so they don’t have to pull this stuff.'”
— Jeff Bercovici
DORN AGAIN: If you didn’t get enough of Backpacker editor in chief Jonathan Dorn during his outré acceptance speech at the ASME awards last month — after winning the Ellie for best magazine section, Dorn bussed Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, then celebrated the physical attributes of his fellow Rodale staffer Dave Zinczenko — log on to Backpacker.com beginning June 25. Dorn will be audio-blogging as he attempts the Primal Quest, a 500-mile adventure race in the Utah desert. (This is apparently the sort of thing Backpacker editors do for fun.) “I’m packing a satellite phone to call in daily reports on our suffering,” he said.
As for his life following the ASME win, Dorn said he celebrated at “a local no-name pub” until sunrise after the ceremony, “then pretty much had to steam back to Pennsylvania [Emmaus, where the magazine is based] to close an issue. Since then, it’s been back to business — with an occasional glance over the shoulder at the Ellie.”
Good thing that doesn’t fit in his backpack.
— Sara James
AU NATUREL: Skin is in. At least, so hopes Thomas Lenthal, the French artistic director who consults on Yves Saint Laurent and serves as creative director of Paris’ Numero fashion monthly. To test his premise, Lenthal, who is married to Dior jewelry designer Victoire de Castellane, plans to launch Paradis, an upscale general interest men’s magazine peppered with female nudes. Known for his snappy dressing and witty repartee, Lenthal said the magazine, with an initial print run of 40,000 and advertisers like Cartier and Dior, was loosely modeled on the vibe of the iconic French gentleman’s magazine Lui. Ad pages are 7,500 euros, or $9,600. “I loved the feeling of Lui in the 1970s,” said Lenthal, who is self-financing the project. “There was this engaging mix of subjects, between journalism and photography.”
Following that example, the 272-page debut issue of Paradis includes such eye candy as a disrobed Emmanuelle Seigner, the French actress who is married to Roman Polanski, and a nude series in Tony Duquette‘s opulent Beverly Hills estate. But it also contains lengthy interviews with artist Jeff Koons — who reveals a handful of never-seen-before works in progress; Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker on the state of the contemporary art market, and Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron on the Olympic stadium they are building in Beijing. Fashion isn’t ignored either. YSL designer Stefano Pilati shows off his newly decorated Paris bachelor pad — accompanied by pictures of Pilati in five different outfits — and there is a feature on complicated Swiss watches. Lenthal plans an official launch for the magazine, which will be published in both French and English versions, later this month during Paris’s men’s fashion week. The cover price is 10 euros. Lenthal said a second issue would appear in November.
— Robert Murphy