The sharp-tongued Yenta-in-Chief, who graced the cover of The Jewish Journal last spring, is off and running in 2010 with a Jewish wedding to plan, a new season of her hit reality show on Bravo, a partnership with 1-800-FLOWERS and her very own Spark dating Web site, P.S. XOXO.
In a memorable episode of last season’s “Millionaire Matchmaker,” a disgruntled female client verbally attacked Stanger at one of the matchmaker’s exclusive mixers for millionaire bachelors. She questioned Stanger’s ability to lead others to love when the matchmaker herself (who is nearing the Five-O) hadn’t yet traversed the path of marriage.
Stanger’s brilliant rebuttal, months later, is a 4-carat heart-shaped diamond engagement ring from Israel. Fiance Andy Friedman is a local Jewish boy who lives in Encino, and is insisting upon a lavish, 500-guest, Jewish wedding. Stanger, famous for attending to the love lives of the wealthy and the wealthier, would actually prefer to elope, but she hasn’t won that battle. The couple is scouting local hotels for their tentatively scheduled summer 2010 wedding, which Stanger said will be “traditionally Jewish” with a chuppah, “semi-kosher” catering and the breaking of the glass. Asked if her old friend and debating partner, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, is on the short-list of rabbis for the ceremony, Stanger said, “No way. Andy wants someone…different…” And by different, Andy apparently doesn’t mean progressive, because Stanger has floated the idea of a female rabbi, and her fiance pretty much shot it down. “He’s more traditional than I am, though we both really love this one deaf, female rabbi in Thousand Oaks. She’s amazing.” The position is still up for grabs, so rabbis: send in your resumes, and make sure you include a professional headshot.
As for the all-important wedding dress, Stanger is looking at Badgley Mischka designs, as well as other notable designers. After the nuptials, Stanger will leave her beachside Marina del Rey home and head over the hill to a house the couple plans to purchase in Encino.
The new season of “Millionaire Matchmaker” just began, and Stanger promises plenty of Jewish millionaires on the show. In last week’s episode, the blunt and often forceful Stanger demanded that her millionaire client cut his “Jewfro” immediately. She called a hairstylist to come immediately, sat the client down, and ordered that his curls be chopped off. It’s just the way Stanger does business.
Inspired by a guilt trip I apparently (and unknowingly) laid on her during our interview last year—she recalls me asking why she limits her matchmaking skills to rich people only—Stanger decided to expand her outreach to include the average Joe. She teamed up with Spark Networks, the parent company of JDate, to launch P.S. XOXO, an online dating Web site with free profiles, dating advice and tips from the dating guru herself. “You don’t have to be a millionaire to sign up,” reads the intro to the site.
Since Stanger is a big proponent of old-fashioned romance, she’s also struck up a partnership with 1-800-FLOWERS, which now offers the “Matchmaker Collection” featuring Stanger’s picks for first date to engagement bouquets.
And now that she’s actually engaged, no one can question her expertise on that matter.