Jackson banks on Banks

They're the best of friends, and generous tippers

OPPOSITES ATTRACT! Janet Jackson and Tyra Banks — very good friends. Miss Jackson is one of the most soft-spoken, shy, modest and hubbub-resistant of stars. She is nothing like her occasionally racy videos, the most recent of which is distractingly Michael-referential. But never mind that critique; back to Janet and Tyra. Miss Banks is…just as you see her on TV. Not soft-spoken, not shy and for sure not modest. But indeed, they are friends, and the other day there they were at Villa Blanca restaurant in Beverly Hills. The ladies sat at an inconspicuous table, but… it was Janet Jackson and Tyra Banks. Do you think nobody noticed? Miss Jackson had the grilled chicken salad and Miss Banks the Tiger Prawn salad. It came to 30 bucks. They left a hefty $20 tip. We love generous stars.

WHAT’S A PR woman to do when she has a client who looks like Marilyn Monroe and sings like Maria Callas? If you are Liz Rosenberg of Warner Records, you invite several dozen music types, put your girl in a tiny, glamorously draped, exquisitely flowered room and let her sing. Allow everybody to be blown away. (They didn’t even need to serve the delectable mini turkey burgers or the atmosphere-enhancing martinis, but we won’t complain.) This “little” event happened last week. The artist was Britain’s sensation, Katherine Jenkins. Katherine, born in Wales, is an operatic mezzo-soprano who can tackle any genre of music — pop, country, hymns, jazz — Martian music for all we know! She has already sold more than 4 million albums, and her success has vaunted her to the spot of “Second Richest Young Person in Britain.” She is so popular that she felt compelled to write her autobiography, “Time to Say Hello.” Yet, she is only 29. But, everybody wants to make it big in the good old US of A.

GOOD DEEDS in Blighty. On Dec. 13, Elton John throws his annual Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. This is a whopping event. It happens at Grosvenor House in plush Mayfair. Nobody who is anybody in Europe or the U.K. misses it. Chanteuse Lily Allen and supermodel Lily Cole will provide some of the amusement.