Pawing Your Way to the Top

Part of living in Los Angeles is having struggling actors for friends. You take the $15-$20 gamble on their plays and hope for the best, though sometimes you end up with men in drag dressed as the Statue of Liberty, splattered in yellow paint and wailing monologues about the decline of jazz.

The perks? Wrap parties filled with pretty boys and all the red wine you can drink. You may hit gold if one of your friends lands a series regular role. Red carpets and gift bag hand-me-downs? Yes, please.

But these days, scratching and clawing your way to the top is a lot dirtier than the age-old casting couch. My friend Rene once said, "If I can't get into acting the old-fashioned way, I'll go through Scientology." But Xenu.net exposed the sci-fi cult for what it was, and Tom Cruise didn't help any by treating Oprah's furniture badly. Rene knew she couldn't maintain her dignity and pretend to sell her soul to those people.

"Kaballah! That's it! I'll join Kaballah!" What, with Madonna, Demi and Ashton jumping on board and red string bracelets on celebs like Gwenyth Paltrow and Lindsay Lohan, it seemed a sure thing. But that faded fast too. Bracelets flew off wrists faster than you can say, "Fifteen minutes!"

These days, it seems there's only one shortcut to fame. It's called Much Love, the animal rescue organization in Los Angeles. Spearheaded by Tori Spelling and boasting members such as Alicia Silverstone and Drew Barrymore, adorable young starlets-to-be line up for the volunteer classes. With blowouts and manicures, they beautifully throw themselves into the world of animal rescue. They nod their perfumed heads, flash their bleached smiles, and hope to help with the next fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion. Or that red carpet gala with Ralph Fiennes. Whatever works.

But I can't knock anyone willing to give homeless pets a new lease on life. Unlike pretending to be ancient Hebrew spiritualists or adopting theories of alien takeovers, at least these people are making a difference. I've even brought my beloved greyhound Olivia (see above photo) to a Much Love red carpet event. My advice to the up-and-comers? Don't claw your way to the top, paw your way to the top.

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