From time to time, personalities find themselves in disfavor with the public at large. It is at these moments that a well-designed campaign to win back the fickle fandom of our celeb-obsessed culture can help turn the tide. We've enlisted board-certified Assistant Life Coach Jeff Johnson to provide occasional career counseling and image management to stardom's wounded birds. This is his first column.
This week Page Six has been riddled with horrendous anecdotes about Dina Lohan bombing as a red-carpet interviewer for "Entertainment Tonight" at the premiere of her daughter's new movie Georgia Rule. A lot of people are questioning why she is even there. So am I. But, unlike those naysayers, I am 100% certain Dina has talent. Possibly too much talent for one career. And this is a plus!
If I were in charge of her career, I'd yank her off the red carpet, and (temporarily) out of the public eye immediately. And we'd kill this kinda shit ASAP, while gearing up for a multi-pronged entertainment attack. No longer would she grovel for "ET"'s cut-rate limelight. No more journeys to visit her firstborn, Hoovertron-2000, in faux-hab. No more leggy, confessional Harper's Bazaar features. We'd forgo the real-life "drama" and play to Dina's strengths as a legitimate three-tool star.
Step 1) Get daughters Ali and Lindsay a real manager. Quietly put her son up for adoption. Dina will focus strictly on her craft(s). In her rare public appearances, she will be seen on the arm of Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Is he married? Whatever.
Step 2) Get her into a Lifetime Movie. If Yasmeen Bleeth and Meredith Baxter-Birney can do it, DEENS totally can, too. I know what you're thinking, "Right, get her to play some floozy mom, with an out-of-control daughter and a rampaging drunken Irish husband who is often confused for Danny Pelosi. Bo-ring." But that is not the direction I would advocate. I'd land Dina a small role as a female deputy, or a mousy secretary, or mildly depressed watercolor-artist who sees something she shouldn't. Very Donna Hanover. Maybe as a concerned (whistle-blowing) neighbor, living next door to an abusive father. People (and critics) would say, "Was that Dina Lohan? Weird." And that is precisely the reaction we'd be looking for. Or maybe, on the cop thing, she'd be some amalgamation of both Cagney & Lacey, immune to love, until a childhood sweetheart moved back to town to grow organic squash.
The film's setting would be somewhere rustic. Mountains. Pine trees. Washington State maybe. Dina in jeans and lot of flannels. Her overt sexuality would take a backseat to her acting.
Step 3) We'd get her a tiny bit part thing in a Woody Allen movie, playing herself. Flashy white dress. Tan (you know she was a Rockette) legs. 100,000 watt smile. Limousine. Etc. On the heels of her understated Lifetime Original Movie, this is the kind of curveball that would make people say "Wait a minute, I just saw this bitch in a really understated thing on Lifetime and now she's back glamming it up? WTF?" Then they'd blog about it. Everywhere. Good. Bad. Doesn't matter.
Step 4) Now, you want to see her gabbing on "The View," right? Sorry. She's going on "The Colbert Report"! Mano-a-mano with Stephen, mocking, slightly, her former partying lifestyle, in a fake "legalize-drugs" rant. Or fighting for the rights of paparazzi. Poking fun at herself. Somewhere around this time she's spotted at lunch with Alan Greenspan.
Step 5) Release an iTunes-only single. A duet. With Steve Perry, late of Journey. He needs to re-establish himself too. Let's figure something like "Open Arms '08." Kids would be all, who's that big-nosed creep with Dina? Adult heshers from Long Island (remember, if everything else goes to shit, this is our core) who were put off by Woody Allen and Colbert from would be like, "Yesssss!" If Steve Perry is unavailable or unwilling, we'd recruit Bryan Adams (he probably owes her a favor) or Michael Bolton, though I do not want to go there. I'd even maybe go for Huey Lewis.
If none of that can be done, Plan B would be to get her writhing around on the hood of a car ala Tawny Kitaen in the Whitesnake video for "Here I Go Again." Only this time it is a spoof. Who's singing it? Ricky Gervais. In wig.
Step 6) She's spotted at several intimate dinners with Dave Navarro. Or Lenny Kravitz. Slightly younger, sexual, but not totally threatening.
Step 7) Which leads to... a reality series on CBS, "Become the Next Rockette." Hosted by Mario Lopez (he'll totally fall for her) and Brooke Burke, but Dina regularly appears as the woman who has been in the trenches. Seasoned pundit. Judge? Enforcer? Bitch? Not sure. She and I will concept the show together, and she will later be seen on the arm of Ron Burkle, Ron Pearlman, or Ron Howard.
Step 8) Shortly thereafter, she's spotted with Jaime Spears. Britney's dad. In Sydney, Australia, where we've struck a deal for a luxury canned wine cooler that gives you energy.
Step 9) The DINA-sty. Taped for Showtime, this features all of the Lohan women, dancing and entertaining. And doing a sort of Carol Burnett Show kinda thing.
Step 10) Around this time she appears at Elton John's birthday with Hans Blix, or David Hasselhoff (think of them as a slightly older Pam and Tommy?).
Step 11) Back to making music. She does little unannounced shows at clubs like Lit (still around?) in NYC with her Hole tribute band. She is, of course, the Courtney Love figure.
Step 12) She reunites with ex-hubby Michael (whom I'd also be managing simultaneously) on "Oprah." At the end of the show, Oprah will announce that Dina will be hosting the program from then on.