Tuesday, September 8

Karen Robinovitz | RESULTS

WOW. I could write a novel recapping the past couple weeks of my life. But I won't. At least not yet.

If Karen reviews the results of the sexy and fabulous Purple Lab-inspired Challenge she made for me, and decides I have become a better New Yorker, I win:

A luxurious night ALL TO MYSELF at the new, ultramodern Smyth Hotel in Tribeca. Shrimp Cocktails, Lychee Martinis and movies in an enormous bed.

I need that now more than ever. Here's why...


1. Go to S Factor and take a pole dancing class. Bonus: get a private lesson with Barbara. (HLSH Color to match: Kittypole Dancer)

Karen definitely wanted me to become sexier (she has a pole in her living room, I should have known), so she sent me to Sex Boot Camp. Aka Round 5.

This entire round of the game breathed sex onto my neck, and S Factor introduced me to a new, exhilarating form of exercise powered by confidence.

The Bonus Private Lesson came first: Barbara is an elegant, bubbly and bendy little thing who introduced me to some high-level pole tricks. I can barely do a push-up, but somehow I was able to hang upside-down and sideways on a pole, no concussions or inner thigh bruises.

The Class: No mirrors, dim red lights, and 12 women transcending to a higher state of sexy! It wasn’t about the pole; this was an introduction to feeling as powerful as possible through dance and movement.

The pole tricks will take some time, and it is something I am considering pursuing. I invited my Twitter friend Simone Grant, single and full of great Sex Lies and Dating stories, was supposed to come but drank on meds. Oops. Next time you'll have to join - my publicist Lindsay who accompanied me loved it SO much that she went out bought a pole for her apartment the NEXT DAY!

Photography by Burlesque Photographer Taryn Elizabeth
Hair and makeup by Jillian Halouska of Warren-Tricomi

2. Let Drew Linehan of Trew Productions show you how to walk the runway... and own it.

Shoulders rolled back, walk the line, hips side to side, eyes straight ahead, head still, no bobbling, arms falling into a natural swing. I never realized how NOT like a model I walked until my lesson with Drew!

Drew, aka Trew, is totally fierce, runs a fashion show production company, and in the midst of Fashion Week prep took the time out to show me a thing or two about walking like a pro.

It's a lot more complicated than it looks.There are multiple turning techniques and stomping styles he taught me, which differ if you're in Prada versus Zac Posen, if you're French or Russian, if you're wearing white versus off-white. This Fashion Week I will observe and appreciate the walk more than ever - being a 5'11" rail-thin knockout doesn't automatically make you a model. But if that's the case, a few lessons with Trew would do the trick!

Photography by Carlos Paz

3. a) Go to the Christian Louboutin store. Try on shoes with the manager Michael. Drool.

My bestie Michael's passion in life is getting his women to spend their life savings on absurdly gorgeous sky high heels. So he came into town last Thursday, all giddy to see me in décolleté, but sadly Manager Michael wasn’t in! This rule will be getting a "STRETCHHHH" so both Michaels can have a fete with my feet. I cannot wait. Karen I hope that's okay!?

b) There’s nothing hotter than red soles on the back of a motorcycle. Get a ride somewhere - on a motorcycle - in Louboutins. (HLSH Color to match: Red Sole)

New quality to look for in a boyfriend: HAS. MOTORCYCLE.

Karen’s hottie hubby Todd cruised me around lower Manhattan for my very first motorcycle ride, and I loved every second of it. It definitely wouldn't have been the same without my red soles - both my Louboutins and my Huge Lips Skinny Hips gloss in Red Sole.

Knowing I'd be wearing Karen's Purple Lab helmet, I just HAD to buy this sequined Topshop blazer for the occasion! I mean, I couldn't not buy it right? Right???

Things I'll be borrowing from Karen:

- Clothes (see Rule #11)
- Husband

4. See Veronica Varlow perform in a Burlesque Show. (HLSH Color to match: Kittypole Dancer)

You know how the story ends. I watched Veronica perform… from backstage… just after I made - I mean - Glenda Glitterati the Burlesque Barbie made her debut.

How did this all happen? Let’s rewind. Do you remember this tweet?

Without even knowing this was an upcoming rule, my friend Sharon (Burlesque name = Precious Little) coincidentally sent me Veronica's number to be my fairy. The conversation we had went a little something like this abridged version, with about ONE THOUSAND!!!! exclamation points and "THIS IS THE MOST INSANE PHONE CALL EVER!!!!" outbursts that I’ve left off for your consideration.

M: Hi Veronica.
V: Hi Michelle.

M: I heard you are a fairy.

V: Yes. I can be any kind of fairy you want.
M: Perfect. I need a dwarf and a violinist for tomorrow too.

V: Perfect. I was going to ask if my friend Nick could come. He’s like my second husband. He’s also a dwarf.

M: Perfect. I also need to watch you perform. My publicist emailed you yesterday. (Insert NYC Game explanation here)
V: Perfect. I am performing Friday at the Slipper Room.
M: Perfect. I also need to be famous in 2 weeks starting Monday.

V: Wow. You must perform Friday then.
M: Wow. You’re right, I must.
V: Perfect. I will call the owner right now and tell him I have a world famous burlesque dancer in from the Czech Republic for one night only. We will rehearse this week.
M: Perfect. I have never been to a burlesque show. I can’t wait!

And that is pretty much how it all began!
I booked 2 hours in a dance studio Wednesday night, 51 hours before showtime. I met Veronica for the first time - tall, vibrant and breathtaking with her signature bangs, red flower and old-fashioned plastic red suitcase.

She taught me all her favorite, yet simplest moves, and told me it took a near-death experience to finally embrace her passion for burlesque. I can't imagine her doing anything else! We picked a song, picked a costume and I picked it up pretty fast. Veronica is an absolute doll, a brilliant teacher, and made me feel like a million burlesque bucks.

I had my Burlesque Debut party at Citrine that night (more on that, #14) and I practiced over and over again for the next two days. I practiced for my mirror, my roommates, and a friend via iChat. He still pleas for an encore.

IT'S FRIDAY NIGHT. I arrived backstage at the Slipper Room, hadn't eaten in a week, needed a strong drink, needed to sit in front of the fan, and needed to get ready VERY fast because Glenda Glitterati the Burlesque Barbie was 2nd on the lineup!
Surrounded by naked, theatrical world-famous burlesque stars... I was clearly the newbie. Jillian curled my hair and lashes, I applied my pasties, Taryn photographed, and Veronica reassured me that I would be perfect.

Before I knew it, I was wrapped in boas and a velvet curtain opened up to a blinding spotlight. The music came on, I "established" as Veronica taught me to do, and then my body did its thing. Many friends were there to witness two of the most empowering minutes of my life, and I do not remember it one bit.

Never in a million years did I think I would perform burlesque. I am so lucky to have been given this opportunity, and that I was able to develop such a profound appreciation for the art in such a short period of time. The ultimate goal of The NYC Game is to experience every element of New York to the fullest... and that I did.

Photography by Burlesque Photographer Taryn Elizabeth
Hair and makeup by Jillian Halouska of

5. Let Devachan Salon give you the best curls of your life.

Who knew my hair could curl like this – no hairspray, no curling iron, nothing! Devachan is an immaculate salon that uses a one-of-a-kind haircare system, leading the Curl Industry worldwide. They don’t even use shampoo; rather, they concoct homemade conditioners and formulas that dig down deep and bring out the best damn spirals you’ll ever see.

If there's any bend or kink in your hair whatsoever - you MUST give Devachan a try. At least once!

Curly Q'd little old me, and my Stylist and Curl Counselor, Luciana

6. Go with Colin – the mixologist for U’luvka Vodka, and have him take you to some of his underground spots in NYC for the best Lychee Martinis you’ll ever have. (HLSH Color to match: Lychee Martini)

Colin didn't get back from London until I left for Labor Day Weekend in the Hamptons... so we will be rescheduling. STRETTTCHHHH.

7. Get the 2 best Octopus dishes in Manhattan:

a) DBGB, Daniel Boulud’s newest restaurant.

A Saturday evening of laughs and unjustifiably catty, high school-style, New York City gossip was complemented by a much anticipated octopus dish. The textures of each component blended together beautifully, and although I believe the 'pus came out a touch under temperature, it was quite fantastic. Daniel Boulud's DBGB is a big place with a great vibe, and with its moderately-priced fare, I'd recommend it for a big birthday dinner.

b) Dell’anima

After connecting with the owner Joey on Twitter and hearing all about the place from Todd during our motorcycle ride, I couldn’t wait to bring my bestie Michael to Dell'anima for octopus number 2.

We split 3 types of bruschetta as an appetizer - octopus, avocado and fig. Bruschetta without tomatoes: The rebellious bruschetta.

Then THE octopus arrived. Explosively flavorful, a touch spicy, perfectly crisped, and one of the more filling octopus dishes I've ever had. Karen usually orders 2 - bless her soul!

Which one was the Winning Octopus? Dell'anima

8. Get a Gogi berry smoothie at Organic Avenue.For $12, with a $2 deductible for returning your glass bottle, you will be able to experience the dynamic joys and benefits of a large Gogi berry smoothie.

Eric and I sat inside Organic Avenue in the West Village and pondered every intriguing organic food they sold, debating a dramatic shift in lifestyle. Would we drop 10 pounds? Would superfruit give us superpowers? Would we make new soy-eating friends and take up Yoga?

The raw, organic lifestyle usually would not mesh well with The NYC Game, but on that Saturday afternoon the thought was tempting!

Then I went next door for a slice of pizza.

9. Thank somebody with Crumbs cupcakes. (HLSH Color to match: Love Your Thighs)

I want to shout THANK YOU from the rooftops! How could I pick just ONE person when I have a list a mile long of people to whom I want to send singing telegrams of heartfelt gratitude?

Crumbs understood my dilemma, and being the sweet, hospitable cupcake company they are, they sponsored 5 dozen cupcakes for a big, delicious NYC Game thank you.

With the help of 2 fantastic interns, Erica and Katherine, I orchestrated a big delivery of tiny afternoon delights. We only made it through about half the list though... to everyone who didn’t receive and thinks they should have, you were probably supposed to! Next time I see you, we're going for Crumbs.

Here are just a few of the Crumbs recipients:

Hair stylist Luciana at Devachan Salon (see Rule #5)

Stylist Lisi of Kirna Zabete (see Rule #11)

Shannon Palmer, PR at Yasmine Djerradine Spa

REMINDER you can still get 20% off of any service at Yasmine Djerradine by mentioning The NYC Game when you book your appointment! For a refresher, see Round 3.

Hair stylist and makeup artist Jillian Halouska of Warren Tricomi

Sarah Berkley and Rebecca Frommer, friends and supporters of The NYC Game!

All Twitterers... PLEASE thank Crumbs for being so delicious! You can tell them I made you do it. And think of them next time you want to send thanks or an afternoon delight!

10. Get a facial with Nina at Paul Labreque

Nina pointed out a developing wrinkle and all the signs of stress no sleep that live on my face, but I still like her! And the facial too.

11. Shop with Lisi at Kirna Zabete. (HLSH Color to match: Worship Kate)

Balenciaga, Balmain, Lanvin, Alexander Wang... I will never shop the same again! After an afternoon at Kirna Zabete with Lisi, popping champaigne and doing a fun little photo shoot of everything Karen loves, covets and has bought this season, I know a few things for certain:

1. I WILL be raiding Karen’s closet (her life savings/“401Kloset”).

2. I WILL be stealing Lisi as my personal shopper one day, despite Karen's prior claim to do the same. She's beyond fun to shop with, and everything she picked out fit flawlessly.

3. I WILL be rich so I can actually have a shopping spree like this - and buy it all!

Lisi dressed me up as all the enviable Karens:

I started as OFFICE KAREN in a Lanvin jacket, Alexander Wang tank, Balmain jeans, Balmain booties and an Azzedine Alaia bag. Nothing less than perfection for the Purple Lab Creatrix, it seems!

I transformed into FASHION'S NIGHT OUT KAREN with a fur vest by Alexander Wang, an official Fashion's Night Out tee, Balmain booties, and Balenciaga harem pants that Karen has in green. Although the Purple Lab FNO celebration is at Scoop in the Meatpacking District tonight, and I have a sneaking suspicion she'll be wearing purple!

Then I became FLIRTY PINUP KAREN with a luxurious Balenciaga fur, Alexander Wang tank top, sassy Katy Rodriguez skirt and Azzedine Alaia shoes.

As DAYTIME DOWNTOWN KAREN I wore Balenciaga head to toe except for some layered Alexander Wang tank tops. It took a shoe horn, triceps, 10 minutes and all my will to get these shoes on my feet, but when there's a will - and shoes like these - there's a way.

Lisi threw on an Azzedine Alaia bag that Karen owns too. The shape of it and the way it hangs sets it above any boxy tote I've ever seen.

I then morphed into GLAMOUR KAREN, wearing Balmain from head to toe. Crystals, obsessed.

With glamour comes champagne... and with champagne comes glamour.

And finally PARTY KAREN appeared in an Alexander Wang dress and Balmain booties. Although, hasn't it been a party all along?

Lisi and I got a little cozy after a couple hours...

And what fun would shopping be without the company of someone who loves watching your fashion show as much as a real one? Or at least who says they do. <3

12. Meet: DJ Coleman

DJ Coleman is one of those amazing New Yorkers who took his profession and ran with it to an entirely new level. His music and his lifestyle brand – Coleman Music – has helped define many moments in fashion and celebration over his career.
I met up with him and some friends at the Rivington Hotel for the hotel’s famous Sunday rooftop party - Coleman went to support his DJ friend who was spinning that night, and I had a great time. He's as sweet and down-to-earth as they come, and I felt privileged to be in his company.

13. Wear only Hanky Pankies. If you need a new pair, go to Scoop, where you can also get HLSH! (HLSH Color: No Panty Lines)

Listen you, I think you've seen enough of me in my underwear for the year. Here's one Panky picture - I am a loyal Hanky Pankier, so this rule was almost like cheating.
When I go to Scoop Thursday for Fashion's Night Out... I'll buy another pair because you can never have too many.

14.) Read How To Become Famous In Two Weeks Or Less

which I accidentally misread as....



I have thought so much about fame in the past 2 weeks that I should be VERY famous by osmosis. I set out on my fame mission as a publicity stunt, to add a new and glamorous twist to Round 5 of The NYC Game.

Planning my fame for 3 days straight was an absolute blast! Dozens of friends and colleagues jumped right on the famewagon, loving the idea and doing everything in their power to contribute to this decidedly awesome cause. They pulled clothes and jewelry from their showrooms, wanted to plan me parties, offered hair and makeup, started Michelle Joni fan pages, and pooled all their resources – party invitations, photographers, and friends in high places – anything and everything was game for my fame! It was a tremendous tidal wave of love and support… I felt like an A-lister before it even began.

And the publicity rolled in!

The Burlesque Bash hosted by Michelle Joni and Veronica Varlow was thrown together by my friends at Citrine to celebrate my upcoming Burlesque Debut, and to bring together my new Burlesque friends for a night of fun and drinks. I invited the burlesque community, Citrine invited the gay community, and VOILA:

How do you become famous in 2 weeks? Take your clothes off and dance for one.

And how fun it was when everyone dressed as ME, their “favorite celebrity or socialite,” for the Tabloid Whore party.

Even host Justin Ross Lee - the biggest Facebook celebrity in the world! - came as me.

And The Burlesque Bash got more mileage than I had ever imagined.

I was THRILLED to be named “Tabloid Whore of the Week” by Scallywag and Vagabond! I had one little party at Citrine with some innocent booty shaking and already I'm getting written up alongside Lindsay Lohan? This was too easy.

My potential for fame was boundless.

And then, after the excitement of my Burlesque debut died down… some reality-check feedback rolled in, and I came to some realizations.

See, within the context of The NYC Game, and for most of my friends and readers, becoming famous in 2 weeks was cute, exciting and all part of the game!

But for people who didn’t know me, I realized that their first impression of me was: Fame-Seeker. And that’s not even what bothered me so much, because that could be recovered.

What shook me was this: People began to associate The NYC Game – my precious little seed that I’ve planted and nurtured! – with becoming famous. Did people think I was going out of my way to meet prominent New Yorkers so I could social climb my way to the top? Did my new, wonderful contacts think I was interested in them, or their events, for the fame or status they could potentially bring?

This is the exact OPPOSITE of the spirit in which I created The NYC Game! It’s all about discovering the hidden gems of New York City, experiencing its beautifully diverse offerings, meeting the fascinating people who live here, and feeling lucky to be part of it.

If a few days of becoming famous had tainted my Game, I was afraid of what 2 weeks could do. Bad publicity is good if they spell your name right, but not if they don’t get your game right. So I pulled back. Why would I want to be famous for wanting to be famous, when I have things I can actually become famous for?

Because the truth is, we're all trying to be famous in our own way around here. The NYC Game's stunt was a little more brash than others, but I’m smiling because I doubt the next “get famous” girl will be quite as successful - without skill, talent, a father with a hotel chain or a sex tape.

Time will tell what the future has in store for me. I don’t want fame tomorrow, I don’t want it in 2 weeks, and if it’s still not here in 2 years, that’s fine too. If fame wants me, fame is going to have to come and hunt me down!

Round 5 is over. I’m just a tad more famous than before, and I had two of the most challenging and amazing weeks of my life. Hoping I win this round of The Game!

Karen… I’ll leave that to you. And if I ever try to become famous in 2 weeks again, I promise to read the book first.


Michelle Joni


  1. .....Yes you should write this up as a book. And why not. Looking back in years to come you'll be glad you did. x

  2. Purple sequin jacket = want. :-)

  3. I want those Balmain boots!

  4. i heart the Alexander Wang dress and Balmain booties!!!!!!!

  5. awesome job... i'm very proud of you mama!