E!’S FASHION POLICE

INSIDE THE DRAMA

ALL THE NEWS & BUZZ FROM HOLLYWOOD

E!’S FASHION POLICE APPEARS TO BE GOING OUT OF style. Since Joan Rivers’s death six months ago, the network’s longtime show – which underwent a revamp after the comedian’s sudden passing – has struggled to steady itself. A day after the Academy Awards, Giuliana Rancic, 40, caught a tidal wave of criticism after making a comment that 18-year-old actress Zendaya Coleman looked as if she smelled like “patchouli oil” or “weed” because of the dreadlocks she wore at the Oscars. After threatening to leave the show on Twitter shortly after Rancic’s comments – which many construed as racially insensitive – aired, cohost Kelly Osbourne officially quit on Feb. 27. But while the move coincided with Rancic’s comments, a source says it was actually a “natural progression” for Osbourne, 30, who was close to Rivers. “Kelly thought the show was going to be revamped [after Rivers died], but it was basically the same except they hired new people and there was a new set,” says the source. “[The show] has gotten a little better, but it’s not what she had wanted.”

While Rancic swiftly issued an apology for her remarks – calling the situation a “learning experience” for her – another insider explains that the TV host’s initial intention was simply “to say something edgy and cool.” But the joke, which was written for Rancic and aired minus a reference to the bohemian chic look she was alluding to, clearly backfired. Adds another: “Giuliana is not racist and feels terribly that she offended Zendaya.”

Regardless, multiple sources confirm the show – which added Kathy Griffin, 54, as host and well-known stylist Brad Goreski, 37, as a panelist after Rivers’s death – has been suffering since its return in January. At the first taping, “there was very little direction,” says the source. “It was almost a trial by fire.” The addition of Griffin also hasn’t been smooth, though sources say reports of a feud between the comedian and Osbourne are overblown. “People thought bringing Kathy in wouldn’t be as big a deal, but she did things differently,” says another source close to production. “With Joan, it was a well-oiled machine. People were miserable before this [Zendaya snafu] even happened.”

MORE CELEB MEA CULPAS

Michelle Rodriguez

On Feb. 28 she shot down rumors she was cast as the Green Lantern, saying that minority actors need to “stop stealing white people’s superheroes.” In a Facebook video post later that day, she apologized: “I stuck my foot in my mouth again…. [But] people should actually make an effort in Hollywood to develop their own mythology.”

Kanye West

After stage-crashing Beck at the Grammys, West said the Album of the Year winner should “respect artistry” and give his award to fellow nominee Beyoncé. Nearly three weeks later, West kept his atonement short and sweet, Tweeting on Feb. 26: “I would like to publicly apologize to Beck, I’m sorry Beck.”

TARAJI P. HENSON

TV’S FIERCEST DIVA

LIKE COOKIE, THE POWERFUL MATRIARCH SHE PLAYS ON FOX’S HIT DRAMA EMPIRE, THE ACTRESS, 44, HAS FOUGHT HARD FOR SUCCESS

Did you expect Empire would become a breakout hit?

I just knew we had something special. This is what happens when you have great material and a studio that’s behind it and ready to take a risk – it was the perfect storm.

You’ve been nominated for an Academy Award (for 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), but you got a relatively late start in Hollywood.

People thought I was crazy to move out here at 26. I had graduated from Howard University and was working as a supervisor on a five-star dining cruise. I was making good money and could’ve bought myself a townhouse in the suburbs [of Washington, D.C.], but my dad knew that acting was my calling. One day he looked at me and said, “How do you expect to catch fish on dry land?” So I moved out here with my son [Marcel, now 20] with $700 in our pockets.

What instilled that drive in you?

I think that might be coming from a blue-collar family. My dad was a metal fabricator and he always had a little hustle on the side. When you have a trade, you can always make your own money so I grew up going out on jobs with him in his pickup truck. And my mom worked her way up from the basement to a management position for a department store. I was raised to believe that if you hustle hard and work hard, it’ll pay off.

What does your son think of the success you’ve found?

He’s been with me through this whole process, so he’s known my struggle. He’s very proud because he knows what I’ve been working so hard for. He’s like, “Mom, you’re finally getting what you’ve always wanted.”

What’s the best part about playing Cookie?

She’s bold and says whatever the hell she wants to – the things we don’t dare say!

Has she made you more outspoken?

Oh, I don’t know … I think of people’s feelings!

3 CONFESSIONS WITH CELEB TRAINER HARLEY PASTERNAK

THE FITNESS GURU – WHOSE NEW BOOK 5 POUNDS IS AVAILABLE NOW – DISHES ON HIS A-LIST SWEAT SESSIONS

Sometimes he has to dash his clients’ dreams.

“They’ll give me a photo of some other high-profile celeb that they want their body to look like, but that other celeb is a different height and a different age – and it’s just never happening.”

The job comes with plenty of once-in-a-lifetime moments.

“We were in Hawaii and Kanye West suggested that we go for a jog around the hotel. And as he started jogging, he started rapping his entire new album.” Another unforgettable encounter was doing lunges with a client across a yacht in the middle of the Indian Ocean: “I almost fell off the side!”

The key to a star’s heart? Basketball!

“I never even knew the rules, but they all love playing between sets or as a warm-up or for cardio,” he says of clients John Mayer, Common and Ellen Page.

For Pasternak’s tips on how to get a red carpet-ready body, check out his weekly blog on People.com.

CHELSEA HANDLER

INSIDE HER WILD 40TH BIRTHDAY BASH

TRUST CHELSEA HANDLER TO DO the big 4-0 right. Gathering her closest friends for a blowout party at her Los Angeles home on Feb. 28, the comedian made good on her promise last year. “I’m going to rent an island or something crazy. I’m going to do something huge,” she had said about the milestone. While there was no sandy beach involved, Handler certainly threw an epic bash. In the wee hours of the morning, police were called to the star’s home for a noise complaint as her pals—including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron – were partying the night away. Showing off her racy birthday cake (a sugary re-creation of herself naked on a horse) on Twitter, she commented, “I’m a big girl and I’m proud of it.”

3 TRUTHS & 1 LIE with Robbie Amell

THE FLASH ACTOR – WHO STARS IN THE DUFF – REVEALS SOME SECRETS. CAN YOU SPOT THE FIB?

1 He’s a trained figure skater.

“I figure skated from ages 5 to 7 before I played hockey. Now I play in a men’s league in Burbank.”

2 He’s owned 20 cars.

“My favorite was the same as the orange car from the first The Fast and the Furious.”

3 He’s very involved in wedding planning with his fiancée, actress Italia Ricci.

“I’m kind of a groomzilla!”

4 He’s ready to take on his cousin (Arrow’s Stephen Amell).

My character (The Flash’s Ronnie Raymond) could beat up his. He doesn’t have superpowers!”

THE LIE

3. “It’s entirely up to her. I just really want an ice cream cake!”

SPRING’S HOT SEQUEL

ALL ABOUT INSURGENT

With 2014’s Divergent grossing more than $250 million so far, Insurgent, the sequel out March 20, is poised to be another blockbuster. It’s packed with more gravity-defying stunts (Shailene Woodley’s Tris climbs up the side of a flying house), and more A-listers have joined the fight among five factions in a grim future world. “Both of their characters have a sense of mystery surrounding them,” says Woodley of new costars Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts. “You can’t quite tell if they will be antagonists or protagonists.”

THEO JAMES

PLAYS: FOUR, a former combat instructor who becomes a leader of a rebellion.

Where we left him in Divergent

He got the girl and won the battle when he helped Tris temporarily foil the Erudite faction’s genocide plans.

What’s next in Insurgent

His mom (played by Watts) – who was thought to be dead – returns, and he and Tris are on the run. “He can be more open,” says James. “He’s fallen in love with Tris.”

SHAILENE WOODLEY

PLAYS: TRIS, a newbie who fights for what she feels is right.

Where we left her in Divergent

During the fight with the Erudites, she lost her parents and her best friend.

What’s next in Insurgent

In this film, says Woodley, “Tris is fueled by the demons that haunt her from Divergent. The loss of her parents and her friend make her feel like she is unstoppable in her quest for justice.”

OCTAVIA SPENCER

PLAYS: JOHANNA, head of the peacekeeping Amity faction, whose face has been scarred during a mysterious incident.

What happens in Insurgent

She puts herself and her faction at risk to help Tris and Four. “Having been through a terrible situation, she recognizes herself in people who have lived through something terrible,” says Divergent author Veronica Roth.

KATE WINSLET

PLAYS: JEANINE, the brilliant psychopath leader of the Erudites, “one of those inherently terrible, awful people,” according to Winslet.

Where we left her in Divergent

Her plot to kill all the do-gooders was foiled.

What’s next in Insurgent

Convinced only a Divergent (like Tris and Four) can open a mysterious box with crucial answers, she begins hunting them.

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