Can Britney rise again?

By SHARON STEEL  |  October 18, 2007
Vanessa Hudgens

Category Three: The Boys and Girls Gone Wild
Back when the Miss America crown was just a glimmer in her eye, Vanessa Williams posed nude for a photographer, who then sold the photos to Penthouse without her authorization. The drama cost her the Miss America title, but she bounced back through hard work, determination, and insistence that she was neither a lesbian, as the photos suggested, nor a slut. This past month, the world-weary Ugly Betty star offered some words of advice to shamed High School Musical star Vanessa Anne Hudgens in People magazine. “Welcome to the lesson of hard knocks,” said Williams, referring to the racy photos of Hudgens that were leaked on the Internet not long after the debut of High School Musical 2. “She got her first big one right now.” Williams went on to assert that Hudgens would be “fine.” Sure she will. It’s not like she was caught masturbating in public (Pee-wee Herman), canoodling with a transvestite (Eddie Murphy), getting head from a prostitute (Hugh Grant), or allegedly urinating on underage girls (R. Kelly). All of the aforementioned offenders, through either grand requests for forgiveness, vehement denials, and practiced avoidance, have managed to keep their careers afloat and their bank accounts super-sized. Of course, the public tends to be far more unforgiving of women who transgress than men. Guess Hudgens will just have to work a little harder — the glass ceiling is built into nearly every kind of occupational stratosphere, including the chamber of the fallen fabulous.

Naomi Campbell

Category Four: The Phone Phreaks
Assistant abuse and trash-talking is pretty much a given in most work places — when we’re bored here at the Phoenix, for instance, we regularly tar, feather, then spank our interns — but it’s dealt out with a particular relish in the fashion industry. Barking variations on the expression, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing talking to a client like that, you stupid crazy bitch?”, we’re told, is a fairly common way for a Boss Lady to deal with her Skinny Minion in such circles — and this doesn’t usually make headlines. But when supermodel Naomi Campbell turned the insanity up a notch and decided to summon all the strength provided by the six carrots she ate that day to fling her cell phone into her personal assistant’s face, it didn’t go unnoticed. Especially since such cellie-flinging assaults had been documented with two prior aides. Other phone warrior incidents include Russell Crowe hurling one at a hotel worker when he was unable to get his call connected, and Alec Baldwin leaving a bat-shit-insane voice‑mail message to his daughter (of whom he shares custody with ex-wife Kim Basinger), in which he called the poor dear a “thoughtless little pig.” Regardless, within the span of one year, the following occurred: Baldwin won a Golden Globe for his work on the Emmy-winning 30 Rock, Crowe starred in the critically acclaimed remake of 3:10 to Yuma (and has two more films set to be released this year), and that spitfire Campbell, sentenced to a week of floor-mopping duty at the New York Sanitation Department, landed the June cover of W. The magazine featured her in “The Naomi Diaries” — a sassy and occasionally poignant first-person account of her experience, accompanied by an artsy-trashy photo spread shot by Steven Klein — that effectively turned the entire crime-cum-community-service stint into a vulgar publicity charade.

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