Showbiz Commentary: Heidi Oringer

Let’s review: Her mother was a famous movie actress (Tippi Hedren, as in The Birds). She’s been nominated for an Oscar. She lives a Hollywood life. She’s been a spokesmodel for a major cosmetics company. And, she’s been married to some of the hottest men on earth — Steven Bauer, Don Johnson and Antonio Banderas. I’m afraid these things make Mel a little different from the rest of us.

“But Heidi, we’re all just humans trying to get along!”

Not exactly!

You see, on Melanie’s Web site, which is also part of a bigger organization called “,” she shares more than just her recovery journal. She also talks about her inner goddess, gives some tips on how she exercises her spirituality and, oh yeah, did I mention she sells lots of stuff from her Goddess Collection? (This would be a great time for the Church Lady to yell, “How conveeeeenient!”)

Melanie has gotten together with a whirlwind of “advisers” and “gifted” friends to present a variety of ideas and, yep, things to buy. And you know what else? Every time you go into a different room on the site, there’s some more advice and something else to buy. Starting to see the pattern here?

If you enter the Web site’s “Dream Room,” Melanie draws you in with an intimate look at how she gets away from her crazy life and enters her own “Avalon.” She offers a special little prayer that she finds helpful and kindly proposes one for her visitors to use. (With instructions that say “insert your name here.” I’m not kidding.) And low and behold, next to the Dream Room, there’s the Meditation Room, and that leads you to various Web sites that sell things.

Next to the Meditation Room is Goddess Candles. Guess what they sell there?

Defending Melanie

In her defense, she does have a “Goddess Giving” section in which she focuses on a different charity every month. Now it doesn’t say anywhere that the “Goddess” proceeds go to the specified charity. But Melanie does say she will use her celebrity status to call attention to people in need. Brava!

So what is it I’m trying to say here? Celebrity is celebrity, and common folk are common folk, and never the twain shall meet. I’m sure Melanie means well and thinks she may be able to reach out to someone, somewhere who may be going through a similar situation. Unfortunately, the “Who are you kidding, the glass is practically empty” side of me says this is just another way for another star to make another dollar.

And please understand that I am in no way making light of addiction. I know many people who have had to face those demons. (I myself am addicted to sarcasm, which at times can be extremely toxic.)

I say if Melanie is really interested in helping, she should talk about it, up front and personal. No gimmicks, no candles, no goddesses … just her.

Melanie, if you want my advice: Get out in front of the cameras as you so gladly do for all your celebrity events. Open your heart, open your mouth, and don’t ask people to open their wallets.

Let’s hear Melanie talk about the ugly side of things … the side that lets people see when you’re addicted, you’re not a movie star, you’re an addict.

If she does that, people will listen. Big lips or not!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.

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