The 10th annual Heart Truth: Red Dress Collection fashion show at Hammerstein Ballroom, sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, kicks off the Fall collections each February to raise awareness about heart disease. Famous women of all (red) stripes walked the runway in red dresses from selected designers: supermodels Christie Brinkley (in Pamella Roland) and Rebecca Romijn (Marchesa); actresses Rose McGowan (Roberto Cavalli), Aisha Tyler (Badgley Mischka), Jenna Elfman (Alberta Ferretti), and Minka Kelly (DVF); singers Chaka Khan (Chris March) and Gloria Estefan (Narcisco Rodriguez).
We chatted backstage with Rose McGowan about a different kind of heartbreak—dangerous love. “Broken hearts suck,” she said. “There’s nothing pretty about them. It just takes time to heal. And there’s that amazing day when all of sudden it doesn’t hurt anymore. I’ve had a broken heart that hurt so badly that it actually physically woke me up from sleep.” And the best way to recover from heartbreak? “Find somebody new, darling.”
The two-time Interview cover girl said, “I’ve had, like, four long-term boyfriends. I tend to be in relationships for long periods of time.” Although she was engaged to rocker Marilyn Manson and her Grindhouse director, Robert Rodriguez, McGowan said, “I’m not attracted to dangerous men. I’m attracted, apparently, to height. One ex was 6’6; the one before was 6’4, then 6’3. I like freakishly tall people.” Despite their dark images, both Manson and Rodriguez are “major type-A personalities, obsessed with work.”
McGowan does tend, however, to be drawn to danger in her projects. The Scream, Charmed, and Grindhouse actress appears next in the film adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Tell-Tale Heart. Poe is also the subject of another 2012 film, The Raven, with John Cusack portraying the author.
“Poe was such a tragic and brilliant figure; he’s somebody whom I’ve been somewhat obsessed with my whole life,” said McGowan. “I first read The Tell-Tale Heart at age four. And I like strong, strong women who don’t go down without a fight. I like iconic roles. They don’t come around very often, so I have to wait for them. Obviously I’m not the typical blonde who stands by the side, while the man has all the fun.”
Although blonde, there’s nothing typical about Christie Brinkley. Having appeared on over 500 magazine covers, from Vogue to Sports Illustrated, with a record-breaking 20-year contract with Cover Girl cosmetics, Brinkley is still stunning at 58. Her anti-aging secret is “Dancing. So I’m lucky to go back to Broadway!” In April, Brinkley will reprise her role as Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of Chicago.
“I cannot believe my luck,” she said. “It is the most amazing privilege to be able to sing with an orchestra, to hopefully make people laugh, and to be surrounded by such an amazingly talented cast, both in New York and London, on the West End. Every night I stood in the wings, watching them perform, and this bolt would hit me like, ‘I cannot believe I am going to be joining them in a couple of seconds.’ Every single performance, I was just thrilled and counting my blessings.”
A Sag Harbor resident and equestrian enthusiast, Brinkley has walked the catwalk for Heart’s Truth previously, but did surprisingly little runway in her career. “I was never a runway girl. Back in the day, when I started, they sort of had divisions: runway, editorial, commercial. It wasn’t until a little bit later, in the era of the super-duper-models like Cindy Crawford, that models started doing it all.”
Last night Brinkley took the runway to the song “Uptown Girl,” a nod to her iconic video with former husband, Billy Joel. We asked Brinkley, who has been married four times, about her plans for Valentine’s Day. Is she currently in love? “No,” she quipped. “Do you know anybody?”