Indianapolis “Press” Week…A Review of Midwest Fashion Week’s Last Night

The following historical description is listed under the history section by Wikipedia. “The first New York Fashion Week, then called Press Week, was the world’s first organized fashion week. Held in 1943, the even was designed to attract attention away from French fashion during World War II, when fashion industry insiders were unable to travel to Paris to see French fashion shows. Fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized an event she called “Press Week” to showcase American designers for fashion journalists, who had previously neglected their innovations. (Buyers were to admitted to the shows and instead had to visit designers’ showrooms.) Press Week was a success, and fashion magazines like Vogue, which were normally filled with French designs, increasingly featured American fashion.” This definition is in any basic fashion text and took us less than five minutes to look up under “purpose of a fashion show” online.

In writing a review you must first understand exactly what you are reviewing. Thus the major problem with the finale of Midwest Fashion Week; was the gala a fashion show or a fundraiser? The reason we ask is because we’ve been to our share of fashion shows, nationally, and press are treated exceptionally well and are actually given exposure to the collections, models and typically an up close look at the designs being shown on the runway. We’ve also been to our share of charity events and fundraisers, nationally, and press are rarely present unless they have made a donation or bought a ticket as we always do and have documentation to prove. Anyone who knows us, professionally, personally or from background research, knows we are philanthropists and huge supporters of charity, having thrown several fundraising events ourselves. Per Sola Adelowo, executive director and co-producer of Midwest Fashion Week, “The Gala was a fundraiser for Down Sydrome and the closing fashion show for MFW.”

So, let’s investigate this further. First, we were sent the media information from Indyscene because we write a social review column on Indyscene. The information sent from MFW to Indyscene was an outline of the week’s events. We then contacted Berny Martin, founder and producer of MFW and asked for media passes to Saturday’s events, unclear about whether or not this was strictly a fundraiser or a fashion show who informed us, without any other information, that passes…not media passes or seats to the gala…just passes, with no explanation, would be waiting for us at “media” check-in.

Now let’s pause on this for just a moment. Never once were we informed we would be expected to purchase tickets to be part of the event and actually participate in the event. At this point, we’re probably sounding rather petty and appearing as if we wanted something for free. Hmmm…do you know who we are or how we live? Trust us, we can more than afford to buy tickets to any event we choose to support and we had actually brought a check with us to make a rather substantial donation, but we were never given the chance as we were treated like second class citizens. Since we were given no information regarding the event, we contacted Sola the day of the event and asked what time we should attend, were there certain things they wanted us to experience so we could write and talk about them. We ended the e-mail with “Excited for tonight and hope we get to personally meet you!” We have yet to meet Sola, regretfully. We finally did receive a response from Sola…at 11:40 p.m. while we were at the after party at Hyde…while Sola sat ten feet away from us on a couch in the VIP section.

So let’s review our amazing evening. We were extremely excited to attend this event. As a therapist who has previously worked with down syndrome children and having had a mother who worked for years as an educator with children of autism and down syndrome, this was a fundraiser close to our hearts. Not to mention that we are deeply involved in fashion, nationally, and are attempting to endorse the fashion industry in Indianapolis. When we arrived, we went to the “media” desk and signed in. On the two page, stapled media list, were literally tons of media representatives who had already checked in. We were not given press passes and told to go upstairs where the media were segregated. Hearing this, we were a little apprehensive. Once we arrived upstairs, we saw three tables and a spread of lunch meat, bags of potato chips, a bowl of pasta salad, bread rolls and plastic carafes of water. Oh…and plastic cups. No one met with us. No one introduced themselves to us from MFW and no one explained what we were supposed to do or what the outline for the evening would entail. We were not given an itinerary of the night and are unable, without research which we refuse to do, write about the specific designers or entertainers, because we were not given a press kit or press information as we are ALWAYS given. Below us, far below us, was the gala event. We could barely see the stage or make out anything specific on the runway. After a few moments we ran into another “media” representative who is also a friend, and sat with her for the next hour. Our initial reaction was to turn and walk out. We have never, NEVER, been as humiliated as we were walking into this event. And the kicker…our friend, a woman from a New York based fashion website and ourselves were the only three, not MFW organized media, upstairs. So, where was everyone else?

Today we emailed Sola asking about the process Midwest Fashion Week takes for accommodating their media? We asked how some were placed in the gala dining area and others weren’t? Her response, “The roof ballroom does not allow sitting for individuals that have not paid for dining. So to accommodate the media there was space in the front of the ballroom and close to the runway to make it easier to take pictures or to observe any one designer’s work up close.” Ohhhhh…well, we were never told that so we were literally huddled behind two children up in the rafters. Literally. We couldn’t even see Andi Hauser of Indy Style who emceed the event. “However,” she wrote, “some media sponsors such as WISH TV, FOX 59, and The Recorder dined in various locations throughout the ballroom. We also had several members of the media purchase their own tickets so they could dine before beginning their work when the show started.” Interesting, because we were never given this option. We don’t know Sola personally, or at all really, but we looked at her Linkedin profile. She has a rather impressive professional background, especially her being the Founder and Certified Image Consultant of ImageCube. Even more interesting, if you read her profile, you’ll find she has been a featured personal image expert on the Fox 59 Morning News Show, Indy Style TV, and the Recorder-On-Air-Report. Our question is if “media” is purchasing tickets for the event than are they really “media”?

After several hours of being at this event, we were so hungry we almost left, but stayed because we wanted to see the fashion show. Even though none of the food upstairs looked appetizing, we ate some pasta salad, shared a roll and had two bags of chips. We need to apologize because until we received the email from Sola today, we hadn’t understood this was actually a “hospitality station” for the models, volunteers and stylists. Basically, “media” passes meant we were allowed to just walk in and witness the event from afar. Again…literally. Well, we didn’t even need to do that because we know several people that walked in, didn’t check in and sat in the ballroom.

This was not a fashion show. This was not about fashion. This was a charity event. A very nice, charity event we’re sure. We can’t review that because we didn’t experience it. What we could see we thought was ok as far as charity events go. It was neat to see models with down syndrome walk the runway and it was inspiring. We know Mike Rypel, who told us he produced the event, and we’re well aware that Mike knows what he’s doing when it comes to throwing an event, so we’re sure the charity and gala part were all good. We hope they raised a lot of money because it’s a charity which deserves a good fundraiser.

As far as the fashion show, well that’s a different story. But before we discuss this let it be clear that we watched the show from the second floor, far away without ability to see detail, which is sad because we were excited to see designs from some of our friends such as R. Lynda and Antonio Fermin. It was so hard to see, especially with two children in front of us, but we’ll attempt to give a review anyway. First of all, if we’re attempting to make Indianapolis a serious focal point of fashion, why aren’t we bringing a designer who someone actually cares about and is interested in seeing their designs. Actually, Althea Harper, runner up to Project Runway Season 6 was at the event but was not highlighted or mentioned during the show. If you’ve done your research, as we have, you would know that Althea has shown at every Mercedes Benz fashion week in New York City since being on Project Runway. Althea also studied and worked under Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen, Anna Sui and Vivienne Westwood. Althea had a lot to say about the show. We would know because we hung out and partied with her until the after party closed. The girl is not only gorgeous and talented but the real deal. Interestingly, she informed us, that “media” and “press” are treated exceptionally well at New York Fashion Week.

The runway was cheesy. The tapered material looked tacky. The spotlight was on the DJ instead of on the runway. Designers should always walk out after their models. That’s pretty basic stuff. In talking to Althea she told us that fashion shows are always about the models and that the quality of the show is completely about the models picked. So, people want a real review of the fashion show, here you go.

Most of the models couldn’t walk. In fact, only a few appeared to have any walking experience. While we loved many of the designs, there lacked a cohesiveness in any of the shows. No theme carried the designs together. A plus-sized model is a size 8-12, unless there is a purpose for bigger girls. But, we actually loved the designs of the designer of plus-sized clothes. We can’t really comment on anything else because we couldn’t see the show. Most of the models were used by all of the designers therefore the models ran from downstairs to the changing room upstairs, easily seen by anyone in the dining area or upstairs. Every designer had pieces we loved, being able to see them closer as the models walked upstairs, but we don’t know who matched what designer as we weren’t given a press release as previously mentioned.

In the past, we’ve heard rather bad things about Midwest Fashion Week, but now we’ve experienced it first hand. We loved the student show and were treated extremely well but to have been treated so horribly in return later in the week is confusing. Ian Stikeleather was responsible for taking care of us at the student show so maybe he should be made more responsible in the future for further events. He knows how to treat “media”.

During the show Andi Hauser commented that Berny Martin “sets the bar” for Indianapolis. Well, that wouldn’t be our opinion. In our opinion the two people setting the bar in Indianapolis are model Emily Nyberg and student designer Lorry Plasterer. These two women are so far above their game that the Indianapolis fashion industry should be chasing them down!

By the way, SEXIEST of the evening goes to Polina Oscherov! This incredible photographer has amazing style anyway, but wow! Out of control!

Thanks for the photo booth Mike! We love those things and are seriously thinking about buying one for our house.

Well, until next year. WAIT! We forgot. This will officially be our last year to support or endorse Midwest Fashion Week. And before everyone gets all hyped up threatening us with ridiculous claims, all of the information in this column is backed by factual evidence or is our opinion, as stated.

And for the record, fashion shows may be about the models, but they started…because of the “media”.

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

The Kids Play Dress Up…The Student Show at Midwest Fashion Week!

So it’s time for Midwest Fashion Week again in Indianapolis. In the past, we’ve had really mixed experiences, but this year we decided to go into it with an open mind. That being said, why should we expect anything less than we would see on a runway anywhere else if the Midwest fashion industry wants to be taken seriously. While this is a young community in Indianapolis, one of which we are supportive, the reality is real artists have the same level of passion, drive, commitment and determination whether they’re living in Wanamaker, Prague or Milan. No excuses.

Tonight was the Emergence Fashion Show, displaying the works of student designers from the Midwest. We didn’t really know what to expect when we were invited by Ian Stikeleather. When we arrived, we immediately ran into several prominent faces in the local fashion community who we have come to call close friends. We chatted it up with Kaitlin Elyse who showed her newest designs from her T. Party line Saturday night at the Blu Martini. We were so impressed with Kaitlin’s recent show that we’re currently in the process of figuring out what we want to order. What was the theme of her show? Haters. Love it! We also ran into local fashion designer extraordinaire Nikki Blaine and photographer Polina Oscherov who we recently did a shoot. Amy Beers and Nightlights TV were also in attendance taping the entire event, interviewing designers and local celebrities in the fashion community as well as modeling herself on the runway. We chatted it up with Berny Martin, developer and producer of Midwest Fashion Week as well as well respected fashion designer of Catou, who was laid back and hilarious, proudly talking about this week’s events. We have to commend Berny on exposing Indy to some style and fashion we wouldn’t have witnessed without him. Nikki Sutton, famed local stylist and architectural designer…Wow!!! Absolutely gorgeous. We hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her before and we were so impressed. Definitely someone we hope to get to know better. Later, Nikki introduced us to Spanish bridal designer Antonio Fermin and his guest, decorator and socialite Julie Oliver. These two were so much fun, and we ended up laughing late into the night with them accompanied by Nikki Blaine and photographer Abdul-Shaheed Aaron, as we closed down the new Bazbeaux.

But onto the good stuff. The show. We were lucky enough to be seated front row center right next to Denisha Greene of Mode Magazine, who entertained us the entire evening. And here’s what we thought…first of all, we understand you’re students and we commend you for putting your stuff out there and taking the chance to have everyone watch you, but we’re firm believers you should never put something out there that you can’t stand behind. No matter how little time you had to prepare, the numerous pins and unsewn hems were embarrassing. And in reality, it made three designers stand out above all of the rest.

Obviously this isn’t a contest, but if it were Jennifer Spriggs would have come in third…but a very close third to second place. Her pieces didn’t even look like student pieces. They were sellable and intriguing and seemed to come from a very private place. These clothes, unlike many of those seen from the other designers, made the female models look attractive. Most designers had at least one good piece, but Spriggs, from Cincinnati, had a uniformity and a theme that was mysterious and alluring to the eye. Definitely someone to follow in the future.

Second place would go to Lorry Plasterer from Indiana University. Ok, this girl hand dyes her pieces and when you get up close, the detail is immaculate. Even the inside of the pieces were ornate and precise. One model wore a wool jacket that looked more like burlap but was incredibly soft and wearable. “Don’t you just love this material?” she said, behind cute, dark rimmed glasses. Not only are her designs playful, creative and eye-catching, they made the models look amazingly beautiful and besides Lorry, the models themselves were even excited talking about the pieces. She appeared so genuine and passionate about her art, which she seemed more like to us, an artist not a designer, that we are definitely intrigued to see more. And we also thought she’d be a blast to take out some night. So Lorry, there’s you’re invitation!

And of course first place. Now, before, like always, we’re criticized for picking favorites for various reasons, let us just say the reason we’re picking this designer is because their show was originally created, styled appropriately and the designer’s personality made us want to see more. Once we were home and we looked at their website, FLC International, we were even more impressed, reading the story behind their process and being able to see their designs as a entirely actualized business. Fred Schwier from Indiana University. This kid is so incredibly realized that his show completely flowed. Before we even came to the Emergence show we had been told to look for his pieces. Several male models walked out in these amazing Bermuda shorts, with material from Ghana, resembling Miss Celie’s One Size Fits All pants from The Color Purple, in a way that made us itching to have several pairs to wear to all of our events this summer. He also makes these amazing grey shirts, baseball hats and pants. In the last two years, we’ve had the opportunity to interview tons of celebrities on the rise and meet people from all over the world that when we were in their presence we realized they were going to be the next big thing. This kid…is the next big thing. Watch out!

We were incredibly impressed with the echelon of the models in this year’s show and wanted to give a special shout out to Ebony Smith who told us she’ll be leaving Indy sometime in the near future to move out west. We think this is a great idea for her as we stood in awe, yet again, as we stared at her incredible physique and facial structure. The girl is incredible.

We especially wanted to comment that we were absolutely intrigued by Emily Nyberg, one of the models who resembled a mix between Grace Kelly and Elaine Irwin. She walked the runway with an incredibly, confident signature walk we’ve never seen and even when she fell, yes…she fell, she just kept on walking. Amazing. Several people we talked to about Emily mentioned they felt she was too short for true runway and while this may be true, one of dear friends, Marissa Hobson, the newest supermodel and representative of Pantene, measures in at less than 5’4. A word of advice from the guys who interact on a daily basis with beautiful women all over the world…hit it fast out of Indiana! It’s your time to make it big in the big leagues. Contact us if you want any help…we have, well maybe a few contacts…Trust us folks…this girl is the next big thing!

We were incredibly impressed with the student show this year, especially the organization thanks to Ian Stikeleather and Berny Martin. We wish all the students the best of luck…oh and Fred…we were serious about that offer!

We can’t wait until Saturday to see the fashion show at the Gala event. Prepare to see us as we put our own spin on “Black Tie”. And then it’s on to Nashville for the boys of raannt to see Kelly Cutrone, Christian Siriano, Betsey Johnson, Gustavo Cadile and Traver Rains formerly of Heatherette for Nashville Fashion Week.

Eyes Open…We’re Watching!

Zoe Inspired!!! The Secret Life of a Personal Stylist!

The first time we saw her, standing across the room from us at a charity auction, looking 8 feet tall in enormous heels, leggings, a severe black jacket and a little hat, we knew we wanted to meet her. We saw her for the second time, surrounded by an entourage of personal assistants, seated front row for the fashion show at the launch of the online fashion magazine Fashion Wrap Up…and we knew we needed to meet her. So we posted something about her being a “mystery” lady in the world of local fashion in our gossip column on IndyScene and she quickly responded. Since then, it’s been late night phone calls until 5am, her becoming the personal stylist to the boys of raannt and the constant flow of creative energy and advice inspiring all of us through our friendship to help us become stronger and more stylish. Just last weekend, Zoe participated in Model Wars in Chicago and took home the prize of second place. She is constantly planning fresher and more creative fashion outlets in her shows and styling to keep her at the top of her game. Let one thing be very clear…Zoe is very demanding. She knows what she wants and she does not apologize. She is constantly reinventing herself and challenging those around her to rise to her level. But what we have seen, that she allows very few to see, is a small fracture of simplicity, compassion, authenticity and kindness that allow even her feelings to be hurt every once in a while, which she wears on her sleeve as a reminder to push harder. Because at the end of the day, after the stockings are shed and the chains and little hats are put away, once the makeup is removed and she is simply Zoe, she is reminded that she is a woman like any other woman, which is what she brings to her styling every day. The goal to make every person…feel as utterly beautiful as she feels inside each and every day. And for that we are immensely grateful for the one and only Zoe Renee Ashely Huse…

1. Tell us the background story on Zoe Renee Ashley Huse?
I am 28…a Total Aries-Sassy, Creative, Bossy, Fun and Loving…A Workaholic-I average 90hrs a week between My Fashion Businesses and My Full Time Job! A Huge Animal Lover I currently have 8 and would love to have more. Hot Pink and Neon Green are my two Favorite Colors and With Me What You See is What you Get.

2. What first inspired you to enter the world of fashion styling?
Hmmm! I have always had my own look and had a small following of people even in High School that always wanted to borrow my clothes. I would have a check list of who borrowed what and when, and check them in and out.
My Senior Year of High School I decided to go Into Fashion as a Career. I had always seemed to follow Fashion and Finally realized it was my one and only calling. I never looked back. I went to college and got an Associates in Fashion and Minored in Business. When I graduated I worked at a number of Retail Places including a Little Jewelry Place where I got some Buying Experience. I decided about 5 years ago to start my own business as a personal shopper and it kind of morphed into fashion styling as they go hand in hand. People liked what they saw and decided to hire me to style photo shoots and fashion shows and eventually produce them. Its kind of Blown Up from There…

3. What was your style like at age 10? 15? 21?
10: I have always Loved Big Sunglasses and mixing prints and patterns even at 10 years old. Keep it mind it was the 80s so that was totally acceptable! I also was a fan of Hats then.

15:Is When I started Vintage Shopping. Some Cool Plaid pants, Leather Pants, Leopard, Pleather, Sky High Heels, Tight Vintage Tshirts. I was kind of a Diva. I refused to wear the same thing Twice so if I wore it Once you Never Saw it Again! I remember my Two Favorite Stores being Wet Seal and Goodwill & Value Village.

21: I went through a Huge Bandana Phase, Vintage Tshirts, Lots of Jewelry, Bright Colors and Prints, High Heels, Bell Bottom Pants and Jeans, Vintage Clothing from the 60’s & 70’s, Anything Glittery, Ties, Clutches.

4. Who do you believe are the three greatest designers of all time?
Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, DIOR
A Mix of these Three & a Little Gwen Steffani would be My Dream Wardrobe

5. Who is a fashion designer every stylist should admire, but you really don’t appreciate their work?
I think Every “Designer” has an affect on a stylist for the Wearable art they create.
I can’t think of a specific designer who’s work I don’t appreciate as a whole. Of course there are pieces I don’t love, but I know of all the blood, sweat and tears that go into their work and appreciate that in itself.

6. If you could sit in the front row of any designers fashion show, who would it be?
Can I only Pick One?
Oh There are just so Many…..
“Every” Designer showing at New York, L.A. and Paris Fashion Week
I could just get a sleeping bag and camp out show after show after show and be completly content
But if I had to Pick Alexander McQueen and Betsy Johnson for the Show they put On

7. What are your thoughts on Rachel Zoe as a stylist?
After reading her story of how she came to be where she is, I have a higher regard for her than I have had in the past.
I don’t think her taste level is where it should be for her position in the fashion world…but I have only seen a small part of her styling.
I also Don’t agree at all with her LOVE OF FUR* Faux Fur Yes! Real Fur HELL NO!

8. What are three components every successful stylist should have?
1. The Eye to see what others don’t
3. DRIVE & Ambition

9. What male and female celebrity has the best current style?
Female: Gwen Steffani
Male: Johnny Depp and Kanye West

10. Who are two people whose style will be remembered historically and why do you think they contribute to the world of fashion?
I can’t just pick two……Every Decade has One or Two HUGE FASHION ICONS! People that we always ahead of the times and mixed it up in just the right way that they were a piece of walking art from Coco Chanel & Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe & Jackie Kennedy to Edie Sedgwick to Madonna & Lady Gaga-Just off the Top of my Head

11. Who are two people in Indianapolis that have great style and why did you pick them?
Eutemia Stockman- She always looks classy and fashionable as well as expensive. I have never seen that girl not put together from head to toe. She can wear a $2 shirt and make it look like it costs $200.

Fly Won- She is the Thrifting Queen and can Put together the coolest outfits. I love her accessories and she always has the most Unique and Funky Creative Outfits.

12. At 28, your business incorporates several different aspects including styling, shopping, closet design and organization, jewelry design and marketing for small businesses. What does it take to be successful as a young business woman?
I am building a Fashion Empire, Not just a Business. This is my Name, my Life, My Career. One thing you will learn about me Very Quickly is I dont do Anything SMALL*it gets 150% from me or I dont do it at all! I would say determination, being a workaholic and having some huge goals are three things I have found equal success. I wouldn’t say my life revolves around Fashion but instead Creativity and that is is a huge part of all the aspects of my business.
I take this Business very seriously. Who needs Sleep when you have Fashion?

13. Define SEXY…
I think Sexy is all about The Essence you Give off, its more a Confidence to me then A Look.

14. What are three movies that inspire you or contribute to who you are?

The Notebook, The Little Mermaid and All the Sex in the City TV SHOWs & Movies

15. 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?
Anything by the Beatles!
My favorite songs are I am the Walrus & Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

16. Sexiest city, club, store and restaurant in the world?
Sexiest Store:Agent Provocateur, City:Paris. I have yet to be in the Sexiest Club But I would have to say a Classy Strip Club & Restaurant Anywhere a HOT Naked Man is laying on the table with a delicious Pizza On his Body [Similiar to a Naked Sushi Woman but a Man with Pizza]

17. The holidays are here! Be specific and tell us the perfect sexy gift for a man and the perfect sexy gift for a woman?
A Sexy Gift for a Woman-Her Man giving her a Candlelit, Full Body Massage with Oils and Then Whip Cream, he will be wearing nothing but a Red Jock Strap and a Santa Hat

A Sexy Gift for Him-A boudoir photoshoot of her in some very skimpy Agent Provocateur Lingerie on the bottom, and nothing on the Top, a Garder Belt and some Red Manolo Blahnik High Heels

18. This week you will be participating in Model Wars. Tell us about Model Wars and about your participation in this event. Model Wars is a Contest of 30 Designers between The Midwest
Indianapolis, Milwalkee, Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis Against Each Other! Its not just a Fashion Show but a Play and Fashion Show Together. The Most Unique and Creative Concept Wins $10,000 in Cash and Prizes and the Title of Winner. They will also eventually compete against New York.
My part in the Show is I am producing and styling my team of 27 people including 2 Make Up Artists, 2 Hair Dressers, 8 Models, 4 Designers and some Extras that aren’t models but will be participating in the Play part of the show.

19. Where do you see Zoe Renee in 5 years? 10 years?
I have a very set 6 year goal of being a multi millionaire and being in the same place Rachel Zoe
is at this moment. Up to 10 years I can only see the Business getting even bigger and styling Celebrities and Producing & Styling
Fashion Shows at Fashion Weeks in L.A., NY and Paris. I also see myself owning a boutique with my Jewelry and possibly some
of my designs and maybe some of friends I have accumulated over the years. I also see myself having a child or two by 10 years
from now.
Living in California preferably San Francisco and keeping a home here in Indiana as it will always be Home.

20. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
Depends on the Situation: Jockstraps and Nothing at all in the Bedroom and Boxers when walking around the house. Briefs for Photo Shoots.

Thanks Zoe!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

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!

John Stallings…America’s Next Top MALE Model!!!

John Stallings. He jumps from planes. He just returned from modeling for four months in China and previously shot campaigns for Pepsi, Ipod and has worked with Valentino. He was also on 14 episodes of the reality show The Janis Dickinson Modeling Agency and in the film Eating Out 3! He just recently started his own fashion line KOKO LIAR. He admits he eats way too much macaroni and cheese and cheeseburgers…and for this we love him! Because below all the muscles and amazing cheekbones…he’s a really amazing guy and quite frankly…the next BIG thing!

1. Tell us a bit about John C. Stallings… the model, the person, the friend?
To be honest, I’m a quiet person in the beginning, assessing situations and completely observant, but can let loose like no other. I care deeply about those that I love in my life and would love to have the power to take all the negative away from them if I could. I am a dancer, you know in my underwear, in the kitchen, on the streets, at the club and love music. I think living by my motto, “Keep On Keeping On – LIFE IS A RUNWAY” you have to have a daily theme song to keep you going – today it is “Make It Mine” by Jason Mraz. As a professional model I’m very comfortable in front of the camera. I treat this as a passion, so I show up on time with an positive attitude that wants others to keep booking me! I get the job done and then have a drink! I believe in rewarding yourself, everyone should reward themselves when you do a great job!

2. Where are you originally from? And how has your up bringing help you in the competitive world of fashion and modeling?
I am originally from North Carolina. Born in Raleigh and then lived in a small town until 6 years old when I moved out to Sandy, Utah. My parents have always taught respect and love towards yourself and others around you and that helps in this competitive world of fashion and modeling because there are so many times you can lose yourself in the business. The criticisms you get and the many rejections can really tear someone a part, but I stay strong and have hope and that’s what keeps me going. I cannot forget where I began and am constantly are thinking of those that have helped shaped me as a person and model and a lot of it comes from the way I was raised. Thanks Mom & Dad!

3. What is you’re favorite thing about living in Vegas/LA?
Vegas is a city that never sleeps – many exciting things always happen around every corner. It’s a city that is great for commercial work, plus $1.49 breakfast. I can get pretty much anything and everything I desire, but to me, it’s only fun for a weekend and if you do it “right” you can really create those long lasting memories here. LA is just 4 hours away, so I’m used to the drive alone, blasting music with my Starbucks and windows down. LA is the stereotypical “dream” people would love to pursue, and there are some that make it and some that don’t, but with beaches a half hour away, canyons to hike in and beautiful scenery whenever there isn’t smog, it can be a wonderful city to enjoy and make a home in. I’m still in the process of that move right now!

4. What’s the thing that you love the most about modeling? Is this what got you started or did you fall in love with this part once you were in modeling?
The traveling is the best part about modeling for me. I knew you had those opportunities before I got into modeling and I’ve been blessed with the ability to put everything down and take a flight somewhere I never thought I would go and be able to work at the same time. I never thought living out of your suitcase or being thrown in a model apartment with 10 other models (male/female) would ever be that exciting as I like to have my own space, but it’s taught me to relax and enjoy life. I’d like to think I’m fluent in reading Korean now, I speak a little Japanese, Italian, Chinese and Spanish too.

5. How old were you when you started modeling? Was it hard for you to get into it? And How long have you been in the industry for?
I was scouted in a High School event when I was 18 years old, but I also wanted to complete my college degree, so full-time modeling came after I graduated in NYC. It’s always very exciting, it’s a job that you have to stay on top of. Staying physically fit, learning more about each country’s way of running the business and testing with photographers as your look can constantly change. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in the industry for over 6 years, but I still feel that there are more years to put into this; male models can last much longer than our female counterparts.

6. This far in your modeling career, what is something you’ve done you wouldn’t want to do again? Or can not wait to do it again?
Jumping out of an airplane! If that opportunity came around again I would not be too keen to accept again. When you’re plummeting towards the Earth at 120mph and they tell your stomach will stop turning in 20 seconds, well they’re wrong! There are plenty of non-glamourous aspects that come along with this industry. The climates from freezing cold and wearing swimwear to Mongolian overcoats in the heat of Summer, but you stick to it and find fun in whatever you’re doing. You have to watch out for the dark-side of this industry, the casting couches that are present but never talked about (ways to get ahead that put you in awkward and uncomfortable positions) but those are your choices you make and deal with constantly. I love doing runway shows as “…Life Is A Runway” for me – it’s the best being able to step forward.

7. Give us a behind the scenes for a photo shoot? Runway show? Casting? And what goes on after the show/shoot/casting is over?

You arrive, introduce yourself to anyone and everyone (it’s important to recognize you’re all in it together!), typically there is a little wait time, jump into hair and make-up while watching the stylist steam the clothes out, the photographer is still tweaking the lighting while their assistant is running around with extra film in their hands, you’re chatting it up with the hair/make-up team on what they’ve been up to and what’s next for them, then more wait time. It all depends on the team. If they have all worked together before, it can run really smoothly and everyone is on the same page, otherwise you get a bit of chaos and try not to take it all to heart. The photographer may want you to move your own way, which is my favorite, or they’ll show you some kind of story board of what direction they are going for and you emulate the concept. The client (designer or advertising exec., etc.) is there usually positioned in the back so they can watch and put in their two cents in whenever possible to get exactly what they want.
# That’s a typical photoshoot and runway show together, but runway there is no photographer on “set” as there are many photographers waiting in the photography pit just outside at the edge of the runway and there’s much more wait time. Plus, at a runway show, more chaos. The designer(s) is/are running around being pre-interviewed or making sure first looks are perfect, whatever you’re intended to wear in the beginning can be changed two minutes prior to walking out, seams popping, and things being pinned. When those pins poke you in your skin, you’ll be surprised at how fast a model can walk…ouch! Shoes not fitting and amusing bitch fights from other models that feel competition towards each other, but I chose to stay focused. The casting director will tell you about the choreography (if there is any) and you’ll rehearse that before the press, celebrities and other guests arrive to sit in their seats. Then the music hits and you line up in the order they need you in and you WALK! It’s like 15 minutes of the best time of your life, like riding a roller coaster and once you’re done, you want to get right back on it and do it again!
# As for castings, well that’s the longest wait time of all. You’re usually in a building or room with a shitload of other models signing in and getting a number that corresponds to where you signed in. You wait, and wait, and wait and oh you wait. Then, depending on the job their booking for, let’s just say a typical NY modeling casting, you’ll walk in with a casting director sitting behind a table with their assistant(s) staring at you and you hand them your portfolio. MODELS, PLEASE TALK TO THESE PEOPLE, they are the ones that have the most influence on hiring you for the job. So, you make conversation while they flip oh-so-fast through your portfolio barely looking at it anyway and if they are interested, they’ll snap a polaroid of you standing next to a white wall. Gone are the days of the amazing polaroid camera, so they’ll take “digitals” of you. Sometimes that’s all they need. Other times they’ll ask you to take your shirt off and even down to your underwear. Some casting directors love to have that power to tell a model to strip, because we do it without hesitation, hmmm. If you don’t get a polaroid taken, more times than none you aren’t right for the job and they’ll tell you “Thank You” with a pseudo grin and have the next model come in as you leave. Time is money, so once you’re in the casting room, it goes quickly, so MAKE IT COUNT!
Once you’ve completed your job or runway show, there is usually a sigh of relief, some champagne is popped and everyone begins to pack up with big smiles on their faces. Sometimes you’re invited to any after-party or dinner party that the client may have, but if there is silence once your through, then just wave and get out of there…you did your job, so get out! ha

8. Who are some big names you’ve worked for and with?
My first big job in NYC while going to school was for Pepsi. It was a blast and I nailed it. More well-known clients I’ve had the pleasure of working for over the years are Valentino, Viktor & Rolf, Marc Jacobs, Puma, iPod, Evisu Jeans and many amazing fashion magazines, oh and Jason Scarlotti from 2(x)ist, I must mention him as he has a wonderful line.

9. You just recently got back from China… What is one of the things you learn while out there? In modeling, living, culture?
That when you are booked for a catalog job, they ask you to “open your ass and smell a little bitch” – oh shit, wait, what? Oh, they meant, “Open our eyes and smile a little bit” – the language barrier was difficult, but also hilarious as you can read. It’s a country where a lot of brands are manufactured and copied and has great shopping, but this culture has a consistent mindset that it’s hard for them to think outside the box. They work very hard for little money and survive the best way they know how. I’m a high fashion guy, very edgy and crazy and sometimes they just want the mature looking man for a suit, so I may not travel back anytime soon, but those are the risks you take and the experiences that shape you to gain more knowledge of being a better model for your future.

10. So tell us a bit about Guangzhou, China: What the town is like, the people, the food, the culture?
Well, Guangzhou is a city that promotes some of the best food options, but I didn’t get to experience much of that. To give them a little benefit they are preparing for the Asian Games this year in December, so there was constant construction, trash, dirt, noise, people squatting in the road and exposed baby butt cracks. In their culture they let their babies relieve themselves wherever and whenever possible and sometimes you just don’t want to see that. Also a piss and shit smell permeates the city most of the time you walk outside. ha The mosquitos must have felt that I was their personal bloodbank as well, jesus the mosquitos.
# I always befriend employees at a local Starbucks (my home away from home) and they were the ones that kept a smile on their face each and everyday which I appreciated, since they only receive like $1.47/hour. Just like any country you visit, there are great and not so great adventures you have. You have to make it happen as an individual and not let the hardships get to you so easily – stay positive and positive will find its way back to you.

11. As an openly gay person, how difficult was it to be in Guangzhou, China? Did people treat you differently?
I AM an openly gay person, but I also don’t wear it on my sleeve and make it an issue. Unless I’m sleeping with you, it’s none of your business. If you ask, I tell, but that doesn’t shape who someone is whatsoever. I asked some of the locals what their country’s views are on homosexuality and the response was that even though its ok to be gay, no one talks about it. I didn’t visit any gay establishments, because there were none that you knew of. I guess it’s still underground there. Time will tell of any further progression.

12. What’s one of the things you’ll miss the most about China?
The country itself has many beautiful places to visit – Shanghai has The Bund and beautiful architecture and Beijing has the Great Wall. I would say I miss being one of the tallest people as on average 5’8″ is the norm, but also the inexpensive shopping that you can do there. I don’t like to barter on prices, but that’s what they do out there, so I miss not being able to walk into a retail store here in America and not get a lower price- haha. “What about $10? NO? Ok, right, I’m not in China anymore.”

13. You’re friends with one of out dear friends, Brittany Mason, who you also go to share your china experience with and we hear you two have come up with a rap about the beautiful Guangzhou, China… Could you tell us how this came about and maybe give us a sneak peak on that :-D?!
That was such a great thing that happened to the both of us. Brittany is an amazing girl with so much talent and we both kept each other positive even out of the negative experiences throughout the China contract by constantly thinking of more and more things to rap about in the city of Guangzhou. The first verse starts off by us rapping, “We were walking down the street in the dirty Guangzhou, saw a China man and he said “Hello”,” which literally happened and for some reason (I’ll be the one to take credit for starting this song) we just started singing and thinking of lyrics. Anyone that has visited and modeled in Guangzhou, China could definitely relate to this song and laugh their asses off to a size 0. It’s a hit, but we still haven’t edited it together with a beat or music video to post on YouTube. lol 🙂 We have a whole choreographed dance move that goes along with the chorus too – by the way Brittany and I are still looking for back-up dancers, how do you two look in leotards. You can view the complete lyrics on my facebook page and perhaps one day a YouTube link as well.

14. Going to China and back, we’re sure you’ve seen lots of incredible places around the world! What do you think is the sexiest place to live in? sexiest club you’ve been to? And model you’ve worked with?
I think the sexiest place to live in is where there is self-confidence around, an intellect of sorts with many things to do, museums (nude bodies of art), amusements parks, bars, coffee shops, great shopping, but there are many cities that offer this and I really cannot pinpoint just one, but I had a hell of a time in Indiana. For a specific club to be sexy to me, there needs to be a vibe. One with a great DJ playing great music that gets everyone up and dancing, a great bar with great bartenders that make amazing drinks, and one where sexuality is all over the place – oh and taking jello shots off unmentionables. I think you two will have to share a club experience with me first and then we’ll see if it’s sexy or not! First round’s on me.
As for a sexy model I’ve worked with, to this date, I think Marissa Miller from Victoria’s Secret has been the one. She’s doing so well for herself now and when we did the photoshoot together, she was laying in my lap and I couldn’t touch her – photographer’s wishes, so you follow the rules. ha

15. Are you in a relationship? And has traveling for work make the relationship difficult?
I am, in fact, in a relationship now. And I love the fact that I have a private life. I’m brand new to these feelings and it is amazing because with traveling for work in so many different countries, it DOES make it very difficult to meet someone and have them understand what you’re involved in. I’ve been alone most of my life in regards to a boyfriend, but it takes someone really special to support you in your passion and following your dreams and also wanting to know all about them and their life. I truly have that special man now and it feels great. Don’t get me wrong, there are still struggles because there is still a distance we have together, but you make it work. You don’t throw in the cum towel and toss it away, you know what’s important and you do what you can with what you have until that one day you’re together again. You also have to keep the communication open, talk about everything. We are constantly on the phone or texting or using Skype (such a great service and my keys are still so sticky). We definitely make it work and we know we’re both very important to each other.

16. Is being gay and out beneficial for the modeling industry? Does it make it easier to get job or deal with jobs? Or does it make a difference at all?
No, it’s not beneficial – it comes down to the total look of the model and how well you photograph. I believe that whatever industry you’re in, it’s no ones business to know your personal business. Your sexuality doesn’t mean anything when completing a job.

17. Tell us about keeping your body in shape and in good health? What kind of work out you have, diet plan, skin care, and of course good ways to cheat on the diet?
Keeping your body in shape and in good health is crucial in this business because of the schedule you’re around. The traveling and the constant down-time you have on jobs can really take its toll on your body and mind. I like listening to music and creating a space for myself of staying calm. Destressing is key and whatever form you can find that is right for you needs to be in your daily regimen whether it be reading, meditation, working out, keeping in touch with your friends and family (too bad Facebook in China is forbidden). I like to follow the work out magazines plans of staying fit, so I’ll cut those articles out and take them with me wherever I go. When I’m at the gym I focus on a four-day split. Chest and triceps one day, shoulders and biceps another, back and triceps for the third day and legs on the last. Altogether working in abdominals each day. Then you take 3 days off. That works for me, because I don’t want to get too big. There are certain markets that don’t book guys with a chest larger than a 40R, luckily I’m a healthy 38R and I’ll keep it at that. To keep the weight on, I do enjoy protein shakes (you know, from the glass) and a daily multi-vitamin. Everyone knows to eat their daily doses of the correct proportions of fruits and vegetables, but don’t ask me what those are because honestly I’m really bad at that, but I’m learning more and more from others. I am surprised at how many different ways you can use a cucumber other than my mother’s recipes. I feel like I eat cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese way too many times a week, but hey, I do what I want! As for skin care, I enjoy having some color through a tan, so I’ll be out in the sun with my shirt off with some SPF30. I really enjoy H2O+ skin care products which is an all natural vitamin and mineral line, so I’ll use a nightly care cream. Other than that, I’m pretty basic. Each person’s body is different and reacts differently to certain products. I’m blessed without having any allergies towards products, but I think if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t use it on your skin. Ok, I’m hungry and now looking at my H2O+ bottle, hmmm should I drink it? Just kidding.

18. You’ve started your own line, KOKO LIAR, tell us about KOKO LIAR and what inspire you to start your own line? How did you come up its name? Were can people view and purchase your line?
I’ve always had in the back of my mind to have my own personal fragrance one day. I love smells, the sense of smell is so powerful to me as it conjures up many nostalgic memories, it can put you in a place. One day I’ll work on that but for now I started hand-knitting scarves and started a couple years ago when I was introduced to knitting by another model friend of mine when we would do 5 fashion shows a day in Las Vegas. There was a lot of downtime between shows, so I learned how to knit and it’s all uphill from there. I wanted to have a label to attach to the scarves so I began to think and that was around the time my Granddaddy had passed away. In each and every letter that he would write to me, at the end he would tell me “Keep on keeping on, john boy john.” He was a special person in my life and I wanted to carry something meaningful around with me about him, so I’ve had that phrase be the first part of “KOKO LIAR” (Keep On Keeping On) and then I added “Life Is A Runway” (LIAR) which to me, life IS a runway. Life is a show filled with music, lights, cameras, fashion and crazy chaotic moments that stir up adrenaline that keeps us wanting more. So, “KOKO LIAR” came about and that is also my motto in life. I can always be reminded when I see the acronym as it’s tattooed on my right and left wrists. Right now you can visit my website at and purchase a hand-knit scarf from me. I use new materials now too, so it’s slightly different than what the pictures represent, but still personal and scented with my current favorite fragrance. Not my own yet, but again, one day!

19. What’s next for you? What are some projects you have in the works that you can talk about? Where should the boys of raannt and our readers expect you next?
Well…I’m gonna make the move to Los Angeles pretty soon as I’m in Las Vegas right now. I need to be more available for more opportunities and that’s what LA has to offer. I have been speaking to someone about another movie project after I did Eating Out: All You Can Eat, so be on the lookout for me on the big screen again in the near future. All I can really say about all this is “Keep On Keeping On – LIFE IS A RUNWAY”!

20. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps, or nothing at all?
I never wear boxers, never did as a kid either, too bunchy. Yes, I have worn a jockstrap before, but seriously I’m not playing sports all day and they scratch my cheeks, so I’m definitely a brief wearer or NOTHING AT ALL of course. Especially in bed – the only thing that’s on is the sound machine. Interesting you didn’t mention a thong…but that’s the dominating side of me.

Thanks buddy…
Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

J’Adore Velvet D’Amour…Goddess Magnifique!!!

WE ABSOLUTELY ADORE Velvet D’Amour!!! So when she agreed to do an interview for us, describing her vision of Indianapolis as dotted with 50’s diners and delicious boys who don’t know how delicious they are, we couldn’t wait to find out more from this eloquent beauty, trendsetter, fashion icon, supermodel, photographer galore and storyteller magnifique! Her words absolutely flow endlessly like ripe pear juice down your neck making you want more of her succulent, warm words as they drip from her voluptuous lips. Yes indeed, Velvet D’Amour is a woman to be reckoned and respected, and yet, she leaves you with much more knowledge than you ever expected and still enough mystery to keep wanting more. This interview was so much more than we ever, ever hoped it would be and expected. We can only hope, as our special, delightful treat that you enjoy it as much as we did!

1. You are from the United States but now reside in Paris. Where in the United States were you born and how has where you grew up impacted you today?

I was born n raised in Rochester, NY and escaped to Manhattan as soon as possible. I was fortunate to live in a bucolic suburb where I passed my time pretending I was Pocahontas, when not dancing to HOT STUFF in my short shorts. But it is a very conservative city and I was never a very conservative gal. My parents were older when they had me, and I was the youngest of 5 kids. I would peruse their old photographs from the 40s and wonder how shoulder pads could ever have gone out of style?! I‘d watch STYLE WITH ELSA KLENCH, and I distinctly recall my Mom telling me my, “tastes would mature”, when she loved Ralph Lauren, and I LOVED Jean Paul Gaultier. My Aunts niece actually worked for Ralph and when my Mom and I would head to Clifton, NJ to visit her sisters, we got to go shopping in NYC, even visits Ralph’s headquarters, (not that that swayed me from my love of JPG and Thierry Muglar and Claude Montana). I was always drawn to the more edgy side of fashion. When I would show up at my high school after a trip to the city, everyone who was anyone was wearing preppy everything, and I would don lace or Lycra pants and floor length red satin jackets. I never rebelled through drugs or alcohol, it was always through fashion, leaving home in one outfit, only to change in the smoky girls bathroom stall upon arrival. I took college drawing classes when I was a senior in High School and had a show of my work which included contour drawings of nude models I had drawn there, and they were immediately banned by the Principal! I loved that Rochester was the town of George Eastman of Kodak, and my love of photography is certainly well placed. I managed to look older in my teens, so I would fake id my way into THE LIBERTY , Rochester’s hot gay club, my fag hag ways sealed at the tender age of 17,lol When I was at the club instead of being mocked for my individuality I was appreciated by my fellow edgy outcasts. It was 1984/85 and the AIDS epidemic was killing all my new mates, so this instilled in me a real sense of anger at the injustice that society leveled at people who were seen as different. Losing people during the glory days of my youth impacted me greatly, as the people I lost were such powerful ,magnetic individuals who seemed to live each moment with passionate abandon. I chose to honor their passing by making a pact with myself that I would revel in each moment and live with the same juicy, glorious fervor they did. And I have definitely done so! I’d say the overall feeling of Rochester, while it will always be ‘home’, was one of conservative judgment, and as such, like so many smaller town individualists, I found my way to Manhattan, Florence, London, Paris…

2. How did you come up with the stage name “Velvet D’Amour”?

I volunteered at an AIDS/HIV charity here in Paris for 10 years (before it closed due to lack of funding). One of the tasks was manning the safe sex hotline and we had to make practice calls while learning the ropes, and when I was doing this, the other volunteers deemed that my voice was well suited for phone sex work and started calling me ‘Velvet’, it stuck! The ‘d’Amour’ I added later, as Velvet wasn’t sufficiently drag queen enough for me. I came close to being ‘Crystal Palace’, as I saw a bus in London sporting that and thought, oh my what a lovely lil ditty! I christened my best mate, ‘Flying Buttress’ teehee. So if you need a drag name, come to Mamma!

3. How were you first discovered and how did you begin modeling? Photography?

I was discovered by Sylvie Fabregon at Contrebande models in Paris. They opened France’s first plus size model agency and I wanted to support it by testing the models since I knew most fashion photographers refused to shoot plus girls. I sent my work along with a pic of myself, as I figured I would have better luck getting to shoot the gals if I showed I too was a plus size woman. When Sylvie saw my pics she asked if I wanted to sign on to two different divisions of the agency, PLUS and WANTED, which was the ‘hors norm’ or crazyass looking folk sector. I couldn’t believe it, as I had always dreamed of getting signed back when IMG models showed interest in me at 21 years old. I never got signed then, because I couldn’t lose enough weight, I got down to 117lbs at 5’8 but in the late 80s that was still considered heifer status. So it was highly ironic that I was getting signed at age 38 and near 300 lbs! I considered it a personal victory for all the struggles that I went through to accept my body and the rollercoaster ride which yoyo dieting led it on. My photography was also linked to this struggle as I used it as a tool of both acceptance and rebellion. I would emulate photos I saw of mainstream models and get my friends to shoot me in the same poses, etc. I also shot numerous different body types and tried to bring the same sense of modern fashion to the staid arena of plus size so called ‘fashion’.

4. You have made comments regarding the US conception that skinny women are beautiful. What are your feelings about body size in relation to beauty?

I am not sure which comments you are referencing but the vast majority of public see beauty in ‘skinny’ simply because they are more effected by medias insidious influence then they like to believe. For me I feel that diversity is most beautiful, most realistic and most healthy. I love the idea of an emaciated looking chick next to a supersize model, or a model in her 80’s and specially-abled models and models of diverse ethnicity. I take no issue whatsoever with a size zero model because my best friend happens to be size 0 and she is constantly harassed for purported bulimia when in fact she is perfectly healthy but in fact comes from a long line of very thin ancestors. There are and always will be people who do not fit ‘the norm’ or what is perceived as ‘the norm’. I am an activist for expanding medias minuscule notion of beauty which they perpetuate in wild abandon whilst touting ‘good health’, when in fact it is a mind fuck, pardon my French, but this ideology of ‘perfection’ which permeates our society only serves to create a public which ends up hating themselves because 99.99999% of us will never come close to the capitalist driven ideal. For me, Beauty is about each individual honoring the innate splendor which they possess. Each of us is different, and that difference is something which deserves to be celebrated! It comes down to choice, you can choose to believe the hype, and feel like utter shit each time you peer at a magazine in the dentist office which shows you virtually the same model on each page you pass, each billboard you drive by, each TV commercial they show, or you can take a walk in a museum and see that each society will always have their icon of beauty, and it is up to the individual to say that it’s their time to shine, whether modern society recognizes their beauty or not!

5. Who are three women, dead or alive, who you consider true beauties and why?

I consider Mae West a true beauty. We have so many parallels too! We are both brassy women who love our curves and use them our benefit. I too eloped at a young age, she got her motion picture contract at 38 which is when I signed with Contreband (and got the lead in the Cannes/Tribeca nominated film AVIDA), she too fell in love with a younger man who was a bodybuilder. She is sassy, as am I! Overall, Mae West had quite a strong sense of self, coupled with a killer sense of humor, and that makes her a legendary beauty in my book.

As terribly unoriginal as it is, Marilyn Monroe for all the obvious reasons. A combination of well harnessed sexuality, a generous dollop of innate curiosity , coupled with a vulnerable fragility serve to make a delicious dichotomy which is very powerful, and very feminine all at once.

More modern beauties would include Kim Kardashian and Beth Ditto. I love Kim’s succulent beauty and I adore Beth’s revelry! If I owned American Vogue, Ellen Von Unwerth would be shooting them as we speak, preferably luxuriating on a recreation of Babe Paley’s Kiluna farm in vintage Mugler!!!

6. Three men, dead or alive, who you consider beautiful and why?

My love would be the most beautiful! He is French, of Tunisian descent and a very stunning bodybuilder. He is as sexy as he is sweet, and that is not always easy to come by, so I consider myself a very lucky girl to bask in both his inner and outer beauty.

I quite like Louis XIV for his outrageous decadence, and his dedication to the arts. Sadly the arts tend to be sidelined in our day and age.

I never much go for actor- modely types, but I suppose if John Malcovich, Joaquin Phoenix, and a young Nacho Vidal were to have a 3some, then I’d find their lovechild rather succulent.

7. What would be advice you would give teenage girls today regarding beauty, health and body size?

I would encourage teenage girls to be active, have fun with it, go dancing, swimming, create a roller disco party or have a dance marathon to raise money for their favorite charity, plan their own fashion shows with whatever they’ve got and be inclusive when considering who will model, try and avoid the judgment that often comes with the insecurity of adolescence. Really the sky is the limit when it comes to the potential of today’s youth and I definitely believe in the strength of the new generation. It’s important that they grasp how the popularity of one body type or size, will change with each era so they have the choice to become bitter and twisted should they not fit the tendency or they can choose to be revolutionary about it and love and respect what they have got and make the very most out of their own individual style. There will never be another You. Remember that kiddo!

8. Who are your three favorite designers of all time?

That’s so difficult! Just 3??? Well, I adore Thierry Mugler, JP Gaultier and I die for Mr. Pearl’s corsets. It’s an excruciatingly pleasant death.

9. What was the last book you read and what are you reading currently, if anything?

The last book I read was The Poets Guide to Life, The Wisdom of Rilke obviously by Rainier Maria Rilke. I do love me some Rilke! I’m currently reading BONK by Mary Roach. I had to read her book STIFF when I played the role of Avida, and she actually managed to make death hysterically funny, so just starting BONK now, bring on the tears, this chick makes you laugh till you cry.

10. Today, you seem to be more focused on your photography, which is amazing. How does being behind the camera differ from being in front of the camera?

Thank you so much! I’m so pleased you like it and I am in the midst of getting my photo website made, which is LONG overdue. I’m probably the only person in the free world without my own personal website, but I have had such crap luck with these so called web design people, that I took it to mean life doesn’t mean for me to have one. So the fact that I am actually getting a photo one up, is quite wonderful for me! I’m very excited to have one place which allows me to share my vision.

Great question! I think that for me I am much stronger in each of the two fields by working both in front and behind the lens. Being behind the camera gives me control, versus offering myself up to whomever I model for. It allows me to speak, and to share beauty which has a tendency to be overlooked. It gives me the power of making dreams reality. It affords me the potential of making someone see how very beautiful they are. I suppose some of my strength lies in taking what may be seen as average, if not ‘unattractive’, and bringing out the beauty that is there. Whether society sees that or not, is up for debate, but my experience is that the people who model for me inevitably see it, and the extent to which this seemingly subtle dance of photographer and model impacts their personal vision of themselves is exceedingly moving to me. It is a way of making a positive impact to both the individual as well as to combat how limited the current beauty dictate happens to be. I also shoot more mainstream models and I have a great love of fashion photography so it is liberating to partake in this world, which has tended to be more dominated by males, but now we have the goddess Ellen Von Unwerth and people like Bettina Rheims etc. So I quite like being a woman in a ‘man’s world’.

11. What is the sexiest city in the world? Sexiest hotel? Sexiest club?

The sexiest city is whichever one I happen to be in at the moment. Sexiest hotel would be a tie between the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, and Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives, and the Duvet club in NYC was kinda sexy.

12. Who are three celebrities or famous people you haven’t met yet but would love to meet?

I would have loved to meet Alexander McQueen, I was just devastated to hear the news, a genuine tragedy. I want to meet Ellen Von Unwerth over and over again,lol, but I guess she doesn’t count as I have already met her and of course the divine Dita Von Teese, she I could also meet again. But for not having yet met, I guess Vivienne Westwood and Steven Meisel are up there in my book, and I quite like Jill Scott. I like meeting people in general, they don’t have to be famous for me to be intrigued, its fun to discover new people.

13. What are your three favorite movies of all time?

Oddly enough, I am not very movie orientated, though I do have a penchant for popcorn and purple velvet chairs if that counts. I recall adoring Auntie Mame as I wanted each and every outfit she wore,

I caught Max and Mary and really adored it. I even ordered one for my Momma’s 86th birthday. Should be out in dvd this summer.

I absolutely love Betty Blue

Check these out! And of course being in AVIDA, makes it up there for me,lol. My preference is always to make versus watch.

14. What advice would you give someone regarding accomplishing their dreams?

I recall my Momma getting us kids (we were 5 kids in our family), some books, one was MANIFEST YOUR DESTINY and the other was FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY, not sure I read them all the way through, but I do believe that those are two primary componants to accomplishment. Many people are held back by fear of how people will judge them, and that is something that you can bypass, (oddly enough, the more you do so, the more respect people seem to have for you). And be aware that you create your own life story, it’s not because everyone has a 9 to 5 job, and shops at the mall, that you need to do so, you can live how aire you please. I have certainly had to take risks, and I suppose I live more precariously in some respects, then the folks whom I was brought up with in suburbia, but I wouldn’t change my life, the more daring I have been the better the results I have had- Go out on a limb. It’s important you listen carefully to what your soul desires, then you end up making your dreams come true, more out of passion, then painstakingly setting up some roadmap to success, it should be FUN. We have magic within us, but it is up to us to turn off the distractions, and close out the perfectionist ideals, in order to let what aire you have within you, make its appearance. So in short; You control your destiny, you will have to take risks, and it will be exhilarating to do so, manifest your destiny, feel the fear and do it anyway, and be not afraid of the judgement of others. Lastly, the more you give the more you get. It doesn’t take much to make someone else smile, a kind word or a fresh baked pie for a unsuspecting neighbor, bringing some bubbles to blow at the next office meeting, or shoveling the driveway for an elderly neighbor, no dream is complete without Love. Our world is now filled with such gratuitous violence that the more each individual makes a difference at sharing the Love the better off we are as a whole. Im sounding scarily new age at this point so I shall stop here, heehee.

15. You have commented that you love Korean food. What are some of your other loves?

Thunderstorms, being fireside when there is a snowstorm, the smell of burning leaves and freshly mowed lawns, American diners, Buffalo chicken wings and donuts, Country fairs, old homes (whose soul has yet to be ripped out), 70’s cars, 70’s a lot things actually, Funk, R+B, dancing, dancing and dancing in the moonlight, the skin of a roasted marshmellow, riding in the back of a truck with friends (admitedly this never happens in Paris,lol), the Eiffel tower when it sparkles, hot men who don’t know that they are hot, hot men that do know that their hot, men in general LOL, Louie Theroux dvd’s whilst snuggled under a fluffy duvet, traveling the world, snorkeling in clear seas, fresh picked flowers in an old pitcher, flea markets and garage sales, reading in candle lit bubblebaths, taking photos, having dinner with friends, getting a new corset, shopping on, wow I could so go on, what fun questions you ask, my pretty!

16. Do you consider yourself “plus sized” or are you offended by that term?

I tend to use the word fat as it is being reclaimed, much in the way ‘fag’ was, but plus size, voluptuous, whatever, in the end I am never defined by any word.

17. You have said you adore tree houses. If you lived in a tree house, where would it be and what would it look like inside?

Ideally it would be in a Willowtree as they are my favorite. It would be in Seychelles, not that I saw any willow trees in the Seychelles but cest la vie. It would look like a thatched roof cottage and be covered in crawling, fragrant, pink English roses. Inside would look very quaint and grandmothery, shabby chic as they say. I would have made the dishes myself, the stain glass windows too, quilted the quilts, and all that. And most objects would be vintage, and walls filled with art, no two by the same artist. And you Indianapolis boys would be inside having tea and cake!

18. 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?

Best of Mariah Carey, Best of Jill Scott and Best of FunkDisco (and it would have to include TO BE REAL, JAMAICA FUNK and HOT STUFF/BAD GIRLS)

19. Tell us something we wouldn’t know by looking at you?

Hmmm, that I just got back from living on a nature reserve in Zululand in South Africa for 9 weeks away from any technology, no TV, radio, cell phone, etc.. French folks would know as I was on a popular reality tv show each and every night, called THE CELEBRITY FARM (with folks like Bridget Neilson and Baywatch heartthrob David Charvet). I was pleased to have lasted 9 of the 10 weeks. Learned how to milk cows, got bit by a huge python, have a baby crocodile named after me at ZULU CROC, cared for baby Cheetahs, lynx, warthog, lamb, crocodiles, giraffe, pigs, nyala, bush pigs, bunnies, snakes, ostrich, lions, etc. It was astounding. I am proud to have earned my charity over $72,000! I highly recommend South Africa!

20. What is next for Velvet D’Amour?

I am just fresh off the red carpet at Cannes, so still flying high! Now I am putting together my photography website, super excited for that to come out. I am also working on an expo of my photography here in Paris. I have 3 film projects ready for my perusal in NYC with the award winning Joe Spaid, hope to get to them this summer. I will be working on a cd of original music with the astounding Phil Broikos, also this summer as they are both New York based. I have started to create my own music videos which feature people who generally would not be in the spotlight, atypical muses if you will. I will be shooting a fashion spread with the astounding stylist Olivier Mulin, where I have chosen to feature a wheelchair bound model. I am in talks with an American TV producer so we shall see what that brings. But my main aim is to continue to challenge modern medias limited beauty ideal so that more people can feel beautiful. I will continue to revel in every minute I am fortunate enough to have. Carpe Diem!!!

21. On guys, what is sexiest…Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

MMmmmm Jockstraps!

Love ya Velvet!!! See you in the treehouse…And we expect a visit to Indianapolis soon so we can stay up late drinking bad coffee in poorly lit diners and show you just how delicious the boys here really are!!!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

(Dearest Velvet asked us to include photo credits and here is what she sent us…charming itself! God…we love her!)
4 ?
10 Some actor from SEX IN THE CITY, lol