September 7, 2001

Just doing that PR thing

She spends over 900 minutes a month on her cellphone, but Danielle Iversen still calls the cab dispatcher 'Sweetie'

Rebecca Eckler,
National Post

During the hour I spend with Danielle Iversen, at her home office in Yorkville, on the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival, her cellphone rings 17 times, her land line rings nine times, and the doorbell rings five times. I see that she has 50 e-mails waiting on her computer. I'm standing in her kitchen, and before I know it, I have three new party invitations in my hand. Iversen has lovingly -- if you can say that -- become known as the Lizzie Grubman of Toronto, a well-known publicity woman who not only publicizes people or their products, but organizes parties and events as well.

Yvonne Berg, National Post

(Grubman is the famous New York publicist to the stars who was recently embroiled in scandal when she allegedly backed her SUV over a lineup of people waiting outside a nightclub in the Hamptons.)

Danielle Iversen, 31, will be throwing parties for everyone from Harry Rosen to Ron Jeremy (in the movie Porn Star) during the film festival.

"I've heard that Lizzie comparison a lot, especially since she's become that 'famous Lizzie.' Of course, I don't drive over people. I drive like Lizzie, though, which is aggressively. But I don't hit people."

At 31, Iversen is the type of person you want to hate. And not only because she is beautiful, blond and green-eyed, with a body to die for. ("I golf, play tennis, swim, but no aerobics. My life is my aerobics," she says.) When I first called her, asking to do a profile, she asked me to hold on the phone, for what seemed like half an hour. On her end, she was carrying on a conversation with someone else -- while they were having lunch.

When we meet, she's answering phones, putting on mascara, making me coffee, booking new clients, aiding present clients and, at one point, doing it all while running around in her bra. When she answers the door to greet me, my hair is a mess, and I'm wearing wrinkled clothes. Iversen tells me I look "fantastic." I know I look like crap. Still, I can't help but be pleased, even though, I'm sure, in Iversen's world, everyone looks "fantastic." Without knowing it, I start to smile at her compliment.

Damn, I think, this girl is good.

Iversen is the founder and head of her own company, called That PR Thing. On any given week, I'll receive at least five e-mail invites to parties thrown by Iversen. I find out I'm one of 1,500 people on her e-mail list.

"When people asked me what I do, I would always say, 'Oh, I do that PR thing.' So I decided to name my company that."

People like Iversen fascinate me. They're the type of people who can do a million and a half things at the same time. During the film festival, Iversen does three and a half million things at the same time.

While the rest of us can live happily with the three basic necessities -- food, clothing and shelter -- Iversen's three basic necessities are her Palm Pilot, her cellphone and her business cards. In fact, on the back of her front door is a reminder: "Danielle, before you leave, make sure you have your Palm Pilot, your cellphone, your business cards."

Iversen makes me laugh, telling me the story of how she got her latest cellphone, the newest one on the market from Nokia. "I went through so many cellphones. But I needed one that could vibrate, has call display, call waiting, all with a headset. I needed it all."

She talks "way over" the 900 minutes given to her a month. She has 5,000 names in her Palm Pilot, also the latest on the market.

And ... yet ... she ... never ... seems ... to ... get ... frazzled. Ever.

Lying on her made bed, featuring nine -- count 'em, nine -- pillows, are clothes from Danier leather (including a $595 black leather jacket). "They hired me for the film festival to get the word out on their product. Aren't they beautiful? I'm going to wear Danier all through the festival."

The phone rings ...

"Oh, I'd love to do it," she says into the receiver. "I have really great ideas already for it. I can do a really great party for you.

Home and Garden TV wants her to host a party. Iversen makes arrangements to talk with them next week and moves on.

"You don't understand who's coming to this party. Everybody," she says, handing me an invite to a party next week for Ron Jeremy, the subject of the movie Porn Star. "In an hour, over 100 people RSVP'd to me." She's doing the Harry Rosen and the Global TV parties during the film festival as well.

The phone rings again.

"Lunch? I'd love to. Where do we meet?"

The doorbell rings.

"Oh my God," she laughs. "It's the guy from Bruno's. Every year he sends me a fruit salad and cheese on the first day of the film festival."

Why? I ask, ready to give the delivery boy my address. I mean, I like fruit salad and cheese.

"Oh, when I was doing my first film festival, I ran in there like a madwoman for some food," she says. "So now he knows what it's like for me and just sends food over. Isn't he fantastic?"

We're waiting for a cab to come over to deliver a shirt from her dry cleaners. "Thanks, sweetie," she says into the phone.

"Uh, did you just say 'sweetie' to the cab dispatcher?" I ask.

She did. The thing about Iversen is that, through all her Hollywood lingo, she honestly means well. "I love helping people. I'll do anything for anybody."

I want to play a game with her just to see how plugged in she is.

"Can you get Kate Hudson's PR woman?" I ask.


"Can you get Eugene Levy's publicist?"


"Can you get Brad Pitt's publicist on the phone?"


"When was the last time you stayed in for a night with Roger -- meaning Rogers Video?" I couldn't help but ask her.

"Probably about three months ago," she says. "I got home at 2 a.m. last night, which is early during the film festival. Usually I don't get home until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m."

As I'm leaving her home, I look into her red Jetta parked in her driveway.

"Do you know what colour that car is?" she calls out. "It's called Tornado Red. Like me."