Ladies We Love: Wendy Williams
By John Koblin
"Welcome to the glamour suite!" says Wendy Williams, the 46-year-old daytime TV host. It's just past 1 p.m. on a February day in Williams's studio in Manhattan. She's standing in her dressing room, surrounded by a half-dozen wig-wearing mannequins. Everything -- from the drawers to the walls -- is pink and purple.
"I'm looking for makeup!" she says. "I'm in the land of makeup and hair. And I just look at this every time, and I say that there's nothing in here that I could use." She's just finished taping an episode of The Wendy Williams Show -- in its second season and renewed for a third -- and she's in a rush. She has about 20 minutes to get ready for lunch with her parents to celebrate her father's 80th birthday.
"All I want to do is replace my eyelashes with natural ones," she says, rummaging through a closet. Makeup products come tumbling out, collapsing into a dusty mess on a tabletop -- kerplunk! Before you can blink, she's at the mirror and applying some pink lipstick -- really hot pink lipstick.
"See, if you put it on in layers," she says, pursing her lips, "you really get a mwah. It's good, right? With sunglasses it looks even better! With sunglasses and big hair." Now it's time for that big hair. That is, Williams is going to tease her wig into an oversize bouffant. But this creates yet another crisis. Where's the hairbrush? "How can I be around every wig in the center of the universe and there's not a friggin' hairbrush?" she says, opening and shutting drawers frantically. "Are you serious?"
After practically ripping out every drawer in her dressing room, she spots a brush. And now she's got her big hair. Williams, in a black dress with a cowl neck, is heading to lunch at Michael's, the midtown Manhattan restaurant best known as a scene-and-be-seen place for media executives, TV personalities, and magazine editors. She has only been there twice before, and, fittingly, she was starstruck by someone she saw there last time: campy Dynasty star Joan Collins.
'When I saw her I said 'Ooh, this is the place to be,' " says Williams. "She was wearing winter white in winter! And a lot of makeup! And a lot of lipstick! And a lot of wig! And she ate like she knew she was being watched, and she was totally playing the role and I loved it!"
Naturally, she loved it. If there's anyone who plays the role better it's Williams. "I'm too tall, my hair is too long, my lipstick is too pink, my feet are too big," she says, bursting into laughter. "I'm too much. I do understand the similarities between me and, perhaps, a person that dresses in drag. To do drag is to go big. And I've never been one to be beige -- ever. Beige is, like, a very nice color. You paint your walls with it. It's the color you see in all the model houses in the neighborhood, but not the color you really want. You want fire red. Or pink!"