From the author of Princess Izzyand theE Street Shufflecomes the rise and fall and rise of Addison McGhee, a Turkish-born immigrant turned American media darling. After a smalltown Nebraska upbringing, Addison ditches the heartland for L.A. and lucks into a small role on ER, but her fame is brief and she's soon a Hollywood squareâ€”as in the television show. Luckily, she is spotted by a hotshot producer who decides she is the "coolest thing on earth" and hires her to co-host a morning show alongside the "dapper and dashing" Hughes Sinclair. The show becomes a hit and the two get hitched in Vegas. But what bumps her from famous to infamous is a photo snapped at a White House barbecue that captures drunken President Samson Briarwood kissing her. (She, for the record, thinks the pres is a pig.) A national scandal erupts, and when Addison's marriage is mistakenly annulled, an enraged and devious first lady creates citizenship trouble for Addison. Bartlett is witty and irreverent, with a keen sense of what makes American pop culture simultaneously attractive and ridiculous. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Cover Girl Confidentialby Beverly Bartlett
She's the host of a wildly popular, top-rated morning show. Bride of a high-society golden boy. A veritable household name. An immigrant rags-to-riches story that's the American dream personified-and so perfect for Hollywood. Men want her. Women wish they could be her. But now Addison is in jail awaiting deportation and her celebrity rating is falling faster than a… See more details below
She's the host of a wildly popular, top-rated morning show. Bride of a high-society golden boy. A veritable household name. An immigrant rags-to-riches story that's the American dream personified-and so perfect for Hollywood. Men want her. Women wish they could be her. But now Addison is in jail awaiting deportation and her celebrity rating is falling faster than a discount boob job. Maybe the First Lady's personal vendetta is to blame. (Addison insists that the president was pulling her onto his lap when that photo was taken.) Or perhaps everything started to go downhill when she threw exercise equipment at her husband on live TV. (Addison says the jerk had it coming.)
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Cover Girl Confidential
By Beverly Bartlett
5 SPOTCopyright © 2007 Beverly Bartlett
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThat was three long years ago.
I'm pretty sure that Tom and Rita know who I am now. My face (and body) have graced a thousand magazine covers, a huge moving billboard in Times Square, and some pretty seedy Web sites-those without my authorization, of course. I've been fawned over by presidents. (Well, I guess technically by one president.) Threatened by first ladies. (Well, again, one.) I've attended all the best premieres, adorning the arms of all the nation's most eligible bachelors. (Mostly arranged by my publicist, but still.) I launched a morning television show that was dubbed by leading academic journals as the most scandalous blurring of entertainment and news since-well, since the last time they were scandalized. They're so sensitive sometimes.
I was celebrated in talk shows and women's magazines for being an inspiration to young women of color the world over. And then, when things went bad, I was hounded by some of the same people for having a quick temper and bad judgment about men.
I suppose they were right about my judgment. Though, in my defense, I do not have a lot of experience. I've been photographed on red carpets with more men than I can count, but actual dates are few and far between. I spent a lot of lonely nights in pricey hotels before becoming the bride in one of the most spectacularly controversial and short marriages of our times. And the nights after that were lonelier still.
In a roundabout way, I guess, that's how I ended up here, in prison, serving time on a trumped-up felony charge and awaiting a deportation hearing. My agent is thrilled. "You've never been more famous," he said in his last letter. (That's the great thing about prison. It encourages the long-lost art of letter writing.) But my father is terrified that his little girl will be sent back to the country he fled all those years ago. I guess I'm a little scared, too.
Last night, my lawyer-an old high school friend-visited. I will confess with some shame that I hadn't thought much about her during my heady rise to fame. I assumed she was still living it up in unincorporated Slater County, Nebraska, riding in the back of pickups and getting chased out of the parking lot by Wal-Mart security. I never dreamed she would have gone to law school and moved to Albany, New York. This oversight on my part was not personal, I hasten to add. I failed to think about her not due to any fault of hers-nor, for that matter, any particular disinterest in Slater County. Cassie was, and I guess still is, the best friend I ever had. And those were good times in Slater County. It's just that when you're trying to project an air of sophisticated beauty, stylish grace, and informed commentary, the last image you want bouncing around in your head is any memory at all from high school-with the baby fat and the pimples and the really sad crushes on impossibly glamorous older men. (In my case, the PE instructor, Mr. Stinnett.) Kate Hudson tells me that everyone feels that way, but I think it was worse for me. There weren't many immigrant families in Slater County, and my early attempts at assimilation had only patchy success.
Cassidy Von Maur was one of the people who accepted me, however. And though I'd rarely thought of her or high school in the intervening years, I recognized her right away when she showed up in the prison visiting room a few months ago.
"Cassie?" I said, not quite believing my eyes. Then, more confidently, I squealed with glee, "Cassie, my lassie!" (This was my oh-so-cool greeting for her in high school. You can see why I prefer not to think about those years.) I continued with another high school classic: "Get out of here!"
She smiled, said that she preferred Cassidy now, and explained that she had heard I needed a good immigration lawyer. "Lucky for you," she said, "I am one."
Once you're famous, you know, that's how things happen. Whenever you need something, it shows up at your door. Cassie was exactly what I needed. It felt so good to have someone to giggle with again.
But during last night's visit, she ignored my efforts to reminisce. She lectured me, sternly. She narrowed her eyes and looked exceedingly cross. She said that she didn't think I was taking this whole thing seriously enough. She pointed out that if I got deported to my father's homeland-the only other country I had legal standing in-I would be in a hopeless, helpless situation. "You don't speak the language," she said. "And you don't have a lot of-" She hesitated, then spit out the ugly truth. "-skills."
I cringed. Making small talk on television for hours at a time is a lot harder than people think. But I said nothing.
"Furthermore," she continued, "you're famous the world over for being photographed in shameful costumes."
I started to protest. The world over? I seriously doubt that. I'm not Madonna, after all. I'm quite sure there are a few remote Siberian villages or an odd South Pacific island or two where people are completely unfamiliar with my work-or at least my "costumes." But my vanity got the best of me. I didn't want to talk about the places where I'm not famous. So instead I just said: "I don't know about shameful ..."
"Cotton balls?" Cassie said incredulously.
"Oh," I said.
I don't know how I'd forgotten about the award-winning Vanity Fair cover in which I am clothed only in cotton balls- and not very many of them, I might add. That cover was the talk of the nation for a while. My own show hyped it tirelessly. Baxter Bailey, the rumpled weatherman, would constantly find smudges that needed rubbing off his map. "Got a swab, Addison?" he'd say, with a mischievous grin. And Hughes Sinclair, my dapper and dashing co-host, would chuckle and warn Baxter not to borrow too many, as I appeared to be running quite low.
Cassie smirked. "I think it's a safe bet they would consider cotton balls shameful," she said. "And in case you're unaware, this is not a culture that takes shaming lightly."
She said my only hope of surviving in my father's homeland, really, would be for me to marry as soon as I arrived. But because I'm twice the age of the average child bride there-"easily, twice the age," Cassie emphasized, somewhat meanly-I'd be considered too old and, given my well-publicized past, too previously married for any decent man there to be interested.
I waved my hand gamely to show that I did not care. "I'm done with marriage," I said. "So that's no loss."
Cassie sighed. "This isn't a joke, Addison. You'll be surviving on your wits in an economy that doesn't value wit. You won't last three months."
I looked at my fingers, noticed that I needed a manicure, and then thought, for the first time, about my chances of finding a good manicurist if I got deported. My paternal grandmother has terrible nails. So do all my aunts. The evidence suggests that theirs is not a culture that highly values cuticle health. I gulped. (Discreetly, I hope.)
"Couldn't they just deport me to London or something?" I asked.
Cassie snorted. "London?" she said. "Oh yeah, London is just begging the United States to send over any spare convicted felons we have on hand! Begging!"
She sighed and started over in a more even voice. "That's just not the way it works, Addison. When people get deported, they get deported to their home country. You don't get to pick and choose."
"ICE is serious about this one," Cassie said. "This isn't going to go away."
"Ice?" I said.
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We call them ICE because they're coldhearted when it comes to this stuff." She muttered that last part, and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to have heard it. So I just said, "Oh."
"All these terms are explained in the material I gave you to read," she added sharply. "You really need to read it."
But then she patted my hand in a conciliatory way. She said that if she was going to save me, she needed to know everything. So she gave me an assignment.
That is why I'm writing this, you see. She told me to record every single thing that happened to me from the moment I was photographed splayed across the lap of the sitting (and obviously seated) US president, through all the conspiracy theories about my incredibly short marriage, and right up to the exact moment I-in her words-"nearly killed" my ex-husband on live television.
"And if you could write a coherent explanation of why you, the Little Miss All-American Girl-Next-Door Movie Star, never bothered to become a US citizen," she continued, letting the sarcasm back into her voice, "and why you pled guilty to a felony we're now claiming actually wasn't, that would be nice, too."
I bristled, but nodded.
"I'm doing my best, Addison," she said. "But you have to help."
I nodded again. As she left, I made a great show of gathering up the paper and marker (no sharp points allowed here). But once she was gone, I decided I would not confine myself to the topics she had specified. If I'm going to write it down, then I'm going to write it all down. Because my life, despite her snotty aside, really is the American story. Cute little immigrant girl with a dream come true? Well, that's just dying to be told, isn't it?
All I ever wanted was to exceed my parents' modest ambitions for me and to become an American icon, a symbol of the sort of good fortune that follows those who apply themselves. Sort of like Donald Trump, only with better hair.
Sure, I've had a bit of a bad run lately. But that only makes the story better, doesn't it? It will only make my comeback more impressive!
And I will come back. You mark my words.
So that's what I'll do. I'll start at the beginning. I'm sure Cassie will understand. Besides, it's all pertinent, isn't it? Everything I am today, including this current unpleasantness, is a product of everything I've ever done. That's the American way of looking at it, I'm certain of that.
I did not attain all that I've attained by being lackadaisical or halfhearted. I've thrown myself into every task with unquestioning dedication-whether making out with George Clooney, launching a quirky morning talk show, or embracing the ten-thousand-steps fitness craze. (I read about it on a marvelous Web site. You wear a pedometer constantly and shoot for ten thousand steps a day. But I set my goal at twice that and was delighted to find that it really worked. If diligent, I could, once or twice a month, have an entire handful of M&M's with no noticeable ill effects-although I did need to be especially stringent with the astringent the next day or my forehead would positively glisten.)
So I will apply myself to this writing task with equal ardor. It all began for me, let's see, when I was six and I got my name. Yes, I suppose that's right. Or, arguably, six years earlier than that-you know, when I was born.
Excerpted from Cover Girl Confidential by Beverly Bartlett Copyright © 2007 by Beverly Bartlett. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is the story of an “exotic” beauty’s rags-to-riches-to-slammer story. (“exotic” because of the indiscernible ethnicity.) Full of pop culture references that makes you feel like you’re in Hollywood Land. Yeah, I’m not into all that glitz and glamour. “I was less the child of my parents and more a child of America.” (19) All Addison wanted was to be in the spotlight. She was such a vain and shallow character that sometimes comes up with a witty remark. Why did I choose to read this? I must’ve gotten it for a reason, but I just can’t remember. In any sense, story wasn’t for me.
This is my first book by this author, and I was not impresses. It all seemed so forced and faked to me and I could hardly get through it. Addison was alright, but the way she talked about other celebs and how "well she knew them" being a b-list celeb was off. I also think that there was way to much going on; being deported, writing her "story" to try and not get deported.. It was very dull. So, hopefully another book will make me think different of this author, but this book did nothing for me.
Cover Girl Confidential is another great book by this author. It has twists and turns which makes you want to keep reading until you finish it. The final twist will catch you off guard -- at least it did me. I recommend this book for everyone to read.
Just finished reading Cover Girl Confidential which kept me in suspense as to what would happen next. Another interesting book by Beverly Bartlett and when you start you will not want to put it down until you are finished. The final surprise caught me completely off guard. I look forward to the next book by this author.