Irena Medavoy Reveals How Hollywood Does a Whirlwind East Coast College Tour
The Hollywood mom and her son do seven schools in 17 degrees amid the social swirl of junior-year spring break.
A version of this story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
You may be the biggest mogul in town, but if you are a parent of a high school junior, this spring break you likely skipped Aspen or St. Barts in favor of that rite of passage: the college tour. In the Medavoy household — a mixed marriage: Trojan mother, Bruin father — our 6-foot-8 basketball-player son, Nick (Brentwood High School class of 2016), informed us he was only interested in East Coast schools. So we began a snowy mother-and-son trip, along the way taking Nick's girlfriend, Mia Natsis (a New England Small College Athletic Conference volleyball rookie of the year), back to Amherst, where she's in her first year. We started in Boston with a stay at The Liberty Hotel, the sexiest one in town, where the lobby on Saturday night was like walking into Giorgio's. Mike called to let us know it hit 93 at UCLA. Seventeen degrees? Bring it on. We are not L.A. cupcakes.
We hit Emerson (Doug Herzog and Jay Leno are alums) Sunday, then Monday we drove to Connecticut to Wesleyan (Michael Bay, Bruce Corwin) and Yale (Jodie Foster), where we stopped for major pizza at Frank Pepe. Back to Boston for Tufts (Steve Tisch, Ben Silverman) Tuesday, Amherst (David O. Russell, Scott Turow) Wednesday and Harvard (Terrence Malick, Matt Damon) Thursday. We got fortified at Abe & Louie's and Sonsie on Newbury Street, then we boarded the train for New York.
If the Liberty is your young, hot lover, then New York's Baccarat Hotel & Residences — opened eight days before we arrived — is your billionaire husband who hired Sandy Gallin to decorate and staff it with an unlimited budget. The Chevalier restaurant under chef Shea Gallante is so delicious, we still can taste the chocolate souffle.
On Saturday, we had dinner at Upland with Ann Dexter-Jones (mother of Mark Ronson) and saw Dwayne Johnson host Saturday Night Live. We ran into Maria Shriver and her son Christopher Schwarzenegger, Nick's classmate, who also were touring colleges. We heard that Cameron Azoff, a childhood friend of Nick's, and dad Irving were visiting Penn and Yale.
Columbia was our last school to visit. Then we grabbed lunch at Community, cookie shots at Dominique Ansel Bakery and headed to JetBlue.
At each school we met with the basketball coaches first then toured the campus. Now that we're home, more coaches are texting Nick. It's a little bit like The Bachelor — or maybe more like Tinder. A lot of texting and then finally an overnight visit where you have to perform at the gym. And then, hopefully, admittance. A match.
Spring break is also when you start hearing about seniors' acceptances. For everyone who worries about getting into L.A. preschools Circle of Children or Sunshine, the playing field evens out at admissions time. That is the invisible truth of this process. Early on, we heard about on-air legal analyst Trent Copeland and wife Erin's twins: Alex got into Yale and will play basketball there, and his sister, Shea, is going to Princeton. Scored an Ivy double. Sophia Stallone, Jennifer and Sly's daughter, got into her first choice, USC, along with Kenny G and Lyndie Benson's son Noah Gorelick.
The heat is on, the pressure is mounting, and in the end, it will work out the way it's supposed to. The great news is, by doing the college slog, you find liberal arts colleges — Division III schools — as incredible as the Ivys, and that, just like in life, you find the match that inspires you the most.