MEET THE MODEL HEARST HEIRESS; Amanda Hearst, 21, 'Celebutante' Student and Model, Is Great-Granddaughter of Eccentric Media Tycoon William Randolph Hearst and Niece of the Notorious Patty. So, Asks Louette Harding, Is She Likely to Create Any Scandals of Her Own?
Byline: LOUETTE HARDING
0n paper, Amanda Hearst should be skittering on her green and gold heels towards an extravagant scandal. She belongs to a new breed of 'celebutantes', American society girls with famous surnames and knotty family histories who have made quite an entrance in gossip columns on both sides of the Atlantic (think of the wild ways of the Hilton sisters, Nicky and Paris).
Amanda, just 21, is an heir to the Hearst media empire, which incorporates dozens of top titles, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar. She is an heir, too, to the brilliant and wayward genes of William Randolph Hearst (her great-grandfather), the bull-elephant tycoon who established the empire and was caricatured by Orson Welles in the film Citizen Kane. Somehow, though, she has successfully defied billions in the bank, a slew of family divorces and the aftereffects of the notorious kidnapping of her aunt Patty, to emerge grounded, courteous and controlled.
She knows the Hilton sisters - and was once particularly close to Nicky - but manages in the most charming way possible to make it clear that their paths have diverged. 'Nicky moved to Los Angeles and ever since then I haven't seen her that often. But we'll always be friends because our mothers are,' she adds.
The photographer had been dreading the assignment, imagining a Park Avenue princess of the worst sort, but is soon muttering relieved hallelujahs.
How would Amanda feel about going bra-less in this girlie chiffon top if her modesty is preserved with the magic of retouching? How would Amanda feel about postponing lunch to get another shot in the bag? Amanda feels fine about each request. A student at Boston College, she began modelling in her spare time a couple of years ago, has just been appointed one of Tommy Hilfiger's fashion 'ambassadors' - it is his new collection that we are shooting - and is an exemplar of professionalism.
What a good choice by Hilfiger! According to the glossy magazine Vanity Fair, Amanda has been impeccably groomed by her radiant mother, Anne Hearst, and is going to be 'the next big thing' in American society. Amanda looks discomfited at the very thought. 'Who said that? Oh. Wow,' she says flatly.
'What does that even mean? Going to all the right parties, I guess.
'I don't have social ambitions of that kind. I get invited to more than enough parties and some of that is fun,' she continues. 'But when I see people who go to every little party, who are in every gossip column picture, I think, "Don't you ever stay home?" Everyone likes to party now and then but I don't think I would consider it as an accomplishment.'
Amanda is a tiny, bird-boned waif of a girl: five foot five inches and an American size zero (which equates to a children's size in this country).
Being so slim and sharply pretty, people kept telling her she should model.
'And I thought, "Why don't I check it out? Go to a couple of agencies and see if I can do it?" And, well, it worked out.'
She sees it as a bit of fun and definitely not as a future career. She loves fashion but the waiting on photo shoots is tedious, the narcissism treacherous. 'I don't consider myself an ugly person but nor do I think of myself as amazingly attractive. In fact, I'm pretty insecure,' she confesses, telling me how shy she was as a young child, school-phobic and so inhibited she couldn't make friends.
She confides that she is considering a career in journalism.
Press items on Anne Hearst are few and far between and it is clear she values her privacy. Amanda, therefore, is wary about providing too much detail about her childhood, but what she does say is telling. She grew up and went to primary school in New York City. 'And then to a boarding school - high school - and Mom moved to the Hamptons [the Long Island retreat where she has an estate] pretty much full time, so my little brother Randy could grow up there. …