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A Role Model Super Model! My Jetset Magazine cover story on Kathy Ireland
When you deal with celebrities and superstars as often as I do you can usually tell within seconds how things are going to go.  With some, cracking the often-times impenetrable wall of the dreaded publicist or manager takes more patience than an entire clan of Tibetan monks, the negotiating skills of the leader of the teamsters, and to be more succinct, the words of Jerry Maguire really do ring true:  “It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok?”
Ahh, but when the planets align and you get the opportunity to work with an A-List brand name icon, who is as talented and natural at being a human being as they are at their particular God-given gift, well, it is a true joy. 
So, with that being said, it’s my pleasure to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my cover story for the July/August issue of Jetset Magazine on Super Model turned Super Mogul Kathy Ireland.  

Since it is Jetset Magazine, we started the interview as Kathy was flying from New York back to her home base in Santa Barbara, California.  On top of having some freakish gene where she doesn’t appear to be aging, at all, the one thing I learned from my experience dealing with Kathy on this story is it’s easy to understand how her company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide did two billion dollars in revenue last year.  Her attention to detail is astounding, and in this story you’re going to learn some really cool things about someone the world has known for three decades.  Such as, where her desire to succeed and motivation comes from.  How she balances an extremely busy personal and professional schedule, and how involved she is in the day-to-day minutiae of running a billion dollar company that has her name on it. 

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Oh, and what about all those Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues she graced the covers of in a previous millennium?  You’ll find out if she even has any of them lying around. 
Bottom line, I’ve done over 40 cover stories and hundreds of TV interviews over the last few years on big time stars and this one I’ll always consider one of my favorites.  It’s a great issue cover to cover, and I hope you enjoy the story on Kathy. 
Tom Zenner
@tomzenner

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Lets Rise Up and Stop Negative Campaign Ads
Every time I see a commercial or news story on any of the elections that are going on now across the country it sure makes me glad I chose to be involved in sports, and not politics. It also makes me appreciate Olympic athletes even more for what they’ve done to become the best in the world. 
Let’s see, in sports and Olympic competition you have highly-trained, talented, relentless, committed athletes make incredible sacrifices in order to accomplish a common goal: win.  

In politics you have hired guns putting words and philosophies in the mouths of robotic, puppet like droids, with several goals in mind; self-preservation, divide the country, win, then get a sweet consulting gig when their term in office ends.
In sports and the Olympics the athletes line up, put their heart and sole on the line to take their best shot and see who’s best.  In politics the contestants hire a consulting firm and try to convince the voting public that their competition is the worst. 

Now we get to be continually bombarded with the negative campaign ads on television and all media until November that if you aren’t sick of by now, I have to believe you either don’t have cable or a conscience. 
Do yourself a favor when you get a moment today, check out this YouTube video.  It sums up the feelings a lot of people have about the political ads we are bombarded with very well. 

Now we just need to have these politicians we elected write up and pass a new law immediately:  No political ads can be aired during the Olympics!   They’ll just ruin the fun. 
-Tom Zenner

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Kings of the NBA Book

Say this about the Miami Heat: there has never been a blueprint to success or a roadmap to glory that’s looked like the one they followed to the ultimate prize in the NBA — or any sport for that matter.  A team designed by a mastermind legend with only one marching order (win championships) and a single criteria to ultimately be judged by (rings) overcame every conceivable obstacle, and showed the world that superior talent just cannot be denied.

 

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            But what made the Heat of 2012 special is the fact that it wasn’t about the league MVP finally hoisting the championship trophy.  It wasn’t about the franchise’s greatest star showing it’s okay to step away from the spotlight every once in a while if it means winning more games.  It was, in the end, about an entire roster, coaching staff and organization moving in lock-step unison to their ultimate goal. Everyone had a role and everyone contributed, from the greatest player on the planet to the reserves that played mere minutes.

           

            Congrats to LeBron James for showing that a strong mind is as valuable a tool as an unstoppable set of basketball skills.  Kudos to Pat Riley for having the courage to concoct a roster that refused to be remembered by history as anything other than champions.  And to all the Miami Heat fans in Florida, and beyond, who just enjoyed one of the wildest and most exciting rides imaginable. One thing is for sure: the rest of the world is jealous. 

Enjoy this look back at a magical season.  We’ve  got the book that every Heat fan will want because I think it will be a collector’s item.  By the time LeBron finishes his career, if he stays focused and hungry he might end up with a handful of titles, but the first is always special.

 

www.rylinmedia.com

 

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Tom Zenner

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Los Angeles, the Kings of the NHL
The Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings are not just another team that won a title and 
brought exhilaration to a long-suffering fan base and pride and joy to an entire metropolis.  

No, this Kings team was a little different and a whole lot special.  They will forever be a 
walking, talking, body-checking, beard-growing, goal-scoring inspiration and an example that 

anything is possible. 
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Here’s why.  Instead of talking about what they could potentially do, or complain about what 

didn’t happen, this entire organization from the front office, to the bench, to the locker room, 
just simply took firm action when and where it was needed.  When the team was mired in a slump 

and the season was in jeopardy, they fired the coach and brought in a replacement with the Midas 
touch.  An up and down regular season was good enough for the Kings to make the playoffs, 

barely, but all they needed was an opportunity.  And having Jonathan Quick in goal sure didn’t 
hurt.

It all led to a magical romp through the playoffs that was worth waiting 45 years for. 

Congrats to the Stanley Cup Champs. Our latest championship book will help honor them for what 
they are: The toast of Los Angeles and the Kings of the NHL. My new book is on shelves in stores 

all over Southern California and you can see it and buy it here now. Who knows, it might be 
another four and a half decades before it happens again so you better get one just in case!

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Class From The Bluegrass 03-25-2012
There aren’t many things in life that can live up to the hype any more.  Fads fade, legends lose their luster and the bright lights of the media, fame and reality grind up and crush great expectations on a regular basis.  Which is why this Kentucky basketball team is so special and so deserving of raising another banner to the rafters of Rupp Arena.
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If collecting great talent from around the country and turning them into champions was easy, believe me, every school would be doing it.  The 2012 Kentucky Wildcats cut down the nets in New Orleans because they truly understood that if you really want something special in life, you have to go out and earn it.  They did, and they were an inspiration to everyone that watched them along this journey.

There are a lot of glowing things you can say about Coach Cal’s Cats, but what I think is the best compliment you can give them is this—they lived up to the hype!Let me say this about Kentucky, they are the most talented and athletic team I’ve seen since UNLV in the early 90’s.  They are so explosive, athletic, strong, and just flat out tall and long.  I am a fan of Calipari and hope this is the first of many titles he wins.  The sanctimonious sermons coming from his critics are so tired, so boring, so lame, and so irrelevant.  He’s one of the very few college coaches that looks like he has anything resembling a life outside the court and a personality.  Who wouldn’t want to play for him?  Keep it rolling Cal.  Get another recruiting class full of lottery picks next year while you’re at it.

Our Kentucky championship book is a great look back at their season.  We finished it about 4 AM on April 3, which is about 5 hours after the game.  I think Wildcat fans are going to love it.  It’s in stores this week.   

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Fly Guy
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Working in the celebrity media culture is a lot like modern air travel.  It’s not quite as glamorous at you might think or it might appear from the outside.  No meals are served.  Drinking helps. You know going in that the experience is not always going to be enjoyable and there are certain people you have to go out of your way to not piss off or they can and will make your life miserable, (Publicists and TSA Agents).  But in the end, you do know that you are surrounded by professionals who all essentially are hoping for the same outcome, a safe landing, and if things go by plan and don’t implode mid-air there’s a 99.9% rate of survival.

 

I travel a lot.  Probably 150,000 miles per year minimum, so I am an expert at navigating airports, security lines and the cabins of jets.  I know every trick in the book and I’ve invented a few.  (Here’s one—if you are flying on an airline where you don’t have status to board early, limp to the gate agent as they are boarding Zone 1 and tell them you recently:


1. Had knee surgery

2.  Injured your ankle

3.  Broke your toe

4.  Tweaked your Achilles

5.  Contracted athletes foot going through security.

 

*The key is reference something negative that’s happened to you in your lower extremities at some point in your life.  The word recently can be very loosely interpreted and that overhead bin space is valuable real estate!  Limp and wince noticeably as you have your boarding pass scanned, then when you get into the safety of the jet way you can sprint to your seat if nobody is watching.  Works every time.)

 

Anyway, my point is when you are a frequent flyer you know that every once in a while you get a combination of dumb luck, planets aligning, and your prayers answered where a glorious travel experience actually occurs.  You breeze through security, the plane is half empty, it takes off on time, and you meet someone interesting sitting next to you.  Or better yet, the seat next to you is empty and you dive into a great book, watch an entertaining movie and the whole vibe transports you back to a time in the 80’s and 90’s when getting form Point A to Point B in the air was enjoyable and fun.

 

It’s the same thing when you write in-depth feature stories on celebrities, sports and TV stars and pop culture icons.   You cherish the moments when you actually have a great time telling someone’s story.  I had a blast meeting and writing the cover story for the current issue of Jetset Magazine on Daymond John, the founder of FUBU, celebrity judge on ABC’s Shark Tank, and one of the most dynamic and successful movers and shakers rocking the business, entertainment, media and fashion world right now.   His personality and drive jump out in the feature, and I think you’ll get a good taste of where the talent and utter relentlessness he’s exhibited for over two decades comes from.  He’s built an empire, and he is staying hungry and humble as he continues to evolve and grow.  I know the reason it was so much fun to do this piece on Daymond: he’s a self-made man.  He doesn’t rely on an army of handlers kissing his ass and shielding him from the public.  He understands promotion and marketing as well as anyone and I consider it a real honor to have had the chance to meet him and pick his brain.

 

There’s a lot I know I can learn from Daymond because I’ve determined he’s smarter than me because of at least one reason.  He flies private!

 

Enjoy the story. http://jetsetmag.com/interviews/daymond-john.html#nav

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Lin-stant Classic!

Jeremy Lin is the best thing to happen in sports since, umm, my entire lifetime.  It’s the perfect storm of circumstances that has led to the most exciting, refreshing, sincere, fun, and inspiring story that’s ever been played out in modern-day, televised history.  Judge it by this litmus test:  If you tried to pitch a story to Hollywood studio execs that played out exactly like the first six games of Lin-stant Classics he’s provided, they wouldn’t just laugh you out of the conference room and not validate your parking, they’d hire a couple professional goons to kick your ass just for wasting their time. 


 

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This is like an unknown freshman leading a 16th seed to the Final Four, then going out the next week and winning the Masters.  You can’t overstate what he’s done, and where he’s done it.  This wouldn’t be happening if Lin were still playing in Houston or he was a Charlotte Bobcat.  The fact he’s doing it for the Knicks, in New York City, makes this all the more exhilarating and unbelievable. And magical.

 

I know the Knicks coaches personally.  If there’s one thing Mike D’Antoni, Phil Weber and company can do, it’s get the most out of their point guards.  And now they finally have one they can trust in New York.

 

Not sure if you noticed this, but he does something very peculiar on the court that I haven’t seen a young NBA star do since Magic Johnson—- he smiles instead of scowls.  His positive, good-vibrations are as infectious as Kevin Garnett’s anger and joyless, worn-out, tough-guy, wannabe thug act is toxic. 

 

Jeremy Lin has made NBA basketball fun for me again. He’s done it by being the anti-LeBron James.  While James has been pampered since 8th grade and refers to himself as a self-described ‘King’, Lin had to fight for every opportunity and didn’t even own a king-sized mattress until this week.  Now granted, he has moved into a 35-story Donald Trump luxury residence in White Plains, New York, but heck, good for him.  If he’s going to personify the American Dream, he might as well live it.

 

This all could end any time, and we all know when his play dips he’ll be buried by the same media that has helped his star rise, but so what.  I hope it doesn’t happen until my 3-year old son is in high school, although it will probably be the first game that Carmelo Anthony returns to the lineup, but what the hell, let’s all enjoy every second of it because we might not see anything like it again.

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New York Giants Super Bowl

Last year I produced a Royal Wedding book on the Royal Family of England for Access Hollywood, I just got done producing a book on the Royal Family of Football here in America.  


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The Manning family is like royalty when it comes to our favorite sport, and Eli has gone from under-study prince of the family, to undisputed King with his amazing play, not only getting the New York Giants to Super Bowl XLVI, but also winning the game and being named MVP.  Again!  Eli, you are the man.


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Our new book is called Super G-Men.   We wrapped it up at about 4:15 AM Eastern on Monday morning- that would be approximately 6 hours after the game ended.

It literally came down to the last second, the final play before we knew which book we’d be doing.  We were ready for the Patriots too—- That book would have been called Pats Payback, in reference to them getting some revenge after losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl 4 years ago.  I loved the design and layout of the Pats book that we would have published.  I was tempted to just go with Gisele on the cover in a bikini or Versace ad, but probably would have gone with her hubby.

Our new book is our best yet, and I believe worthy for the best fans in the NFL and the city of New York.  I tweaked the layout a little, and Giants fans will love the detailed look back at the entire season. We have an interesting narrative on every single game in the regular season.  The photos in this book are explosive, telling the story of a team that lived on the edge the entire regular season, before catching fire at just the right time and becoming unbeatable the last month and a half.

We have a separate section on Eli Manning, and the book is loaded with so much great information.  The Super Bowl was one of the most compelling I’ve ever seen, because of the legacies it affected by the outcome. Think about all that transpired because of the way it ended. Tom Brady looks like a tough-luck quarterback now with a very high-maintenance wife.   Bill Belichick seems like a grumpy old man in a tattered sweatshirt that can’t win a Super Bowl unless he’s taping his opponent’s practices.  Tom Couhglin is now a sure Hall of Famer. 

And Eli Manning is wearing the crown as the best QB in the NFL.  Oh, he’s also the reigning title holder of ‘best quarterback in his family,” which might be even more impressive.

Congrats Giants.  Enjoy the book everybody.  It’s so worth $10 bucks whether you live in New York or not.  

Website to purchase—www.rylinmedia.com 

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Bama BCS Book For Sale Now!

Being a witness to destiny is a rare privilege when it happens in any way, on any stage, at any level, but when it plays out over the course of four-plus months of a college football season, in the sport’s most brutal conference, with a schedule littered with enough land mines to blow up the dream several times, it just has to be celebrated.

To say the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide was a team of destiny doesn’t fully give this amazing squad the credit they deserve, and earned. Destiny implies that factors out of their control were at play, guiding, and prodding and assisting, and if there’s one characteristic that stands out about this dynamic collection of incredible championship talent it’s this:  The Tide earned everything they got and deserved everything they won on the field.


But off the field, there was a feeling of destiny that surrounded this special team.  Never have college athletes and coaches played for a bigger purpose, or had their championship season enjoyed, and needed by more people than Nick Saban’s latest collection of BCS Champs.

Congratulations to a great football team, for the staggering accomplishment of not only winning the 2012 BCS Championship, but doing it with style, flair, and utter and complete domination.  In a word, the only way to describe this season, and this team, which carried the hopes and dreams of an entire community on their shoulder pads is this:  Destined.

I am an Alabama Crimson Tide fan.  I love their history, their uniforms, their stadium and their mascot.  What’s not to love about an elephant?  And the fans are just so damn passionate.  I was at the Florida vs. Bama game in Gainesville this fall, and got to see it in person.  I couldn’t believe how many Bama fans were there—- and what struck me about most of them was this quiet confidence that straddled the line of cockiness but never crossed it.  Kind of like they knew their team was great, they knew they would win that game that night, and that’s just the way it was. 

Anyway, I was rooting for the Tide in the BCS Championship game.  I wanted Alabama to win the National Championship ever since that terrible tornado wiped out a huge part of Tuscaloosa last spring.  I just respect greatness, and in my mind there is no greater coach than Nick Saban, and I’ve never seen a defense as bad ass as Bama’s this past season.  I had a blast putting together the book on the 2012 Champs.  It was cool watching the resilience it took to rally after losing to LSU earlier in the season, and I had no doubts, with 40-plus days to prepare, Saban would coach circles around Les Miles and he did.

I’m very proud of our new book, “Pride Of The Tide!”  and if you are an Alabama football fan you have to have it.  It will be for sale throughout the Southeast this week, starting Thursday (Jan 12) and you will probably do a double take when you see the cover.  It has a photo more rare than a Bigfoot sighting.  More unbelievable than a Republican campaign sign on Alec Baldwin’s front lawn.  We got a shot of Nick Saban smiling, celebrating and cutting loose.

Hey Bama fans—that alone makes this book a must have!  Enjoy the book.  It’s my favorite of the 20 or so I’ve done.  Order it online here—www.rylinmedia.com

I have a funny feeling I’ll be doing my third Bama Championship book next year at this time.  

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Great #collegefootball games all day! But if #nbalockout was over, we could have been treated to Port vs Mil & Minn vs Memphis. #Whatashame