'Cojo,' in NBC 'Today Show' Banter, Softens View Toward Gays
- Friday, December 24, 2004
NEW YORK — Fashion maven Steven "Cojo" Cojocaru must be pretty funny and loads of fun to be with. How else to explain the gales of laughter from "Today Show" co-hosts Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Natalie Morales on a Christmas gift segment Dec. 16 titled, "Test the heat of your holiday kiss?"
Ann Curry: So! Speaking of which; talk about unmentionables that we may want to mention. What's that about?
Steven Cojocaru: Well, you know, they say, I don't know who said this, but I think my mother once said to me, 'Every woman should have expensive French lingerie once in their life.' Those were my first words: 'Women's French lingerie.' (Laughter) Anyway, so --
Natalie Morales: What's that in French?
Cojocaru: I don't know. (Stammers in mock French accent) Lingerie du France? I don't speak French! Je ne sais quois! Anyway.... (Giggles from co-hosts) So, where are they?
(Cojo picks up a pair of thong underwear and holds them up for the camera and co-hosts to see.)
Cojocaru: So, now I want to introduce you to the most decadent French lingerie: cashmere. The cashmere thong. Cashmere panties. And these, I swear to you, are all the rage in Paris right now. They are really, really hot. For men, for women: yeah.
Matt Lauer: How much are those?
Cojocaru: They are expensive. They are $168.
Morales: 100 percent cashmere?
Cojocaru: Yes, they are. They are 100 percent.
Lauer: Machine washable?
Cojocaru: Yes, they are. Matt, (lighthearted scolding tone) I've done my homework, OK? They are machine washable. You will be glad to know that they breathe.
Lauer: How would you know that?
Cojocaru: Um. Because I tested them. I wore them last night to bed. There is no spontaneous combustion. They are beautiful. And --
Lauer: OK. (Curry and Morales continuously giggle)
Cojocaru (voice rising): And I want to stop talking about them because --
Lauer (trying to help): You feel like --
Cojocaru (mock exasperation): I feel like I'm really (loud laughter from the female co-hosts) a dirty joke is coming or something!
Lauer: No, no. It's not.
Cojocaru -- Who?
Many people who see Cojocaru on television for the first time mistake him for a woman. Perhaps it's the haystack hairstyle: hazel brown with blonde highlights obviously coiffed by a high-priced hair stylist. He even joked about it on the Christmas gift segment.
Cojocaru: In honor of the holidays, I tweaked my hair a little. Doesn't it look like a little Christmas tree? (Laughter all around) Or like a Hanukkah bush?
Lauer: It looks like, though, that you need to water that Christmas tree. (Laughter)
Cojocaru: Yeah. I told my hairdresser, "Make a nice little nativity scene in there."
Cojocaru's makeup is what women might describe as "tastefully applied" to accentuate lips and eyes. Rouge, lipstick, foundation, eye shadow and mascara set off brown eyes and a smile that seems to contain a panorama of bleach-white, perfectly aligned teeth.
The 5-o'clock shadow and Adam's apple provoke a double-take. Then the voice that holds "s" sounds just a little too long; it's somehow deep yet feminine at the same time.
Cojocaru is America's fashion expert du jour. The 40-something Montreal native made a name for himself by going to entertainment award shows and making sassy, some would say catty, evaluations of what Hollywood stars were wearing. He makes regular appearances for television shows like Today, "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." He is the "West Coast style editor" for People magazine. This past year he authored an autobiography titled, "Red Carpet Diaries: Confession of a Glamour Boy."
Is Cojocaru gay? He deliberately avoids answering that question. He says nothing of his sexual orientation in his book. Instead, he characterizes himself as a freak or different.
Cojocaru states that he is proud to be "a sissy," believing that looking and acting the way he does gives children who feel different and out of place someone with whom to identify.
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