Zoe Alexander

Archive for April 2013

The Bling Ring

Nancy Jo Sales has been a prolific journalist in the New York media scene since the mid-nineties. Working in the glitzy world of celebrity journalism has its rewards–usually in the form of becoming incredibly connected to people and new opportunities. So, it’s not surprising that what began as a 2010 article she penned for Vanity Fair magazine called, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” about a group of upper-middle class kids from the Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley who were burglarizing the homes of celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom turned into a book deal for her and a film by Sofia Coppola.

Nancy will be at the DIVA Luncheon on May 15th and so you guys can congratulate her in person and ask her all of your questions.

In the meantime, The Bling Ring which hits bookstores on May 21st. (Buy it here now.) looks so juicy that I wanted to be among the first to get the scoop from her about the book, movie and how it all came together.

Zoe: Your book “The Bling Ring” has been all over the press and I read recently that Sofia Coppola is making it into a movie! How did that happen?

Nancy Jo: The book is coming out May 21 and the movie is coming out June 14, so it’s great timing. The movie is based on an article I did for Vanity Fair in 2010, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” about a group of kids from the Valley who were burglarizing the homes of celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom. They found out where they lived and where they would be from celebrity websites and their Twitter postings and celebrity news. Sofia Coppola optioned the story in 2010. I got approached by Harper Collins, the publisher, in Summer 2012. I hadn’t really thought about doing a book on the story before this. I had to turn it around really fast, in about six months. It was intense.

Zoe: It’s really interesting how celebrity gossip has become a dominate niche in journalism. What do you think about the ubiquity of the Hollywood gossip and how does that relate to your book?

Nancy Jo: These days it’s impossible not to hear Hollywood gossip, as the media has become so full of it. Today we have an unprecedented number of news outlets reporting on the every move of celebrities 24/7. This book is about the Bling Ring burglaries, fascinating crimes, but it’s also about celebrity obsession and the effect it has on kids, which I think is a really important thing for us to be thinking and talking about.

Zoe: Yes! Was that the most compelling aspect of the Bling Ring story for you?

Nancy Jo: It was incredible to me how bold the kids were, just walking into these very famous people’s houses and taking their stuff. Sometimes they went back to the houses multiple times. It got me thinking about the breakdown of the wall people between famous and un-famous. These days everyone can become famous with a few clicks of a mouse, through posting things via Twitter, Facebook or YouTube; so the kids didn’t really see any difference between themselves and the celebrities, in a way. I think their obsession was not only with fame, though, but with the celebrities’ wealth and lavish lifestyles. Our obsession with the super-rich is another thing that I think is very unhealthy for kids.

Zoe: I agree. Kids are growing up confusing marketing and promotional artifice for actual art. That’s a problem and vast topic for another time. For now, who are your writing inspirations?

Nancy Jo: I was a reader as a kid and still am and never stop being inspired by great writers. The ones I go back to again and again are Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison.

Zoe: Have you met Alexis Neiers or any of the real life members of the Bling Ring? Do they know about the book? If so, what was their reaction? Do they think it’s cool they are being immortalized or are they mortified?

Nancy Jo: I interviewed Alexis and Nick Prugo at length for the article, and, more briefly, Courtney Ames. All of them know about the book, as I contacted all of their lawyers during the process of writing it, reaching out to do more interviews. None of them would agree to talk about it anymore. They seem to have conflicted feelings about their fame, or at least the way they became famous. Alexis was on an (E!) reality show in 2010, Pretty Wild, and had aspirations of being a model or an actress. Nick Prugo and Rachel Lee wanted to be fashion designers. So they had an interest in becoming part of the celebrity world before they became celebrity burglars.

Zoe: There is an interesting phenomenon happening where lines between being infamous and famous are blurry.

Nancy Jo: It’s about the time we live in and, for better or worse, that involves people like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. If you’re interested in celebrity culture and what’s going on with kids, you might find it interesting.

Zoe: Are you involved with the making of the movie at all?

Nancy Jo: The Bling Ring movie is based on my Vanity Fair article and I met with Sofia Coppola several times while she was writing the script to talk about the story. The movie is her vision, and it’s really great.

Zoe: Tell me what it’s like writing for Vanity Fair. What has been your best moment so far?

Nancy Jo: It’s a privilege to write for such a great magazine. One of my most incredible experiences was interviewing the actor Randy Quaid and his wife Evi in 2011; they believed they were being hunted down by a group of murderous Hollywood executives they called “the Hollywood Starwackers” (the were in the grip of this delusion). I met up with them in Canada, where they had fled seeking asylum and still remain. It was very bizarre and very interesting.

Zoe: You recently wrote the Taylor Swift Vanity Fair cover story. What was she like?

Nancy Jo: Taylor’s talented and successful and got her head screwed on straight. I think all the teasing is a little unfair.

Zoe: Who would you love to interview that you haven’t yet?

Nancy Jo: I’ve done a lot of stories about famous people who are a little outrageous—Dennis Rodman, Courtney Love, Hugh Hefner. They always make for the most interesting stories. I’d love to interview Kim Jong Un, the head of North Korea. What is with him?

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We are proud of DIVA Barrie-Lynn a.k.a The Cheese Impresario for being selected for recognition by More Magazine.

Check out her website

Recently, one of the DIVAS mentioned she broke a tooth eating popcorn and suffered the demoralizing experience of having to go to work meetings with a chipped front tooth. She told me about how just weeks prior she’d met a woman who recommended a great restorative dentist. She didn’t realize she would be needing one so soon after getting that tip but the universe gives you what you need if you pay attention, right? Get this. The dentist was the woman’s ex-husband. The DIVA did some relationship math and figured he must be a good dentist and a decent guy if his ex-wife was recommending him.

So the DIVA made the appointment with Dr. Derek Faktor. He fixed her tooth and she said she didn’t experience any pain during or after the procedure. In fact, she ended up not even needing to fill the prescription for pain medication he gave her. She also confirmed that he’s a nice guy as well as very professional. Oh and in case you’re wondering…he’s single. Act fast! A single, good-looking doctor in Manhattan is like a unicorn — impossible to find. If you are taken and just need a great dentist.. he’s perfect for that too. Tell him the DIVAS sent you.

Here are his details:


Dr. Derek Faktor
693 Fifth Ave 14th Floor
New York, New York 10022


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