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IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HAIR

"The true issue America has to face? It's not North Korea. It's not South Korea. It's not Iran. It's not Iraq. It's Condoleezza Rice, and can she get in my salon and can we really lay a hot comb to that head!"

So said Queen Latifah on National Public Radio last week, talking up her "Beauty Shop" movie. The Queen concluded: "We will hook her up. We'll throw some curls in there."

No, no! Condi's slick little pageboy is her trademark. And it's so easy to spoof on "Saturday Night Live."

Sisters are doing it for themselves. Two titans of industry, Elizabeth Taylor, who has made more money from her fragrances than she ever saw as a movie star, and Kathy Ireland, whose self-named industry of home and lifestyle products have elevated her far above the used-to-be-a-supermodel status, are getting together.

Elizabeth has selected Kathy to help design "midprice" jewelry for ET's House of Taylor bling line. This will be in the $200 to $2,500 range. (ET is sketching out the "big" pieces, having had less experience with what the average lady can afford -- or wear comfortably to PTA meetings.)

This is not the first time Kathy has chosen wisely in business partners. She paired with Warren Buffet's Shaw firm when she entered the flooring and carpeting biz, and then with Standard Furniture when she started in that field.

Two smart cookies make one hell of a corporate dish!

Oh, and speaking of Miz Liz, in the new Vanity Fair, Dominick Dunne credits himself for getting Elizabeth out of the house on Oscar night. But maybe those lurid "Liz Planning Funeral" tabloid stories had something to do with her sudden reappearance. Anyway, in person, Elizabeth looked much better than she did in photos showing her blowing out her birthday candles.

And in Harper's Bazaar for May, the great designer Valentino remembers Elizabeth saying, "Don't spend your time always screaming at me because you want this and that. I am a peasant! I am not an elegant woman!"

Cyndi Lauper will be the big noise at Gotham Hall on April 28 when she receives an award from ArtsConnection. This is the largest arts-in-education program in New York. Lauper represents the quintessential girl from Queens, who was encouraged to do great things by her teachers. And great things she did. She was the first singer to have five Top 10 singles from her debut album. She went on to sell more than 20 million albums worldwide. Cyndi's image has changed from quirky to elegant. Her 2003 disc reinvented her as a genuine chanteuse, reinterpreting standards in her distinctive style. Call 212-245-6570. And remember, as Lauper herself once sang, "Money changes everything."

From Billy Idol: "In my job, rock and roll and food don't go together. Rock and roll and drugs go together: They make you thin. They'll kill you as well, but you'll have a thin corpse. I'm lucky because I have to go onstage. I can't jiggle a ton of fat around; it's embarrassing."

Idol has amazingly made it to 49.

"Nothing comes easy. Once the 'Star Wars' saga is complete, Hayden Christensen's real challenge begins: trying to escape the Mark Hamill syndrome -- that is, attempting to leave 'Star Wars' gravitational pull and build a conventional career."

That's RJ Smith in GQ for May mulling the future of the screen's Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a. Mr. Hayden. Call me crazy, but I really don't think Hayden, for all the success of the "Star Wars" movies in which he has appeared, has cut a niche, or dug a hole from which he can't escape. George Lucas' sci-fi epics are always giant box office, but the new ones haven't quite grabbed onto the public consciousness as much as the earlier ones did back in the 20th century. Anyway, his non-Anakin performances in "Life as a House" and "Shattered Glass" have not gone un-noted.

Hayden decorates the front of the magazine and nine pages inside. Take a look at this kid. He's not lost in space.

"Six Feet Under" insiders swear that former President Bill Clinton was offered a guest role in the final episode of the series. The last season begins shooting in June. Clinton was said to have been flattered and eager to do it. But, when negotiations began with HBO, Clinton priced himself out. The producers implored, "But we're only cable!" Clinton stayed firm. Now they're looking for another high-profile replacement. Perhaps John Kerry?

Tribune Media Services

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