Ex-model Veronica Webb's brainy book

Don’t hate Veronica Webb because she’s beautiful, made piles of dough shilling for Revlon, has acted in movies (Jungle Fever), and — ooh, this hurts — dabbles in entertainment journalism. Hate her because her new book, Veronica Webb Sight: Adventures in the Big City, is neither natterings about mascara nor ghostwritten roman à clef but a cerebral collection of essays she’s written for newspapers and magazines over the past 10 years.

The pieces are prefaced by a 106-page mini-memoir. “It’s not quite Angela’s Ashes,” anxiously pipes up the 32-year-old, Detroit-born Webb, whose early literary influences include J.R.R. Tolkien and Nancy Drew. “It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to write. I got about halfway through and I was looking at 30 or 40 typed pages. I’m like, ‘Is this all my life amounts to?’ I got really depressed, and I wouldn’t get out of bed.”

Er, not for less than a high five figures. That’s the unsupermodelish sum Webb was paid by Miramax Books after company cohead Harvey Weinstein, trapped with her on a White House photo-with-the-Prez queue, proclaimed himself a fan of her reportage. Which includes everything from a defense of Mike Tyson for the stylish mag Paper to a coveted interview with the Artist Currently Known as a Glyph for a British chat show to…oh, all right, the occasional nattering about mascara for Elle. “I love women’s magazines because they depict a matriarchal society,” she says.

Right now, however, journalism is literally and figuratively on the shelf while producer Lynda Obst coddles Webb’s first screenplay for Fox 2000. Now do you hate her?