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Fired up

In the ad business, no one admits they've been fired, and when the sultry Isabella Rossellini was replaced as the face of Lancome in 1995, she stuck to the script. Lancome announced that after appearing in its ads for a decade, the actress/model "wished to pursue other projects."

Today, Rossellini begs to differ. Appearing at playwright Eve Ensler's annual V-Day dinner in New York to raise money to end violence against women, the still-stunning star delivered a defiant monologue that took dead aim at the cosmetic industry's obsession with youth and fear of wrinkles. Rossellini said she was fired by Lancome because they thought at 40 she was too old. In reality, she told the audience to loud applause, "I became more powerful than the product they were selling to make women better."

At the end of her monologue-delivered before an audience that included Jane Fonda, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover and Gloria Steinem-Rossellini defiantly declared: "They told me not to talk. But I'm talking now."

Aging young men?

"Let me put it this way," says Felix Dennis, the shy and sedate chairman of Dennis Publishing. "They're a bunch of (derogatory British word for homosexuals). A bunch of politically correct (see earlier)." The (see earlier) in question? Britain's Manchester Guardian, which last Monday published an article-engagingly entitled "The Lads Go Limp"-detailing sudden circulation shortfalls reported among the British laddie magazines that roared through the magazine world this past decade.

The article gleefully termed sales of three of the four best-selling lager-n-ladies mags-Emap's FHM, IPC Group's Loaded, and Dennis' own Maxim-"flaccid," and noted FHM and Loaded reported double-digit percentage drops in the past year.

Can it be last call for the lad books in England? Not bloody likely, says Dennis, pointing to multiple new launches in Britain in the past five years, adding the category's cumulative circ in that time went from 1.3 million to 1.8 million. "It has taken a knock, but it's still selling more overall," Dennis says. (Not like the teen category, which Dennis abandoned, in which he says circulation "goes up and down quite like a new bride's drawers.")

Still, he admits meta-metaphorically, "the boys are being sorted from the girls, the sheep from the goats, and, to some extent the bloom is off the rose." Anyway, Dennis doesn't harbor ill will towards the paper that dared ask "Is the writing finally on the wall for the New Lad?" "I've been reading the Guardian all my life," says Dennis. "I love it. But they're a bunch of (see earlier)."


Which concludes the NR-17 portion of this program. Next up: What media exec donned corporate drag earlier this month in Orlando? None other than ESPN Outdoor SVP-General Manager Michael Rooney, who, in the name of Disney corporate training, gamely guised himself as Monsters, Inc. character Sully and submitted himself to the Magic Kingdom's screaming minions.

It's not as easy as it looks, says Rooney of his hour-long stint: "The suit weighs 75 pounds, and it was hot and humid." Adages had to ask if any fans misbehaved, having heard from a pal and former professional Chuck E. Cheese costume-wearer about the need to strong-arm the occasional foot-stomping tyke. Mr Rooney said no-although some grownups seemed, ah, a little too into it: "They were competing with the kids to get to the character." Ah, yes. If there's one thing more All-American than Disney's characters, it's the cry of the child in all of us: "Me first!"

Contributing: Scott Donaton. Adages and Richard Linnett will be back next Monday.

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