Dressed in a Valentino suit for this morning’s photo shoot, Lynn comes across as a cheerful and energetic package of sleek, polished blondness—like Diane Sawyer with a perma-grin. You’d never guess that she was at a dinner in Paris until very late last night and in India on business the day before, or that tonight she’s having 30 people over for a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. Before she met Sir Evelyn, she was a wealthy woman in her own right and a classic New York workaholic, having made millions with several telecom ventures (though her last cellular company, FirstMark, tanked during the 2001 dot-com bust). Her friend Sherry Lansing, the former Paramount honcho, who has vacationed in Africa with the Rothschilds, observes that Lynn’s energy and optimism never flag. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lynn depressed,” Lansing says. “That constant effusiveness and enthusiasm are real.”
Of course, in London’s elite social circles, where friendliness and ambition are viewed with more suspicion than in Lynn’s native New Jersey, her nonstop sparkle has inevitably ignited a fire or two. Last spring, when she organized a New York fundraiser for an organization she chairs, American Patrons of Tate, virtually every heavy hitter in the art world turned up; Lynn also convinced her friend Prime Minister Tony Blair to host a reception at 10 Downing Street for some of her VIP American buddies, including Ron Burkle, Sid Bass and other billionaires who’d written checks to the Tate for at least $25,000. To Lynn’s surprise, the British press slammed the event as an act of self-promotion, particularly for Blair, who was about to leave office and was alleged to be networking for his next job.
“It was the most absurd example of just how bad the British press is,” says Lynn. “This was an incredibly generous act of the prime minister, to thank a group of Americans who don’t have to support art in Britain. He hosted them at no cost to the taxpayer—the Tate paid for the wine and cheese served. And the press assumed Blair was doing this for himself, which was so ludicrous. It’s not like he couldn’t see any one of those people any time he wanted.” The New York dinner raised $1.5 million in cash for the Tate, plus more than $5 million worth of art.
Despite that dustup, Lynn, who was recently deemed “Britain’s most influential political hostess” by the Sunday Times, insists she hasn’t had much trouble making the transition from New York society to London’s. (The couple divide their time between the two cities.) “I don’t think about it that much,” she says. She certainly has no intention of toning down her Yankee exuberance in an attempt to fit in. “That would be so awkward and so unattractive,” she says. “I’m just so American. I always believe the glass is half full. And I believe that anything is possible. Work hard, play by the rules and take chances—and don’t worry about losing, because you can pick yourself up and start all over again.” Another rather un-British characteristic she’s been said to possess is an unembarrassed taste for all the trappings of extreme wealth, from private planes to chauffeured cars. “Is that said about me?” Lynn asks. “I hope not. I mean, I’m just who I am. I don’t think being rich is that important. I think not being boring is really important.”