She is one of the Doll World’s most mysteriously public figures surrounded in much debate and speculation, and her recent proclamation regarding her private life has sent ripples as far as Afghanistan, where she is revered for her khatai cookies. She is of course, Sydney Chase, daughter of the infamous Virginia Chase, fashion’s most notorious editor and Rod Chase, who disappeared under dubious circumstances years ago without a trace. Her friendship with the very, very private Tyler Wentworth is legend – a wunderkind fashion designer many feel would have never happened had the Chase Family not come into her life. Sydney sits down with us in her modest Jersey Shore bungalow to talk about friends, family and fashion. Let’s listen in…
Barbara Walters: So how are you, Sydney?
Sydney Chase: Well, Barbara, just about as gay as any red-blooded J.A.P. could be. How the hell are you? (shakes hands)
BW: Wonderful, thank you…those blintzes you served at lunch were divine – how long have you been cooking?
SC: (chewing on a chicken wing) Y’know, it wasn’t really until Steven (Masterson) and I came out to each other in grad school. He was going on to the CIA, and his homophobic parents wouldn’t give him a break, so we came up with this dating thing – that was actually great fun. So they didn’t disown him – he got their fortune when they died a year later in that terrible car crash – and it was around his first year in culinary school that I wanted to learn, too. Funny, really…I mean that’s why I have people…but ‘…never underestimate the power of making your own meals,’ Daddy used to always tell Simon and me when we were kids.
BW: You miss your father very much, don’t you?
SC: Not really, no…I mean, I barely knew him, he was always away on location. I went sometimes, but I hardly ever saw him. I knew he liked photographing naked Pygmy women…but that’s pretty much it. Everything else is just a blur.
BW: Do you think he’s still alive?
SC: Oh, I know he is…Simon gets these little packages from Colombia all the time…that’s not just happening by magic, you know.
BW: And how is Virginia?
SC: She’s not so bad if you can get her away from FOX News – this is a woman who thinks George W. Bush is actually a war hero…really. Be that as it may, she still hasn’t forgiven you and Wintour for what you did, so don’t bother with that.
BW: I see…well, then…you will probably never live down the whole ‘Firebird Scandal,’ will you?
SC: Bitch. Well…except…that wasn’t my fault…that was some bad decision-making that screwed me on that. There I was ready for a fabulous opera – I just adore Stravinsky – and under a staff that moved like molasses in January – I was dressed, painted and tossed out to fend on my own. I had no time to even see my own make-up, let alone have it changed. Imagine my own personal horror when I finally got a hold of a mirror! Verklempt for days, I tell you. When Wentworth fit me for the gown, we had the right makeup combo set…then they changed it. No notice…no warning…nothing. My fans were furious with me – if they could have only imagined it happening to them – how would they feel? (tears form in the corner of her eyes).
BW: It’s happened to us all at one point or another.
SC: Yes, but you could have said something before the cameras rolled…and then Wintour spread it all over every ‘don’t do this, girls‘ list from Manhattan to Benghazi Vogue. Are you shitting me? I mean…I told mother it wasn’t your fault…but Anna? Mom’ll fix her.
BW: How did you recover?
SC: Esmé really helped. She and I got really close when Russell and Jac were discovered in the back room at Craft. Then they got back together. Then Russell decided he was a lesbian woman locked in a man’s body, or something like that. I’m not certain his therapist really knows.
BW: You’ve often been called shrewd and outspoken, what do you think is your best feature?
SC: (raising an eyebrow) I suppose that’s some kind of segue – at least you didn’t ask me what kind of tree I am. Hmm. I’d think my eyes…yes, I am certain it’s my eyes…hand-sculpted by God, mother always told me.
BW: Why do you think God gave you a wonky eye?
SC: It’s called strabismus…and God doesn’t just give it to everyone. Growing up, so many people were so mean to me. Glasses helped, but in all reality, you have to just go with it at some point.
BW: Tell us about the surgery.
SC: I tried to have it repaired, but it didn’t ‘set’. Tyler insisted I try again, but I told her that she needed to get over it. ‘We can’t all be as perfect as you,’ I told her. She can be very indignant sometimes for a woman with a mother so old.
BW: You mean Regina.
SC: Yes…and to think she actually tried to pass her off as her great aunt. Just one lie after another over there at Wentworth. You just don’t know what in the hell they are doing anymore. Honestly, have you seen the photography being shat out of there these days…criminal.
BW: How do you continue to be friends?
SC: Tyler is actually sociophobic, without me, she’d dry up like a wad of spit.
BW: Now you recently made peace with Jeremy Voss, but not his former ‘it’ girl, Kit…where are you in that situation?
SC: More like ‘shit’ girl, if you ask me…drears what a slut! It wasn’t Jeremy that left my suicidal brother huddled in a fetal mass crying for weeks…and Jeremy did make Mei Li’s funerary urn when Tyler would not – what a scandal that was to Mei Li’s folks – lesbian and cremated! But we really had little choice in the matter. Kit is nothing more than a scab on the ass of society that will eventually go away. The universe has plans for people who acquire, use and dispose of people in such a selfish manner like that. I’ll leave this to the universe.
BW: So you won’t be calling any of Matt’s friends for this?
SC: I don’t know what you mean, thank you.
BW: Do you miss being top of the game, so to speak?
SC: Yeah…I kinda do. Who wouldn’t? When you’re all caught up in it, you think you’d give anything for a break sometimes – especially when it turns ugly. Do you realize I was THE go-to – everyone wanted me, despite that ‘wonky’ eye, thank you very much. People would have bidding wars over me. I was the shit…can’t get much grander than that. And despite all the plastic, you do get on up there in years – and finally, you need a rest. Turns out I got my rest before I was ready. But what can you do? Throwing a big hissy fit on the floor just isn’t going to bring it back, now is it? Oh sure, I was angry…still am, a little. But you eventually have to accept that you’re simply not wanted anymore, and you move on. Besides, those Superdoll Sybarite Girls are pretty smoking, so I think I can live with it…even if they do look just a little tranny, to me. Hell, look at Gene Marshall, who would have thought that dried up old gal had any more in those blurry blue stoner eyes? And here she is…all fabulous again – she’d make her daddy proud.
BW: She does look fabulous…think we will ever learn her secret?
SC: I know her secret, but it’s not for me to impart that pearl of wisdom just yet.
BW: What is the biggest misconception about you?
SC: That I like microsequins.
SC: No, wait…I think it’s that I’m a bitch because I never smile. Yeah…that’s it.
BW: But you are a bitch, Sydney.
SC: Yes, but it’s not because I don’t smile, Barbara.
BW: Fair enough…thank you so much for taking time to talk to me.
SC: You just wanted my brisket recipe, really…didn’t you?