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When Mischa Barton rolls into the Whitney Museum of American Art Gala held Monday in NYC, she doesn’t stay long. The former O.C. star makes a mad dash outside for a cigarette with a glamorous blonde friend 45 minutes later.

Smoking is a needed vice for the 23-year-old who saw her TV dreams resurrected and destroyed when The Beautiful Life was canceled last month.

“Before I was looking to make that show interesting, and that’s why it sucks that no one’s going to see the best episodes of it,” she says. “And now I’m changing course and what I feel like doing is a really interesting, young woman role.”

She continues, “I’m keeping my options open, obviously, but it’s too early to say [what's next]. I don’t know what it’s going to be – I have to read through tons of scripts. You have no idea what an ordeal it is before you agree to something.”

Getting gym time with girlfriends keeps her spirits up. “I work out at Equinox,” she says. “Equinox is the best. It’s got everything. I do all kinds of stuff.”

Next!

Amidst rumors of a secret wedding last month in the Dominican Republic to longtime fiancé Antonio de la Rua, tiny Shakira bounds into the press tent beaming at 8:45 p.m.

“It’s great to be in love,” she sighs.

The emotion influences her forthcoming album, She Wolf, which will be released in November.

“It’s so representative of the moment in which I am — the way I see the world, the way I see myself,” she says. “It’s written from a feminine perspective, since I feel more like a woman today.”

Meanwhile, towering Jennifer Hudson shows off photos of her two-month-old son David Jr., whose dad is fiancé David Otunga.

She reveals her body-after-baby routine.

“I get up and walk 45 minutes to an hour every day and make sure I try to eat right every day,” she says. She chuckles, “I might lift him up a couple of times for my weights.”

Here comes Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen, who has taken heat in the fashion department for dressing too old for her age (16). What is her style mantra? “Be yourself,” she tells me.

Also making the rounds is Meryl Streep’s daughter, Mamie Gummer, who slips through with brand-new fiancé Ben Walker. The joyful twosome, who have been dating for a year-and-a-half, got engaged on Sunday.

What excites her about spending life with him? “He’s very tall, although I’m just about as tall as he is,” the elegant actress tells me. Hm, what do they have in common? “We can’t claim to have any answers,” she says. How did he propose? “Just very simply, in our home,” she says. “He got down on one knee. It was nice.” What do her parents think of him? “They love him,” she tells me.

Gerard Butler strides through, playfully grabbing my red carpet pal’s arm. How crazy.

Lindsay Lohan caps off the evening, sweeping through the tent posing for photos in a gold dress at 10:30 p.m.

Whew … time for the party. Appetizers include filet mignon on a potato crisp (mmm … the best!), caesar salad bites and pigs in a blanket. Delish!

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