At yesterday’s luncheon for Makers, a series of interviews of groundbreaking women produced in collaboration by PBS and the Huffington Post, Tina Brown whispered to her tablemate Diane von Furstenberg, “There hasn’t been a Nora tribute yet?” She was speaking during the salad course, and she needed only wait.
“With her usual wit and timing, Nora has left us with her words on tape,” said Gloria Steinem, referring to Ms. Ephron’s own Makers interview, wherein she recounts her extraordinary career, or careers; she went on to introduce the high-wattage Makers who’d made the event, including Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, and Barbara Walters. Ms. Walters and Ms. Couric, both currently employed by ABC News, gathered in quiet conversation before the lunch was seated, with Ms. Couric even snapping an iPhone shot of her new colleague.
After a video tribute to the unique success of Ms. Walters–during which Ms. Walters remarked that she had, early in her long career, felt like a flop, and Ms. von Furstenberg shouted across the dining room, “You are a flop, Barbara!”–the newswoman gave her own tribute to Ephron. “She was romantic–caustic, witty–but romantic,” said Ms. Walters, telling tales from her lunch group, the Harpies. The Harpies included Ephron, publicist Peggy Siegal (who had organized the lunch), and ABC News’s Cynthia McFadden, which gathered to discuss face-lifts (“other people’s!,” said Ms. Walters) and exchange unwanted Christmas gifts.
Before the celebration got underway, we spoke to Ms. Steinem, who’d been one of the first to sit for the video interview in Makers. What was it like, we wondered, being friends with so many high-profile women? After all, Ephron’s death had indicated just how connected are the women of New York. “I don’t think they were high-profile when we began the friendships,” said Ms. Steinem. “But many of us have worked together–and many of the women here who are 20 and 30 are also my friends!”
How had Ms. Steinem felt when recording her interview for posterity? “You’re always second-guessing yourself. But I think it’s especially important to be able to see people physically, because part of our message is our physical self.”
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