How George Clooney Saved My Self-Esteem

A chance encounter with the gorgeous, gallant star instantly transforms one woman's approach to aging

By Susannah Bianchi
Photograph: Juliette Borda

“Collagen? I don't know. Remember what happened to Beth Ann? She went in for a routine lip plumping and came out looking as if she'd been attacked by a swarm of bees.”

“That's what happens when you call an 800 number after midnight,” Camille said. “Rule number one: When it comes to your face, money is no object. You got that?”

“Yes, of course. Do you think I want to end up like Ava from the gym? She invited me over after her trip to Hawaii, and I swear to God, I thought Natalie Portman answered the door. It wasn't out of the question, since Ava knows people in the arts. I was all set to say ‘I love your work’ when she spoke and Ava's voice came out of Natalie Portman's face.”

“I wouldn't mind having my voice come out of Natalie Portman's face,” Camille said.

“You're missing the point,” I said, holding up my jaw with my index fingers. “I'm trying to say I don't want to look like anyone else—not even a beauty like Natalie Portman. I just want to look the way I've looked for the past 15 years. I'm afraid I'm turning into Missy.”

“Are you having hair ball issues?” Camille asked. “Seriously, you're just suffering from a bad case of the fifties. Look at me. I'm 54, and you don't see me wigging out, do you?”

“You've had work done,” I said, rather indignantly.

“Just my lids, and that's not work,” Camille said. “It's maintenance—like getting your teeth cleaned.”

“Since when do they knock you out cold when they clean your teeth?”

“Oh my God!” Camille said, grabbing my arm. “Guess who just walked in?”

Before I could answer, George Clooney was standing right next to me at the bar. I was so shaken that I dropped my wallet on the floor. He bent down, retrieved it and graciously handed it to me.

“Thank you,” I said, trying to appear calm.

“I'm sure people must tell you all the time that you look like Jackie Kennedy,” he said.

“Well, just my mother,” I answered, hoping he couldn't hear my heart thump.

He gave me a quick smile, then disappeared into the crowd.

“Now I really need a drink,” I muttered under my breath.

“What, what?” Camille said. “The sexiest man on the planet just said you look like Jackie Kennedy. What could possibly be the matter?”

“She's older than me,” I said, draining my glass. “Plus, she's dead.”

“He said Jackie Kennedy, not Jacqueline Onassis,” Camille pointed out.

“What the hell's the difference?”

“A good 30 years, that's what.”

“You're right. I should count my blessings,” I said. “He could have said Bess Truman.”

We both started to laugh.

“So, what do you have to say for yourself there, Jackie?” Camille asked, applying fresh lipstick.

“Maybe I'll just go ahead and ‘have my teeth cleaned’ after all,” I said, smiling. “By the way, is there any such thing as a two-for-one special?”

“Susannah, they do both eyes at the same time.”

“I know that,” I said. “I was thinking of Missy.”

Susannah Bianchi, a writer and an actress, blogs at


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First Published November 8, 2011

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