Tales from Tinseltown - Harry Winston, Robert Altman team up to make PR pro a star

Aspiring actors take note: if you want to break into the movies, consider starting out as a fashion publicist.

Aspiring actors take note: if you want to break into the movies, consider starting out as a fashion publicist.

Aspiring actors take note: if you want to break into the movies,

consider starting out as a fashion publicist.



Carol Brodie, managing director of communications for Harry Winston, has

always endeavored to secure key product placements for the company’s

baubles in films and on the Oscar-night red carpet. However, what

started out as a typical pitch to Donna Granada, costume designer of the

upcoming Robert Altman film Doctor T & The Women, yielded an entirely

different type of placement.



After meeting with Altman about a proposed placement for Winston’s gems,

Brodie wound up appearing in the movie in a scene featuring the jewelry

she had pitched - playing herself. Now eligible for that all-important

Screen Actor’s Guild card, Brodie is hoping that the exposure she’ll get

from the film will push her career in a new direction.



In the movie, Brodie and assistant Carrie Niese (who also plays herself)

host a ’Harry Winston Tupperware party’ in which the two parade

Winston’s baubles before a group of pregnant women at a baby shower.

Brodie, six months pregnant herself at the time, says she fit right

in.



’When Robert met me, he said, ’We don’t need an actress for this scene -

you’re the real thing,’’ Brodie recalls. The two flacks got the full

movie-star treatment, complete with trailer, hair and makeup assistants

and wardrobe. ’We were stars for a day,’ she beamed.



Now, Brodie finds herself in the awkward position of having garnered

almost as much publicity for herself as for her employer. ’After 20

years in the business, there’s not much left for my career ambitions,’

she says.



’Being a public figure keeps me wanting to come to work every day - it’s

the bait at the end of the fishing pole.’



Brodie also admits that life as a Harry Winston PR pro is not the

typical fashion publicist’s job. ’For security and insurance purposes,

(CEO) Ronald Winston cannot be photographed,’ she says. ’In most

companies, the CEO wants to be the personality, the designer wants to be

the personality.



It’s different here.’



Brodie believes her role will pay huge dividends for her employer.

’Clients who are looking for the same kind of personal service they saw

in the (Altman) movie - because Harry Winston will go meet with our top

customers himself - will hopefully get in touch with us. It’s an

opportunity for the house to reinforce the idea that we are all about

service.’



So, any advice for all those publicists/fledgling actors out there? ’You

have to fit the image of the company. If a publicist’s image is not

compatible with the company’s image, the result can be deadly.’



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