The Secret Lives Of Servers

Servers At a recent dinner in the harbor town of Newport, Oregon, the appearance of our youthful waitress sent confusing messages. She appeared to be about 20, had a slender figure, and wore no makeup on her innocent-looking face. She had heightened the aura of innocence by gathering her hair into pony tails on either side of her face, in a style popular with Japanese schoolgirls.

I then noticed that the edge of her left eyebrow was pierced by a delicate gold ring, and that each ear had multiple piercings. When she walked away, I could see that a dark-blue geometric tattoo covered most of her left calf. The piercings and tattoo suggested considerably less innocence than the rest of her appearance. Yet when I was paying the bill she mentioned that a customer had just spilled beer on her, which upset her because she didn’t drink.

Many people work part time as servers while going to school or pursuing careers where income is unpredictable. I would have loved to ask our waitress some questions about herself, but I was there with some of my wife’s relatives, and somehow it didn’t seem appropriate. On occasions when I have asked, I have discovered that I was being served by pre-med students, actors, artists, published novelists whose sales were modest, graduate students, and a variety of other aspiring individuals. For them, working in a restaurant was seldom the role that they most identified with, and from their appearance you would often have had a hard time guessing their larger aspirations.

I found this waitress intriguing. Was her innocent look a guise imposed upon her by this family-friendly restaurant? When she was not working as a waitress, did she wear makeup, and did it go with the tattoos and piercings? Was her abstinence from alcohol part of a healthy diet lifestyle that helped her stay slim? Did she have unsuspected aspirations? Was her “normal” appearance so different that I would scarcely recognize her? Did she turn into some glamorous creature of the night when she went on dates? Or was she simply an innocent young woman whose piercings and tattoo were nothing more than her idea of fashion?

["A Smile with Every Meal" is from Andrew Stawarz's Flickr photostream, and is used under the Flickr Creative Commons license.]

DG Contest: Win Purple Lab's "Worship Kate" Lip Gloss

Worship Kate lip gloss Karen Robinovitz has generously offered to give one lucky DG reader a tube of Huge Lips, Skinny Hips gloss in the appropriately glamorous Worship Kate tint, a rich pink with a warm mauve-ish hue and just a hint of glitter. For a chance to win, link to her interview below or to the DG home page from your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter. Then post a comment on the interview (not here) with the URL or your Facebook or Twitter name. The winner will be chosen on Friday, July 10, using, and announced on Monday, July 13.

DG Q&A: Karen Robinovitz

Karen Robinovitz When Marie Claire magazine challenged Karen Robinovitz and her friend Melissa de la Cruz to make themselves famous—defined as having their photos and bold-faced names in the gossip columns—in just two weeks, the assignment led to a book which in turn led Robinovitz to a career-shaping revelation: She knew and cared more about marketing than her publisher. A lot more. She was, in fact, “a marketing person,” born to come up with clever ways of attracting attention, not only to herself but to all sorts of paying clients.

Nowadays, her favorite brand isn't a corporate client but her own company Purple Lab and its line of stylish lip glosses, Huge Lips Skinny Hips (available online here). On her PurpleBlab blog, Karen chronicles the not-always-glamorous process of taking her venture from idea to reality, promising to “dish all the dirty secrets I learn from labs and manufacturers and what we go through to line up distribution, financing, PR, events, etc.” She kindly agreed to dish a bit with DG.

Read to the end of the interview to learn how to win a sample of Purple Lab's Worship Kate lip gloss.

DG: In blogging about your company and in How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less, you’ve taken some of the mystery out of things readers find glamorous, whether that’s starting a beauty-product company or getting your name in boldface type in the gossip columns. Do you think readers find the things you write about less glamorous after reading your behind-the-scenes depictions? Do you yourself find them less glamorous, or perhaps glamorous in a different way?

KR: I don’t really know if readers find that the true behind-the-scenes moments kill the glamour factor. I think that all of the things that seem glamorous are not ever as glamorous in reality — models always say how their lives are trying and hard and yet, they seem so full of fantasy. I am just sharing my own experience, which is sometimes glamorous and sometimes just the opposite, and I can only hope that people find a bit of themselves, something to relate to or an inside look at something they want to know more about, in my experiences.

I am anti-velvet rope so for me, the blog about the making of Purple Lab is about breaking that rope down and giving, in a sense, a blueprint of starting a business. I would hope that someone can find it useful and know the pitfalls I fell into so that they don’t.

DG: In How to Become Famous, you and Melissa write, “We have been obsessed with fame and those who are famous for as long as we can remember. We longed for attention — glamorous dresses, standing ovations, and a reason to thank the Academy.” Why do you think people (including you) long to be famous? Are those dresses glamorous by themselves, or is it the fame and attention that makes them glamorous? Has your fame lived up to your dreams?

How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less KR: I would never say I am even remotely famous. But I can’t lie and say I don’t like a little attention! But the reason I think that fame is so addictive for everyone — and the millions of celebrity blogs and magazines are a testament to that — is because it represents fantasy, escape, the ability to have whatever you want, go wherever you want, buy whatever you want, go to the most exclusive events, and connect with amazingly talented people. Plus, there are the perks that come with fame — swag, travel, private jets! I would not say that now, as someone in her “early late thirties” I crave the same things I did when I was younger — i.e., that kind of fame. But I do still crave the fabulous dresses.

DG: Since discovering your calling as a marketing person, what have you learned about business that surprised you?

KR: I could go on and on about this. Really, the back end of the business and how much is involved was a huge surprise for me... what it takes to manufacture, ordering minimums, branding packaging, deadlines, working a year in advance to launch a product (and that is considered a tight deadline!), what goes into shipping and not just sell in with retailers — but sell through. There are so many aspects to it that it is often overwhelming, but I welcome the challenge and am excited to see where it all takes me.

Purple labs huge lips skinny hips lip gloss

DG: You write that your lip gloss/plumper, Huge Lips Skinny Hips, which contains the appetite suppressant Hoodia, is “NOT about being skinny.” What is it about?

KR: I think we all — as women — think about our hips (and our lips!). Skinny for one woman may not be skinny for another, but regardless of size, we all want to wear our “skinny jeans,” be they a size 2 or a size 20. So the name is cheeky and playful but not intended to be taken so seriously as far as a directive for women to be skinny. There is a color in the collection called “Love Your Thighs,” which is my hope for all women — we need to embrace ourselves and stop being hard on ourselves.

The fact that the gloss contains an ingredient that has been known for centuries for its appetite suppressing qualities does not mean I am suggesting that women don’t eat. The point is that this is to act as your intention setter, perhaps something that helps keep you conscious and mindful of what and how you eat. At the end of the day, it’s not good for anyone to be double fisting cupcakes when they’re full! And if this gloss is something that enables someone to feel like she has some support at a cocktail party or a trip to the bakery, that’s the point. Plus, it’s a deliciously amazing gloss that is light, moisturizing, and yummy.

DG: You spent a lot of time and money on the packaging of your products, both the “components” that actually hold the gloss and the boxes that it comes in. Why did you decide to spend a few dollars on a box when most beauty products spend 50 cents or less?

Hlsh-box KR: I am driven and inspired by design and for me, it’s a very important aspect of Purple Lab. The products themselves have to look and feel good and every touch point of every aspect of it should too. I would rather make less money and deliver a fantastic product that women will love the look of, love the feel of and have fun buying. The price of the box will eventually drop as we order it in larger quantities — right now, we’re ordering at the minimums because we’re a small brand. As you order more, the price goes down. Besides, I wanted this to be fresh, different, and sexy. That’s worth the extra money for me — and I would rather pay for it than the buyer.

DG: I almost never wear lip gloss, as opposed to lipstick, because I don’t like the sweet flavors it comes in. Why does lip gloss always have a flavor? Why can’t I buy flavorless lip gloss?

KR: Every product is not meant for every woman. We all have different tastes. I happen to like a sweet tasting and smelling gloss. We may go into a product with no scent or flavor at some point and hearing that definitely inspires me to create that, because glosses don’t HAVE to have a flavor.

DG: You had a lot of fun naming your gloss colors. What’s your favorite and why?

KR: That is like asking a mother which child she likes better! It’s impossible to answer because I’m so emotionally attached to all of them. They are my babies and the names of each shade are tributes to what inspires me everyday.

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour?

It can be understated or in your face and it is impossible to make one clear definition because ultimately, glamour is in the eye of the beholder. You can feel glamorous which is really about evoking confidence, positive energy, and eye-popping style. You can buy something glamorous — be it a crystal chandelier or a pair of python shoes — that takes your breath away. You can wear a dress that adds instant glamour to your life.

Kate moss cape town 2) Who or what is your glamorous icon?

I have so many — Kate Moss for the effortlessly chic way she wears clothes, Jane Birkin for her relaxed studied casual beauty, Bianca Jagger for her va-va-va-voom 70s appeal in YSL and Halston, Carine Roitfeld of French Vogue for her hard femininity and extreme shoe choices, Warholian icons like Edie Sedgwick and Baby Jane. There are plenty more!

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity?

Glamour is a state of mind and I don’t believe it should be a luxury — I think every woman should have her glamour moments whether she has a red carpet life or not.

4) Favorite glamorous movie?

Rear Window— Grace Kelly makes me melt!

5) What was your most glamorous moment?

My wedding. Not only was it the happiest moment I can imagine, but it was full of love, joy, excitement, wonderful family and great friends, but perfect makeup and the most beautiful custom Zac Posen creamy silk gown, trimmed in hand-dyed pompoms and a hint of curly ostrich feathers!

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)?

A private jet with Hermes interior —I have yet to see one but, OMG!, THAT is glamour!

And any piece of furniture at the Moss store (

Amanpuri pool phuket 7) Most glamorous place?

Amanpuri in Phuket — beautiful, peaceful, remote and where I honeymooned so it’s full of romantic memories

8) Most glamorous job?

Any job that inspires. For me, it’s being able to create a beauty brand inspired by everything I’m passionate about. I am truly appreciative of the path I’m on, no matter how hard and overwhelming it is - and it is!

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don’t?

Wearing too many diamonds at once.

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized?

I’m stumped right now!

11) Can glamour survive?

Absolutely. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be glamorous. Some of my most glam moments are when I am home and realize I have nowhere to be, no deadline to meet and total freedom. That is my ultimate luxury and glamour moment. As long as women want to feel special, glamour will be there, waiting...

12) Is glamour something you’re born with?

Yes and no. You can be born with a glamour state of mind and tastes and lifestyle but you can create it for yourself as well. Glamour doesn’t have to have a price tag - it can be a cheap leopard print vintage hat.


1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Can I say both? They are opposite sides of the same coin and I appreciate each equally.

2) Paris or Venice? Paris

3) New York or Los Angeles? NY (actually, bi-coastal!)

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Di

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Tokyo

6) Boots or stilettos? Stiletto boots!

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Deco (but only in doses)

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Astin! No question.

9) Armani or Versace? Versace

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Oh, that is a cruel question! They’re both two icons of glamour who have influenced fashion and design tremendously. I like quoting Diana more than Anna though.

11) Champagne or single malt? I don’t drink. If I had to say, champagne.

12) 1960s or 1980s? 60s

13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds!

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Kate, Kate, Kate!

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Sean

Karen has generously offered to give one lucky DG reader a tube of Huge Lips, Skinny Hips gloss in the appropriately glamorous Worship Kate tint, a rich pink with a warm mauve-ish hue and just a hint of glitter. For a chance to win, link to this interview or to the DG home page from your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter. Then post a comment below with the URL or your Facebook or Twitter name. The winner will be chosen on Friday, July 10, using

[Kate Moss by Flickr user Deon Maritz under Creative Commons license. Amanpuri pool by Flickr user erm. under Creative Commons license.]

Maureen Kelly On Mom Glamour, And A Tarte Makeup Giveaway

C12008_sm Like many entrepreneurs, Maureen Kelly found her niche out of frustration. She loved makeup--she calls herself a "natural-born product junkie" and has confessed to giving her sister's doll an unrequested makeover as a preschooler--but she didn't like what she considered unhealthy ingredients and "boring, unglamorous black pots." In response, she left her doctoral studies at Columbia (where she received a master's in clinical psychology) and created tarte, debuting her first products in 2000 at Henri Bendel. The company's hit products derive their glamour not only from makeup's eternal promise of "hope in a jar" but from ecological ideals and sensuous packaging.

As Mother's Day approaches, we asked Maureen about motherhood and glamour.

DG: Has your definition of "glamour" changed since you became a mother? How?

MK: Since I’ve become a mom my definition of glamour has changed a bit—I still think of Grace Kelly and Aubrey Hepburn as iconic definitions of the term glamour, but I’m also noting more mother-figures as having that 'je ne se quoi'.

DG: How do you incorporate glamour into life as a busy mom?

MK: As a busy mom of two boys, I try to incorporate glamour into my life through makeup! A new shade of lipstick or a pretty pop of color on your cheek instantly updates your look and helps you stay current. I love makeup because it’s an inexpensive and easy way to update your style-these days we can all appreciate that! Being a mom means we don’t get to spend as much time on ourselves as we’d like so whether it’s a pretty pucker or a smokey eye, makeup is a quick and easy way to feel better about ourselves. It’s all about the little things these days.

DG: Who is the most glamorous mother you know of? What is it about her that makes her glamorous to you?

MK: Salma Hayek. She’s not only beautiful, but smart. Her work with UNICEF helps pregnant women get tetanus vaccines—to me that’s the epitome of glamour.

Spring Greening Tarte has generously agreed to give one of its scrumptious-looking Spring Greening makeup palettes to a lucky DG reader.

The Spring Greening palette includes six vibrant eyeshadows, three lip glosses with the company's t5 super fruit complex™ to keep lips soft and smooth, and a bamboo eyeshadow brush—all in a reusable compact made of straw and recycled materials.

The Spring Greening palette retails for $38.50 at, Sephora,, and

To win yours, be the first reader to email me at with the subject line TARTE. Please include your mailing address.

[Contest open to U.S. residents only. Prize will be shipped directly from Tarte.]

Music And Spells: Borrowing Glamour From Classical Music, Part 3

2252960671_df2a6dbc2c Part 1 of this series of three posts suggested that the qualities of “glamour,” “atmosphere,” and “immediacy” are important to using classical music successfully in choreography or as film music. Part 2 pointed out that the timbre (character and tone color) of the instruments and voices used in the performance of a piece of music are crucial to the way the music feels.

Another important consideration is whether the music’s nature leaves room for extramusical information. Some abstract pieces of music seem to unfold in a process of “developing,” of “becoming” a complete work in the future. Trying to following this process can absorb your attention, leaving little room for stage actions or visual images. In contrast, musical works that seem to live more in the present moment are generally preferable in the theater.

Even if not written for the theater, such music may sometimes have extramusical associations such as text or titles. I’ll illustrate this by focusing on a few musical works that have fairy-tale associations. Maurice Ravel composed masterfully both for piano and for orchestra. The final section of his Mother Goose Suite  is titled “The Fairy Garden,” the title itself suggesting “atmosphere.” If you compare the beginning of the original four-hand piano version to his transcription of the same music for orchestra, it’s clear that the different colors make the atmosphere of each feel quite different.

The piano version is lovely, and solo piano music has been used effectively for both ballet and films. But  comparing the opening measures, I don’t feel that the piano’s percussive nature evokes the delicacy of a fairy garden in the same way as does the soft sustained bowing of the strings.

460px-Mermaid's_Song Music written with some theatrical flare tends to make more noticeable use of orchestral color. As noted in part 1, Elizabeth Sawyer felt that Weber’s music generally has “atmosphere,” and that Brahms’ music does not. This stems in part from Weber’s concern with details of color. To cite one example, Weber specifies more string section color effects in the first three minutes of the Overture to his opera Oberon (fairies again) than you are likely to find in an entire Brahms symphony. Many of these color details are subtle, but concern with subtleties is crucial to “glamour.” Brahms didn’t write for the theater, and he seems to have had little interest in the kind of “glamorous,” “atmospheric” coloring that can make such a immediate and memorable impression in the theater.

So, given an orchestra’s tremendous range of color possibilities, using colors theatrically is one way to add glamour and atmosphere. Doing so relates to the notion of glamour as something beyond the ordinary. In essence, you can use orchestral colors to present music in a straightforward, relatively “neutral” way, or you can use them to present music in a way that is more striking, more “glamorous.”

If we personify this, we can imagine theater music as tending to wear glamorous makeup, rather than no or minimal makeup. (Or we could contrast glamorous clothing versus plain clothing.) Remarks of this kind are controversial because some composers contend that the sound of their music is always intrinsic, not something that can be considered as “coloring” or “apparel.” Stravinsky, who achieved international fame with ballet scores and whose orchestration is always striking, once praised Beethoven’s instrumentation for its “sobriety,” saying Beethoven’s orchestration is never “apparel,” and thus “never strikes one.” (Stravinsky’s remarks suggest an ambivalence about noticeable artfulness that I have written about as a general artistic issue elsewhere.)

The Dutch site GirlScene has posted images of models with and without makeup, generating controversy there and at Feminine Beauty. Regardless of what you think of the photographs, they demonstrate that each model’s underlying bone structure and facial features remain the same, whether wearing makeup or not. So too, all of our musical examples have underlying melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structures that remain the same, regardless of the colors used to present them. Nonetheless, it is surprising how much surface coloring influences our impressions (See Virginia Postrel’s images of Donatello’s David with and without gilded hair.)

The purpose of this series of posts has been to discuss some of the qualities that make some music more “glamorous” and “atmospheric,” and thus suitable for use in the theater. Stated bluntly, in the theater “neutral” orchestration tends to fall flat. The theater is no more “the real world” than fashion photo shoots are. Both worlds deal in illusions. People come to the theater hoping to somehow be enchanted, hoping to be transported to somewhere less ordinary, and “glamorous” sounds can help create that spell. 

Puccini was a master of atmospheric scoring, and his tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot has been used in at least 15 movies, frequently at an emotional high point in the movie that consists only of action. In the opera the aria is sung at night, and the whole town has been ordered to stay awake (no one sleeps, nessun dorma) to try to discover the name of the Prince who has solved the Princess’s riddle. In addition to highly atmospheric scoring in the strings and the rest of the orchestra, we also hear the ethereal effect of an offstage chorus (usually absent from concert performances). In addition, Puccini writes for the tenor voice with consummate skill, including knowing which vowel sounds work best for high notes. (Don't get confused by the subtitles: the subtitles in this video are in Spanish, but he’s singing in Italian.)

When this aria is used in films, the theatrical device is often to have some character in the film be listening to the aria. This device is used in The Sum of All Fears. In a scene in which the American president and Soviet chairman sign a new peace accord, various conspirators who tried to bring about nuclear war are assassinated. The first of these conspirators is listening to the aria. The applause at the end of the aria seems to serve dual purposes. 

In all cases where I have heard this aria used in films, the emotional intensity of the music helps make the film scene seem to have great emotional significance. Remarkably, in The Witches of Eastwick the aria occurs during a joyous scene, and in The Killing Fields during an introspective scene. Thus it is clearly the aria’s level of emotional intensity that interests film makers (more than a specific emotional quality). Intensity, plus the music’s ability to cast a unforgettable spell.

[Photo "Awaiting a Fairy" © Jean Goff (Flickr user Tangent~Artifact) and used by permission.]

Lust To Dust: Jane Cosmetics Files For Chapt. 11

Mid-range, but raved-about, makeup brand Jane is filing for bankruptcy, which will be sad news for fans of the super-saturated colors.  Jane wasn't so hard to find as to be a cult brand, but gave a lot of punch for few bucks at the drugstore.

Vc284a Makeup aficionados love to mourn the lost (and perfume freaks are even worse), and rightly so.  No high-priced brand can match the sprightly packaging of Yardley's Eau de London scent and makeup collections today-- I know a graphic artist who still has all those cute little china pots,  with  their shimmering contents are long departed.  Of course, the company abandoned Carnaby Street, and  fans abandoned them.  
That's Jean Shrimpton in the print ad--love that line Self-Realization, His Capitulation.

Love had Ali McGraw as a model, and a great eyeshadow --Lovelids, which came in an eyeball shaped container, which sounds creepy but it was cute, honest. 

What becomes of the discontinued, once was loved but now departed? The internet abounds with info.  You gotta shop around.

Musei Della Città Delle Belle Donne

Via Delle Belle Donne

Not surprisingly, a city whose ancient streets include one dedicated to Beautiful Women takes the art of beauty seriously--and not just in the gorgeous faces depicted by Botticelli, Leonardo, and the Lippis.

You can buy perfumes and lotions at the Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, the oldest apothecary in Europe, or spend nothing and enjoy the perfumed air while gazing at frescoes and centuries-old ceramics jars.

The Salvatore Ferragamo shoe museum confirms Andy Warhol's observation that department stores and museums are much the same. It also demonstrates, in the contrast between its historic archives and the current exhibit of shoes from the movie Australia, that the chunky styles of the 1940s look better in larger sizes. (There's another YouTube feature, with background on the museum, here.)

My favorite discovery, however, is the tiny Museo della Ciprie, or Museum of Powder Boxes, really just a special room in a perfume shop on the tony Via de' Tornabuoni, not far from Ferragamo. The museum houses a collection of the decorative boxes in which face powder was sold through the first half of the 20th century. How do you package the promise of beauty? Here's a slideshow of examples.


Smooth Wrinkles With Higher BMI

Deep Glamour readers Olivia N., Meredith W. and Michele G. are the winners of Wei King's chestnut collection skincare (we were deluged with emails, and so picked the first three from different time zones.) Thanks to everyone who entered.

Sharpei But, if scientists at Case Western Reserve U. are telling the truth, I probably should have sent out packets of snickerdoodles and deep-fried Snickers.  A study of twins showed that a few extra pounds smooths out the wrinkles, and makes you look younger, at least after 40.   A casual glance around any mall proves this to be true--all those skinny Minnies have lines and crinkles where their well-padded sisters have smooth cheeks and foreheads.   Of course, smoking and tanning will age the skin, and the study also found that treating depression with medications will make you look older.

So, what's a lady to do? If you don't smoke, go to the beach and/or eat full-fat ice cream, you could get depressed, take Prozac and look just as haggard as if you'd done all those bad things in the first place.   Fat and happy seems to be the way to eternal youth.  Tell Oprah to calm down.

Special Offer From Smashbox: Save $25 On $100

$25 off $100 purchase

I get a zillion of these promotions from would-be advertisers and usually pass. (DG readers aren't big enough shoppers to justify the visual clutter.) But this one seems like an unusually good deal, and I do like Smashbox products. So I decided to share it.

The Eyes Have It

BBC: "It may be possible to read a person's personality through their eyes, Swedish researchers have said. They have detected patterns which show warm-heartedness and trust or neuroticism and impulsiveness."

See, as the Discover Magazine explained, crypts  are the squiggly lines radiating out from the pupil  and furrows are teeny tiny circular lines curving around the outer edge of the iris. (click here to see the far left eye with few crypts, the center eye with large crypts and the right eye with furrows).

"[Researcher Mats Larsson] found that a low frequency of crypts was significantly associated with tender-mindedness, warmth, trust, and positive emotions, whereas more distinct and extended furrows were associated with impulsiveness."

"Yeah, but we just found this out in 2007," you're saying. "We didn't really know what to look for until now." But maybe we've known all along.

Look, for instance, at the drawings of pretty girls in Anime, consistancy of one color (and always a glint of light) signify the most sought-after, tender-hearted girl.Anime

The polar opposite of the mild character are the I'm-about-to-freak-out eyes with lots of circles (aka furrows) which universally signal something's about to go down. Think about cartoon character who's eyes are turned into swirling circles when they see the girl of their dreams, or morph into bulls eye's when they are angry beyond control-- "people with more furrows found it less easy to control cravings and were more impulsive."

So maybe in our collective unconscious, we've always understood that less crypts means sweet natured and more furrows mean impulsive behavior; apparently even kids can read what's really what simply by watching cartoons.

Anyway, turns out you can test out real anime eyes for yourself. Go get yourself some pretty anime contacts and go do some own experiments out in the field, just make sure to let dear Mats Larsson know what transpired.