Nancy Collins has some advice for aspiring journalists: ''I rarely cover a story where you can't wear high heels,'' she writes in the lengthy introduction to Hard to Get, a collection of her celebrity interviews for Rolling Stone, New York, and Esquire. ''Never walk into an interview under six feet that's my motto.''
Collins has interviewed some biggies over the years Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger, Ted Koppel, Debra Winger, Joan Rivers, and Jack Nicholson, among others and the material she's collected here is eminently readable and occasionally even revealing. ''I'm not the happiest person in the world,'' Mikhail Baryshnikov tells her during his 1987 interview. ''I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I was...happy.''
But the best parts of Hard to Get are, well, hard to get. Collins keeps popping up before each interview with reminiscences, reminding us how fabulous her job is and how terrific she is at it. Her prose part Hildy Johnson, part Cosmo Girl purrs louder than a pussy cat: ''Trouble, controversy, brouhaha, derring-do, yes, I believe we've met,'' she writes, deadpan. Clichés, platitudes, banalities, yes, I believe she's met them, too. C-