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Continued: Lane Bryant model relishes the attention

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 3, 2010 - 8:10 PM

The reopening of the MOA's Lane Bryant store was brimming with the brand's most controversial cleavage.

Ashley Graham, the model whose scantily clad commercial image was briefly too hot for TV, attended Thursday's opening along with models Tonya Pittman and Lizzie Miller. Graham was the model, leaving home in a red bra and panties underneath a coat, in the commercial that was originally rejected for Fox's "American Idol" and ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." The lingerie ad was banned because of the depth of her grand canyon.

"I didn't know how dangerous they were until nobody was going to air my commercial," Graham told me. "Even then I thought it was so shocking, I couldn't believe it. I didn't know how much power they really did have."

Graham rushed away from my startribune.com/video to communicate with one of her handlers, I presume about her Friday appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Leno played the banned Lane Bryant ad for viewers and then a commercial for Victoria's Secret.

The only difference was the size of the model. Lane Bryant's media release, which displayed the controversy like a Cacique Lingerie bustier, labeled it "BIG'ORTY." Get it? The store caters to big girls, who prefer to be thought of as women with curves.

Banning this ad from "Dancing With The Stars" was especially weird, with many of the women on that show one shimmy away from a wardrobe malfunction. Asked whether these models were dressed any more scantily than "DWTS" women, Pitt-man said: "We're absolutely not. They're just not used to seeing girls with curves, and it's about time."

Prince back at work?

For weeks, maybe even months, Paisley Park had been closed tight when a tipster known to me drives by daily.

Now, for two days in a row, the gate has been open and there are a couple of cars parked there. Maybe bills are being paid.

Divas on divas

A conversation about Brett Favre's ankle injury became a debate about him being a diva Sunday on ESPN's "Sports Reporters."

ESPN's Michael Smith got his colleagues going with: "You know those great Snickers commercials, with Betty White, Aretha Franklin? When you're hungry, you're a diva. They could have took [SIC, very sic] Aretha Franklin out and put [in] Brett Favre, Drama King."

There was a time when we didn't hear about Favre in the off-season, said Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, who defended our QB the most, even preferring "superstar" over "diva." Albom traced the change in Favre's behavior to "that one season in Green Bay, where he cried and everything. Then he realized what his life was going to be like without football. Now every year he sees how hard it is to let it go. That's why this guy has become the way he is. He has not been a diva all those years."

Smith contended that Favre was a diva before that televised crying jag.

"I can't believe you guys would think that Brett would be overly dramatic about something," said Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News. "How somebody this tough as a player could act this much like Paris Hilton when he doesn't have equipment on is beyond me. ... Brett Favre is the kind of guy that if he somehow was able to walk through a hotel lobby without being noticed, he'd have himself paged."

There wasn't much debate about whether Favre would prefer not to take the ride to Mankato this summer.

Pop pie is instant hit

Gardencountycooking. com's pie guy John Michael Lerma got 2,000 hits on his website after his "Bottle of Pop Pie" was featured by "The Early Show" on CBS.

"I looked at the analytics from my website and about dropped," said Lerma, of St. Paul. "I saw that they came from the CBS website."

CBS found Lerma two weekends ago among the contestants at the "Great American Pie Festival" in Florida. "I wanted [my pie] to be as refreshing as a can of Coca-Cola," Lerma told "Early Show" contributor Taryn Winter Brill.

Lerma's pie didn't win, but he's satisfied with getting "tons of publicity" for a dessert a little different from your blueberry and apples pies.

There are two secrets to the taste of this pie. "The main thing about the Coca-Cola is to find Mexican Coca-Cola, which is made with sugar [instead of the U.S. Coke product] which is made with high-fructose corn syrup," Lerma said. And the Coke must be room temperature.

The "all-sugar" recipe is more healthy, a relative term when talking about pie, he said, adding: "It's actually better. The Mexican Coke I can actually cook in the fizz, so it's really fizzy. The syrup is very fattening." The syrup also contributes to what some believe is too much corn in our diet.

The other secret: "I use the apple pie spice instead of cinnamon in the crust. It just changes everything." Lerma gets that spice from St. Paul's Golden Fig.

Laurie Crowell, owner of the spice emporium, was perplexed Monday by why I would know there had been a run on that particular spice. Informed of Lerma's "Early Show" appearance, Crowell said: "Laurie's a little slow on the uptake, I'll admit. I was wondering [why that spice was selling]. I am so oblivious, all I do is work, and I don't ever get to watch TV."

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. She can be seen on Fox 9 on Thursday mornings.

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