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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Los Angeles vs. New York with Cosmo's Associate Beauty Editor

As a lifelong Angeleno it’s difficult to always connect with the passive aggressive (and sometimes just plain aggressive) attitude of my New York counterparts. For them, they are more virtuous, better informed and, well, they reside at the center of the universe. Shoot, even most of the international flights are gatewayed through their Kennedy Airport.

My esteemed colleague and friend, Loni Albert, associate beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, is a New Yawker in every sense of the word. Always on the go, cheerfully intense, always in a hurry, and a true friend when the chips are down.

From the minute we met on a press junket in Mexico we mapped plans to crash weddings (complete with new names – Lola for her and Jefferson aka Jeffy for me) and argued the merits of Los Angeles vs. New York.

So with upcoming cross-promotions on the horizon for the Media Guy, I decided to dig in with Lola, er Loni, and make sure I understand the nuances of a city that has over twice as many people as my beloved City of Angels.


MEDIA GUY: If you were re-branding New York Tourism, how would you lure us smart Angelinos to the Big Apple?

LONI ALBERT: Angelinos should come hang in NY because it's so REAL. I love love love LA, but it feels like one giant movie set. That may be fun and glamorous and "comfortable" -- I get it. But sometimes you need more than that. NY is raw and random and diverse. Maybe all the ugliness makes the small glimpses of beauty that much more beautiful.

MG:  I’m told that LA people are soft. I’ve “earned” the nickname of LA Mike, you know. Do you think you could teach LA Mike to survive in New York City? How tough do you have to be to live in New York, Lola?

LA: LA Mike aka Jeffy, I am confident that you would get along swimmingly in New York. It's not so much that you have to be tough as in "I'll kick everyone's ass!", more so resilient and able to tolerate less than pleasant situations.

For example, getting extremely up close and personal with a bajillion strangers on a jam-packed subway car during rush hour in August with no air conditioning and delays because of "train traffic ahead".

I don't think you guys are soft. I think you are smart! Why live in an over-crowded, over-priced, dirty, smelly city where the gloomy, grey buildings are so high that the sun can't even shine down on you? Probably because of the pizza. It's pretty damn good.

MG: I have to admit that it was rather comfortable last weekend poolside – 75 degrees – sipping on a freshly-blended margarita. Does that sound soft to you? I was thinking that in about four months that the power would be out on the East Coast as you shovel out from the 10 inches of snow. How do you deal with snow and the anger it produces? LA: Aside from a few days a year, the snow has never really stopped me from going to school, work, dinner with friends, etc. You just learn to deal. There are sucky things like being stuck on the bus for a few hours because the roads are scary and covered in ice, but it's also kind of sexy to spend a snow day inside with your significant other with nothing else to do but.....stay warm ;)

MG: How is New York the media capital of the universe with all of the shutdowns?

LA: What shut downs do you speak of? There really haven't been many. Part of our "tough"-ness is that the city is pretty much prepared for anything and everything and not much stops us. It's the freaking city that never sleeps. Ready to roll 24/7.

Speaking of which, that's a HUGE point for NY. When I was last in LA, we were dying to find a place to grab a bite after hours and everything was closing and kicking us out or already closed. Here, you can eat/drink/dance/get tattooed/cash a check/and catch a train or bus literally all night long. I know from experience. Leave the office (which for me is down the block from Times Square) after midnight (yes, it happens) and the streets are still occupied and there is life. Some of it may be sketchy but..whatev.

MG: “Eat/drink/dance/get tattooed/cash a check/and catch a train or bus literally all night long”...? New York is sounding like a huge movie set now. READ: The Hangover.

LA: Eat/drink/dance/tattoo/cash a check didn't all happen in the same day. Jeez. What kinda character do you take me for? It was in two days. Haha. NY is a great movie set! Because there's real stories and adventures happening here everyday, not a produced one starring a fake tanned babe with a silicone rack and a stylist. Show me some scars. And not those left by a plastic surgeon.

MG: What’s a bus? Is that public transportation? What is that? No one walks in LA., you know…

LA: A bus: a large vehicle that occasionally runs over bike messengers (I've witnessed this), often breaks down (but only when you're late to work and it's raining), who's driver usually makes double your salary and is part of a union that will defend his employment to the end -- even after he's run over a handful of bike messengers.

I actually love that you can walk anywhere in NY. I recently called you while I walked from midtown to the ferry (a two hour walk) and passed so many different and cool neighborhoods along the way. Who needs LA's redonkulous valet charges everywhere?

MG: Tell me more about spending sexy snow days. In L.A., the pretty people do Naked Sundays (a staple in the Christina Aguilera pre-divorce household). Speaking of her, did you see the picture she held up when accepting her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – just kidding but a Media Guy can dream.

A boy can dream.
LA: Naked any day is always a good idea. West Coast, East Coast, wherever. You don't need L.A. sunshine for that ;)

On the snow days: I'm just saying that there's sexiness to having seasons. From a gooey, girly perspective, it's romantic to watch the season's change with someone. Shows that you've been through something together. Marks the time more than just appointments you marked into your Blackberry calendar on another Sunny Tuesday.

Christina Aguilera can do whatever she wants because she is a God damned diva if ever there was one.

MG: What about your career? The beauty editor of Cosmopolitan at 24? No one believes me that I know such a brilliant writer.

LA: (a) I'm not 24 anymore, that was two years ago when we met! I'm a grandma now at 26!, and (b) my title at Cosmo is Associate Beauty Editor, but I'm thrilled nonetheless!

I don't know if I'm brilliant (but I'll take it!). I'm passionate and I think that genuine hard work and passion can really take you far and make you stand out in a sea of over privileged trust fund brats who knew the right people. And I'm not bitter of those kids, honestly. However you get to the top (hard work, family connections, sex tape) is all fair game, even when it isn't fair. That's the real American dream. Get there, however you gotta.

MG: Is it really like Sex and the City?

LA: It's a lot like Sex and The City except I don't wear $900 shoes, sleep with every waiter at every restaurant, and rarely take cabs. Okay, it's not like Sex and The City at all. But I do drink Cosmos :)

Sometimes I run in the park. Sometimes I see my family in Staten Island. Sometimes I have hot dates with the boy (which could be a fancy dinner date, or making to go cocktails and drinking them while we walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Sometimes I have drinks with my girlfriends (who are mostly publicists and other writers). Sometimes I have cool industry events where I rub elbows with celebs and models and beautiful people.

MG: NAMES! NAMES! We need names...

LA: Not to be a name dropper, but......Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba, Victoria's Secret Angels, John Mayer, Beyonce, Leighton Meester, Vera Wang, Michael Kors, ummmm there's way more but I'm drawing a blank.

MG: What kind of donut are you?

LA: Donuts! I would have to be pink frosted. Girly and sweet. Although my dude recently pointed out that was Homer Simpson's fave which makes me reconsider.

One pink beauty...hold the Simpson!
MG: Lola...what do you recommend for anyone crashing a wedding in Vegas?

LA: Excellent question. A few things:

Act like you own the joint. Walk around like you know where you're going and you're supposed to be there. I do this always and manage to a. blend in to really fancy events that I am definitely NOT cool enough to be at but somehow fooled the right people and got invited to and b. get past security at hospitals, red carpet events, and college dorms (I used to enjoy pretending I was a "lost freshman." Don't ask).

Start convos with: Are you bride's side or groom's? So easy. You are obviously the opposite. And a date...of a distant cousin. When in doubt, just act drunk. Oh man, how did I end up here? Last thing I remember is kicking the dealer's ass at Poker!

MG: Final point on L.A. being “one giant movie set” – do you want a role in the new movie I am writing.

LA: I would be honored to be in your movie -- duh!
 (L to R: Lola's buddy Britt, Loni, and Heidi Klum)