Thursday, February 26, 2009
Queens girl Betina Wassermann may have been the biggest winner on Oscar night - and she's never been in a movie.
When Mickey Rourke walked the red carpet in his white Jean Paul Gaultier suit, he was wearing an eye-catching accessory - a necklace charm that featured a picture of his Chihuahua, Loki, who recently died at age 17.
Wassermann, a full-time marketing manager who does crafts on the weekends, designed Rourke's chic canine locket.
"I'm just some girl from Queens who crafts on the weekends. When I saw it at the Oscars and Ryan Seacrest commented on it, I thought I was going to have a heart attack," said Wassermann. "That necklace got more press than frickin' Fred Leighton million-dollar diamonds!"
The Flushing gal had sent the double-sided photo charm, made out of glass and silver, to the actor's New York publicist on a whim.
She was inspired to create the necklace by the loss of her own pooch - and wears a similar one every day.
"I lost my dog, Igor, four months ago, and I'm still crying myself to sleep. I need to see a psychiatrist," said the 40-ish designer of her Chinese crested.
"So when my colleague told me Loki died, I knew I had to make one for him. I knew how much he loved his dog and it was so horrible to lose her right before the Oscars."
She was on a mission.
After a mass e-mail to her friends and copious Google searches, someone turned up the contact information for Rourke's publicist. Off went the necklace. And a day later, she got a voice mail that she would play over and over for all her friends.
"He says, 'Hi, I'm Mickey Rourke,' and I thought I was going to throw up," she recalled. "Then he said that was such a kind gesture and then he says, 'I got it on and I ain't takin' it off.' "
And he didn't.
Rourke wore the necklace to the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars.
"This gift was meant purely because I love dogs," Wassermann said. "It means, 'I love you, Mickey Rourke . . . and I just lost a dog, so this is all about good karma.' "
Wassermann isn't in the jewelry business just for fun. She sells her $30 glass-and-silver necklaces at local flea markets and craft fares and, about one a month, on her Web site, wickedworld.etsy.com.
"Now I'm getting orders for everyone's deceased pooch," she said. "It's ridiculous!"