RECAP: Pluck and Panache: actress Debi Mazar shows how it’s done

RECAP: Pluck and Panache: actress Debi Mazar shows how it’s done

March 2024 Meeting speaker recap


Pluck and Panache: actress Debi Mazar shows how it’s done

by Lisa Robbins

‘The waters parted, the sun’s rays were coming out of his head. This hot f**king musician came to pick me up at the airport.’ Heat intensified when the maribou feathers of Debi Mazar’s  flipflops caught fire from the ash of his cigarette.  After a two-and-a half hour tête-à-tête in Florence’s Santo Spirito, the smoldering love affair took off properly.  Mazar and ‘sun god’, Gabriele Corcos ‘smashed lips’, made love at Villa d’Este on Lake Como and sealed it with a week in Paris.

Twenty two years later the couple lives in Fiesole, Tuscany with their two daughters. Corcos is now an Italian celebrity chef and Mazar, a New York actress.


How did she launch her career?

Pluck and panache landed Mazar where she wants to be. She made the proverbial silk purse from a sow’s ear after being raised by her fashion-conscious grandmother (her own mother was only fifteen when Mazar was born). WIN’s rapt audience heard the hilarious story of how she was fired from her first job as a dental assistant when she embellished her outfit with green fishnets and a short skirt. Never mind: her ex-employer became her dentist for the next thirty years. After a stint in beauty school, Mazar became a top makeup artist for ‘Vogue Magazine’ and went on to do Madonna’s hair and makeup long before the singer achieved stardom.

It was when Mazar assisted in opera theater and spied the singers that she first decided she wanted to be on ‘THAT side of the camera’. Watching old black and white films with her grandmother together with acting classes eventually paid off; she found an agent and supported early bit parts with hair and makeup money.

Her first big film role was in ‘GoodFellas’. She went on to feature in ‘Jungle Fever’ and to play Ava Gardner in ‘Arde Madrid.’ To date she has acted in over 70 films and shows. She is currently starring as Medusa in ‘KAOS’, a Netflix series, and acting in ‘Ladies in Black’, an Australian tv series, both scheduled to come out this summer.  She is playing in a Mexican film, ‘Fiesta en la Madriguera’, directed by Manola Caro, coming out this May.

Of her roles she remarks: ‘I show up and do my best. I always take something away, I grow from every job.’ Some of this savvy is being recorded; she has embarked on writing her memoirs. Mazar has a love-hate relationship with celebrity life: the most important thing ‘is to be myself, enjoy home life and not judge others.’


Why Florence?

She loves being in Florence. ‘It’s been good for me; it’s fun to get lost.’ Though she misses the speed of New York city, she never gets bored here. Perhaps there wouldn’t be time; Mazar travels internationally for her film work. When she is home, “my husband is a marvelous chef and puts dinner on our table every night.  The taste of seasonal vegetables is divine and strawberries are ‘nirvana’. She loves to dance and to celebrate the Italian culture. It was when Corcos took over his parents’ 11th century ‘casa colonica’ four years ago that the family crossed the Atlantic. They had already been spending a month in Florence every year. Now it’s home.


How does she look so good? Is she really over 50?

Petite, with a tiny waist, Mazar explains that she adheres to a very strict schedule. ‘I exercise regularly’ and use a lovely Florentine face cream made by ‘Hur’.


What is her dream?

‘To open a disco carwash that’s quick and efficient.’ You’ll have to ask her for details.


A little bit about Debi Mazar:

Debi Mazar is an acclaimed American film and television actress who made her feature film debut in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.”

She is a native New Yorker and has been in over 70 films, television shows and stage productions.

Her extensive on-screen work includes films with legendary directors Woody Allen, Michael Mann, Oliver Stone and Joel Schumacher. She also starred in her own television sitcom “Temporarily Yours” and is known for her role as hard-charging publicist Shauna on the HBO series “Entourage,” which earned her and the cast a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2004.

She also appeared in the film version, which premiered in the summer of 2015. She starred as Maggie on the critically acclaimed TV Land comedy “Younger,” from “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star.

She and her husband Gabriele Corcos created, produced and starred in their hit Cooking Channel show originally titled “Extra Virgin,” inviting viewers into their Brooklyn home as they prepared the Tuscan foods they know so well. The show relaunched as “Extra Virgin Americana” in 2016, and Debi and Gabriele were honored with a James Beard Foundation Award in the category Television Program in a Studio or Fixed Location. The couple also wrote two cookbooks; the first one, New York Times bestseller “Extra Virgin,” was published by Clarkson Potter in 2014.





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