My Life At Not Vogue, Chapter Eight
One of my last duties at Not Vogue was Fact Checking. I wasn’t supposed to be editing actual articles, but the copy editor had a nervous breakdown one week – she wasn’t allowed off the wait list for the new Chanel shopper, and everyone started looking down on her when they found out – and so I was desperately needed.
Marianne had a little laptop installed on the side of my desk, so when I wasn’t scheduling her meetings, answering her phones, ordering her outfits, or monitoring the security cameras in the fashion closet (newly installed since Valeria’s hasty dismissal), I could make sure every word in our latest issue was accurate.
This would have been fine, if a certain socialite hadn’t been a pathological liar.
For starters, she said she’d been born in Dallas, which was totally wrong – Dallas had no record of her birth, and neither did anywhere else in the United States. Then she told me she was an interior designer, even though nobody in New York (or Dallas; I checked) had ever hired her to decorate a house. Speaking of houses, she said she lived in Soho, but the address she gave me was the Alice Temperley boutique, and not a real apartment. I started wondering if she’d actually been born a man.
“Ava,” trilled Marianne from her office, “Do you have time to run to YSL for me? We need some shoes for the Ikeleine shoot.”
Of course I didn’t have time, but I couldn’t say no. So I jumped in Marianne’s town car – but not without grabbing the company cell phone and a print out from Google.
“Hello, ACME Detective Agency,” said the receptionist on the other line.
“Hi,” I answered, looking out the Not Vogue town car as we sped down Fifth Avenue. “I need you to do a background check on Socialite X for me. I’ll need a birth certificate, criminal check, everything. We can pay in advance.”
Ten minutes later, I had eight pairs of YSL stacked velvet wedges for Ikeleine stashed in the trunk, plus an extra box “as a thank you” for Marianne – their PR director knew her size by heart.
Two hours later, I had the info on Socialite X, who was in fact a former call girl. She’d slept with a museum curator two years ago, when she moved to town from South Carolina (which is definitely not Dallas!) and then wormed her way into his world. First it was an invite to the Costume Institute Ball, and from there, she was unstoppable – as most women who are beautiful, smart, and nicer than they need to be often are. It was like some part that Michelle Feiffer would have played in the ’90s, except it was real. I had three shots of Starbucks espresso before I told Marianne, and when I did, she pulled the spread.
“Damn,” she muttered, “I can’t believe you found that. How did you manange…? Well, it just proves it, you’re too smart for your own good. If only you hadn’t investigated, we could have ran the story, but now I have to fill three pages! Ugh! Maybe Natalie Portman is in town…”
While I called ID Publicity to find out, Marianne figured out a strategy: she would leak the entire Socialite X scandal to Page Six – it was way too salacious to run in Not Vogue – and trade it for some favorable gossip about our magazine (or about Marianne herself) in the column.
“Good work,” nodded Marianne, “but I’m never letting you fact check again.”
Then when the magazine came out, it turned out we’d said Gwyneth’s dress was a Matthew Williamson when it was actually from Dior. I almost got fired, and Marianne was so enraged, she took away my unlimited Starbucks card.
That’s when I knew I had to quit.