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Perfect Pitch

Branding whiz Donna Brescia turns entrepreneurs into millionaires by helping them hawk their products on QVC. How good is she? Ask Tony Robbins, Victoria Principal or super-stylist Michael Christopher.

When it comes to selling products, Donna Brescia and Michael Christopher Hemphill know how to put their peddle to the metal. Photograph by Luigi CiuffetelliSure, Donna Brescia wines and dines celebrity clients at restaurants such as the Dilworthtown Inn. And she rubs elbows in the green room with the likes of Cindy Crawford and Julianne Hough. But this high-energy mother of two from Landenberg will tell you hers is not a glamorous life. She simply enjoys working behind the scenes to make others wealthy.

For 20 years, Brescia has represented people who wish to peddle their wares on home shopping channels such as West Chester-based QVC. By all accounts, she’s done a bang-up job.

“I’m not a millionaire,” says Brescia, 42, “but I’ve made a lot of millionaires.”

Brescia, a Hockessin native and graduate of Padua Academy and Widener University, has worked with stars such as inspirational speaker Tony Robbins, actress Victoria Principal and local celebrities such as hairstylist Michael Christopher Hemphill.

As a representative, Brescia identifies potentially successful products, pitches those products to buyers at QVC, then creates a strategy for creators to sell those products on the air.

“If you’re going to be on-air, you have to compel the customer to buy in six minutes,” she says. “A good presentation draws you in and makes you think you need the product, even if you don’t need it.”

Hemphill hooked on with Brescia about five years ago after trying the QVC gig on his own. “She made a huge difference,” he says. “She talks QVC. The buyers trust her. When she handles it, the product is already in place. We’re on our way to hopefully building a huge brand.”

Hemphill says sales can hit $50,000 during the handful of minutes he gets to pitch a product. “It’s mind-blowing.”

Brescia will soon be working with Tamar Geller, Oprah Winfrey’s dog coach, among others in her impressive stable of business whizzes.

Even after 20 years, Brescia exudes an obvious enthusiasm for her job. As she’ll tell you, “I’m just hitting my stride.”—Drew Ostroski

Page 2: Oscar Junior | Concord High grad Luke Matheny captures gold at the Student Academy Awards.

 

Luke Matheny (left) and Marian Brock in a scene from “God of Love.”Oscar Junior

Concord High grad Luke Matheny captures gold at the Student Academy Awards.

At a podium in front of a red curtain, Luke Matheny accepted his medal from actor Jeremy Renner, thanked the Academy, his cinematographer and his mom. He dissed Columbia University, got some laughs, and wrapped up in about three minutes.

All in all, not a bad Oscar speech.

Matheny, a grad student at NYU who grew up in Wilmington, had just won gold at the prestigious Student Academy Awards in Los Angeles for his short film “God of Love.” It could open some major doors for the budding screenwriter, director and actor.

“I think any filmmaker is lying if he says he doesn’t picture that moment thanking the Academy,” Matheny says. “It was pretty great.”

The ceremony earned Matheny an audience with agents, producers and other industry professionals that might parlay his award into job offers. “I’m learning the film process is a lot of meetings,” he says. “But it’s been good. This recognition has been a perfect springboard.”

Matheny’s “God of Love”—his graduate thesis, actually—is an 18-minute black-and-white comedy about a lovelorn lounge singer who comes across a box of love-inducing darts, then goes about resolving the strange romantic triangle he’s in. It’s a comedy, and it has romance, but it’s not a romantic comedy, Matheny says. It’s styled more like a 1950s jazz club film.

A movie buff since his pre-teens, Matheny would ride his bike to Branmar Plaza in North Wilmington to rent VHS tapes from California Video. “I guess everything I’ve made is comedy, but I approach the characters and conflicts very seriously,” he says with a laugh.

The Concord High School grad’s (class of ’93) previous work was entitled “Earano,” a loose comic retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac tale. His upcoming work is a feature-length comedy script called “Ron Quixote,” a loose, comedic take on—well, you can probably guess.

“I’m still working on a script for that,” he says, following which he’ll pursue getting it made. “Luckily, now I have some attention.” —Matt Amis

Page 3: Media Watch

 

Media Watch

When last we checked on Wilmington native Daniel DiCriscio, the hairstylist-singer-model had received acclaim for his makeover of Paula Jones during the Clinton sex scandal. DiCriscio was back in the limelight recently when he styled Pamela Anderson’s hair for her appearances on “Dancing With the Stars”—affirming his handle as Hollywood’s “Messiah of Makeover.”

Page 4: Saluting History | The state’s first military museum is scheduled to open soon. Have you heard about the grass skirt?

 

Stephanie Przybylek of the Delaware Military Heritage and Education Foundation displays a Delaware National Guard football jersey from the early 20th century. Photograph by Jared CastaldiSaluting History

The state’s first military museum is scheduled to open soon. Have you heard about the grass skirt?

Members of the Delaware Military Heritage and Education Foundation have been collecting, restoring and preserving military artifacts, artwork and related materials for years.

The group will finally get to share its vast collection with the public when it opens one of two buildings at Fort DuPont State Park by year’s end. The Delaware Military Heritage Museum is the state’s first museum devoted to its military accomplishments and sacrifices over the past 350 years.

“It will be a place where you can go and learn about the very rich Delaware military history, all the time,” says executive director Stephanie Przybylek. “This is going to look at that service and dedication on a regular basis.”

The museum will exhibit a broad collection of artifacts from every facet of the U.S. military, including an assortment of uniforms, photos, artwork, and even a grass skirt brought back from Bora Bora during World War II.

While gathering information and artifacts, Przybylek has discovered great fervor among the state’s veterans. “There really is such a sense of dedication and gratitude,” she says. “For me, this project is a way to give back some of that gratitude.”

Most of the $12 million dollars raised for the project will be spent on extensive renovations of the buildings. The foundation is still counting on donations from private organizations and individuals, with plans to open its second building within five years. Learn more at militaryheritage.org. —Jillian Harig