Legally Brown

You've seen Legally Blonde, but did you know Elle Woods really grew up in Paradise Valley?

After all, she remarks, Hilary and Chad practically have a petting zoo at their house.


Amanda is up at dawn the next day for hair and makeup, and on the road before 7, packed into a rented Camry with her publicist, personal assistant and makeup guy. They all turn off their cell phones as they walk into KTVK's offices, for the first of three television appearances this morning.

Amanda Brown
Amanda Brown
Brown's second book, Family Trust, looks to be a very tasty
read.
Brown's second book, Family Trust, looks to be a very tasty read.

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Photographs by Jeff Newton

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Amanda is very understated again today, in a black blouse and khaki pants. In contrast, her publicist wears tight jeans and a tank top. The makeup guy's in shorts and Burberry flip-flops. He moves a chunk of hair away from Amanda's face with the handle of a makeup brush. The author schmoozes Tara Hitchcock, co-host of Good Morning Arizona. Turns out Tara rooms with Penny Goff, who's a good friend of Serena's.

Like, omigod! Small world.

Everyone seems pleased with the interview, and the entourage travels to the local ABC affiliate, where Amanda has an appearance set on Sonoran Living.

Again, cell phones off, everyone.

After that interview, the publicist rushes to Amanda, and they whisper furiously. Finally, they finish, both serious. "Okay, so I should put it behind my ear?" Amanda asks. The makeup guy nods gravely.

The interview went so well -- again, Amanda found someone who knows someone she went to high school with -- they invite her back to do a segment for the news.

Quickly, Amanda and Co. head over to AZTV, for an interview on the Pat McMahon Show. Until now, the assistant, a pleasant young woman who explains that she moved to San Francisco from North Carolina to work for Amanda, and seems to have the sole task today of driving the Camry, has been almost silent. When the group enters the small waiting area at AZTV, the receptionist asks if anyone wants coffee or water.

Amanda's assistant asks for a Diet Coke. The publicist immediately shushes her. "No, for her," the assistant says, pointing to Amanda, who's on the phone with her mom. The publicist backs off.

Turns out, all they have is Diet Pepsi.

"No!" the assistant, publicist and makeup guy say, in unison. They decide on two waters, which come in coffee mugs and go untouched.

Inside the studio, McMahon and Amanda reminisce. Turns out McMahon's wife, Duffy, once showed her sculpture at Suzanne Brown's gallery. Amanda shares a fond childhood memory. She was once a guest on The Wallace & Ladmo Show, the legendary local children's television show that garnered McMahon (who went on to be a radio and television host) his biggest fame as a series of characters including a little boy named Gerald and an old lady named Aunt Maude. The highlight of the show was a studio audience drawing for a "Ladmo Bag," a brown bag filled with potato chips and snack cakes, and Amanda proudly shares the story of the time Amanda's Brownie troupe visited the show. Suzanne persuaded McMahon to rig the drawing so she could win a Ladmo Bag because, as Amanda explains, "I never win anything."

After the interview with McMahon, Amanda is back at the ABC affiliate for the news segment, then running late for a meeting with the dean of the ASU law school. She shows up alone, has a brief chat with Patricia White, and the two walk over to the law library to join a group of students for lunch. The group includes two women in burqas and several blondes. They want to know if anything about the movie bugged her. Yes (for you LB cable fanatics), the "Bend and Snap" scene. And did anyone from her law school class complain after the movie?

No. "They didn't recognize themselves. Everybody thinks he's the smart, good-looking guy."

Dean White advises the students to "just think of yourselves as collecting material."

"Everything's material," Amanda confirms. After signing a few books, she heads back to The Phoenician for more hair and makeup, and a photo shoot. Serena and Kristen Spayd (née Borosky), another blonde friend, join her, as Suzanne, Alexandra and Alexandra's nanny look on.

Serena is six months pregnant, and complaining about it, but she hardly shows in a black tube top, simple black pants and the tiny black heels all the girls are wearing. Kristen accessorizes her black outfit with camouflage pants. Serena and Kristen have those matching purses with their first initials on them that are all the rage in Scottsdale right now. The girls talk about Legally Blonde, and Kristen admits that she never did read the book. Although it wasn't officially published until this year, Amanda self-published it in 2001.

"I sent everybody copies," she insists.

"I wasn't part of everybody' that week," Kristen says to no one in particular, laughing quietly.


A few hours later, everybody gathers at Borders for the big party. Suzanne Brown is lovely in sea-foam green, and even the publicist and the personal assistant are dressed up, but Amanda's wearing the same drab outfit she's had on all day. She looks tired, and her hand must hurt from gripping the Sharpie, but she also looks happy.

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