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By Drew Mackie
If you watch Bravo's "The Millionaire Matchmaker," then you know star Patti Stanger has multiple talents. For example, she has an eye for picking a person's ideal mate and she's great at telling wealthy people to shut up and listen to someone else for a change. But Stanger's ambitions don't end with knocking Mr. Moneybags off his high horse and then finding him a missus. This Sunday, Aug. 28, at 9 p.m. EST, Stanger appears in her first-ever acting role on the Lifetime series "Drop Dead Diva." P-Stangs spoke with Wonderwall about acting, her singing talents and what Sandra Bullock might need to hear to land the man she deserves.
Wonderwall: So you're playing a dating guru, and she's a bit of a mean girl. How does that work out?
Patti Stanger: I've been a fan of their show for a long time. ["Drop Dead Diva" producer/creator] Josh Berman is a big fan of the show and actually wrote the role for me. [My character] is an extreme version of what I do. I mean, Marcy probably has more of the nasty edge than I do on my show. She just takes no prisoners.
WW: Was it fun to lash out and show people a side that they hadn't seen before?
PS: I think it was more scary than fun, because I've never acted. It's the first acting thing I've ever done. These people are pros. So I was so afraid I'd mess up my lines, that more than anything. … There was a moment when I'm onstage, talking to the group about "no sex before monogamy." And I lost myself; I didn't know where I was. And I became the character. And the director had to tell me, "That's called acting!" So it was fun, actually, and it gave me a rush, and I'm ready to do it again.
WW: If you had your pick of roles -- any role on any show -- what would you want to be on?
PS: I want to be on "True Blood." Sign me up now, Alan Ball! I'm obsessed with that show.
WW: How much of your personal life will we be seeing this season on "Millionaire Matchmaker"?
PS: I think you're going to see more than you have ever seen before, but maybe not as much as you might like. I think next season, Season 6, you'll see a lot I never was allowed to show because I was engaged and the other person didn't want me to show it. Now, I'm single. The 13th episode this season -- you get a bonus episode -- is actually me dating in the mixer process. You'll see what happens!
WW: What was that transition from matchmaker to dater like for you? Were you excited or nervous or what?
PS: Terrified. I was most terrified to do "Diva," but then this was, like -- I had shot [my dating episode] the week after I did "Diva," so it was two weeks of nail-biting -- "Pass me the Klonopin. I don't know how I'm going to get through this." I cannot tell you my stress level. I had four scenes in this episode. That's a lot. And when we do our show, we don't memorize anything, but then to go into this submissive role I had to play -- by the way, in my dating life, I'm very sweet, and I'm actually a submissive person, as opposed to what you see in my business life. I'm two people; I'm a Gemini. So it was a tough two weeks for me. It wasn't easy.
WW: You've been putting yourself out there, then. How do you plan to scare yourself next?
PS: Well, I've sung since I was little, and nobody knows that. We actually had a karaoke night for our wrap party, and I got up and sang -- and I don't sing techno, I sing, like, ballads -- so I was, like, "Well, maybe." I'm thinking about it. Kara DioGuardi is a good friend of mine. She's appearing now in "Chicago" on Broadway. We've talked about writing something or doing something together. But I'm also writing the screenplay [adaptation of my book] Become Your Own Matchmaker, and that's due in September, so we'll see what happens with that. I'm really excited to turn my book into a feature. … I came to California to be a screenwriter. I went to film school. The feature is a romantic comedy about a girl who goes through the steps that the book has, but there's just one caveat: She's a matchmaker. So she breaks all her own rules in the beginning so she can become the living example of what she preaches.
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WW: Let's say you're up for a role in "Glee." What song would you sing to show what you're capable of, and what kind of person you are?
PS: A lot of the songs, they've sung already. Like "Defying Gravity" -- it's one of my favorite songs from "Wicked." Maybe something from "A Chorus Line"? There's that line from "A Chorus Line" -- "God, I hope I get it / I hope I get it / How many people does he need?" Well, it's kind of like when you're dating. "I hope he calls me / I hope he calls me." It's the same premise: You're waiting to get picked, and I think I identify with that.
WW: If you could give some matchmaking advice to a celebrity, who would it be and what would you tell them?
PS: Well, I used to think it was Jennifer Aniston, but I think she's good now. Now I think it's Sandra Bullock. First of all, I think she'd listen to me. (I'd also say J.Lo, but J.Lo wouldn't listen to me.) But Sandra, listen. She went out so badly. To have one badass who was a porn-addicted idiot and be, "Oh, I'm off men." I don't exactly see Ryan and her as a match made in heaven. I think they're good friends and there's always flirtation there. I think Sandra deserves an older guy -- maybe a businessman, maybe someone out of the limelight; maybe he's running a network or a studio or something and just not such a badass. I think she has a penchant for the bad boys.
WW: What do you say to someone who likes the wrong kind of men? How do you wean them off that?
PS: I think you can find a good soul in a badass look. You see Justin Theroux with his tattoos and a motorcycle jacket and slicked-back hair and Jesse [James]-meets-Brad Pitt look, but there's probably a softness in his heart. He's probably not as bad as people might think. Yeah, he's with someone for 16 years, but we don't really know the story there. But Jesse cheated openly, and would have continued to cheat if he could get away with it. [In Jen's case], Justin left the other girl to be with her. You know, like a Warren Beatty 101. … I just feel like Sandra needs a good guy. She has this kid now, and he needs a good baby daddy. And I just feel like she's such a cute thing -- I want to scoop her up and help her.
Patti Stanger is also reachable via @pattistanger on Twitter, where she dishes advice to anyone with relationship quandaries. And she would like to encourage her fans to get their single male friends involved with the convo on Fridays.
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