Bright Lights, This City

"Hey MH, did you happen to see the latest cover of W magazine?"

That's the magazine's managing editor, Frank. Now, W isn't the sort of thing that Frank would normally get excited over. Sports Illustrated, ESPN, anything Redbirds, Cardinals, Motley Crue, or KISS-related, yes. You get the picture. His inquiry should have sent alarm bells ringing, but Ophelia Ford had just made another big speech at the Senate and I was busy trying to translate it into something resembling a language I speak.

Ford: "I'm embarrassed that my mayor would send a lobbyist up here with such a thing, as I have expressed to him — thinking that, the way he said it to me, he was going to 'get on that.' I don't see anything having been gotten on."

I put the quotes into my Ophelia filter and finally deduct she's opposed to burying unidentified bodies and the indigent without the oversight of a funeral director. I send the link to everyone I know, and Frank pops around the corner again.

"What did you think about that

W cover? Can you believe that's the same girl?"

Embarrassed, I admit I hadn't yet looked at the issue that had him all worked up. He demands I take a peek at a link he's sent me, and I immediately see why. My mouth drops open. There on the cover of an internationally known fashion mag is our own Ginnifer Goodwin, looking decidedly different than she did on the Memphis cover back in March 2007. See for yourself.

The W girl is a black-eyeliner-smeared-leather-and-fishnet-wearing bombshell, and it's pretty hot stuff. She might look like a good-girl-gone-bad, but it's makeup. It's clothes. It's still the sweet, Shakespeare-loving Memphis girl we met a few years back, and I'm thrilled that our hometown hottie has made yet another magazine cover.

Me: Whoa!

Frank: I KNOW!

Me: I mean, whoa!

Frank: I told you!

Later that afternoon, associate art director Hannah pops her head into my office. "Did you see Saturday Night Live this weekend? Justin Timberlake hosted it. Please tell me you saw the digital short with Justin and Andy Samberg. Best. Thing. Ever."

Hannah and I are lovers of all things pop culture, especially floppy-haired boys like Samberg, whom we both have TV-crushes on. I immediately pull up the show's website and we watch short clips, howling like hyenas and luring a handful of curious coworkers in to see what the fuss is about.

Me: I. Can't. Stop. Watching.

Hannah: I KNOW!

Me: Please turn it off. It's too good.

Hannah: I told you!

It's official. Memphis' Timberlake is across-the-board talented. I secretly think he might be a robot composed only of talent and synthetic skin, but I won't know until he comes to town for our photo shot and interview. Ahem.

The day comes to an end, and we're looking at the cover before sending it to the printer. American Idol contestants Lil Rounds and Alexis Grace Middleton smile back at me as I carefully check the copy one last time. (Read more about their rise to Idol fame on page 28.) Like Goodwin, Timberlake, and so many others, these two have it: the raw talent, the looks, personalities, all of the intangible qualities that stars possess. And their success on the show shines a positive spotlight on our so-often-maligned city. As I sign off on the final cover draft and send it on its way, I wonder how long it will be before someone pops a head into my office and asks if I've seen the latest from these two.

It's not a matter of if, but when. And we'll keep you posted.





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