Vanity Fair takes a clue from lesbians and puts Tina Fey on the cover

The January 2009 issue of Vanity Fair magazine devotes the cover and a lengthy article to writer/producer/TV star Tina Fey, whom readers voted the hottest woman of 2008 earlier this year because she’s smart, sexy, funny, feminist, and gay-friendly. (Tina’s response? She told a magazine she was “flattered” to top the list, because “I think those girls take more of a 3-D picture before they decide they like somebody.”)

Maureen Dowd‘s four-page profile in Vanity Fair is full of great information and new comments from/about Tina, on topics ranging from 30 Rock, sexism, Sarah Palin, that scar on her cheek, and why she didn’t have many dates in high school.

In the beginning of the article, Tina and her husband Jeff recount a story about how, when they were first dating, he and some of his friends suggested they go to a strip club “ironically.”

Tina’s response? “I was like, ‘The f–k you will!'”

It only gets better from there.

Tina on strippers in general:

I love to play strippers and to imitate them. I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little bit better than that.

On going to her mother’s weekly poker games growing up:

I loved hanging out with the ladies, because they were very funny, and a little bit mean, and had lots of Entenmann’s products.

On dating in high school, and staying a virgin until she was around 25:

I really didn’t have very many dates at all. And that’s not an exaggeration. But also, I don’t think we should discount the fact that unplucked eyebrows and short hair with a perm may not have been the best offering, either … I remember bringing people over in high school to play — that’s how cool I am — that game Celebrity. That’s how I successfully remained a virgin well into my 20s, bringing gay boys over to play Celebrity.

On deciding to lose weight when she started working at Saturday Night Live:

When you move to New York from Chicago, you feel really big. Because everyone is pulled together, small, and Asian. Everyone’s Asian.

On the scar on her cheek, which was caused by a stranger attack when she was 5 years old (this is the first time she’s talking about it):

I proceeded unaware of it. I was a very confident little kid. It’s really almost like I’m kind of able to forget about it, until I was on-camera, and it became a thing of “Oh, I guess we should use this side” or whatever. Everybody’s got a better side.

On a reporter saying that Sarah Palin had been gracious toward Fey when they met on the set of SNL, but Fey hadn’t been gracious toward Palin:

What made me super-mad about it, was that it seemed very sexist toward me and her. The implication was that she’s so fragile, which she is not. She’s a strong woman. And then, also, it was sexist because, like, who would ever go on the news and say, “Well, I thought it was sort of mean to Richard Nixon when Dan Aykroyd played him,” and “That seemed awful mean to George Bush when Will Ferrell did it.” And it’s like, No, that’s not the thing. This is a comedy sketch on a comedy show.”

The word “mean,” Tina contends, is a word only applied to women and gay men.

Then there’s the non-advice Alec Baldwin gave Tina about her 30 Rock character Liz Lemon (if he seems a little patronizing/smug here — he comes across even more like that in the full article):

I would say things to her, never giving advice: she’s a woman you don’t easily give advice to — she’s very self-reliant. I’d say to her, “You know, you’re a really beautiful girl. You’ve got to play that. It’s a visual medium. This is not Upright Citizens Brigade, where we’re doing sketch comedy at nine o’clock at night on a Sunday for a bunch of drunken college graduate students. You are a very attractive woman and you’ve got to work that. You’ve got to pop one more button on that blouse and you’ve got to get that hair done and you’ve got to go! Glamour it up.”

Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels on Fey’s rise to stardom:

When she got here she was kind of goofy-looking, but everyone had a crush on her because she was so funny and bitingly mean. How did she go from ugly duckling into swan? It’s the Leni Riefenstahl in her. She has such a German work ethic even though she’s half Greek. It’s superhuman, the German thing of ‘This will happen and I am going to make this happen.’ It’s just sheer force of will.

Tina on Leni Riefenstahl as a cautionary tale:

If she hadn’t been so brilliant at what she did, she wouldn’t have been so evil. She was like, in [her] book, ‘He was the leader of the country. Who was I not to go?’ And it’s like, Note to self: Think through the invite from the leader of your country.

Her husband on what makes her tick (this is one of my favorite quotes of the piece):

She’s half German, half Greek. That is just like loosey-goosey-crazy, and then you get, “Do the trains run on time?”

There is lots more good stuff in the article, including why Tina wants her daughter to grow up to play professional football. And then there are the new photos of Tina by Annie Leibovitz, and a video of the photo shoot:

To the three of you still here reading this blog post — discuss your favorite quotes from the Vanity Fair piece in the comments!