Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mid-Week Morsel: Oprah Winfrey

Your Mama only read it this week in The Hollywood Reporter but several months ago multi-billionaire media maven Oprah Winfrey told her own O Magazine that her 23,000 square foot Neo-Georgian mega-mansion in Montecito, CA, was about to get a complete decorative re-do because the European antique-filled, sherbet-toned situation just isn't her thing anymore. What she actually said was "it was all very grand, but it wasn't very true to myself," and that, "the thing that had been missing from all the beautiful places I'd ever lived in, was me!"

What?!? First of all, we're not sure we understand what that actually means but, secondly, do you mean to tell Your Mama and all the gazillions of people whose lives hang on your every book suggestion, Miz Winfrey, that all these years you've been a fantastically rich, self-made woman of mass-market super-influence and impressive philanthropic deeds you have lived in a slew of luxury residences—including this place in Montecito you called The Promised Land—that did not feel to you like an authentic reflection of who you really are? Lady, pleeze. You did not really say that, did you?

Listen, children, we're all for refreshing or completely re-imagining the design and decor of one's home and we can completely understand if The Big O wants to shift towards something a little more understated and whole lot less formal. Have at it. Throw all that gilt-trimmed rich-granny shit out and and let your decorative freak flag fly. We love it. But, seriously, for Miz Winfrey to go on the public record, in her own magazine, and say that all that Old-Money-style decor on which she unquestionably spent a goodly sized (new) fortune did not reflect her real and true self seems to Your Mama to be, well, preposterously disingenuous. Nobody twisted her arm and made her buy Louis the This armchairs or a Louis the That inlaid marble chest so she should just put on her big girl pants and own it, okay?

As far as this cynical property gossip is concerned, her houses and their professionally executed interiors were—and are—terrifically accurate physical manifestations of exactly who she is and exactly who she wanted—and wants—people to think she is: a stately woman of extraordinary wealth and tremendous influence and power who created and for decades has maintained an essentially eponymous super-brand with trans-global reach and, yes, world-wide pop cultural domination. Why else, fer chrissakes, does a person pay $50 million for a 23,000 square foot house on 42 manicured acres in one of the most prestigious and expensive residential enclaves in all of the world and then hire a world-class carriage trade decorator to do it up like a baronial English country house with museum quality antiques?

In fairness, in the O article, which we read on Curbed, the tycooness did good-naturedly skewer herself regarding the curated snootiness of the decor. "Apparently, a hand embroidered pillow from the 1880s doesn't scream, 'Kick back and have a drink!'' she said; And, she went on, "it's not easy to do an entire library that says, 'Do not touch the books,' but somehow I managed." Well, that's all quite charming and ha-ha-hee-hee, but we wonder what The Promised Land's high-brow decorator, Anthony P. Browne, thought of those comments?*

Anyways, Miz Winfrey has decided to part with all her gilded mirrors, marble urns, and green and white gingham sofas that exactly match the green and white gingham fabric covered walls, and all the other probably ludicrously expensive things that she now feels are not a faithful representation of who she really is. Obviously a global superstar can't just have a yard sale like Pamela Anderson or Tori Spelling so Miz Winfrey's no longer wanted things will be sold off to the highest bidder at a highly-publicized auction because, well, doesn't everyone have a deep desire to get in a bidding war over one of the chat show queen's once treasured trinkets or baubles that she now disowns as being or having been an authentic decorative echo of her true self? We know it's probably unpopular and maybe even unkind to say out loud but it's almost more than Your Mama can bear to witness without a nerve pill and a gin & tonic or two. That said...

Public previews for Miz Winfrey's unwanted goods run October 30 through November 1 at the Santa Barbara Polo Club and Racquet Club in Montecito's less-lustrous neighboring seaside community of Carpinteria. The November 2nd sale, handled by Bev Hills-based Kaminski Auctions, will include all manner of odds and ends from Miz Winfrey's homes in Chicago, Hawaii, Indiana, and Montecito and the proceeds will benefit the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation College Fund. Glossy catalogs can be purchased through the auction house for fifty clams and, Your Mama predicts, will become coveted as a collector's item by collectors of celebrity auction catalogs.

The decorative overhaul of Miz Winfrey's Montecito mansion—a extreme home make over that is meant to be ready in time for her star-studded 60th birthday party next January and the one that will, presumably, be a carefully calibrated decorative duplicate of however it is Miz Winfrey sees her authentic self—is reportedly being handled by the extremely capable and accomplished lady-decorator Rose Tarlow, an internationally renown decorator/designer who is much prized by the deep-pocketed likes of David Geffen, Barbara Walters and Eli Broad for her subtle, sophisticated, and brutally expensive decorative ways.**

*With all due respect, it would seem extraordinarily accomplished high-society decorator Anthony P. Browne, the man responsible for the sherbet-y rich-granny day-core at The Promised Land and a man the people at Architectural Digest said Miz Winfrey considered her "aesthetic mentor," probably didn't think anything of his client's (re-)assessment of his handiwork since he passed on last October (2012).

**It was Miz Tarlow, in fact and according to the O article, who spurred the transformation of The Promised Land when she bluntly told Oprah '"This house has nothing to do with you."

photos: O Magazine, via Curbed


Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Genius perfectly pitched post!! Well said.

mattja said...

Well Good for her
Nobody likes to live with same repetitive patterns and worn out sofas...Do you still have your original stuff under your thighs ? Of course Not....TIme for new energy and a fresh canvas.

Anonymous said...

Did Nate do this one? He will be crushed. I dont think he did. She is irrelevant now and has nothing left but to redecorate and eat chicken wings.

Anonymous said...

The Rabbi highly respects The Divine Miss O for her hard work, business acumen, charitable contributions, and encouragement of the practice of reading; therefore, the Rabbi experiences as ironic that Miss O's current library appears to mostly consist of volumes purchased by the linear yard.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Diamonds in the Daytime said...

In O's own words, restated here by Sweet Mama:

"... the thing that had been missing from all the beautiful places I'd ever lived in, was me."

Anonymous said...

She's redoing it all before her big birthday party, so that she can write it all off as a business expense. The nonsense she spouts is just that, nonsense and hype to publicize her auction.

You can take the girl out of Kosciusko Missisippi, but you can't take the Kosciusko Mississippi out of the girl.

I'm not a big fan of Oprah, never have been. She doesn't have any more answers to anything than the rest of us do.

Grrrowler said...

How convenient for Ms. Tarlow that she would plant the seed in Ms. Winfrey's mind to redo her huge house, and then be able to find time in her busy schedule to take on the makeover.

Anonymous said...

I find that whole house so ugly and such an offense for that wonderful plot.

One could hire A-Cero to build a wondrous thing of beauty.

I wonder what she's buying in Los Angeles.

Petra's said...

If any of the children have never seen any of the Oprah parodies by MadTV's genius Debra Wilson, I advise thee to get over to the YouTube immediately.

So hilarious - and true!

Rosco Mare said...

Well said, Mama Dearest!

I like some of Rose Tarlow's work. In my meaningless opinion, though, her vision ruined the beautiful day-core of the Warner estate when she redecorated it for David Geffen.

Anonymous said...

This story is months old. It's moldy.

Anonymous said...

I've never worshiped at the Oprah alter and have always been dumbstruck by those who do. With her Snappy Southern Street Sass and herky jerky head gesturing's. That nonsense may cause some to quake in their boots, I'm just not one of them.
So sister decides she's going back to her roots and changing it all up. That's nice. In her mind, she's helping the economy. All her devotees will now have to run out and buy knock offs of her new, modern Afrocentric décor.
See folks can't say negative boo about her or they are racist. The media created darling to restore racial harmony. She is as humble and relatable as a landmine.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Michael Jackson isn't alive to buy all of her stuff.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Dearest Rabbi hasn't suggested Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture by Eva Illouz. I am shocked that Rabbi worships Oprah. So strange and unexpected.

Anonymous said...

Isn't she supposed to be busy saving Lindsay Lohan? This woman's 15 minutes were up 30 years ago when she was a weather reporter.

lil' gay boy said...

Although the Big "O" is not in my top ten, I too have great respect for what she's achieved; in this ninth circle of Warhol's Hell, where reality TV practically guarantees everyone's fifteen minutes, will we ever really know anyone truly? I bow to the Rebbe's insight.

Especially since our resident rabbi was so spot on with the reference to royalty in my anniversary blessing; after all, as BGD is fond of saying:

"Your mother is dead, so that makes you the old queen; mine's still alive, so I'm the princess."

Good thing I love him.

Anonymous said...

Confidential to Anonymous 12:55 p.m.:

It appears we respectfully disagree: The Rabbi read Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery a few years ago, only after attending lectures by Eva Illouz in Jerusalem and Princeton. Miss O rose from adversity to share a message of hope, faith, and healing, from which the Rabbi and thousands more draw strength. The Rabbi isn't a fan of Miss Winfrey's decorative style; that old trick of two of everything, two lamps, two mirrors, two tabletop torchieres has the Rabbi seeing double! Nevertheless, the Rabbi is a fan of Miss O herself, and apparently a minority among Mama's Kinderlach.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Anonymous said...

Dear Reverend O, congrats on your delusional self-fulfilling prophecy as the second coming. Good luck with that.

Here's a spiritual concept to pray over the next time you feel a divine calling to populate Google pages with your glory and goodness:

Do good for less fortunate in anonymity. It's the humble way to serve. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Arguably, not on par with water into wine, it is nonetheless a modern day miracle: being born to hardship and becoming a life success. However, the reality of grooming in this case can not be overstated. I'm not seeing much innate talent, more blank canvas. Appreciable hard luck back story, clean police record, well groomed man friend... She filled a media marketing niche, and her claim to fame is knowing how to keep her mouth shut and follow the directions of her handlers. Only now is she willing to risk dropping the requisite interior of her home. I'll wager her next move involves her friend Gayle. Every choreographed step this women undertakes is considered. Last time I checked, a favorable syndication deal doesn't qualify a person for canonization.

Anonymous said...

Bored and rich and wanted to spend some money and redo the place. Nothing new, people do it all the time. Not as bad as Ellison and Abramovich who feel the need to buy up every single home they come across for no damn reason.

Anonymous said...

Gay marriage is now legal in CA. Maybe Ms. O and Gayle are boldly taking the plunge and will redecorate accordingly?

lilkunta said...

I agree with Anoonymous Oct 10 2013 at 10:42 AM .
O is turning 60 is January so she is re doing house for her bday party and is gonna write it off as business expense.

If O opened her eyes she could have easily seen her house was not authentically her. Didnt she say her african daughters lived with her during school breaks? They didnt tell her how unwelcoming her house was ?

Anonymous said...

I loved this post.