‘The Cosmo 100’ With Joanna Coles and the Wednesday Celebrity Scene

As devoted as we are to covering the Fellini-esque scene that is Wednesdays at Michael’s, we do occasionally break tradition and report the news from 55th and Fifth on other days of the week when we’re invited to especially dishy lunches with A-listers. Monday’s head-spinning gathering of the “Cosmo 100” hosted by the hotter-than-hot editrix Joanna Coles more than fit the bill. Boasting one of the year’s most impressive guest lists, the estrogen-fueled confab now in its second year, brilliantly showcased Joanna’s savvy for bringing together her vast network of female overachievers from every conceivable sphere of influence for the dual purpose of some high-profile networking and some serious brand building. “Last year when I came up with the idea for this lunch, people came and didn’t really know what to expect,” Joanna told me as she stood in the lounge accepting air kisses and posing for photos with the growing throng of well-wishers. “This year, we had people calling up asking to come.”

Sarah Jessica Parker and AnnaSophia Robb; Photo: Greg Pace

Among those that did make the final cut: actresses Sarah Jessica Parker (“This is my new favorite yearly lunch!” she told me) and The Carrie Diaries star AnnaSophia Robb (The original Carrie and Carrie 2.0 met for the first time in the dining room and posed for their first ever joint photo during cocktails); The Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee; Arianna Huffington; Mika Brzezinski (whose late arrival during Joanna’s opening remarks earned the Morning Joe cohost some cheeky chiding about her tardiness); celebrity fitness guru Tracy Anderson; supermodel Coco Rocha (who sported a chic shorter hairstyle and towered over the crowd); producer Desiree Gruber; designers Georgina Chapman and Stacey Bendet; Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon; A&E Network’s Nancy DubucPolitico‘s Kim Kingsley; Atlantic Record’s chairman Julie Greenwald; lobbyist Heather Podesta (whose striking silver locks, sky high Louboutins and flawless makeup earned her my pick as the best-dressed guest); Harvard Business School professor and TED talker Amy CuddyLauren ZalaznickLeslie SloaneLiz KaplowThe Chew‘s Daphne Oz; attorney Robbie Kaplan (who argued Edie Windsor‘s case before the Supreme Court); director and producer Alexandra Kerry (Dad is Secretary of State John Kerry); Laurie Tisch; and aspiring songstress Sky Ferreira, a frequent subject of lensman Terry Richardson.

Joanna’s penchant for political discourse was well represented by senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who both spoke while the crowd picked at their salads (a delicious “Cosmo Cobb” with Maine lobster, cherry tomato, bacon, feta and baby romaine). Sen. Klobuchar was particularly tickled about being invited to lunch — many years ago, she revealed, she submitted a column to Cosmopolitan, which was promptly rejected. “My Sex and the City days didn’t happen,” she said, pointing to SJP. “Then I decided to go to law school.”  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who stayed just long enough to be serenaded with a chorus of “Happy Birthday,” led by Joanna, told the room she was hoping for “equal pay for equal work” as her present this year. New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn stood to accept some applause when Joanna said of her ill-fated run for New York City mayor, “Christine fought a hard and long battle… It’s likely we will see a woman in the White House before we have one running this great city.” And this being a lunch for Cosmo, after all, there was a smattering of sex talk. Klobuchar made a joke of steering clear of being photographed with the nudes hanging in the restaurant, while Joanna told the crowd of a “disappointing visit to the gynecologist” who “found something in her vagina” before waiting a beat to reveal “it was some Texas Republicans.”

Kate Bolduan, Arianna Huffington and Joanna Coles; Photo: Allie Kircher

That started plenty of chatter at my table, where I was seated between Queen Noor of Jordan and Meryl Poster, president of television at The Weinstein Company. On the other side of Queen Noor was Hearst’s Ellen Levine, who regaled us with tales of her husband (a noted gynecologist) bringing his work home in the form of the occasional TMI. “Sometimes I worried about my sons,” she joked, “But they turned out perfectly normal.” I couldn’t help but wonder what Queen Noor’s connection was to this group. She told me she was a longtime friend of Joanna’s, and she wanted to be here to support her. “Not that she needs it,” she said. I was more than a little relieved when Ellen asked her the question on my mind, which was: “How do we address you?” to which she replied, “My friends and family call me ‘Noor’ so by the end of this afternoon, I’m sure you’ll be part of that group, so ‘Noor.'” Over the course of lunch, I chatted with this incredibly poised and gracious woman about all sorts of things. She told me she’d just flown in to New York from London the night before (having attended a conference on missing persons) to visit her 95-year-old mother, who lives here, and spend some time with her two daughters, one of whom is in search of the right university to earn her PhD  (Queen Noor attended Princeton). She told me it was rare to have all three generations together in one place, “so I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with them.” When the conversation turned to fascinating women, Queen Noor expressed her admiration for none other than singer and Broadway star Cyndi Lauper. “For someone to have had a career like she has had and be able to reinvent herself as she has done with her artistry is very impressive to me,” she noted referencing her Tony-winning music in Kinky Boots.