In a high-society game of glamour -- they're It

Television

April 07, 2002|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,Sun Staff

If I were an It Girl, I'd have perfect teeth, high cheekbones, lustrous hair and lips permanently set in a seductive pout.

I'd have friends with moneyed last names like "Hilton" and closets stuffed with Fendi purses and size 0 Diane von Furstenberg dresses. Oh, and I'd be on a first-name basis with Milla. (That's Jovovich to the rest of you.)

My schedule -- according to my Louis Vuitton organizer -- would mostly include shopping! Sipping bubbly! And partying at the hottest clubs! With buddies like Heidi Klum!

Sound fun? Apparently, not always.

It Girls, a documentary that airs tonight at 8 p.m. on the Women's Entertainment network (available primarily on digital cable and satellite systems), takes all of us ordinary viewers behind the scenes of It Girldom in New York's celebrity circles. For an hour, we follow young heiresses like Nicky and Paris Hilton as they navigate the city's Fashion Week party scene, champagne flutes in hand, air-kissing their way through shows and clubs.

Not only do we learn their tips for being an It Girl -- which include "Get monogrammed luggage." We also learn that It Girls have problems, too.

"It's so funny to me when people say, 'Oh, you're so stylish,' " Elizabeth Kieselstein-Cord, daughter of the owners of the Kieselstein-Cord accessories line, confides to the camera.

"And I'm thinking, 'Oh god, is this clean?' " she says, tittering and batting her perfect lashes. "I'm, like, constantly, 'I have chocolate all over my clothing!' "

Like, Ohmigod!

As if high school social castes weren't traumatic enough. This "documentary" allegedly attempts to explore the new It Girl, but really reminds us that the hierarchy we like to think we left behind in high school is alive and kicking in the adult world.

To showcase the lives of It Girls, director Robin Leacock, an independent filmmaker who has lived in New York for 20 years, squared her camera lens on four young heiresses. Over the course of Fashion Week in fall 2000, Leacock and her crew trailed Kieselstein-Cord, 22; Paris Hilton, 21; Nicky Hilton, 18; and Casey Johnson, 22, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune.

In addition to being fabulously wealthy, the other things this foursome have in common are the fact that they are blond, seem to love fashion just about as much as a stiff drink and don't really work -- although Kieselstein-Cord models her parents' jewelry and Johnson works part-time as a publicist. And they're very opinionated about being It Girls.

"I think it's pretty superficial," Paris Hilton says. "But our whole group is considered It Girls because I guess ... we're beautiful, cool and sexy."

Leacock also asks the various celebrities that these girls encounter about their definitions of an "It Girl," which yields some of the funnier moments of the show. ("One who is definitely a pronoun," Steve Martin says. Designer Tommy Hilfiger suddenly and a bit disturbingly waxes lyrical about It Girl Britney Spears: "She's the girl every guy wants -- young and old.")

Even with its occasional snarky snippets, the show can be hard to endure for those of us among the proletariat. But after a while, the documentary begins to resemble a drama, and the Hilton girls and their beautiful friends become mere characters in a nouveau Restoration comedy -- School for Scandal meets Page Six.

And, at the end, we can cling to the notion that perhaps, just perhaps, People magazine style editor Steven Cojocaru is right.

"It Girls are a crock of ... crap," he tells the camera. "These girls are born on the Upper East Side, they've got nothing to offer, nothing to say. They should go to Cambodia and work in a mine for a while."

How to be 'It'

A few rules from Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson:

* Always kiss on two cheeks.

* Never go for other people's boyfriends.

* Be flirtatious but don't be a puppy in a pet shop waiting to be picked up.

* In the summer never, ever wear stockings. Except for fishnets.

* Be nice to waiters. You can look chic but be very rude to a waiter. That proves that you are not an "It" girl.

* Speak a second language.

* Look the best you can at all times because you never know whom you're going to run into.

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