Goldberg, Amanda 1974-
Goldberg, Amanda 1974-
Born 1974; daughter of Leonard (a television and film producer) and Wendy Goldberg. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A.
Film producer, actor, and writer. Worked for fashion designer Todd Oldham.
(With Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper) Celebutantes, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2008.
Amanda Goldberg's first novel, Celebutantes, written with Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper, is a scandalous satire of the greed and narcissism of Hollywood culture. Focusing on the frenzy leading up to the annual Academy Awards (Oscars), Goldberg and Hopper refer to the stress of choosing the right designer gown to wear to the ceremony. As they commented in an interview with Lena Corner for the London Independent, "awards ceremonies can make or break a label and designers would stab out each others' eyes with their stilettos to get a Hollywood star into one of their dresses." The authors also describe the competition to receive an invitation to the Oscars-week Vanity Fair party. Before the event, the authors told Corner, the magazine editor's temporary office looks "like a war room." Goldberg and Hopper commented that agents inundated Vanity Fair staff "with faxes, resumes, headshots, letters of recommendation and gifts" as an attempt to acquire an invitation for their clients. The authors added: "People become obsessed with whether they'll get an invite and what their time slot is." Though a few celebrities exert their independence in fashion matters, Goldberg and Hopper noted, the standard process involves submitting to couture fashions and publicity pressure.
This pressure provides the novel's plot. Lola Santisi, daughter of a famous actor and director, has become jaded with the profession but agrees to help her BGF, or "Best Gay (Friend) Forever," fashion designer Julian Tennant, get one of his gowns onto the Oscar ceremony's red carpet. Lola finds herself meeting with several self-absorbed stars, doing whatever she can to get one of them to agree to let Julian dress them on the night of the Oscars while competing ever more desperately against an agent for Prada. This plot device allows Goldberg and Hopper to pepper the novel with Hollywood gossip and what a Publishers Weekly reviewer called "wonderfully dead-on moments."
In a review of Celebutantes for Library Journal, Lisa Davis-Craig observed that the excesses of Hollywood are not a particularly winsome theme, nor is Lola always a sympathetic character. Nevertheless, Davis-Craig stated that the book is a "fun" and fast-paced debut. A contributor to Couture in the City commented that Celebutantes offers readers a "crazy 300-page piece of brain candy."
As Goldberg is the daughter of a film and television producer, and Hopper's father is actor Dennis Hopper, the authors both grew up in Hollywood and observed firsthand the culture that their novel satirizes. In addition, Goldberg gained an insider's look at the fashion world when she worked for New York City designer Todd Oldham after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Indeed, as the authors stated in their interview with Corner, even the book's most outrageous elements are based solidly on real people and events. There actually is "an actress who disappeared for a boob-job between fittings for a red-carpet gown and, on her return, said she had been doing charity work for a sick child," they stated. Similarly, the starlet who undressed "in a room full of people to shave her bikini line, using a razor wetted with Diet Coke, is also real enough." But the realism of their approach caused some problems. "Our editor had to ask us to tone it down," Goldberg and Hopper said, "as she couldn't believe people actually behave like that."
Goldberg and Hopper first met at an Oscars party such as they describe in their novel. In an interview with Publishers Weekly contributor Kris Coyne, Goldberg stated that, in addition to being able to draw on their personal backgrounds for inspiration, "we also felt that we had something that hadn't been covered before, that the time was right to do for L.A. what books like The Devil Wears Prada and Bergdorf Blondes had done so well for New York."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Harper's Bazaar, June 1, 2004, Melissa de la Cruz, "L.A. Chic: Amanda Goldberg; Flip-flops Paired with Chanel," p. 146.
Independent (London, England), February 10, 2008, Lena Corner, "Frock and Awe: The Stars Who Stop at Nothing to Get Noticed on the Red Carpet," interview with Goldberg and Hopper.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of Celebutantes.
Library Journal, November 15, 2007, Lisa Davis-Craig, review of Celebutantes, p. 49.
Marie Claire, February 1, 2008, review of Celebutantes, p. 90.
Publishers Weekly, September 10, 2007, review of Celebutantes, p. 36; October 22, 2007, Kris Coyne, "Hollywood Revealed: PW Talks with Amanda Goldberg & Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper," p. 32.
W, July 1, 2007, "Inconvenient Truths," review of Celebutantes, p. 34.
Celebutantes MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/celebutantes_book (July 15, 2008).
Couture in the City,http://www.coutureinthecity.com/ (July 15, 2008), review of Celebutantes.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (July 15, 2008), Goldberg profile and filmography.
Macmillan Web site,http://us.macmillan.com/ (July 15, 2008), profile of Goldberg and Hopper.