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Sly Fox

As grab-bag as her wedding might appear from the outside, Mazar’s ceremony was actually reflective of her upbringing, in Brooklyn and Queens, with a mother who “was born Catholic, converted to Judaism, then she became a Buddhist, then she became a Jehovah’s Witness. Then she was kicked out of Jehovah’s Witness for taking a blood transfusion because her at-home birth went south, and she was gonna die. Because she lived to tell, they publicly humiliated her.” Mazar’s father was Jewish, but he had been raised as a Catholic and hidden during WWII. “It was a big secret which I didn’t find out until I was in my twenties,” she says. “Heavy.” She is wearing a beautiful antique gold pendant of the Virgin Mary that sparkles with tiny diamonds, but she says it isn’t about Catholicism. “That’s about jewelry.”

“I’m not in the business to make people aware of me. And publicists are very expensive—they’re $3,500 a month!”

Mazar spent too much time switching religions in her youth to find Hollywood’s organized spiritual offerings particularly beguiling. “Because I was forced into it, even, like, Madonna, who is a very dear friend of mine—still—and shared her knowledge of Kabbalah with me, because of my past, I could never be pushed into something. It’s just not my thing. But I think if people find happiness in it, then good for them! I really resented my name being brought up in that Vanity Fair article.” A piece in the March issue claimed that Madonna had “lost friends, such as actress Debi Mazar, because they weren’t buying” into her Kabbalah fever. “I said to her, can’t you keep my name out of your fuckin’ bad press? She goes, what are you worried about what people say? I said, well, I’m just not used to my name being dragged through the press. You’ve chosen that path, I haven’t!”

On Entourage, smoothing that path is Mazar’s character Shauna’s entire career—keeping Vince from saying too much or putting himself out there too little. “I base Shauna on several people,” says Mazar. “Different publicists I’ve known, just because they’re megapowerful, who are very different personalities: Nancy Ryder, who’s fielding calls in her Manolo Blahniks, chatting away; my good friend David Pollick, a gay man who’s tough, aggressive, witty, charming at times; and then my manager, because being a publicist is like management in a lot of ways—you’re their friend, you’re their mother, you’re their confidante.”

Entourage is, among other things, the story of a town that is a notorious boys’ club. So there is a certain uncomfortable aptness about the lack of female presence on the show as anything other than sexual conquests. Mazar, the one female character who is there to work with the entourage, not hook up with them, has been underused so far. “We haven’t explored Shauna yet,” she says. “Is she gay, is she straight? I don’t know what’s her trip.” Her role is expanded this season, but Shauna—and Mazar—still remain frustratingly far from the spotlight. But she’s learned to tell that story her own way: “I’ve never wanted to be the ingenue. Now that I’m getting into my forties, I think my time as a woman has arrived; I think I might have a new moment in my career. I have that drive left—just for a little while.”


  • Articles by Ariel Levy
  • From the Jun 6, 2005 issue of New York