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The Thrill of “It”

From Brenda Frazier in the ’30s, to Edie Sedgwick in the ’60s to Paris Hilton in the aughts’, NYC has always had its “It” girl, says nightlife guru Michael Musto. But who’s next? Here, one suggestion…

A nightlife scene without an “It” girl is like a party without a punchbowl, or a reality show without a showdown. You’ve simply got to have one or the events become uneventful.

This phenomenon is nothing new. Every era has fostered its own “It” girl for glamour’s sake, starting way back in 1938, when Brenda Frazier was Life magazine’s “Deb of the Year,” and validated a room merely by sashaying into it with her pinkies up.

Something about a feminine mascot injects luster and personality into a nightclub in a way a guy usually can’t manage, no matter how well-groomed he is. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol created “superstars” like Jane Holzer, a creative arts type who became his “It” girl, as well as Edie Sedgwick, the troubled socialite who—after appearing in several of Warhol’s films—became known as 1965’s “Girl of the Year,” someone adored by anyone with a camera or some blush.

The disco era had an offbeat icon named Disco Sally, a late-blooming 77-year-old lawyer who boogied till dawn at Studio 54 as others around her dropped from fatigue. And in the 1980s, Tampa-born Dianne Brill was a Jayne Mansfield-type who filled New York after midnight with her spirit and cleavage. Brill had the looks, the charisma, and the right man (club impresario Rudolf Pieper), so she nabbed the crown—and even got to act, write a book and design menswear in the process. Brill also made a great transition in eventually marrying a rich guy and moving to Europe, where she puts out kicky cosmetics that keep her name relevant. (Extending one’s 15 minutes of fame to a full hour is essential for any “It” girl, though they don’t all seem to realize that. They’re generally too busy reading their clippings to survive.)

Jump ahead to 2001, when Paris Hilton was dubbed the “It” girl of New York’s millennial party scene. She and her sister, Nicky, were well-accessorized presences who garnered press simply by RSVP-ing—until overexposure did them in and Kim Kardashian took over the entire world. In 2002, club owner Amy Sacco became a nightlife queen herself.

But today, it seems, we’re left without a new “It” girl to fill the void. Who’s the modern Edie, the new Dianne, today’s Paris?

Hmm. Maybe it’s Jayma Cardoso, the personable Brazilian who owns The Surf Lodge in Montauk (Surf Lodges in Brazil and Park City, Utah, are also coming) and is “ambassador” at Lavo New York, the popular East Side restaurant.

Quick—someone tag her “it.”