Ellen Hopkins is THE Pied Piper of Our Youth!

Several years ago, we started getting messages about novels from a writer named Ellen Hopkins. Most of our readers knew we highly endorsed the awareness of recovery from addiction being that one half of us has been clean and sober for 17 years. Even though her books were already bestsellers, we had never heard of her. We trotted over to Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of Crank, the first novel in her series about meth amphetamine addiction. We…were…stunned! Her words tore at the veins of our heart with the raw candor she wove through the poetically, visual images she pens on her pages. We read the book in less than one day and were back at the bookstore buying the sequel, Glass. Instantly we were hooked and since that first day have been huge fans of her work, waiting desperately for her next book to hit the shelves.

Although her first books were written as young adult fiction, there is nothing specifically young adult about them. She is willing to tell the gritty stories about topics most writers are afraid to touch. Most of the people we have referred her novels to are adults, although she has an enormous teen following. Now she has followed up her young adult fiction with two adult specific books which are just as amazing. Needless to say, not only is Ellen Hopkins a prolific storyteller with imaginable grace, she’s a real deal gal who tells it like it is…and we love her all the more for her refreshing honesty!

1. Describe Ellen Hopkins in ten words or less.
Devoted wife, mother, friend. Compassionate crusader. Passionate writer.

2. Your first fiction novel was Crank. Tell us what motivated you to write this book.
Crank was inspired by the very real story of my daughter’s addiction to crystal meth. I started it because I needed to understand the “whys” of what happened to my trouble-free A+ kid, which is why I wrote first person from “her” point of view.

3. You have now ventured into several different areas of adolescent angst. How do you typically do research for your writing?

I do a lot of primary research, and have the amazing resource of my readership to tap into.

4. Before you wrote fiction, you wrote 21 non-fiction books for children. Tell us about this body of work.
I came to writing nonfiction from my work as a freelance journalist. In researching some stories, I thought they might be interesting books for children. The first was about aviation, through man’s love of competition. From there, I wrote about everything from deep sea exploration to outer space to military weaponry and jets. I actually wrote all 21 books in the span of just four years.

5. What do you believe are the four major issues facing teenagers today?
The lack of cohesive families/parenting, either through divorce or as a result of both parents having to work. Peer pressure. Bullying. And dealing with issues they can’t control (physical or sexual abuse; losing a parent to addiction; losing a friend to suicide, etc.)

6. What advice would you give to a young person struggling with addiction or substance abuse?
To ask for help sooner rather than later. So many young people believe they can’t talk to their parents about the tough stuff, but in my experience most parents want to help their children, even if they seem judgmental. Beyond their parents, other family members, teachers, counselors, etc., are surely willing to help.

7. What advice would you give to family members of people struggling with addiction? How about a teenage friend?
Not to take the entire responsibility for helping. Professional help will likely be more effective, and take away the judgment value. But also not to accept excuses when it’s clear there is a problem. And if the addict refuses help, to go the “tough love” route. You can’t help if you’re an emotional wreck. Sometimes you have to save yourself.

8. What are your three favorite books of all time?
Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies—an amazing look at faith. Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion—tough to read, but amazing character studies. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye—which perfectly captures the troubled soul.

9. If someone could only read one book that would make an impact on their life, what would you suggest they read?
The Shack, which shakes up the classic views of God.

10. Of all of your books what is your favorite you have written and why? Do you think your books should be read in any order?
Probably Identical because of the mysteries presented. The subject matter is tough (father-daughter incest), and presented unflinchingly, but this is an important issue to understand and
drag out into the light. As for order, Crank, Glass and Fallout (in that order) are a trilogy, and it makes sense to read Impulse before its companion, Perfect. The others are stand-alone titles.

11. Recently, On Oprah Winfrey’s last show, she stated, “turn your wounds into wisdom”. Being that much of your work seems based in some autobiographical fact, what do you feel about this statement?
Some wounds never heal completely, but if exposing my wounds through my words can help others cope somehow, there is power in that.

12. In all of our interviews we ask how each person defines “sexy”. How would you define sexy and what advice would you give to young men and women who want to feel sexy or attractive?

Sexy is about self-love. Not conceit, but the confidence that comes when you love who you are. Learn to love yourself, and don’t be afraid to let that love shine through.

13. What are three things we wouldn’t know about you by looking at you?
That I am focused (okay, maybe closer to driven); that I am organized (except for my office); that I am a Believer (who chooses not to ram religion down anyone’s throat).

14. We have only known you a short time but you have already taken a lot of time and interest giving us advice on writing as a career. Why do you think it’s important to help new writers?
Because literature and literacy are not all about me. Competitiveness in this business helps no one. Mentoring the next great writers will help countless people, well into the future.

15. What three pieces of advice would you give a young writer to help them be successful at writing as a career?
1. Patience. Don’t expect the first thing you write to end up a bestseller. 2. In keeping with that, craft is as important as story. Keep building your craft. Forever. 3. Don’t choose writing as a career expecting to get rich. Some do. Many more don’t. Make writing your heart. Tell the best story you can, in the very best way. Making a living with your writing should be your goal.

16. Based on your books, you seem to keep up on pop culture. Where do you find your information, such as movies, television, radio, etc and what are some of your “faves” in pop culture right now?
Lady Gaga. Some of her music (not all). But Lady Gaga, the person. I also like reality TV where some sort of talent is involved—Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Survivor, Amazing Race. Shows that illustrate the best—and worst—of real people. On the cable TV side, True Blood is pretty hot vampire, if you ask me. And as for radio, Sirius all the way. So many choices, commercial-free.

17. If you could only listen to three CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?
Here I show my taste for classic rock: The Beatles (White Album); Dark Side of the Moon; Queen’s Greatest Hits.

18. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Scarlet O’Hara. Only I would have been smarter. Ashley over Rhett? Seriously?

19. What message would you most like teenagers, or anyone for that matter, to gain from your books?
That life is all about choices. We can forgive some mistakes. But bad choices can’t always be taken back. Think carefully about outcomes before you choose.

20. In Bowling for Columbine, singer Marilyn Manson was asked what would he say to the kids of Columbine if they were there and he responded, “I wouldn’t say a single word to them I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.” What do you think of this statement as a role model to teenagers and young people?
I would say he has a point. But troubled teens aren’t always willing to talk. As a community (not to mention as parents), we need to be mindful of the warning signs of mental breakdown. They were definitely there before those kids picked up their guns. Overlooking them, or pretending they’re not there, is highly irresponsible.

21. Tell us about your new book Perfect. What is this book about and where did you find the inspiration?
Perfect is about four teens’ drive for the unattainable goal of perfection, through self-regulated eating, surgeries, steroid use, etc. It is also about trying to live up to other’s expectations of perfection—parents, boyfriends, coaches, etc. The inspiration for this book, as for most of my books, is the teens I talk to every day. Their stories inspire my stories.

22. We end all of our interviews by asking, “Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?”. As a writer who develops characters, what would you say each of these answers says about the person answering?
Boxers = someone like my husband, who worries about squish-related health issues, but not about “hanging out.”
Briefs = someone like my brother-in-law, who is all about propriety. Most of the time.
Jockstraps = someone like my ex, who wished he had a reason to use one.
Nothing at all = someone like my 14-yr-old son, who claims he “forgets” his underwear.

Thanks Ellen…We Adore You Darling!

For more information on Ellen Hopkins visit her website HERE.

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury.

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WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.

*Photographs courtesy of Ellen Hopkins.

True Blood Would Not Exist Without Charlaine Harris!

Do vampires really exist? What really goes through the mind of Sookie Stackhouse? What makes a juicy sex scene? These were all questions we desperately wanted answered by Charlaine Harris. Who is Charlaine Harris? Only one of the greatest American mystery writers of our time. But, you probably know her specifically for bringing to birth one of the most intriguing yet endearing fictional characters of all time; Sookie Stackhouse. Not only are we die hard fans of the HBO series True Blood, which is based off of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, but we are also obsessive fans of her novels, desperately waiting for each new one to hit the bookshelves. Imagine our excitement to be able to actually interview Charlaine and find out what mysteries tick wickedly in that twisted lair of a mind. What we found was an honest to goodness, down home, wife and mother of three, who loves the craft of writing and storytelling and has had quite a success in the thirty years of her career. By the way, she just happens to be a New York Times bestselling author many times over.

Besides the Sookie Stackhouse novels, also known as the Southern Vampire Novels, she has written several other series and individual novels, all which can be found on her official website Charlaine Harris. I’m not really sure what we expected to find when interviewing her, maybe some smirks as her telepathy ran wild or china, bright fangs lurking from her smile, but instead, we found probably one of the greatest writers of our time, with a deadly imagination and otherworldly charm…

1. Your writing career has spanned more than 30 years. In that time, what has been your greatest moment of success?
Winning the Anthony for DEAD UNTIL DARK, without a doubt. Running close second is the week all the books (there were nine, then) were on the bestseller chart at the same time.

2. You have written several series circling around strong female characters. Who has been your favorite character?
They all come from different places inside me, so I simply don’t have a favorite.

3. Do you develop a strong, intimate relationship with your characters?
Sure. I don’t know how else you’d write them. But ‘strong’ and ‘intimate’ don’t always mean ‘loving.’

4. What or who inspired you to give birth to your character Sookie Stackhouse?
I decided I wanted to write about a woman who was dating a vampire. Sookie’s character and setting evolved from that first decision.

5. True Blood is an HBO series based off of your books. Have you been happy with the correlation between the books and the show?
I had to check on the definition of ‘correlation’ to make sure I was answering correctly. Yes, I am very happy. I think Alan is, too.

6. If Sookie could read into your mind on a daily basis, what would she hear?
So many petty things! I’d be part of the dreary blah-blah-blah she’s plagued with.

7. In a previous interview you have shared that some of your writing influences are Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Edgar Allen Poe and Shirley Jackson. Who are some of your modern influences?
I don’t ordinarily think of contemporary writers as influences, though I’m sure that everything we read influences us to some extent. There are some scenes in Anne Rice’s vampire novels that I read over and over. There was a wonderful book by Barbara Paul called “The Fourth Wall” that I read over and over. I also read and reread the late great Adam Hall’s Quiller novels at least three times.

8. What are three books you would recommend to a close friend.

I’m not trying to be nit-picky, but that would depend on the friend. Some of my friends have a preference for mystery over fantasy, some of friends have stronger stomachs than others, and others love non-fiction.

9. What has been your favorite book to write and why?
I loved “Shakespeare’s Champion” and “All Together Dead.” Apparently, I like writing about explosions.

10. Do you ever have fans who write to you and are upset about something you’ve done with a character in a book?
Okay, I’m laughing, here. Oh, yeah, I do.

11. In your Crescent Blues interview, you discussed your character Lily Bard as a rape survivor and shared that you were a long-term rape survivor and that your perspective of people is different because of this experience. How so?
I think any first-hand experience of violence is a life-changing one. If you’d only known theoretically that people can be evil and brutal, people who don’t know you at all, being on the receiving end of that evil will alter the way you go about your life. And, of course, the way you write about life.

12. How do you utilize writing as a medium for cathartic expression and would you recommend it to other people who have experienced trauma?

I would recommend it. I do recognize that all people can’t use their experiences in a novel, put them in publishable form, but I believe that simply the act of writing, the process of picking the right words to say precisely what you mean and how you feel about you endured, can lend remarkable clarity.

13. Since you have written so many series, are you somewhat confused or frustrated that Sookie Stackhouse is the only character receiving so much personal attention because of the television show True Blood?

You’d think so . . . but actually, since Sookie has been so popular, all the books are back in print and selling better now than they ever did when they were first released. It’s literally all good.

14. What advice would you give a young writer who wanted to make a career of writing fiction?
Two words: backup plan. No, seriously, I always advise young people who want to write to read, read, read. Good stuff and bad stuff, because you need to know what makes one book good and another book hack work. Then you have to shut yourself in a room alone and write. That’s the stumbling block for most people, in my experience.

15. You write some rather juicy sex scenes. How do you define “sexy”?
To me, a good sex scene depends on a good relationship between the people involved. I don’t find clinical sex a turn-on. I think a sense of humor has to be part of it, too, and trust. And I also think the sex has to happen naturally as part of the development of the course of the book; does that make sense? I don’t have sex scenes in books if the scene doesn’t explain something about the characters or about their relationship.

16. What are three things we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
People are always surprised when they meet me. I think they expect me to look like Laurell! Instead, I look like a favorite aunt, or a grandmother. Three things you wouldn’t know by looking at me . . . I’m a regular church-goer, I’m fascinated by Egyptology and archaeology, and I can barely add and subtract.

17. You have also shared that you had a set of fangs made especially for you. Can you tell us this story and how you used your fangs?
That was very long ago. I haven’t thought of those in ages. I found a guy who made them on-line, and got my dentist to make a mold of my teeth. They’re really great-looking, but when you’re wearing them it’s pretty hard to talk! I have sympathy with the actors on the show.

18. Do you watch True Blood or have any involvement with the show? Do you feel Anna Paquin makes a suitable Sookie and are there things you would change about the show?
I do watch the show every week. Alan’s office is really good about sending me a screener before the episode is on the air, which I greatly appreciate. I don’t have any direct involvement with the show; that’s not my area of expertise. On the other hand, Alan doesn’t tell me how to write the books. It’s Alan’s show, and it would be weird if I gave him notes on it. I think Anna is great.

19. Do vampires really exist?
Not as they’re depicted in my books, no. But I’m keeping an open mind.

20. If we asked Sookie this question, how would she answer…Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?(This is our standard question we ask at the end of every interview.)
Sookie would ask you which guy you were talking about, and then she’d remember that it’s none of your business.

Thanks Charlaine and your troop of literary spirits!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury.

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Jackie Collins…Kicking Ass with Style!

Twenty-three years ago I became obsessed with Lucky Santangelo, and subsequently Jackie Collins, the internationally famous novelist who gave birth to the exotic, powerhouse, femme fatale who would fill the pages of at least seven bestselling novels. Sitting by the side of our pool, flipping through the first few pages of the novel Lucky, I was introduced to this amazing woman whose image would sinfully be burned into my memory. And although I broke out my original, dog-eared, water stained copy just for the occasion of this interview, as I flipped through the pages, the original description of Lucky came floating back to me as if she had never left my sight.

She was a strikingly beautiful woman of twenty-eight with an unruly mass of jet curls, black gypsy eyes, a wide sensual month, a deep suntan and a lean, looselimbed body. She wore soft, black, leather pants, a red, silk shirt casually unbuttoned to the limit, and a wide belt studded with silver. From her ears hung plain, silver hoops and on her right hand was a square-cut diamond of such size and brilliance that one would be forgiven for thinking it was not real. It was. No conventional beauty, she had a style and bearing all her own. Confidence wafted from her like the exotic scent she drenched herself with.

I wanted to be her. The fact that I was a 16 year old, young man didn’t matter; she exuded confidence, sexuality and power…everything I wanted to have and attain yet hid behind some frail image of a shy teenager not too sure of himself. Looking back I realize this is part of the mesmerizing hypnosis at the heart of Jackie Collins’ novels. Her characters are universally enticing; filled with all of the beauty, intrigue, sex, violence and vengeance anyone could desire.

In total she has written seven Lucky Santangelo novels and 27 novels in her complete collection of work. All have been on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Her books have sold over 400 million copies in 40 different countries. Her personal life reads like a strong, character line in one of her own novels, just as juicy and scintillating as the typewritten pages between the covers of her books.

This week she will release her latest Lucky Santangelo novel Goddess of Vengeance. Having spent the past weekend devouring this latest novel, not missing a word, I assure you…it is just a fine a read as I had twenty-three years ago first being introduced to Lucky Santangelo.

It felt entirely surreal to be editing the final touches of our interview with the woman who has exuded sensuality through the years and has penned herself into a history built on diamonds and intrigue. Yet as untouchable as she seemed, through her interview I found that she is much like Lucky Santagelo herself…mysterious yet present, glamorous yet personable, creative, artistic and seductive. An undeniably loveable and unforgettable character! Ms. Jackie Collins…

1. What are three things about Jackie Collins we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
I am a T.V. addict. A chocoholic. And I love putting together great music tracks.

2. You have a new book coming out soon. Tease us a little bit by giving us a glimpse into this new book.
Lucky is back in ‘Goddess of Vengeance’. Along with her sexy son, Bobby, and her wild teenage daughter Max. Then along comes a deadly enemy prepared to take everything from her. Family. Life. And Love.

3. Who are three authors you are addicted to reading?
Chelsea Handler. Mario Puzo. Elmore Leonard.

4. You have said that Lucky Santangelo is probably your most loved character. What do you think it is about her that is so loveable and where did you find her?
Lucky is the woman every woman aspires to be. She is beautiful, wild, smart, vulnerable on occasion, strong and sexy. She says and does everything women would love to be able to do and say. She is invincible!

5. What advice would you give to a young, aspiring writer who wants to be published and famous some day?

Keep on writing! Follow your dream and never stop. Then latch onto a reputable agent and believe in yourself.

6. How do you define sexy?
It’s all in the mind – not in the mini skirt or the top cut down to Cuba! You exude sex appeal if you truly feel it.

7. What do you believe is the sexiest city in the world?
Capri. Sexiest hotel? The Plaza Athenee in Paris. Sexiest club? Tramp in London. Sexiest designer? Valentino.

8. Do you have any secret celebrity crushes on anyone who, if you were going to write a fictional novel about your life, you would like to write in as a love interest?

Most of the guys I have already written about. Gino Santangelo. Jack Python. Kris Phoenix. Fancy them all!

9. You and your sister Joan are both extremely famous in your own right. When the cameras are gone and the doors are shut, are you two just regular sisters? What is something about your relationship that would surprise your fans?

That we get along really well, although we are totally different! Joan likes to do, I like to observe.

10. What is your favorite women’s perfume?
Angel by Thierry Mugler Men’s cologne? Natural Sweat. Cocktail? Lychee martini. Coffee? Irish. Type of Car? Ferrari. Magazine? Candy.

11. What are five specific items you can’t travel without?

Canon camera, iPhone, iPad, black boots, running shoes.

12. We tweeted you jokingly about writing an entire novel based around a group of powerful, gay men. If you were going to write this novel, dream up a central character and tell us what he would be like.
Devastatingly handsome. Powerful. Rich. Sexy. Well hung. With a great sense of humor and a one true love.

13. You have said you are a TiVo addict. What television shows do you TiVo?
Entourage. Hung. True Blood. Weeds. Vampire Diaries. The Big C. And quite a few crap reality shows which I call car crash T.V.!

14. We were recently married in Las Vegas and it is one of our favorite cities in the world. You have focused some of your stories in Las Vegas. What are three things you believe you absolutely must experience in Vegas? How about Los Angeles and New York?
Spa, and see all the shows. L.A. Venice. Palm Springs. Melrose. New York. Everything!!

15. Who is your favorite character you have brought to life? Who is your sexiest character? Who is your most dangerous character? Who is a character you have thought about going back and writing more books about?
Lucky. Lucky. Lucky!!

16. What is the secret to aging and still being sexy as hell?

Quote from Mark Twain. “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.”

17. What are five luxuries you can’t live without?

Long hot baths. Great music on a fantastic sound system. Driving my Jaguar. Milk chocolate orange sticks from Teuscher chocolates. Soft pillows and cashmere blankets.

18. In an interview for myLifetime You defined your novel “Drop Dead Beautiful” as “sexy, sleek and strong, just like Lucky Santangelo.” If someone wanted to become sexy, sleek and strong, what advice would you give them?
Be confident and know how to kick ass with style! And walk tall.

19. The following questions are for Lucky Santangelo:
-Biggest Regret?
Not meeting Lennie earlier
-Proudest Moment? Opening the Magiriano hotel in Vegas
-Best Sex Partner? Lennie Golden
-Husband I loved the most? Lennie Golden
-If I could live my life over I wouldwish that my gay brother, Dario, had lived.

20. What is sexiest on a man; boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

Great abs. A solid beach tan. And nothing at all except a killer smile!

Honorably we thank you, Jackie! We feel incredibly…Lucky!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photographs Courtesy of Jackie Collins.

WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.

Lauren Conrad…Dancing Humbly Under a Paper Crown!

On September 28th, 2004, the world was introduced to Lauren Conrad as she walked the beach and narrated the opening of the MTV reality show Laguna Beach. We instantly fell in love with her as she slightly tucked her hair behind her ears and with an innocent smile turned her deep eyes into a brand of their own. In a world filled with reality stars and would be stars, she is the exception. Lauren has revolutionized pop culture, utilizing her foundation as a reality star on the MTV shows Laguna Beach and The Hills to transition her dreams themselves into reality. Now, she is a New York Times best selling author of several books including a series titled L.A. Candy. As fashion icon to the young, she is also a fashion designer with two fashion lines; LC by Lauren Conrad and her newest line, Paper Crown. Lauren also has an all inclusive, extremely impressive web site, simply called Lauren Conrad, which includes daily posts from Lauren herself, fashion and beauty advice, information about her fashion lines and books, decorating tips and a book club! There just doesn’t seem to be much she can’t do showing that maybe a lot of people underestimated her as just an Orange County teen with pipe dreams of fame. Quite the contrary. In a world where proof of true talent and earned stardom are measured by determination and success, Lauren is a princess…dancing humbly under a paper crown!

1. Describe Lauren Conrad; the person behind the brand.
I am 25. I live in LA with 2 of my best friends and our dog Chloe. I am a loyal and trusting friend. I am shy when I meet people. I am someone who is aware of how very fortunate I am. I hate surprises. I love planning parties for people. I enjoy being very busy. I love to travel. I am a nice person, but scold people that litter. I love being surrounded by my friends, mostly because they are all much cooler than I am….

2. After having most of your life played out so publicly, how do you keep some things, like your love life, so personal?
I really value having my privacy. Keeping my personal life private is special to me and it keeps me grounded. When you give so much of who you are to others its important to have things that are just for you. Things that only you have an opinion on.

3. Do you feel there are certain areas in which reality television has gone too far or exposed things, which shouldn’t have been exposed?
To be honest, I think everyone is ultimately in control of what they share. People should expose what is comfortable to them.

4. Have you ever thought about siting behind the camera and producing your own shows?

Yes,definitely. After working in front of the camera for so many years you start to image how you would do things on the other side. It’s certainly something I am planning to explore.

5. What are four small details about you that the world doesn’t already know?

1) I have a small chip on one of my front teeth. 2) I sing when I am alone in my car. Loudly. 3)I brush my teeth in the shower every morning because I’m usually running late. 4) I haven’t checked my voice mail in 4 years.

6. With Sugar and Spice, you have now written three L.A. Candy novels. You are currently working on a fourth fiction book. Where is the inspiration for this new book from?
My next book will be part of a three-part series called The Fame Game. It’s a spin-off from the L.A. Candy books inspired by an L.A. Candy character, Madison Parker. Madison is a callous fame-chaser who epitomizes everything ugly and wrong about the entertainment industry. It’s sure to be a juicy read…

7. How does it feel to have your books on the New York Times Bestseller list?
It’s unexpected and a little nerve wracking. Mostly, it’s an honor and a dream come true. I am so grateful to my fans and readers for their support.

8. You have defined your new clothing line, Paper Crown, as a collection for those who like to play dress up in a grown up world. What kind of girl wears Paper Crown and how do you mix whimsy and imagination with wearable clothing.
The Paper Crown girl is charming, fun and flirty, yet sophisticated. She’s a dreamer and is never afraid to wear jewels during the day. And most importantly, she knows who she is and is comfortable in her own skin. The look and feel of the line is clean with cool and pretty details. I wanted it to be polished looking, but still youthful.

9. How do you define sexy?
Sexy to me is being confident and comfortable in your own skin.

10. What is the sexiest city in the world? Sexiest beach? Sexiest restaurant? sexiest club? Sexiest designer?
Sexiest city is definitely Paris. Sexiest beach is in Cabo. Club is Club Teddys. Designer, Tom Ford.

11. You seem to have become this generation’s “Jennifer Aniston” of hair trends, meaning that anything you do to your hair become a trend. How do you keep your look young and fresh? Who do you rely on for fashion and beauty advice?
Well, thank you—that is such a nice compliment! Wow… To be honest, I’ve taken an interest in my health, so keeping my hair healthy from the inside out is important. There’s nothing lovelier than lush, healthy hair. Also, its important no to over style your hair which damages it. Needless to say, aside from healthy hair I think it’s important to mix it up and try new hairstyles. Just remember it’s important to frame your fashion and beauty sense around what works for you. It’s not all about trends.

12. Without knowing who it was to, what was the last thing you texted?
I texted a friend about going away for a girls weekend to palm springs.

13. We’ve followed you from the Laguna Beach days. In all of that time, are there any moments you regret or would have played out differently for the world to see.
I don’t regret the past; it got me to where I am today. And I’m thankful for that.

14. Of your co-stars, who are you still close with and see on a regular basis?

Lo is my roommate and bestie, so I’d have to say she is the closest.

15. If none of this had happened and you had simply graduated from high school, what do you think you would be doing today? Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I Would be working towards becoming a designer. It is and always has been my dream job.

16. If you were on death row for murder by beauty, what would you want as your last meal?

Pizza. But the good kind of pizza. The kind you find on the corner pizza shop in NYC and have to fold in half to eat. For dessert I would want Ice cream… So basically I have the same dinner request as a 5 year old. Pizza and ice cream.

17. What are three books, besides your own, that you would recommend to a close friend?

Definitely Bossypants by Tina Fey. We were just reading it for my LaurenConrad.com Book Club. Also, Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls was great—loved it! And any of Chelsea Handlers book. I am obsessed with all of them!

18. What are five things we could find in your purse at any time?

Lip balm, my Blackberry, red lipstick, loose face powder, and keys… not very exciting.

19. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

Boxer briefs. I have a few pairs that I sleep in… you were asking about me, right?

Thanks LC…

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*Photos courtesy of Lauren Conrad.

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Baring It All with Heather McDonald!!!

When reading this random tweet on Twitter “I’ve been at the little league field with back to back games since 10:30 AM & still here-happy Mother’s day 2 me!”, you might not realize those are the words of one of the funniest women in the country. Closer examination brings us into the world of Heather McDonald. Besides writing, producing and starring as a regular “round table” comedienne on the award winning television show Chelsea Lately, she is also on a running tour of performances around the country, presenting her stand-up routine to sold out crowds. Not bad for a wife and mother of three who consistently channels the voices of Sarah Palin, Drew Barrymore, Celine Dion or our favorite, Geri Jewel from The Facts of Life. Every night, we literally wait for the moment when something Heather randomly quips makes even Chelsea Handler laugh and lose her train of thought; a talent which she has perfected well! And while we continue to wait, reading her new national bestseller You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again, we thought we’d reach out and find a little bit more about the funny girl next door under the Amy Winehouse wig…and in front of the Kardashian butt!

1. How would your define yourself using 10 words or less?
A tall hot hilarious brunette married mother of 3!

2. If you weren’t a comedienne, what would you be doing?
Selling residential real estate because I’ve done that on and off for almost 20 years.

3. A teenager comes to you and tells you they want to be a comedienne. What advice would you give them to help them be successful?
I would first say only be a comedienne if people tell you are funny. If they do and you love when you’re telling a story and people are laughing start to write every funny thing you say and think down. Then look into taking improvisation or stand up comedy classes and get up there and do it.

4. You’re a regular member of the Chelsea Lately round table. How do you typically prepare for each show and how do you keep your material fresh?
First I think of what is my point of view and make sure it is different than Chelsea’s then I type a few jokes down for each topic. As I’m getting my hair and make up done I go over them with my make up artist and based on what she laughs at. I choose to say those jokes first.

5. What would we, the boys of raannt, have to do; bribe, threaten, strip, screw…to get on the round table? How is it decided who is a new member?
It is very rare that we have anyone new on because Chelsea really likes having regulars on because of the relationships and chemistry we have with each other. But I would say keep doing what you are doing.

6. Where did the “Heather Long Boobs McDonald” nickname come from?

I was wearing a low cut dress in a sketch and Chelsea called me Long Boobs and it got such a big laugh she kept saying it and caught on. I do not have long boobs.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being on the round table?

Being myself and getting my hair and make up done.

8 You recently released your book “You’ll Never Blue Ball in this Town Again.” Tell us about your book.
It is about all the guys I did not have sex with in LA during the 90s. The main reason being I was virgin until I was 27.

There are a lot of very embarrassing funny dating stories.

9. What is your favorite and least favorite book you have ever read?
Besides Chelsea’s books my other favorite book was Mackenzie’s Phillips autobiography about how she was having a consensual sexual relationship with her father in her 20s for over 10 years. I mean it doesn’t get more juicy than that.

10. Since you’re now a New York Times Bestseller List honoree, what would be two other awards you would like to earn?
I would like to get an Emmy for playing a mom in a hit sitcom and I’d like an Oscar for best supporting actress because comediennes only win Oscars if they are for supporting roles never for best actress.

11. You worked closely with the Kardashians in this book. What was their role in it and how was your experience working with them?
I did not work with them. They are just my friends who loved the book and gave me a quote for the back. However, I’d love to work with them one day designing clothes for flat butts for girls like me.

12. Who are your two favorite celebrities to impersonate. Who have you wanted to impersonate but found too difficult?

My two favorites are Drew Barrymore and Celine Dion. Everyone thinks I do Cher and I can but only when she sings not when she talks.

13. You have been married for over 10 years. What is the secret to a successful marriage?

I got married in the Catholic church and therefore made a promise to God. I plan on going to heaven so therefore I’ve stayed married. No seriously, we do stuff on our own away from our kids and we never let any fight last too long.

14 The bio on your website states you “reside in the San Fernando Valley next door to her parents just in case they run out of milk, Chardonnay or need one of her dad’s Vicodin.” Which one happens most often?
I run out of Chardonnay a lot but my always has a chilled bottle waiting and she loves to drink it with me.

15. Name the sexiest city? Hotel? Movie? Place to kiss? Place to get drunk?

The sexiest city is Cabo. Movie is Unfaithful, Kiss is in the rain (I’ve yet to do that) get drunk in any pool.

16. Let’s play fuck, marry, kill. Chelsea, Chuy and Brad Wollack?

I’d fuck Chelsea because she’s completely bare down there so it wouldn’t be too bad. I’d marry Brad because his parents have their winery and I’d have to kill Chuy, sorry.

17. Give us quick thoughts on the following: Jenna Jameson, the death of Osama Bin Laden, Amy Fisher’s porn career and gay marriage.
Jenna: Amazing mother of twin boys, Osama: I’m having sexual fantasies about the Navy Seal who shot him, Gay Marriage: I want it to be legal everywhere also I love weddings and feel I have a lot of gay invites in my future.

18. If you were going to start your own line of Heather McDonald Chardonnay, since you’re such a huge fan, what would it be called and what would make it so special? How much would you charge?
It would be called Impressions because I do a lot of impressions and it will make an impression at your table. It’s special because it’s buttery. I would charge around 11 dollars.

19. What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
Being on television even more either as myself or playing a comedic role in a funny show.

20. What do you find sexy on a man: boxers, briefs, jockstrap, or nothing at all?
I find boxers sexy because I like the excitement that it might slip out at any moment.

For more information on Heather McDonald, her New York Times bestselling book or her tour dates, contact her website!

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*Photographs thanks to Heather McDonald and Eva Magdalenski and Alex Spieller of Anderson Group Public Relations

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Chris Stedman…Just A Little Above Average

Photo Credit Erin Williams

We had initially titled this interview: Chris Stedman…The Prince of Secular Humanism Discusses His Evolving Worldview, Eboo Patel, Teen Suicide and His Love of Britney Spears. But after hours of looking at his pictures and editing the facts, it just didn’t seem right. At the cost of gaining more views or getting more people to read our blog, just in the name of a sensational, attention-grabbing title, we couldn’t do it. It just didn’t fit. Chris never called himself the Prince of Secular Humanism…we did! He’s considerably more humble than to pat his own back let alone identify himself as royalty of religious discussion. In fact, when we spoke with him initially about secular humanism and referred to him as an “expert”, he laughed and corrected us, pointing us to at least five other authors and speakers on the subject.

But after a few months of knowing him we have absolutely no problem complimenting or heralding the young man who could very well be accepting his Noble Peace Prize within the next ten years. And unless you know of him already and have simply come to this interview to find out more about the guy you already love, than you’ve probably never even heard of him. So what is it exactly that makes Chris so interesting?

For starters, he is the Interfaith and Community Service Fellow at Harvard University and the Managing Director of State of Formation at The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue. He writes and runs his own blog NonProphet Status,writes for the internationally famous blog The Huffington Post, and is the youngest panelist for The Washington Post on Faith. He is also writing a book which will be published in 2012 by Beacon Press. But Besides being a writer, an educator and a highly requested national speaker, what exactly does he do?

Stolen from his blog’s About the Author section, “Chris is an atheist / secular humanist working to foster positive and productive dialogue between faith communities and the nonreligious.” Are you getting the picture yet? To steal yet again from his blog, guest blogger, Walker Bristol, Freshman Representative of the Tufts’ Freethought Society states, “Humanism, as a philosophy, is dedicated to the betterment of the global community as a whole and seeks to dispel discrimination and unfounded bias. Behind Humanist philanthropic efforts and community service projects is a unique commitment to action untainted by goals of conversion or self-promotion.”

And Chris, this 24 year old, tattooed, gaged eared, skinny jean wearing, symbol of sexiness is utilizing academia, pop culture and kindness to bridge the gap between secular and religious identity. When we initially approached him for this interview, stating we wanted to find out more about him because he seemed so interesting, he laughed and said “I’d say that I’m just like anyone else — in fact, I don’t actually handle praise all that well because I see myself as really average, and I live a very average life. I talk about my story not because I think that I’m particularly special, but because I think that everyone has a story to tell, that sharing these stories will make the world a more loving and compassionate place, and that one of the best ways to invite others to talk about their experiences is to share your own. When we exchange stories with one another, I think we discover that we’re not really all that ‘special’ — which is to say, we’re all special, in our own way. But we stop thinking of ourselves as the most important person in the world, and that gives us empathy for other people.

Photo Credit Meadville Lombard Theological School

1. What does it mean to be the “Interfaith and Community Service Fellow” for the Humanist Chaplaincy for Harvard University?
My role at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard is really the first of its kind – it’s a position within an atheist / humanist organization specifically devoted to promoting interfaith cooperation and planning community service. I’m so lucky to have this job, because it marries three of my biggest professional (and personal) interests: building interfaith understanding, cultivating humanist community, and advancing social justice work. My fourth biggest interest is writing, and that’s where my blogging work comes in.

2. At 11, you entered the Evangelical Church and now define yourself as an atheist. What inspired this conversion?
It’s a long story, which is why I’m writing a book about it! But I’ll give you a hint: my conversion to Christianity came shortly after I began to recognize that the world is an imbalanced place – I started reading books like Roots, Hiroshima, The Diary of Anne Frank, and so on – and I was looking for a way to make sense of all of the injustice and suffering in the world. The only folks I heard talking about justice, and about improving the world, were Christians. My conversion also coincided with my parents’ divorce, and church created a community of support that essentially substituted the support I had gotten from my family. So when I began to critically evaluate my conversion later when questioning my faith, I realized that Christianity had never felt like a first language to begin with; that it had been a package deal, but that a belief in God wasn’t true to my roots.

Photo Credit Deanna Mandarino

3. Why is it important for people of religion and atheism to work together? What would you like our readers to learn from your work?

We live in a world sharply divided by religious identity – perhaps most of all along lines of religious and secular identity. Looking at the shouting match in popular discourse, between the so-called “New Atheists” and the “Religious Right,” the idea of identifying common ground between atheists and the religious might seem impossible. But truth be told, there are a lot of shared values we can all rally behind, and I think it is especially important for atheists and the religious to combat the significant misconceptions that exist on either side and attempt to foster understanding and cooperation to work toward resolving the most important issues of our time like poverty, global climate change, HIV/AIDS, and so on.
4. What does it mean to be a “secular humanist”?
There are many different definitions of “humanism,” but in my mind a humanist is anyone – religious or not – who maintains a worldview grounded in reason and guided by compassionate action. I put “secular” before “humanist” to signify that my worldview is specifically naturalistic and nonreligious. To borrow from the title of a recent book by the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, Greg Epstein: in short, a secular humanist is someone who believes he or she can be good without God, and who strives to live this way. I prefer “secular humanist” to “atheist” because it suggests something about my values, rather than the mere fact that I do not believe in any gods.

Photo Credit faith and fashion

5. How does being gay contribute to your belief system towards religion?
It’s funny; at various points in my life, I would’ve answered this in very different ways. Hell, I’ll probably answer it differently two months from now. But, right now, I credit the recognition I had at 11 years old that I am queer with setting the course for the work I do now. Being a member of a marginalized community helps me empathize with experiences and worldviews that are different from my own, and I believe that has made me more compassionate. At one point in my life, being gay might’ve contributed to the bitterness I had toward religion and the religious, but now being gay means being deeply and personally invested in active religious pluralism, or the idea that we all – religious or not – need to work to understand one another better. We’re all “other” to someone, and I’d like to see that change.

6. What does being gay mean to you today?
Being queer to me means being a border-crosser and a translator. We occupy liminal spaces in American society and around the world, so we need to know how to navigate fraught intercultural issues, as most of our actions are, in a sense, intercultural exchanges. I think this makes us especially adept at bridging divides – or, at least, it has directly contributed to my sense of feeling empowered to do so.

Photo Credit Natalie Parys

7. If there was a God, what would God be like?
Honestly, I’m not willing to say that I’m absolutely, positively, 100% sure there is no god. However, if there is a god (and that’s a big “if”), I believe that god is an uninvolved one – one that exists, possibly created the world, but has since been mostly “hands-off.” And if such a god exists – and I do see it as a possibility – then I think it really doesn’t matter. If an uninvolved god is out there, it doesn’t concern me one bit. These days, I’m a lot more interested in what is happening in the world around me than whether or not a god exists; about whether people have the things they need to live happily and peacefully. And the kind of god I certainly can’t fathom is one who would condemn people who honestly tried to live and learn the best they could to an eternity of suffering; so if I’m wrong and there actually is a benevolent, loving god, I will welcome being proven wrong with humility and with curious wonder. And maybe a long laugh and a beer.

8. One of the first things we noticed about you was your interesting and eclectic style. How does your style reflect your belief system?
Well, my tattoos each reflect various stages in my evolving worldview… It’s a cheesy metaphor, but I often liken my tattoos to a scrapbook. It’s the best documentation I’ve got of how I’ve matured in my adult life, and I wouldn’t change any of them. As for my general style; I’ve always experimented with different attire, but from a young age I was interested in expressing myself visually. The style I’ve got now is… well, let’s just be honest, I dress like a stereotypical hipster (as my friends all love to point out). I’ve been dressing this way since the end of college, and so far I’ve managed to carry it over into my professional career. You’d be surprised what you can get away with if you just add a tie! But honestly, one of the reasons I love my style is that I really do feel that it reflects who I am at this point in my life, and I hope that it suggests that I don’t have too many pretensions about what I do.

I’ve tried to “dress professionally” but it just isn’t me; I always expected my tattoos and my style to be a professional hindrance, but I’ve honestly been amazed by how it has helped me connect with people in my work. I think a lot of people don’t expect someone who looks like me – tattoos galore, including an almost-finished sleeve, stretched earlobes and a nose ring, skinny jeans and concert t-shirts – to be talking about interfaith cooperation. But I think it’s such an important issue and that everyone needs to care about it, so I hope my style helps some people who might not have cared before to see it as important, and to see that they too have a place in this movement – that it’s not just for older folks and religious people.

Photo Credit Erin Williams

9. If you could only listen to three CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?
Wow; after questions about the existence of god, my sexuality, and other so-called “difficult subjects,” this is far and away the hardest question yet! In fact, I think we’ll know the answer to the god question before I can narrow my favorite albums down. Every year, I write a blog post detailing my 50 favorite albums of the year, and it always takes me weeks. But I’ll just go with something “old,” something “new,” and something from my youth. Old: Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones. New: Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois. Nostalgic picks: Garbage’s Version 2.0 or The Fugees’ The Score. Also, I recently got really into an amazing gay artist named John Grant – pick up his debut, Queen of Denmark, if you haven’t heard it yet. It’ll change your life.

10. What are your three favorite fiction and non-fiction books?
Everything by Flannery O’Connor – I’m obsessed. I have one tattoo for her, and others planned. Also, Acts of Faith by my mentor, Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel, played a very formative role in the work I do now – in fact, describing my reaction to it is essentially the climax of the narrative in my book. (How nerdy is that?!) Finally, my current boss, Greg Epstein, has a really fantastic book for anyone looking to explore humanism called Good Without God.

Photo Credit Adrienne Baker, IFYC

11. How do you define “sexy”?
Oh man. Superficially, I go weak in the knees for a subtle but intoxicating cologne, a scruffy face, … and skinny jeans! But more than anything (cliché alert!) I find confidence, creativity, empathy and humility sexy. People who just see the world in a different way – in a way that forces me to challenge my approach and my perspective – there’s nothing sexier than that. Same goes for an open heart; not just a posture of “caring for others,” but people who genuinely experience heartbreak because of the suffering in the world. Okay, that sounds pretty cheesy and dumb, doesn’t it? Also, it’s probably kind of bullshit: at the end of the day, James Franco is just flat-out sexy, regardless of whether he cares about the world’s suffering or not.

12. What is the most important issue on the gay agenda today?

Full inclusion and protection for transgender individuals. For too long, trans folks have been marginalized, ostracized, and largely ignored by the so-called “LGBT agenda.” Every month at least one transgender individual is killed in a hate crime in America – a fact largely ignored by the media. With the increased attention on gay and lesbian suicides this year, we must not forget about the emotional and physical violence that trans folks experience. It’s crazy to me how pervasive transphobia is, even within our community. I’m certainly not an innocent party in this respect, but I’m working on it.

Photo Credit Ky Dickens

13. What are three things you wouldn’t do no matter how much money you were offered?

I’ve come to a point in my life where it’s difficult for me to say that there are things I would never do, because over the years I’ve done many things I once thought I wouldn’t. I’ve come to recognize that it’s quite difficult to predict what you might do in any given situation until you’re actually confronted with the choice, and that sometimes we make the wrong choice. That said, I’d like to believe there are some choices I could never be compelled to make, and they’re the big ones: murder, rape, genocide, etc. At the end of the day, you have to be willing to be morally inflexible on certain things, and physically harming another person is one of those things. Emotionally harming is where it gets a bit more complicated, eh?

14. What would your friends say is your greatest weakness?
I’m not sure they’d know where to begin! I’ve got my vices, to be sure, but I think my friends might highlight the way I can get distracted by things that shouldn’t matter – how I can fixate on things beyond my control. I think I have a difficult time “letting go” when something is unsolvable; I like to imagine that nothing is insurmountable if you just persevere and push hard enough. This difficulty to relent to the forces beyond my control has caused me a lot of pain in my life, but it has also helped me overcome obstacles that I thought I could not. So it’s good and it’s bad, but I’m learning to harness it more for good and be more aware of when it is having a harmful effect.

Photo Credit James Croft

15. If you were to die tomorrow, what three things would flash in your mind?

I’m not sure; I think I’d be too distracted by my impending death! But I’m sure I’d think immediately of my family, and of the love I have for them. When everything is said and done, my family is what matters most to me, so I’m sure my thoughts would turn to them.

16. What are three movies that have greatly impacted you?
Dancer in the Dark, Dogma, and Saved! The first always makes me cry, and the others make me laugh and think – they tackle complex issues concerning religion with levity, heart, humor and humanity.

17. When Chris, the Harvard intellect, is put away, what are some trivial things that we wouldn’t know by looking at you?

Ha! Let’s see; my vanity is probably obvious in my hipster clichés. What else? Well, okay, so I really love Britney Spears. It’s weird; I never really cared about her when I was younger, which is unusual since I came of age in the era of Britney. But when I was a senior in college, Britney began to unravel, and I took notice. Now I won’t liken her to Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf, but I did see something in Britney’s public undoing that made me pause. Here was the real person beneath the façade; the animal behind the android. She had been tamed and domesticated her whole life, and she tried to liberate herself. The sad thing is that she didn’t know how to do it well, and she became quite unwell. Now she’s gotten her public image together and her career seems to be doing quite well, but I still see a caged animal when I look at her. I don’t know if I’m just projecting my love for tragic figures on to her, but I see some sadness in her. Or, at least, some boredom. So I root for her, you know? I want her to do well, and to be happy. There’s no way to know if she is, but I hope that the fact that even when she is “promoting” a new album she’s hardly in the public eye, means that she has the space she needs. Because I’m just tired of seeing her cry in interviews! Honestly, her 2007 album Blackout is probably the greatest pop album ever released, and I rock out to that like nothing else when no one is around. That said, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga could stop recording music and I’d be perfectly happy, so I guess I don’t fall for pop trappings every time. But my love for Britney is forever, ha.

18. You are currently working on a book. Tell us about your book which is due out in 2012.

My book is part memoir, part call for greater dialogue and collaboration between the religious and the nonreligious. I use my personal story of growing up irreligious, becoming a Born Again Christian and realizing I was gay, eventually leaving the faith and becoming very anti-religious, and then eventually becoming a passionate advocate for pluralism and interfaith engagement, because I think, like sociologist Marshall Ganz, that stories are the most effective way to communicate ideas and values. Still, it’s weird to be writing a memoir – especially at 23 years old! – because you open up your experiences for public scrutiny. But I’m learning to get used to it, and I’m doing it because I think mine is an underrepresented perspective. But ultimately, I don’t want my work to be about me – my biggest hope is that my story will prompt other people to share theirs. I don’t want to tell my story simply to make it known; I want to initiate a dialogue on religious and nonreligious identity and engagement in America.

Photo Credit Nat DeLuca

19. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
Ha! Oh my. Um, well… I wear skinny jeans nearly every day, so it’s certainly not the first of those options. I’ll leave it at that; a gay atheist has to keep some mystery, eh?

Thanks Buddy!!! We Love Ya!!!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken and used, with a link to our original interview, without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.

Kelly Cutrone Rides Her Brand New Bicycle!

Several years ago when Kelly Cutrone walked into her west coast office of People’s Revolution on the MTV reality series The Hills, we fell in love. Immediately we recognized true genius woven together with an impeccable style sense and a sharp tongue exemplified by what was obviously passion. Needless to say, it was somewhat surreal to find ourselves huddled over our IPhone on the huge, mahogany dining table which serves as the raannt offices, waiting for her assistant Andrew Mukamal, to connect us for our interview. A few minutes later, we heard her come onto the phone. We had expected, maybe from her industrial candor or her presence on her many reality shows, a tough woman who would want to get right down to business, but she chatted with us for a few minutes, wishing Alex a happy birthday and telling us about her busy day. Her professional resume, including at the top being the founder and director of People’s Revolution; a public relations and marketing firm, is overwhelming and intimidating. Her pop-culture resume includes stints on MTV’s The Hills, The City and her own reality show Kell On Earth. And in February she published her book If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. It was only when we began actually interviewing her that we saw a true intellectual, kindred soul and artist merge together through the answers she gave to our questions.

In an interview you said that your target audience was “village girls and gay boys”. Why these two groups and how do you relate to them? “Well, that’s who I am, you know. So I don’t really think I pick them. I am a village girl. And as far as the gay boys go I work in the fashion business so it would be inevitable that they would be the core group of people that I would relate to because I’ve spent the last 13 years of my life, every day, with that group of people. So it’s sort of what I know. And it’s really who I speak to, you know. And oddly enough, as it turns out, nobody is speaking directly to these groups really, you collectively together. Musicians do it but they do it with their songs. And there are certain characters on TV but those characters are actors playing roles, you know. And one thing that we really thought with the book was, oh my God there’s nobody talking to these kids. And why do I have to go the empowerment and self help section on the top shelf next to Anthony Robbins to buy your book? It wasn’t intentional. That’s who I employ and that’s who I work with and that’s who I wanted to talk to in my book. I mean, it’s hard when you’re young.”

And the interview continued, as Kelly walked down the streets of New York, buying food and talking to people briefly as she passed them while we sat in our living room in Indianapolis, intrigued.

In your book you describe the magic inside of yourself. What exactly is this magic inside of each of us?It’s the part of you that’s the dreamer. It’s the part of you that has an idea and gets really excited. It’s the part of you that kisses someone and feels in love. It’s the part of you that wakes up and feels refreshed to do something for the first time and feel renewed, you know what I mean? Like, for me, I went to buy my daughter a bike, right. And I was in this bike store that was like a total, old school New York bike store and I was like, do you mind if I take this bike for a spin? And the guy was like, no problem, and all of a sudden I realized I want to buy a bike because it makes me feel happy inside. And I’m always looking for things will make me feel happy, so for me, riding the bike was like tapping into the magical part of myself. I get to ride my bike around New York City. I get to yell at people who are in my way. I get to do everything. I get to do cardio. I get to scream at people. I get to look at the city and at all these people and that is really fun and magical to me. What’s really not the magical part of ourselves is the part that’s like, uh, I’m really fucking sad or life sucks and life is really boring. You have to find the part that’s still really fun.”

When we asked her if she describes her book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, as a self-help book, she said she doesn’t. “It’s really like a pop-culture book with a little bit of Bewitched. It’s kind of a manual in a weird way, if you’re looking for that, otherwise it’s just a book, because I think it reflects back to what people want or what people need.” She explains that there is a lot in the book, from spiritual guidance, to how to set up a business to what it means to be feminine. “It all depends on what the reader is looking for.” As for us, we found a great read. At some points hilarious, at others informative and inspiring. “Is it a self-help book? You know I don’t really know. The publishing departments don’t really serve the audience well and the departments aren’t really stocked right, so readers don’t even want to go in there. If you go into the spiritual section, you’re going to be lucky if you find Biography of a Yogi, that was written in like 1850 or something. And then you’ll find a few Eckhart Tolle books and Louise Hay. I mean, what 20 fucking year old wants to read Louise Hay? Or Anthony Robbins? Or like, The Power of Now?(at which point, she has us literally laughing our asses off). They don’t want to read that shit. I mean it’s way to heavy and trippy, you know.”

Motherhood is…
Mind blowing. There’s all different kinds of motherhood, you know. For me, being Ava’s mom, is the most fantastic experience I’ve ever had in my life. There’s nothing more fantastic than loving Ava and learning from Ava and teaching Ava, you know. I had a baby because I felt like I had a lot to give and a lot to learn.”

What do you look for in someone when hiring them to be part of your team?
A skill set. A basic, common sense skill set, you know, which is really hard to find. So if it’s an entry level position, someone who knows how to take a message. Essentially I look for someone who has their own sense of style and is an individual. Someone who is not a player. I tend to go for the freaks, to be honest. Usually someone who is very well spoken, very creative, has a very strong skill set, is an independent thinker. You know my office is run way more different than people think it is on the outside. People’s Revolution is a very free-thinking, collaborative place. And if you’re a self-motivator, you’ll do very well there. If you someone who needs to be micromanaged you will not do well there. Because, (a), I’m not fun to be micromanaged by and (b) I hate to micromanage so if you put me in a position where I have to manage people day in and day out, they don’t like it and I don’t like it and those people just don’t do well there.”

Is your all black rule only for fashion shows or does it apply to all PR duties?
You know, that’s not a rule, actually. It only applies to fashion shows and it only applies to assistants and interns. And the reason for that is that someone’s idea of what is fashionable at 19 and what one of my client’s think is fashionable may not necessarily be the same thing. I mean, I think we all know, we’ve all been there, looking back when we were 19 that we were totally jamming. We weren’t totally jamming. (She laughs, while ordering some peanut butter cups.) A lot of kids can’t afford it. We have some kids that come from really poor families and we have some kids that come from really rich families, you know. We have kids that come from immigrant parents and single parents and they really don’t have a lot of money. And black makes it very easy for everyone to look the part. It kind of levels the playing field, and I can ID my employees when we go somewhere. It’s kind of a physical uniform.”

What would you do if a close friend stole an idea of yours to better themselves?Um, let them.” she laughs. “If they really needed it because they had no skills and no ideas, which is the only reason why they would to begin with.” she continues laughing. “I’m not that attached to ideas because I get them all the time. I’d probably be like, do you really think that was right. I don’t know, I guess it depends on the friend. If it’s a close friend I guess I’d be like, yeah, I hope you’re happy. I hope that worked for you.”

What would be your theme song for your life?
The theme song for my life? Oh my God. Um, I have to come back to that one. I have to think about that one, because I’m a music freak so I can’t just answer that lightly.

You are referred to a lot as a “bitch”. Do you think if you were a man in your same industry you would be seen the same way?
Definitely not. But if I was a man in the industry I wouldn’t be having the fun that I’m having. I mean, come on. It’s just different industries. But we’re the life bringers and a lot of women on the planet are still treated like shit. They’re raped and beaten and abused. And that’s sad. Because we’re the life bringers. We bring the life to Earth. Mother Earth. It’s like what I said earlier. There’s all different kinds of motherhood. And to attack women is to attack our world. It’s just been going on forever and it needs to stop. And women fucking let it happen all the time, you know. It’s just pathetic. I mean, if you’re a woman, why would you bring your children to a church where they’re not even allowed to speak? How can you bring your daughter that discusses the birth of Christ but they’re not even allowed to speak? People don’t find that strange. I mean, think about it. And how can you go there as a gay man, knowing that like 80% of all the priests or preachers are gay but they don’t condone homosexuality. What the fuck is that? It’s sounds like they’re more like hypocrites but people have accepted this and it’s part of their daily life. Women have got to put a stop to it.”

How real is reality television? Well my show is all too real if you ask me. I think I’m the only person to make a real reality show. And I knew what was going on and I was like calling people going, are you fucking serious? Am I the only person in reality television to make a real show? I mean, what is this? Like I literally would leave my office and be like, I’m going to get my dry cleaning, and there would be like four guys following me while I got my dry cleaning. And I would be like, oh, please dear God do not follow me down the street. It’s the most uncool thing in the world to be followed around with a bunch of cameras. I mean who cares about the dry cleaning. I mean, let’s go ice skating in my home town or something fun. The crew wouldn’t even talk to us. They did this thing called ‘fourth walling’ which they do on shows like Survivor where the cameras aren’t allowed to interact with the cast because they don’t want to tamper with the situation that’s actually happening. But nobody makes a reality show with a fourth wall because you’re basically all living together, but our crew fourth walled. So there were no retakes. We didn’t redo anything. Our show was so real that I had to literally pull our crew off of our designers because our crew were all like straight guys and they didn’t understand the fashion industry at all and when I would call the executive producers and start screaming going like, what the fuck is going on these guys are bum rushing Jeremy Stalling after a fashion show and instead of being respectful they’d be like, ‘did you like your show?’ ‘are you happy to work with Kelly Cutrone?’ And I’d be like, are you fucking being serious? And they’d have on like Abercrombie shorts and this girl would have big, gold hooped earrings asking people to sign releases, and I’d be like, you can’t do that. And you need to be wearing black. What are you doing? And they’d be like, ‘well we did Project Runway’. Oh, God! You know, this is ridiculous. Straight guys that didn’t know anything about fashion that just wanted to get their interviews. It was kind of hysterical. What I want to do is the making of a reality show. Like a scripted show about the making of a reality show.”

We love that you said, let’s go skating in my home town or something. If you had your vision for what that show would have been like, what would it be?Da da da dum.” followed by thunderous laughter. “Apocalypse? Cryptic? Foreshadowing? Maybe that’s coming next?”

New York Fashion Week…love it or hate it?
Love it. You know, come on. I’m not going to be doing a ton of shows because there’s a lot of other parts of our business. We only do shows for our contractual clients anyway. I think we’re going to do the first show, of the first day at Lincoln Park at 9am on September 9th. That’s what I’ve been on the phone about all day today. It’ll be fun to have one of our clients be the first person to be up in Lincoln Center.”

Would you ever write a children’s book with your daughter?
Yeah, I actually would. You mean like Madonna? I actually have a very cool idea for a children’s book but I won’t be doing it anytime soon. I want to write a book for older women who are divorced or widowed or have never lived alone. These women who have done all of this amazing stuff for all of these other people, like their kids and their husbands and no one is looking after them and they don’t know how to take care of themselves. They don’t know how to be alone. It’s really sad.”

What is something that scares you?
Government. And radical people scare me. It’s really, really scary living in New York City now. I think it’s really the most dangerous city in the world. And most people live here by choice and it’s really expensive to live here. And I think this city is going to get blown up again. I really do. And the reason I do is that I was having lunch last week and this girl came up to me and she said, I’m a huge fan of yours and she was in the military and she said that all people like at West Point and all people in the military have survivalist backpacks because if it happens they think the damage will be so great.”

Well, Kelly, we have a room here in Indianapolis just waiting for you if New York gets too scary. “Oh, thank you, but the thing that’s really funny is that I asked if LA was dangerous too and they said no, because LA has no landmarks, so I can go out there too.”

Sexiest city in the world? Sexiest Club? Sexiest hotel?
Sexiest city in the world? Paris, France. Sexiest club in the world? The bar at the hotel Le Meurice. Sexiest hotel in the world? Best hotel or best hotel to have sex in?” Either. “I’d have to say the penthouse or the Clark Gable/Carol Lombard suite at The Hollywood Roosevelt is where I conceived my daughter.”

Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
In bed nothing at all. During the day, boxers.

Did you think of the answer to the theme song for your life? Oh, God. I’d like to say Brand New Key by Melanie. I don’t know why. Because I ride my bike everywhere instead of taking a car.” She starts singing, “I drove my bicycle past your window last night.” She laughs, asking someone in the background what would be the theme song for her life and they answer Born to be Wild. “Oh wait. Bad Reputation by Joan Jett! There you go!” She starts laughing, talking again to whomever she’s with. “I was so afraid you were going to say,” and then she begins singing, “If I could turn back time.” and laughs again. She’s quite humorous, this one.

Your book is about living your dreams and taking risks to get them to come true…what are some risks you never thought you would take?Opening People’s Revolution. Also stopping doing drugs was a huge risk I took which actually helped me out a lot.”

What do you do with all of the gifts you’re given by designers?
I give them away. I think I probably give away about 90% of everything I get.”

Who are three people, dead or alive, that inspire you?My mother, my daughter and Amma, the Holy one.

Anything else you want us to include in the interview.
That I’m sending you made love from New York City and I love your support! And if New York City blows up, clean the apartment, I’m coming over.


Eyes Open, We’re Watching!