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Saturday 30 August 2014

US DIARY ORLA HEALY

Published 24/02/2013 | 04:00

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The talk will be far from cheap if you want to hear what Hillary Clinton has to say next. The former Secretary of State, who is obviously done feeding her real-estate porn habit (via re-runs of her favourite reality TV show Love It or List It,) last week signed on as a speaker with the Manhattan-based Harry Walker Agency, a purveyor of high-powered lecturers with a client roster that includes Bono, Queen Noor, Al Gore and Kofi Annan.

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Mrs Clinton, who managed to pack the rest she said she needed after 20 years of hardscrabble political life into just five short weeks, will hit the public-speaking circuit as soon as April when she is expected to command a jaw-dropping $200,000 appearance fee – a nice bounce on the $189,000 annual salary she got for running the State Department.

If the index-adjusted number-crunching techniques employed by the Atlantic Wire pan out, the former First Lady will also be pulling in an impressive $37,948.90 more per speech than the Walker agency's reigning rainmaker Bill Clinton, who, according to CNN, has pocketed $75m in speaking fees since leaving the White House in 2001.

Hillary's next immediate chapter also involves "beginning to make decisions about the book she has said she will write, an account of her four years as secretary of state", reports Politico.com which predicts a payday that will top the $8m advance she received for her 2008 memoir Living History given, as NY Magazine columnist Dan Amira points out, "that was before she became a senator, ran for president, served as secretary of state, and transformed herself into the country's most well-liked politician".

Amira, like many political pundits, isn't surprised Hillary didn't take more time off. "If she really is going to run for president again, she only has about two-and-half years, tops, before life on the campaign trail begins," he reasons. "After that, if things go as planned, she'll have four to eight years on a president's measly $400,000 salary."

Good hair day for Michelle O

It sounds like there might be a book in the back story to Michelle Obama's new fringe which, if social media traffic patterns are anything to go by, was the main takeaway from the First Lady's new official portrait released last Wednesday.

Mrs Obama, who debuted her new hairstyle on her 49th birthday last month, tells US TV host Rachel Ray the divisive 'do was the only way she could think to act out "my midlife crisis".

The Associated Press, who went to great pains to stress the First Lady was joking, might be right but FLOTUS sounded genuine when she revealed all the other ideas she had to celebrate her birthday – a wish list that included buying a sports car and/or bungee jumping – were nixed by her less than fun loving protection detail.

Dan doubles up on tuxes

Daniel Day-Lewis is getting into the right spirit for his romp up the Oscars' red carpet tonight. In keeping with so many of the female nominees who stockpile a selection of gowns so they can make a last-minute wardrobe choice depending on their mood, the best actor nominee has ordered two tuxedos from Domenico Vacca, tailor of choice to an eclectic Hollywood crew that includes John Malkovich, Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer at one end and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeremy Piven and Kanye West at the other.

One of Daniel's suits, according to Vacca, is black. The other is dark blue. Both are single-breasted and feature a grosgrain shawl collar.

Decisions. Decisions.

And while Day-Lewis may be up there on the list of male nominees, he comes nowhere near Barbra Streisand, who according to the backstage buzz has a ton of dresses and a number of different stylists on hand to help her choose "the one" – a chaotic situation which might not be helped by the fact that the notoriously prickly singer, who is understandably nervous about performing on the Academy Awards stage for the first time in 36 years, has been on a strict juice cleanse for the past 21 days.

Les Mis II for star Jackman?

News that Les Mis is on its way back to Broadway for the third time has theatre folk wondering if Cameron Mackintosh can pull off the coup of persuading Hugh Jackman to reprise his celebrated screen performance as Jean Valjean for the Great White Way.

Jackman, who won a 2004 Tony Award for his performance in The Boy from Oz, is up for a Best Actor nod tonight and would be a major draw for the "newly imagined" stage musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, which is slated to open in March 2014. The retooled production, which will no doubt horrify some purists, features a "reimagined" scenic concept that eliminates the original turntable and instead relies on sets inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. The production, which has been on tour in the US since November 2010, has played in 64 cities grossing more than $130m.

The show, which is the longest-running musical ever on the London stage, was the inspiration for Tom Hooper's big-screen adaptation, which is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best picture.

Irish Independent

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