Georgette Mosbacher finds 'Feminine Force' A Woman of Means

October 02, 1993|By Jill Gerston | Jill Gerston,Contributing Writer

Georgette Mosbacher insists she's an Unremarkable Woman. Really.

"I am not at all remarkable," she says, perched on the sofa in the pale yellow drawing room of her Upper East Side townhouse office. "I grew up in a one-parent family. I worked my way through college, I had very average grades and I was very average looking, but I've lived a remarkable life only because I believed I could."

This unshakable belief in self coupled with a driving ambition -- think Judith Krantz heroine and you've got the idea -- is what Ms. Mosbacher calls her "feminine force."

"Feminine force is that inner strength, that power, that will to face down any negative circumstances in life and defeat them," she explains in her low, husky purr. She leans across the glass coffee table and purses her matte red lips. "It's guts," she says bluntly.

Which Ms. Mosbacher has by the Rolls-full. The Washington press corps skewered her when she blew into the capital in 1989 as the wife of Texas millionaire Robert A. Mosbacher Sr., the secretary of commerce during the Bush administration. They dubbed her "Hurricane Georgette" and sniped at her penchant for self-promotion, her blitzkrieg jewels, her figure-hugging Paris gowns and her entrance-making arrivals that, on one occasion, up

staged Marilyn Quayle.

Flirtatious, brassy and nouveau riche, Ms. Mosbacher epitomized the let-'em-eat-cake extravagance of the '80s. She was the shiniest of trophy wives, who filled out her decollete couture gown more sexily than could any of her social X-ray chums who nibbled endive leaves at Le Cirque.

Undaunted, she's currently hitting the interview circuit to ballyhoo her new book titled -- what else? -- "Feminine Force: Release the Power Within to Create the Life You Deserve" (Simon & Schuster, $22).

Part autobiography, part self-help manual and part woman's guide to the business world, "Feminine Force" is stuffed with such yummy tidbits as wear neutral nail polish to board meetings and man-hunt at F.A.O. Schwarz on Saturdays (lots of divorced daddies. Rich, divorced daddies.)

In a two-hour interview, Ms. Mosbacher comes across as direct, outspoken and focused. Try shifting the conversation from "Feminine Force" to another topic, like why so many Nouvelle Society marriages have collapsed, and she firmly steers the discussion back to her book.

She is also unpretentious. She never drops a single name -- not Barbara Bush or Dawn Steel or Kathie Lee Gifford, all of whom have written gushy blurbs for her book. ("Georgette is my kind of feminist," trills Ms. Gifford.)

Ms. Mosbacher, who is wearing a cinnamon-colored Dior pantsuit, coral-and-diamond earrings and a gold and diamond Bulgari watch, doesn't mind telling you that before acquiring her couture wardrobe she bought her clothes from thrift shops.

She does her own

She still does her own manicures and touches up the roots of her paprika-colored hair, now subdued to a soft ginger shade. That night, when she returns to her sprawling Fifth Avenue apartment with its Aubusson rugs and 18th-century porcelain, she will stand over the sink to slather on the Clairol. "The only thing I can't do is highlights," she concedes.

Ms. Mosbacher -- or the "Divine Mrs. M," as Texas Monthly calls her -- has creamy skin, perfectly arched eyebrows that have been permanently tattooed on and a dazzling, beauty queen smile. She is fanatical about staying out of the sun, shrouding herself in a leotard, hat and gloves when she bobs around the surf in the Bahamas.

"I stayed out of the sun when I was young, not because I knew better, but because I'm a Type A personality who gets too restless to lay around and do nothing," she explains.

In her book, Ms. Mosbacher concedes that "creating my look and making myself attractive was and still is hard work."

Looking fabulous is essential to the "feminine force." Don't expect to "create the life you deserve" if you're a frump. ("You shouldn't have to wait for your birthday to get your hair done," writes Ms. Mosbacher.)

If "Feminine Force" sounds more Helen Gurley Brown than Harvard Business School, who cares? Certainly not Ms. Mosbacher wannabes who probably aren't as interested in becoming a CEO as they are in marrying one.

How it all began

"Unlike other self-help books, it's not based on any scientific theories," Ms. Mosbacher emphasizes, as her King Charles spaniel snoozes beside her on the sofa. "It's just really my story of how I got from where I started to where I wanted to go."

Born Georgette Paulsin, the oldest of four children of a Highland, //TC Ind., bowling alley operator, Ms. Mosbacher was 7 when her father was killed by a drunken driver. She took charge of her

siblings while her mother worked to support the family.

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