Age: 33. Lives: East Village, via Australia. Occupation: Gatecrasher columnist in the Saturday and Sunday NY Daily News.
1. Your gossip career began as being one-half of the power couple behind Hint Mag's popular Chic Happens gossip and fashion column. (Perhaps the gay Rush & Molloy? The gay Batman and Robin?) When did the "chic" hit the fan and you knew it was time to move on?
Actually, he was the straight Michael Musto, and I was the gay Liz Smith. My co-writer, Horacio Silva, and I wound up Chic Happens last summer, after five years. He got a shmancy fashion job at the NY Times Mag, and since by then I was in gossip full time, the last thing I wanted to do when I came home at night was write another gossip column. The two of us turned up from Sydney in 1998, knowing no-one, and I was sure the column would last five minutes before we were shut out. But Chic Happens taught me that New York has both an appetite for scandal and a respect for trouble-making. People can be celebrities here who d be run out of town anyplace else, and that works in favor of the gossips.
2. Covering the fashion world must be tough. You hear all sorts of crazy things that models do to get ahead. Is it true you had two ribs removed so you could stab your main competitor Elisa Lipsky-Karasz in the back with them?
I'd stab her in the front, but have you seen how she's built? You d take your own eye out.
3. As a hot young gossip columnist on the rise have you altered your style or the way you go about your trade now that you have your own NYDN Gatecrasher column? In other words, do you still fall down drunk cracking your head open at parties?
Don t believe everything you read in The Guardian (that rag!). Thankfully the only head injuries I ve sustained lately have been internal.
4. Elisa got the same question, let's be vain: what's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe and did you pay for it?
Boy, did I pay for it. For a long time the most expensive thing in my wardrobe was a triptych of life-size photographs by a downtown NYC artist, Janice Sloane. They were of the wasting-away legs of a friend of hers who was dying of cancer. I loved them but my roommate at the time had a fit when I brought them home, and wouldn t allow them up. So they sat in the closet for two years until I got the apartment to myself, and now they hang above the dining room table, fascinating people or grossing them out, depending on the guests disposition.
5. So, what are your favorite places to "walk the dog" at 4 a.m. in New York?
Ugh, don t talk to me about dogs. If I have one more bad experience with a dog, I m totally trying cats. For serious.
Ben Widdicombe's Top Five:
The pho ga at New Pasteur on Baxter St.
Renting a rowboat on Central Park lake.
The NYRB, although frankly it could lighten up a bit.
Two "New Yorkers" with avocado at Crif Dogs.
Condi/Dubya fan fiction.