LOTS OF health-focused juicers and smoothie machines were frothing up kale, pineapple, cucumber, spinach, mint and lemon-juice concoctions at the International Housewares Show, which ended yesterday in Chicago.
But only one offered a royal chat and photo op with the most regal of weight-obsessed celebrities - Sarah Ferguson - the former spouse (till 1996) of Britain's Prince Andrew and still/forever the Duchess of York.
"I didn't believe it till I tried it," Fergie whispered in this ear about the Fusion Xcelerator, a $99 liquefier, pulverizer and micro-emulsification system she's now touting in infomercials and on her poshly designed website - duchessdiscoveries.com.
"I went on an all-Xcelerator-prepared eating regime, felt fully satisfied and - in combination with a good exercise program - lost 33 pounds in 8 weeks, then later another 22 more. Do it right, make the drinks with the right ingredients, and you don't get cravings for sugar, don't need the anti-depressants."
This Fergie is no newcomer to stress-related weight gain and cures - harking all the way back to her teenage years as a "comfort eater." She's now taken on this endorsement gig after a dozen years as both client and pitch person for Weight Watchers. And she is also wrapping her arms and curly red locks around a Fusion Products Inc. hair dryer/curler/flattener - the Perfecter Ultra - which claims a miracle "hair healing and protecting" chemistry. "There may be more in my future," suggests this self-professed "gadget lover."
"I think of myself as a 'philanthra-preneur,' " added Her Grace. "Yes, I had to make that word up! The pay to me is really minimal. Most of the profits I'm making from these endorsements and product sales go to worthy, related causes - like the American Heart Association and London's Institute for Global Health Innovation - both combating the crisis in obesity. As a mother of two daughters - one of whom [Princess Eugenie] suffers from scoliosis, has eight metal pins in her back - I can't sit around and not pay attention to children's health concerns."
Another Fergie "pet project" is Teen Cancer America, which garners money to buy wigs for chemo patients every time someone buys a Perfecter Ultra.
Clearly, this keepin'-it-real personality thrives on interaction with the public, signing photos with encouraging thoughts and handing out mini corgi toys and "Windsor Castle" imprinted pencils capped with a gold-toned crown. More often on this side of the big pond.
"The American people have given me my life back," she said. "At 55, I'm saying I'm just beginning. It's not about 'the Duchess makes an appearance at a trade show.' It's about using my celebrity to spread the word about health issues and do some good. I don't really have anything to sell. I have everything to give."