Today’s Thursday Styles in The New York Times profiled Tinsley Mortimer, former reality show star and legitimate socialite. Speaking of which: can’t we think of a better term to apply to her? “Socialite” almost seems too ubiquitous a rank–like hipster–to qualify anymore, since anyone who is photographed doing anything above 43rd st. is now deemed a socialite. Though Ms. Mortimer might embody the definition of the word as “a person who attends many fashionable upper-class social events and who is well known because of this.”
Especially now that Ms. Mortimer has returned from a self-imposed hibernation to re-brand herself. Tinsley returns!
With a new book about to hit the shelves in May, Ms. Mortimer is trying to reverse the damage from her season of reality show infamy on the CW’s High Society. (Another re-appropriation of a phrase that used to connote people who would never agree to be in a reality show.) Though Southern Charms (Scribner), about debutante life in South Carolina, is supposed to be a work of fiction, the comparison to Ms. Mortimer’s own upbringing is sure to be commented on. Extensively. And undoubtedly, that’s part of her plan.
Laura Lipton, who wrote the piece for The New York Times, also has branded Ms. Mortimer, though her article connotes some odd hybrid of Gossip Girl and Edith Wharton.
“She was almost like a ‘Real Housewife’ — people didn’t want her at the party,” said a social acquaintance who, for propriety’s sake, asked not to be identified. That fall, the acquaintance attended a private dinner at Lavo, a Midtown restaurant. “Tinsley was at a table in the front, and I saw her and said, ‘Why aren’t you back there with everybody?’ She said, ‘I wasn’t invited.’ But all of her friends were there. That’s what was weird.”
“Social acquiescence?” “Propriety’s sake?” “Weird?” Sure, the “dethroning” of Ms. Mortimer in 2010 reads like a modern day The House of Mirth, so maybe Ms. Lipton is actually onto something here.
And if this was a Wharton classic, there would be no better way to update the social niceties of the upper crust by having her estranged husband, Robert Livingston Mortimer, dash off an email to the press. “I have nothing but the best wishes for t,” he wrote to The Times. “As for rumors I prefer to let people think what they want.”
Classic. No, literally: classic.
(Photo via Getty Images)
Follow Drew Grant via RSS.