February 21, 2000

Donald’s Not-So-Diplomatic Romp

Donald Trump does well with foreign women, but his rating with foreign dignitaries may not be as high. After the Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach, the presidential wannabe generously offered a group of diplomats – including ambassadors from Greece, Israel, and Brazil – a ride back to Washington, D.C., on his private 727. The trip took its first odd turn when Trump showed up late at the airport and then disappeared right after boarding into his private cabin – which boasts a double bed – with a leggy young companion. “The ambassadors found it crass,” says a Washington source. The affable mogul insists the girl was one of the diplomats’ daughters. “I’m not sure which country she was from, but she was very pretty, and she asked me to show her around the plane,” he maintains. Trump eventually emerged – to say weather conditions were too hairy for landing in D.C. and that the plane would be flying straight to New York. At La Guardia, Trump packed the diplomats and their wives into a D.C-bound bus, which took them on a snowy seven-hour drive – complete with a cultural pit stop at a Delaware Roy Rogers for coffee. “When the pilot told me we couldn’t stop in Washington, I thought, What a shame,” Trump says, sarcastically. “I was going straight to New York. But I guess the only one who was happy was me.”

Rerun Elvis Rerun

Did Elvis Mitchell, a member of the New York Times’ new triumvirate of movie critics, plagiarize himself in an article for the Fashions of the Times magazine? Editor Amy Spindler assigned him a story for the February 20 edition of the magazine on the movie Run Lola Run, and, according to sources, it came in reading remarkably like a review he’d written back on July 2 during his old gig at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “There were four references that were the same,” said a source at the paper – and the story was only 350 words long. So Spindler sent it back to the writer, asking for something original. The episode seemed to confirm Mitchell’s reputation: People in the business claimed he was a talented flake, not turning in copy and manically taking jobs he’d never be able to complete. But Spindler gives Mitchell a thumbs-up: “Elvis turned in a terrific piece and went through the normal editing process that any writer or critic in the New York Times goes through,” she says, adding that it came in on time too. Mitchell admits that “we sort of changed a few things so people wouldn’t think I was plagiarizing myself.” He adds, “I am capable of more than two thoughts on a movie.”

Diaz’s Restaurant Deal a Real Steal

Cameron Diaz has joined the ranks of Miami celebrity restaurateurs Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan – and sources say she scored quite a deal. The Any Given Sunday star has a prime cut of the new South Beach eatery Bambú, having snagged 30 to 40 percent ownership with zero financial investment, according to restaurant insiders. But Diaz is no silent partner. She stayed up-to-the-minute during construction by viewing videotapes of the renovations mailed to her by her co-owners, and she took a break from filming Charlie’s Angels to attend opening night, where she rallied Bambú staffers with a pep talk and attempted to learn each of their names – down to the last busboy. During the event, she worked the room with boyfriend Jared Leto, entertaining guests like fashion photogs Peter Beard and Bruce Weber. But a celebrity partner is no guarantee of a restaurant’s success – just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Model Gisele Wears New Attitude

Model Gisele Bundchen showed she has what it takes to be a true diva during Fashion Week – and it had nothing to do with her moves on the runway. Seventh Avenue insiders report that since becoming the model of the moment, Gisele’s been showing off her temper as much as her tanned midriff. “Gisele has a lot of power now, and it’s going to her head.” says a source. First, at the DKNY show, she was in a snit backstage when her new car and driver were missing. Then instead of walking the runway, the curvaceous Brazilian walked out of the Helmut Lang show, hair and makeup already done, unhappy with what she was asked to wear. “Maybe she represents the return of the old supermodel,” says one fashion source, referring to the days when Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell made being high-maintenance chic. But Gisele is still sweet to her old friends: The $20,000-per-show model arrived at 7:30 a.m. and strutted for Brazilian pal Fause Haten – gratis.

Additional reporting by Carl Swanson, David Amsden, and Suny Sehgal.

February 21, 2000