Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stacy Cohen Part 1: Please Don't Ask Me to Cease and Desist

This is the book I've been crowing about: The Kosher Billionaire's Secret Recipe. You'll notice it's not a vintage beauty book. It is ostensibly a kosher cookbook, published just last year. And why has it taken me so long to share? Because Stacy Cohen terrifies me.
The cover is reminiscent of the eighties: polka dots, roses, overdone accesories and lipstick that ignores the natural lip line. The title confused me, but luckily the first page explains How to Use This Book:

I want to offer you, the reader, two things: an inside look at the fabulous, exciting, and healthy life that I have created, and the opportunity for you to create the same glorious existence for yourself...
At first, this celebrity lifestyle may seem unattainable to you, but it really isn't. Your jet may be something you aspire to, your fine art collection may have been drawn by your five-year old, your travels may take you around the block instead of to Monacco, and the Christian Louboutin mules that line your closet may be wishful thinking.

Yes, at first it may all seem unattainable, until Stacy explains that you will not be attaining any of it. For your reference, she has included at least a dozen photos of her posing in, on, against and near her private jet.
Today's beauty and style books are so homogeneous and slick. Seems like no one writes auto-beauty-ographies any more. And then I pick up a cookbook that promises:

... a voyeuristic look into an action-packed, glamorously stylish kosher life that will change who you are, forever, from the inside out, and will result in a wonderful, natural glow to your outer beauty.

Who is this woman? Stacy is a protestant-born former Texan who married a very rich guy. Together, they are philanthropists who do nice work. Before all that Stacy was an actress who had parts on both Baywatch and Baywatch Nights. But above all, Stacy is Her Own Grandchild.
The book is just packed with goofy glamour shots and purple prose about her lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle. By the way, it is vital that you click to enlarge these pictures. The one at right is captioned, There are no limitations on personal enlightenment. No limits indeed.
Over and over Stacy uses the words opulent, glamourous, and decadent to describe her life. Here, she takes us on a trip to Tahiti, and a beauty tip comes out of nowhere:

Imagine: dressed in a magnificent La Perla bathing suit and flowing raw silk sarong, you and your high-tech entrepreneur husband board a private helicopter bound for an island paradise... The president of this magnificent island country greets you, and together with his striking Tahitian wife, you are escorted on a tour of a veritable tropical wonderland so dazzling that it played host to Brigitte Bardot and Roger Vadim as they celebrated their honeymoon... You watch as the president's wife gently uses the white sand to exfoliate the president's back.

I'm sure you're wondering, what does all this opulence have to do with kosher food? You've got me. No, to be fair, the recipes in the back of the book are fine. Stacy makes a good point that traditional kosher foods in this country are often fatty and salty (delicious). In fact, I may try her recipe for vegan panna cotta this week. Famous heart-diet doctor Dean Ornish wrote the forward. Which brings me to why Stacy terrifies me.
The book's back cover features glowing blurbs from Larry King, Lance Armstrong, Roberto Cavalli, Donatella Versace, and our gal Sophia Loren. The book sold very well on Amazon, and got some press. But try as I might, I cannot find anyone pointing out that... it borders on demented. There has to be a reason. Thus the title of this post.
I'm not being snarky when I tell you that at first I wondered if the book was satire. It is not.
Each chapter details an exotic trip and features Stacy playing dress-up. At right, Stacy visits Japan with a tin can in her hair and a straight face. In case you've forgotten how she gets around:

I do not take for granted the super-performance Gulfstream that I travel on: it is the pinacle of luxury, and it should be treated accordingly. Even at night, the plane looks beautiful, its cavernous cockpit glittering with lights that radiate out onto the tarmac.

At times the book feels like a pointed attempt to show someone up. At others, it merely seems that the author is wealthy enough to be in a realm in which everyone around her is paid to agree with every whim. More photos of me with the jet? Absolutely. I'll come across as serious if I wear glasses in the shot of me holding the Torah, correct? Of course.

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we explore Sexy Spirituality, learn how great art influences Stacy's sense of style, and get more helpful tips like this one:
Though my jet is opulent, special touches make my journeys even more pleasurable. I personalized the plane by decorating it in my favorite peaceful colors...
Not every kosher billionaire can go so far as personalizing the tail of her aircraft the way I did... so start simple and travel with your own monogrammed napkins...

Here, I've monogrammed them for you with an L for loser, so you'll never forget how opulent your lifestyle isn't.