Daily Insider for March 30, 2004

updated 04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/29/2004 10:26AM

March 30, 2004
SHE'S NO MALL RAT
Avril Lavigne is seeing a lot of malls on her current promotional tour – and that's unusual for the 19-year-old singer. "I never go to malls to shop for clothes," Lavigne tells Daily Insider. "I'll go if I need, like, a toaster – I'll go to, like, the Bay – do you have that in America? – it's like Sears. I'll go to the big store at the end of the malls – what do you call those, like, Macy's? But no, I don't usually go to malls." Lavigne does admit to occasionally feeling the call of the food court, though: "When I'm in Canada, "I'll go to the mall to get poutine (French fries soaked in a creamy gravy), because that's the only place you can get it." As for acquiring her skater-chic fashions, the self-proclaimed punk doesn't mind the star treatment. "Sometimes I have, like, a person, if I'm really busy and I need clothes and I don't have time to (shop), I have this one girl who's my stylist, who's really cool. I tell her what kinds of clothes I want, and she goes and gets them for me." Lavigne's new album, Under My Skin, hits stores May 25.

TOP MODEL IN TOP FORM
Fans of America's Next Top Model, don't worry: Runner-up Mercedes Scelba-Shorte is "feeling fine" these days, despite her ongoing battle with lupus. "It differs from day to day," she told us at the show's recent finale party. "I changed my health style and the way I live. I just started to focus on me more and try to not stress as much and I think I've done a good job so far." So what's next for her? "Unfortunately, we're not supposed to be doing anything until April 7, so as soon as that happens, I'll be out there. So look for me!"

WORK + PLAY
Actor Willem Dafoe took a week-long break in Bermuda after spending the past five months in Rome shooting The Life Aquatic – the new Wes Anderson romp with Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray. Dafoe was invited as jury chair of the Bermuda International Film Festival, and he took along his Italian girlfriend, 28-year-old director-actress Giada Colagrande. The couple shared scooter rides and cozy screenings of the festival's indie films, including the Afghani Golden Globe winner, Osama, about life under the Taliban.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Recently spotted:
Venus and Serena Williams, kicking off VenusWilliams.com at a launch party sponsored by Ocean Drive magazine at South Beach nightclub Mynt.

• A bearded Sam Rockwell, celebrating a friend's birthday at New York nightspot Bungalow 8.

David Schwimmer, sitting on a bench and talking on his cell phone outside L.A.'s Larchmont Travel Agency.

• Designer Diane Von Furstenberg and Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley (wearing a full-length fur coat), taking in Thursday night's performance of Tim Robbins's satirical play Embedded. Robbins himself took in the performance from the second-to-last row.

Reported by: SEAN DALY, LISA INGRASSIA, BRENDA RODRIGUEZ, ROSEMARY JONES, JON WARECH and CARYN MIDLER

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