Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Contrasts -- and a Common Denominator

"In My Shoes" by Tamara Mellon with William Patrick   Portfolio/Penguin   275 pages   $29.95

Mellon was born in London on July 7, 1967 to a fairly rich family.  She started Jimmy Choo (women's shoes, guys) by contacting an Asian shoemaker who made custom shoes for rich London ladies and offered him a 50/50 partnership to manufacture her designs and to use his name.  Her father lent her the start-up money. 

Mellon's brand soared in America (due largely to "Sex in the City") and spread all over the globe.  During her 15 year reign, Mellon became the British Prime Minister's trade envoy and was given the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Tired of infighting with Choo (quite mad,) the bankers and the private equity firms, she quit.

Along the way she married Michael Mellon who proposed by taking her in  a rose petal- strewn limo to a helicopter and while it circled the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, proposed.  She accepted.  The ensuing wedding was celebrated at Blenheim Castle with a dinner catered by Admiral Crichton, flowers by Kenneth and a 5 ft. tall cake made of profiteroles.  This even cost over $500,000.  She divorced him when he became a drug addict. 

"Rosie Perez Handbook For An Unpredictable Life - How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother and Still Came Out Smiling (With Great Hair) by Rosie Perez   Crown/Archetype   322 pages   $26

Perez was born on September 6, 1964 in Brooklyn.  She was born to a mother and father who were both married to others and already had children.  Soon after giving birth, the mother handed baby Rosie off to her sister and vanished.  Three years later, she came back, swooped down and took Rosie to live at a Catholic children's home after really confusing the three year old with the news that SHE was her Mommy and that the woman she'd been calling Mommy was actually her aunt.  And - bonus points - her uncle was actually her father.

As the world knows, little Rosie grew up to become a funny and talented actress (and Oscar contender) who broke boundaries for Latinas in film. 

The one similarity?  Both of their mothers were clinically insane.  Mellon's mother never said a nice thing to her and drank; Rosie's mother was so ..."flirtatious"... that she ended up with AIDS and eight children - so far - I'm only on page 92. 

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