Icon: Fran Lebowitz

May 12, 2011 8:25 AM

Fran LebowitzWe love her because her acerbic wit and exceptional cleverness have kept her from having a real job for the past three decades. And she’s keeping the spirit of old New York alive.

Most known for her two books of essays, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, her unpublished first novel (which she’s allegedly been writing for the last twenty years), and the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary Public Speaking. Also for quotes like this: “My favorite animal is steak.”

On the job Fran has made a career out of saying things that polite people never would, and saying them very well. She’s appeared on David Letterman and Law & Order. Her dislike of much of the modern world has won her fans among people with a sneaking suspicion that much of what’s expected of us might be wrong.

She got her start by being expelled from high school, a great beginning to any illustrious career in letters. From there, she managed to convince Andy Warhol to hire her as a columnist for Interview magazine, which she parlayed from a potential fifteen minutes of fame into a whole life’s worth.

Lessons learned Embrace contrarianism. Some people are content with the way things are, and willing to adjust to the way they’re going. But as Fran has proven throughout her life, if you’re not one of them, you don’t need to accept. You can mock, instead.

Her personal style is classic New York intellectual, with an emphasis on tailored blazers and button-down shirts. She was named one of 2007’s most stylish women by Vanity Fair, and she often sports suits made by Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard.

If we met her we’d probably be too intimidated to say much, so we’d spend a lot of time soaking up whatever she’s got to say to us. After all, as she put it herself, “the opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.”


Public Speaking Teaser


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