All blonde hair and pearly white teeth, Tamra Judge — star of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” — appears at first glance to be the embodiment of the O.C.: beautiful, affluent and eating a salad. But talking to her, it becomes clear that her fame is no accident.
Chiicago native Drew Sidora was thrilled to land the role of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins in the VH1 biopic “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” — but she admits that there was added pressure portraying a real person, especially one who paid visits to the set.
Deborah Lloyd is a woman in love. She’s in love with color, she’s in love with leopard print and — most importantly — she’s in love with the brand she oversees as president and chief creative officer: Kate Spade New York. But it’s not just her — according to Lloyd, Chicago women share her passions. “Our Chicago woman loves pops of color, she loves standing out in the crowd,” she says. “We really think about Chicago when we’re designing.”
I first met Mark Ellwood about 15 years ago when he and I were colleagues at a PR firm (he was based in New York, but we occasionally worked on the same consumer clients). What I remember most about those days is our frequent brainstorming meetings, a hallmark of agency life. At some point, Mark would always say to the group, “How can we take that idea and turn it on its head?”
Sarah Michelle Gellar roundhouse-kicked her way to pop icon status as the lovely-but-lethal Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that was more than 15 years ago. Since then, the actress has been busy: She’s starred in films like “The Grudge,” lent her voice to Seth Green’s stopmotion show “Robot Chicken,” married ’90s (and current) heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr., and given birth to two children, Charlotte Grace (4) and Rocky (1).
Last week, I was lucky enough to see George Saunders at the SAIC, where he was reading from his latest short story collection, “Tenth of December.” Since then, I’ve been (unsuccessfully) mulling over how I might describe him to those unfamiliar with his work; I’ve been so intimidated by the thought of distilling the staggeringly talented writer into a single paragraph that I’ve been putting it off.
Joe Mantegna, 65, still vividly remembers his West Side upbringing. “When I was a kid, the L train went right through our backyard,” Mantegna says. “I’d go [out there] and wave to the conductor.” Now Mantegna has a much bigger audience: He’s playing FBI special agent David Rossi on the hit CBS show “Criminal Minds,” currently in its ninth season. “We started strong again this year,” says Mantegna, who rose to fame in the ’80s and ’90s starring in films like “Bugsy,” “Alice” and “Searching for Bobby Fischer.” “I don’t see us leaving anytime soon.”
Chicago native and “New Girl” actor Lamorne Morris wants to say something. He knows it won’t make any sense (unless you’re in the cast of “New Girl”), but he wants to say it anyway: “I want to tell Jake Johnson that he’s real,” Morris says, laughing.
Ali Larter cringes at the memory of her first dinner party, a disastrous affair she threw as a “young, struggling actress” in New York City. “I wanted it to be chic and I wanted everyone to relax, so I didn’t start cooking until 10:30 p.m.,” she recalls over lunch at Fred’s at Barneys in the Gold Coast.