Called on the Red Carpet

Lisa Murray, Lotion Queen

The road to stardom may be paved with some kind of intentions, but Lisa Murray's was slick with hand lotion. The Scottsdale publisher's assistant is now Hollywood-bound, thanks in good part to her recent win on Entertainment Tonight's "Caress Confidante" contest. (Although her new title suggests a career spent listening to absolutions from porn stars, in fact it's all about promoting Unilever's line of Caress skincare products, which sponsored the contest.) Murray's win included a nine-day trip to Hollywood and a fleeting post as an ET correspondent; a gratuitous makeover, a personal assistant, and a life that's no longer entirely her own. Joined for this interview by a Caress publicist who fled only when I growled at her, Murray displayed a talent for pushing oil-infused body bars while also promoting herself. Not to mention her ability to vamp when I mistakenly assumed that her sexy avoirdupois is a point of pride.

New Times: What is Caress, exactly? I thought it was a bar of soap.

Lisa Murray: It's not. I mean, it is. It's a line of body wash and beauty bars and they have a new line that's my all-time favorite. It's got skin brighteners and shade cream.

The red carpet calls .  .  .
The red carpet calls . . .

NT: Shade cream! You won the Caress Confidante contest by submitting a video describing why you embody something called Glowing Touch. I'm certain I'll be sorry I asked, but what the hell does this mean?

Taline Kundakji: Uh, can I just butt in here? Glowing Touch is the name of our new line of skin care products. It's about having good skin and a good personality to go with it. Which is why Caress wanted Lisa.

NT: Thanks, Taline. I've never had a soap commercial in my column before. Lisa, you were in a bathtub in the video that won you the contest.

Murray: Have you seen it? They used to air it on Entertainment Tonight Online all the time, but now they're showing something else. You're right: I was in a bathtub. Which has led me to places I never, ever thought I'd go.

NT: Like the Playboy mansion?

Murray: No. Like getting phone calls from cousins of mine all over the country who I barely know saying, "Oh, my god, uh, you are naked on national television."

NT: How much did your skin really have to do with your big win? I mean, did they actually inspect your skin to make sure you qualify?

Murray: I don't think they did. If they did, they did it while I was sleeping.

Kundakji: No! We never needed to look at Lisa's skin because --

NT: Lisa, you were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges. Like who?

Murray: Uh, well, I think one of them was a supporting actor on Desperate Housewives.

Kundakji: I could get you a list of the judges' names, if you want.

NT: Why don't you go do that? And while you're gone, I'll try to interview Lisa about this lotion thing.

Kundakji: Got it.

Murray: Don't worry about Taline. She's sort of become an extension of me since I won.

NT: That sounds like fun. So, Lisa, what are your duties as the Caress correspondent?

Murray: During the week I was in L.A., I was a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. I attended various VIP events, a couple of red-carpet events, and then I did the red carpet at the Emmys. It was a total VIP situation.

NT: And you got a makeover. I saw the before and after photos. You were already lovely before the makeover, but afterward you looked like you'd been Swanned.

Murray: No, no, no. That was not the intention at all. And makeover is a word we don't want to use. They picked me because of who I am, and any changes just came from me having the opportunity to meet with the best hairstylist in Beverly Hills and stuff like that. When do you ever get that opportunity?

NT: What? To have your hair color changed and forced to wear hair extensions?

Murray: The extensions were my idea. And it was like, "Not only are they gonna pay for it, but they're sending me to the best hairdresser in Hollywood!" But, yeah. I would never have picked this color for my hair. It's interesting and neat and everything, but it's the same color as my freckles. I'll probably go back to blonde.

NT: What is it about L.A.? It seems like you're not allowed to work there if you actually look like yourself.

Murray: I know! But, hey. Scottsdale is like that, too. I have a friend who moved to Scottsdale from the East Coast and she went out and got that Scottsdale blonde hair. Afterward the stylist said, "It looks great but now it doesn't match your skin tone." It never ends.

NT: Maybe Caress makes a product for that. I saw your publicity shots from the Emmys. You look like a teenage boy's wet dream. And there you are in all the photos, gripping a bottle of lotion!

Murray: You have a dirty mind. Actually it was the body wash that I'm holding in all those pictures. I always have a bottle of Caress Glowing Touch with me when I'm on the red carpet. Of course I had my assistant hold it for me, because my shiny little purse was too tiny.

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