Fashion-PR maven turned unlikely reality star Kelly Cutrone recently spoke at SCAD Atlanta about branding and the industry. I caught her beforehand where she opened up on everything ranging from bisexuality to a new scripted television show. Fans of "Kell on Earth" may remember the online video she produced for the Donna Karan cozy, and Cutrone, shockingly wearing makeup, wore a black cashmere version of the sweater. Season three "Project Runway" runner-up Mychael Knight was also in the audience of Cutrone's SCAD lecture, and the first to speak up at the Q&A session.
Looking noticeably different in trendy clothes since his "PR" days, Knight was intentionally coy about his identity, introducing himself as "a young designer who got some attention a few years ago" before asking a question about the visibility of African-American models. Cutrone didn't recognize him, but the rest of the audience scratched their heads, wondering, "Is that Mychael Knight?"
I know I may come off as harsh on Smelly Kelly in my reality TV column, but the truth of the matter is it's just tough love. Cutrone proved to be an open book, accessible and blunt, just the way we love her.
Would date again?
Who says that I don't date?
From the show it gave off that you don't, but maybe you just wanted to keep that private.
I don't really go out with anybody with the intention of sleeping with them because I don't really need to. I've done that; I've done really wild crazy things, but I'm 44 and I'm a mom, so it's not like I'm going to bring some 28-year-old guy back to my house and have sex with him on my couch and send him out in the elevator before my daughter wakes up. That's really not how I roll.
So am I open to the idea of having a partner? I don't know because I've never really had one. Right now I am really interested in having a relationship with my daughter who's about to turn 8 and going to be 12 before I know it, so I don't think I'm open to sharing my life with a man on a full-time basis as far as a live-in lover in the next four years. Now, if a lightening bolt came down from the sky and some guy showed up and said, "I AM YOUR TWIN FLAME SOUL-MATE," and there were stamps and tattoos on his body to prove it maybe. But I want to spend this time with my daughter.
I went on a date last Friday, though, with a really handsome, really hot guy. And I was so scared that I brought [Junior Publicist Stephanie] Skinner and [Assistant] Andrew Mukamal with me. (Laughs) Because I don't really date. I usually meet somebody, we usually have energy and next thing you know, I'm in a relationship with them. I was married for 10 years, then I met [Cutrone's daughter] Ava's dad, and then I just got out of a five-year relationship. I was in a very heavy relationship with someone named Jimmy Boyle, a very well-known music, rock 'n'r oll producer, and that just ended a year ago. I've been dating around a little, but anyway, I went on a date.
I met this guy in Canada and he asked me on a date, and I went on a date with him. But on the way there, I choked and I thought, "Oh, I really don't want to fall in love with anybody right now, what am I doing? This is going to be a big mess." Or, "I don't want a boyfriend that lives out of town, so I better just stop this." So I called Skinner and Mukamal, and I ordered them to come to dinner. We ate dinner and I paid, and I called the guy and was like," Oh, just so you know, I'm going to bring my assistant and a publicist." And he's like, "Why?"'And I was like, "What if we get bored and we don't like each other? Then we'll have other people to talk to."
So you probably didn't see him again.
No, I did! I saw him the next night! He invited me for tea, and he invited me to come to Toronto to see him. And then I started acting very geeky, and I started rolling my eyes and I didn't know what to do. He said, "Why are you behaving like that?" And I said, "I have to go." So I don't think I'm really interested in having a boyfriend right now full time. I'm so busy. I don't have anything to offer romantically to somebody. I don't want to make anybody a sandwich and ask them how their day was.
You brought up Stephanie Skinner, and I have to say, I'm obsessed with her. She's America's sweetheart.
She's the DEVIL don't believe it! (Laughs)
Why is she the devil?
She is adorable, but Skinner has a mean side to her. She's a little edgier than she plays. She's amazing, she's so pretty, and so smart and so devoted.
And so sleep-deprived.
Dude, we all have that look. It's just like the People's look [of her PR company People's Revolution]. We all have it. But she plays hard, she goes out. She's no joke. She didn't just get that look sitting in People's Rev trust me, OK? She and Andrew Mukamal like to throw down. They party. They go out till 2, 3, 4 in the morning.
I read your book [If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You], and I really loved it. It spoke to me even though I'm not a girl going into fashion PR. Did you write it with that in mind?
No, I didn't write it with that in mind. I didn't write it for fashion chicks. I wrote it for young people. I didn't really think that super-butch straight guys were really going to be into it just because ...
They don't read?
I don't really think that I'm their lighthouse. Like, Oh who am I going to go to for advice? Oh this bitchy 44-year-old single mom? But I didn't just write it for fashion people. I wrote it for people who are open and cool and magical and special and wanted to make a difference.
I really liked the part where you talk about being spiritual in a superficial industry and how that's true spirituality.
My guru said that. She used to say to people that it's very easy in a lungi, in a fabric wrap, sitting underneath a tree, in a beautiful place, quiet, meditating. She's like, "You want to see how spiritual we are? Let's get out on the street and use every moment and every instance to check what's really going on inside of you." I think it's much harder to be spiritual in New York City with $2 in your pocket in rush hour, walking in the pouring rain, then it is when you're sitting in a beautiful church or a temple.
Why are gay boys attracted to you, and why are you attracted to gay boys?
I always like the underdog. I think that you have to be really, really courageous to be gay, and I think that people are really stupid. And I think that gay people are picked on and I don't like that. I believe that everybody is bisexual, and then I believe it's a percentage. I believe that some people are 99.9 percent inclined to fantasize and sleep with the opposite sex or the same sex. And then for everybody else there's the percentage, some people act on it, some people don't. I find gay guys interesting, like the gay guys in my office. They're my sons. They make me laugh. That's what I always say in my office: It's my gay sons who make me laugh and it's the girls who bring the power.
Do you think that girls are more apt to being bisexual?
No, I think that's more of a straight man's fantasy. I think that homosexuality is homosexuality. I think it's more practical for girls. Well, if you get into the physiology, if you have two men that are having sex, you have two penises, so it's easier to have what you would call straight-ahead sex between two men than between two women. There's either the concept of foreign objects or the concept of a man if you're in a same-sex relationship. I think if you're gay, you're gay.
Did you ever foresee yourself as being a reality TV star? Counting reruns of "The Hills," you're on three shows now. Will you stay on television?
Yeah, I think I'll have my own talk show in the next couple of years. I don't think I would have stars on my show. I want to talk about real issues. I want to talk about violence against women. I want to talk about small town America. I want to talk about homeless kids in America. I want to talk about things that are really happening. It's hard to find a large group of interesting people in pop culture because everything's so homogenized.
I just signed a scripted deal, a scripted fashion show in Hollywood for prime time, for a major network. We're busy.
Can fashion exist in Atlanta that's not one of the major three: New York, Paris, Milan?
It has to exist here because if it doesn't exist here, then it doesn't exist in the South. I think it's already proven that it has. You have Jeffrey's that came from here. He didn't turn his back on Atlanta. He kept his store in Atlanta. Alternative Apparel's my client, they're here and they're doing fashionable things. SCAD's done a lot of work for bringing it. Atlanta's a major city, and when we talk about distribution and marketing when we're in fashion meetings, whether it's in Paris or New York or L.A., Atlanta's on the rotation of a city that needs to be addressed from a media standpoint. It's not a city that's overlooked.
D.C.'s just been added because Obama's there. We skipped over it through the Reagan and the Bush administration. Nobody wanted to do anything in D.C. because the first ladies looked like shit. So finally we're just like, "Oh! We have a vibrant couple in the White House. OK lets start talking fashion again in D.C." But Atlanta's always been on the rotation.
Why aren't you representing ["The City" co-star Whitney Port's line] Whitney Eve?
Here's the deal: We were on a reality show together, and I actually fell in love with her. I can show you an e-mail that her mom sent to me. I totally adore her. I've always been a consultant. It was my idea to get the producers to let her do her line on the show because I was like, This is a joke! How many more times is she supposed to fucking style. 'Well I want to be a stylist.' And Lauren [Conrad, of "The Hills"] is like, "Oh, I'm working at People's Revolution, and she's doing a fashion show in L.A." People are like, "Are you producing Lauren's show?" I'm like, "No!" I'm on a TV show with Lauren, I don't produce Lauren's show. So I thought it was really important to bring what Whitney was really doing and just make the whole thing real. Her design office really is in my office, and I really do consult on it, but her day-to-day, I'm too close to her to do her PR.
I encouraged her to hire an outside PR firm and I would always have her back. That [other] publicist is going to have to understand that I'm involved on her project and that I'm going to do whatever I want because A) I'm on the show and B) she's like my kid. Boom-basta-done!
(Photo Courtesy Kelly Cutrone)
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