Sally Quinn is great for many reasons. One, she’s a kicky woman! Two, she married a Boston Brahmin. Three, her work helped me form my own personal definition of performance art (more on that in a month or so).
So it was with great expectations that I read the Sally Quinn profile in this month’s Vanity Fair. It did not disappoint. Here, I have excerpted the most wonderful parts.
Her ascent at WaPo:
In her employment interview, [Ben] Bradlee asked the 28-year-old [Quinn] if she could show him something she’d written. “Mr. Bradlee,” she told him, “I’ve never written anything. Not a word.” When he told his colleague editorial-page editor Phil Geyelin about this, Geyelin replied, “Nobody’s perfect.”
Ben Bradlee on Sally:
She brought a new kind of energy and pizzazz to [the paper],” says Bradlee, still dapper in a Turnbull & Asser striped shirt. “And she just was on a roll! She was the best thing in the Style section for a while.” (emphasis mine)
Sally on Bradlee:
“I was completely dazzled by him,” says Sally. As she tells it, in the middle of Watergate, when the Post feared it was being spied on, she confided to a friend: “I said, ‘I’m just madly in love with Ben Bradlee and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel like I should tell him.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no. You can’t do that or it will be a disaster. You have to put your country first.’ ”
She didn’t take slights lightly. After Christopher Buckley referred to her 1986 Washington society novel, Regrets Only, as “cliterature” in Vanity Fair, Sally telegrammed her friend Tina Brown (then the editor of V.F.) a disinvitation to Ben’s 65th-birthday party.
Maureen Dowd’s Yogi:
After an astrologer told Sally that Quinn would benefit from yoga, she had lunch with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who recommended her own teacher, Pary, whose students included David Gregory and Rahm Emanuel.