Max Azria Draws Out Brittany Murphy's Lifetime of Hurt

We may have borne inadvertent witness to a catharsis of sorts for twig-size actress Brittany Murphy. At Monday evening's Max Azria show, we caught sight of Murphy — the first celebrity to wander out from backstage after photographers waited for about 40 minutes — refusing an interview with one gossip-magazine reporter by placing her hand gently on the girl's arm and intoning, "Not for that magazine. Your magazine HURT. MY. LIFE." As the reporter stammered an apology, Murphy cooed, "I'm so sorry. It's not you. Any other one, People, whatever, but not yours." All while her husband, Simon Monjack — explorations of whose potentially shady past may have been the subject of said life-ruining articles — stood by, trying really hard to look stoked about being there while his wife actually reached over and adoringly wiped sweat from his brow.

The wan Murphy, truth be told, was both amusing and a little all-over-the-place. One minute she was cooing about wanting children since back when she was practically a baby herself; the next she dodged questions about actually starting a family — and at one point she tapped a photographer on the shoulder to beg for a retake on a photo she feared was ugly. When he agreed, she said, "Just give me a moment — this is a bit phallic," and turned away to take a swig of water from a rather large wide-necked bottle while a startled-looking security guard bit back a laugh. Frankly, given all this, it's hardly surprising that at first our eyes tricked us into thinking she'd arrived at the show on roller skates. Although come to think of it, we'd totally pay to see her in Xanadu: The Musical.

The organizers employed a new strategy we've noticed a few times this season, in which they erect a security banner in front of the concentrated block of seats reserved for celebrities to keep the media an extra two feet away from the stars and their precious, insured-for-millions toes. Having seen the frenzy a few times in the last couple of days, we actually totally understand this, but in a way it creates even more of a pushy hubbub when somebody does finally appear, as it limits where camerapeople can stand to get their shot. But it did create something of a gossipy camaraderie among the troops. For example, when Rihanna glided past in a new super-short hairdo — which evoked nothing as much as Lisa Bonet in her Cosby Show years, and that's not a compliment — there was much grumbling, en masse, about her habit of gazing right through people and allegedly refusing to give quotes. We believe it: We wouldn't want to talk about that haircut, either.

Speaking of hair, Natasha Henstridge and Joss Stone both cleaned up considerably for the festivities, wearing sleek updos and gabbing energetically with Jaime King during the presentation. There was a brief kerfuffle about changing up seating arrangements so that a rather sleek Fergie (in sunglasses the whole time, nursing either a wicked hangover or an Anna Wintour fixation) and Rose McGowan could sit together, or to put Amy Smart next to them, or something. It was confusing. And to be honest, we lost track of the details because, mistaking a random reporter for a PR girl, McGowan suddenly tapped her on the shoulder and said in an incongruously pleasant tone, "I got fucked out of my seat the other day because no one had the balls to say anything, so I'm saying something — that's my philosophy here." Then she realized the card in the girl's hand was a Max Azria invitation and not, in fact, a seating chart for the venue, and laughed loudly and apologized.

All of this meant that Tinsley Mortimer and Leigh Lezark drifted past largely unnoticed — the former realizing photo ops were a no-go in that crowd and the latter seeming vexed both by the lack of attention and the fact that she was seated in No Man's Land between Monjack and relative-unknown Erin Daniels from The L Word. For her part, Daniels kept her mouth shut and drank in the spectacle, probably thankful she was so tangential to it. Maybe she should have considered wearing roller skates. —The Fug Girls

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