As someone with newfound access to celebrity press events, I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to pretend to be bored and blase about attending a “Spa Day Experience” hosted by Fran Drescher. My last Spa Day Experience involved me walking into my neighborhood nail salon, inquiring about the price of a mani/pedi, and leaving in mortified silence. So I had high hopes for this work-required day of beauty, which not only promised a crystal reading, reflexology massage, and something called a lip reading, but was thrown by a celebrity that my mother would recognize.
If you haven’t thought about Fran Drescher in a while, you probably don’t have cable, where her hit 1990s show the “The Nanny” replays at the remarkable rate of 10 reruns in a row on Nick at Nite. (Not to reveal my bias this early on, but for the love of God, someone do that with “The Golden Girls.”) Last year, a 10:30 pm “Nanny” rerun got better ratings than critically adored prestige drama “The Americans.” Cut to present day, and things still look good for Drescher: she had a new sitcom in 2011, “Happily Divorced,” whose premise was based on her real-life husband’s coming out as gay after 21 years of marriage. While every female I know in New York City routinely complains that unknowingly marrying a gay man is either her personal nightmare or her certain destiny, Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson (who co-created “The Nanny”) mined the experience for comedy and made a TV show. “Happily Divorced” lasted for two seasons. Plus, Drescher got married last month to one of those hot tech types. Girl can bounce back.
This drive is how I end up on the 24th floor of the Bryant Park Hotel making polite conversation during a complimentary hand massage, waiting my turn to interview the Nanny. A gaggle of celebrity and beauty writers were there not just for free New Age treatments but to learn about the Yes! By Finishing Touch hair remover, a device which I keep hearing defined more by what it isn’t — “not a laser, not a razor.” The PR girl walks me through its uses: “face, arms, legs… tougher areas.” As far as I’m concerned, a hair removal device is useless if it can’t do those tougher areas. A truly successful press event would have had someone smiling while giving themselves a “not a laser, not a razor” Brazilian. Alas, us hard journalists just had to settle for 10-minute back massages instead.
I was also somewhat skeptical of the lip reading. Here is how to do a lip reading:I’ll be honest: I am a bit of an alternative medicine skeptic. I have a type of migraine known as cluster headache, also known as “suicide headache,” because the pain is so intense that sufferers have been known to jump off bridges. So I was a little reluctant to embrace healing power of something like reflexology, which claims it can fight a migraine with a subtle palm massage. Still, a subtle palm massage in a fancy hotel while publicists flutter around offering cucumber watter has its own way of healing what ails you.
Step 1, put on lipstick.
Step 2, kiss a piece of paper.
Step 3, woman who looks like your grandmother reads your future from the paper.
Apparently I am an “up and coming writer” (score!) who will go through many changes in my career. I may soon get an “on-camera moment.” There was a camera filming the event so, believe whatever you want, but we both know my time is coming. My lip reader left me with the message, “You are evolving” is nice and probably true, but I would have settled for “you will soon meet a hot, foreign man.”
Despite the very tenuous connection between the predictions of my “lip reading” and my actual future, Fran Drescher actually has a serious and longtime commitment to health. She is most well-known for starting a Fran Fine-sounding cancer foundation, Cancer Schmancer, after overcoming uterine cancer. The organization is dedicated to cancer early detection, prevention, and U.S. policy change. The website states the organization is working on the Carcinogen-Free Label Act, a bill that will enable consumers to make healthier choices by adding a special “Carcinogen Free” label on products without toxins.
As a uterine cancer survivor, Drescher is dedicated to alternative medicine. By the time New Age bigwig Deepak Chopra introduced Fran and her husband at the even I’ll admit, I was excited to hear her health tips. Celebrities, as we all know, take incredible care of themselves. “I try to use products that are very uncomplicated ingredients and that might be grown in a grandma’s garden,” Drescher said. “If you’re not eating organic, whole food, staying away from GMO food, staying away from food that’s not organic, you’re really stressing your body and immune system, and its gonna show in your skin.”
Drescher encourages awareness and advocacy, whether you’re in the kitchen or the doctor’s office:
“[There are] autoimmune problems that presently our doctors call idiopathic, which to me just means the idiots don’t know why you’re getting it, because nobody asks the right questions. So a lot of things that people are suffering from now, from migraines to asthma to arthritis to a lot of other things I think has to do with what we’re eating and what we’re exposing ourselves to, environmentally.”
Do crystal readings come into play in your daily life, I didn’t ask. How often do you meditate? Have you ever had Chipotle? I will need to get better at interviewing celebrities.
After learning what a strong and vocal woman Drescher is, I couldn’t resist asking her if there are any women’s issues she thinks aren’t getting enough attention right now. Her answer didn’t disappoint:
“I think a big woman’s issue is that we need to create a more female-friendly environment. We should stop debating about like a woman’s right to choose, a woman should not have her body legislated. However, what we really should be fighting for is to create a very female-friendly society whereby a woman should work and not worry about the kid, and a place to bring the kid at work, including an infirmary at work.”
Fran Drescher, feminist! Let’s all grow our hair out just so we can remove it with this product in honor of Fran.