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Tyra Banks

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Cautious Cooper

Anderson Cooper showers in his underwear at the gym to ward off camera-phone-wielding fans. Tyra Banks and Russell Simmons dined-and-dashed at the Brooklyn Diner. Robert De Niro may be mad at David Bowie because the rock star is kicking off his High Line Festival three days after Tribeca ends. (As New York's Vulture reported yesterday.) LL Cool J may star in a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Taki Theodoroacpulos won the U.S. National Judo Championship in 70-to-75 age bracket. In his upcoming tell-all, Michael Strahan compares playing pro football to being stabbed repeatedly. Former O.C. stars Adam Brody and Benjamin McKenzie witnessed a fight at Gold Bar. Susan Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amuri, is pleased with her two sex scenes in Fred Durst's directorial debut, The Education of Charlie Banks.

Uniqlo's Success Brings More Japanese Retail

FASHION • Following the ultrasuccessful debut of Uniqlo, Japanese store Muji to open two stores in NYC. [WWD] • Libertine settled its copyright-infringement suit against knockoff king Allen Schwartz. [Downtown Darling] • Tyra Banks gains weight, laments fashion's unreasonable expectations. [People] FINANCE • Merrill's top brass gave themselves a big ($172 million) pat on the back for a job well done in 2006. [WSJ ] • Venture capitalists invested $2 billion in 249 companies in the New York area last year, up 18 percent from 2005. It was the highest level of funding since 2001, when the Internet broke. [Crain's] • If increasing the size of the biggest leverage buyout bid in history doesn't make Stephen Schwarzman sweat, the Blackstone Group should be just fine. [DealBook]

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Chicken Wing

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We're loath to get between any female and her fridge, but the strong black woman in us is a little concerned by this week's headlines. First there was restaurateur B. Smith on NPR defending her job as the new, potentially Aunt Jemima–ish, face of Betty Crocker's corn bread. Then — more NPR! — came a piece on the mysterious disappearance of fried-chicken- loving Beyoncé's backside in Dreamgirls. Finally, today we came across a video clip on Vanity Fair's Website of Tyra Banks's photo shoot for the February issue — in which the former supermodel manages to keep her appetite under control for three whole minutes before informing the camera she's off to eat some wings, her booty be damned. And just in time for Martin Luther King Day! B. Smith Becomes the Face of Betty Crocker Cornbread [NPR] What's Missing in 'Dreamgirls' [NPR] America's Next Top Mogul [VF]

It's Not Easy Being a Pataki

Breaking: Tinsley Mortimer shops for her own groceries! Kevin Federline is broke, steals food and booze from a restaurant. Emily Pataki failed the bar exam. How Kennedyesque. Former Tom Cruise sparring partner Brooke Shields is going to his wedding, perhaps as a publicity stunt. Nicole Kidman probably isn't pregnant, Ivanka Trump maybe had a boob job, but Tom DeLay definitely nominated about-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Time's Person of the Year. Dave Chappelle bowed out of a gig for HBO, and HBO isn't happy. Axl Rose brought some strippers to Soho House. Borat's cultural learnings may soon be available in a Barnes & Noble near you. (Meantime, he'd do well to avoid getting into a fight with fellow Kazakh Wladimir Klitschko.) Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at a London concert; the crowd liked him. George Gershwin and Ed Bradley were honored at Lincoln Center, where it is discovered that Mr. Gershwin used to be quite the ladies' man. Liza Minnelli played a $1 million bat mitzvah pro bono. A former America's Next Top Model winner ditched Tyra Banks as her manager, changed her last name. Angelina Jolie was going to adopt an Indian kid, but Madonna scared her off.