Wanda McDaniel: Who Made Giorgio Armani a Fashion Icon

By: Belu Di Lorenzo

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Wanda McDaniel

Wanda McDaniel is the Executive Vice President of Entertainment Industry Communications Worldwide of Italian designer company Giorgio Armani. She has been a part of the designer brand for over 34 years, working with them since the 1980s. She played a major role in popularising the brand. Wanda McDaniel is also credited for creating Red Carpet while making the brand a fashion icon. She is also the second wife of Candian – American film Producer Albert S. Ruddy.  Some of his well-known works include The Godfather (1972) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) as well he co-created the CBS sitcom Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971).  

Wanda McDaniel Education 

According to her LinkedIn Page, Wanda McDaniel went to the University of Missouri- Columbia and pursued Journalism. 

Wanda McDaniel is married to?

The Godfather and “The Cannonball Run” producer Al Ruddy, 56, was introduced to McDaniel in November 1979. They married in June 1981, and their wedding dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel signaled the end of McDaniel’s struggling journalist era. McDaniel, who had no intention of retiring to the life of a Hollywood wife, was back at work within weeks of her wedding.

McDaniel is still happily married to Al Ruddy, they have a son and a daughter together. The Ruddy couple currently happily resides with the whole family in Beverly Hills, California. 

From a small town girl to Executive Vice president of Armani 

For the first time in her small-town Midwestern upbringing, the 19-year-old Honor McGrath, fashion scholarship recipient from the University of Missouri journalism program. She was in Los Angeles to cover California Fashion Press Week for the Columbia, Missouri, daily paper. She checks into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and then walks out onto Rodeo Drive, escorted by an experienced local fashion reporter.

She was stunned by what she had witnessed. There was so much allure everywhere. The towering, thin palm trees with their top knots, the brawny foreign automobiles roaring up to the curb, and the soignee citizens disembarking for a day of fancy shopping.

Giorgio, the acme of Beverly Hills glitz-chic, welcomed her inside, and she was immediately entranced. In the boutique, there was a bar. While shopping, she could sip an espresso. Everything is far too sophisticated.

By the end of that week, Wanda McDaniel promised herself that after graduation, she would leave her country home and pursue a big-city profession, preferably on the West Coast or New York.

Together with her husband, son, and daughter, she resides in a Beverly Hills home that boasts a tennis court. She travels around town in a Mercedes station wagon equipped with a car phone.

At each screening, party, or luncheon she attends, McDaniel serves as Armani’s business liaison and advocate for high-quality wool. She is also part press attachée and community activist. She oversees image management as an executive. Armani is betting on his future in retail with McDaniel. The designer understood he would need a field agent when he made the decision to invade Los Angeles and introduce religion—in the shape of his austere, exquisite clothing—to this pagan outpost of sequins and see-through. A lady who moved in the circles he wished to penetrate, not a professional glamour puss. But it wasn’t long before she realized she had more important things to accomplish at night. McDaniel entered the social milieu she was writing about and achieved what is referred to be a crossover success in the film industry.

At the beginning of her career, on Forte’s advice, McDaniel was sent to Milan for Armani’s final approval after submitting his application for the position. She started in May of 1988. Her path from rags to riches to rags—from a “Norman Rockwell upbringing” in Macon, Mo., to a career as a scrappy social writer, to her relatively high, high-ticket existence—has been propelled by her understanding of fruitful personal interaction. The correct social and movie groups are where McDaniel hangs around. She serves with affluent and renowned individuals on the boards of the Children’s Museum and Cedars-Sinai Women’s Guild, and she belongs to the Amazing Blue Ribbon, the main advocacy group for the Music Center. 

After graduating from Missouri, McDaniel relocated to Dallas, where she had no employment, on the advice of friends who worked at the Dallas Times-Herald, who said that if she was persistent enough, she would be able to land a position there. She managed to get a spot on the copy desk shift at 5 a.m. after two weeks of pestering the staff, along with a mumbled promise of a writing position in six months. She respectfully requested after six months as to which beat was hers.

She was handed Dallas society in its whole, which surprised her. In 1974, she was appointed society editor of the newspaper despite having no experience covering afternoon charity teas. Her only qualifications were her drive and ambition, which appeared more significant given Dallas’ somnambulant society coverage. The Los Angeles Herald-newly Examiner’s appointed managing editor Ted Warmbold, who had met McDaniel in Dallas, praised her work for being “brilliant, humorous, smart, and caustic” three years later, proving that her efforts had been successful. He invited her to take on yet another drooping society page.

Even while the conditions were not ideal—a frantic blur of parties that were sometimes difficult to get into, elusive contacts, and protracted all-nighters at the paper—she was finally where she wanted to be. This was a result of McDaniel’s sometimes annoyance-inspiring perfectionism.

She makes the rounds in Hollywood. She effortlessly drops names. Given the distance traveled and the number of tax brackets passed, McDaniel achieved his goals quite quickly—from zero to here in less than nine years—thanks to what she calls “a great curiosity,” a restless desire, and the not unimportant capacity to stay up all night, whether to party or write the next edition’s material. She appears oblivious to the barriers that may scare off a more caring person.

Wanda McDaniel’s social media 

Wanda McDaniel’s information, such as her net worth, height, other careers, and date of birth, is not open to the public. She is present on social media but is not very active. Some of her profile lists are as follows :

  • Instagram – Her user id is @wandamcdaniel, with 8007 followers as of 2022.
  • Twitter – Her Twitter handle is @McDanielWanda, with 269 followers as of 2022.
  • LinkedIn – @ Wanda McDaniel 

Wanda McDaniel is an inspiration for thousands of women who are aspiring to have their dream job in big brands.

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