TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Millions find themselves in 'The Zone,'thanks to LA's PR pit bull

One of the interesting things about LA is the people you see while

just going about your business. Biking through Marina del Rey, I

happened upon a bearded man in a G-string and hiking boots who claimed

himself a miracle healer. I wasn't in need of a miracle at that precise

moment, but he managed to solicit a couple of bucks from me anyway. I

told him he was taking casual Fridays too far.

A while later I passed Martin Sheen, who was not nude, but handsomely

attired in a very sharp suit. He was filming a PSA for what I presumed

to be the LA County Sheriff's department, owing to the three LASD vans

parked nearby. I waved to him, and he smiled and nodded. I was tempted

to stop and bring up the time I interviewed him on the set of a movie a

few years back, but thought better of it. It's not nice to put people on

the spot like that. Besides, he's got a country to run (on TV).

Since so many other people here are also on TV, fitness, and looks are

taken very seriously. This weekend LA hosted a Festival of Health and

Fitness, offering seminars about health, wellness (apparently there's a

difference), and appearance. Two of them caught my eye: "Facial

Rejuvenation Without Surgery" (and 10,000 plastic surgeons tremble), and

"Got Sex?" I couldn't track down the publicist for "Got Sex?," perhaps

indicating, in his or her case, the answer is yes.

One of the prominent scheduled guests at the festival was Dr. Barry

Sears, diet guru and creator of "The Zone" phenomenon. Dr. Sears'

approach to weight-loss is that fat and protein are your friends. Who

doesn't like the sound of that?

I worked at the PR firm where the Sears dietary heresy was launched.

I remember sitting in on a business pitch conference call with a Dr.

So-and-So and being shocked. This quack was railing against

carbohydrates, the dietitians' darling, and advocating steak! He dreamed

of creating an entire industry around his "Zone" philosophy. I thought

he was half-crazy, but nevertheless wrote an enthusiastic PR proposal

that won the account. Thankfully, another publicist, Tany Soussanna, was

asked to do all the work. After all, winning accounts is more fun than

working on them, yes?

Well, Tany ran with Barry Sears like she was Barry Sanders. She is to

the PR profession what a pit bull terrier is to canines. Her dogged

tenacity helped make Sears famous and convinced millions to abandon

fat-free muffins and have a little bacon.

So the moral is, if you've lost weight on "The Zone," there's a

Tinseltown publicist to thank. If you haven't, well, for heaven's sake,

put down that pork rib. Maybe the good doctor was wrong.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Explore further