- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2009

Christie Brinkley vs. Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska who has the world wondering about her next step, does not exactly have a fan in supermodel Christie Brinkley.

“I think she should get out of politics,” the 50-something former wife of musician Billy Joel told G2. “It seems like she always gets in trouble when she opens her mouth.”

We had occasion to chat on the phone with the blond beauty, known for her long career as a spokesmodel for Cover Girl cosmetics and for gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition as well as hundreds of other fashion mags through the ‘80s and ‘90s.

“I went to Alaska many years ago on a shoot for American Vogue, and I have heard about the drilling [Mrs. Palin] has done up there, ” she told us.

Ms. Brinkley, a longtime Democrat who served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2000, says she was raised believing in the power “of one person to make a difference. I marched against the Vietnam War as a teenager and got signatures for [George] McGovern,” she said of her early political experiences.

She told us she might be back in the District in the coming weeks to promote yet another issue close to her heart - sustainable nuclear energy.

When she was not venting on politics, she filled us in on her other interest - making jewelry.

Ms. Brinkley, who studied to be an artist before venturing into modeling, has launched a jewelry line called CeleBrate with Ross-Simons on her Web site (christie brinkley.com). She explained it is a creative outlet for her, especially as she juggles the demands of motherhood, her many projects and her turbulent personal life. (Her marriage to Peter Cook ended in divorce in 2008 after she discovered he had had an affair.)

“It’s a very eclectic collection that reflects the different things that I love,” she said, adding that she is inspired by nature because she spends so much time outdoors gardening and sailing. Her favorite piece in the line, which includes everything from classic pearls to Southwestern-inspired bangles and earrings, is especially personal.

“I have a peace-and-love necklace because I always sign things, ‘Peace and love, Christie,’ ” she explained.

She says she would like to send some samples of her line to the White House because the Obama administration is “all about peace and love.”

Any plans to run for office herself? “Oh no, I have Sarah Palin’s problem. I would open my mouth too much.”

On BASE in D.C.

While Ms. Brinkley avoids politics, the entertainment industry seems to be clinging to it, or at least to the center of it - Washington.

“We are looking to bring D.C. to Hollywood. There are a lot of programs being created with D.C. as a backdrop, and we’re fortunate to have one foot firmly planted there,” said John Brenkus, co-chief executive officer of BASE Productions, which has locations inside the Beltway and in Los Angeles.

Mr. Brenkus shares the helm of BASE, which is deeply rooted in the Washington area, with his brother-in-law, Mickey Stern. Mr. Brenkus grew up in Fairfax County and attended the University of Virginia. While majoring in rhetoric and communications, he arranged an independent study of film through the university. Looking for an internship, he contacted director Steven Soderbergh, who had recently received accolades for his film “sex, lies, and videotape” and was living in Charlottesville.

Mr. Brenkus shared Mr. Soderbergh’s career counseling with us:

“Do everything yourself. Don’t go to film school. Learn how to shoot and to edit. It turned out to be great advice. It worked!”

Indeed, Mr. Brenkus went on to found BASE Productions with Mr. Stern, and the company has grown over the past 17 years to employ 100 people.

Locally, BASE works closely with the Washington Capitals, producing all of the team’s content - everything from a weekly television show to the team’s commercials. In Los Angeles, BASE has developed dozens of successful programs, including Animal Planet’s “American Cowboys,” Fox Sports Net’s Emmy-winning “Sport Science,” A&E’s “Crime 360,” and “Jesse James Is a Dead Man,” which will air its season finale Sunday on SpikeTV. Tune in for a taste of what one of the District’s most creative teams has produced!

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@ washingtontimes.com.

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