From Kanye and Diplo to Joachim Garraud, everyone wants to put their spin on Beyonce’s hit single “Drunk In Love.” But of all the remixes and reinventions we’ve heard, none have been as delicious as “Dunkin Love,” a parody written by hunky L.A. actor Adrian Anchondo.
With friend Reggie White playing ‘Yonce to his Jay-Z, and lines like “She’s servin’ on that counter, servin’ servin’ all them, old fashions be servin’ all this powdered donut, it’s so good good,” Anchondo might have a hit on his hands—or at least a future as a jingle writer.
“When the Beyonce visual album came out, we did what any self-respecting gays would do–we had a viewing party,” Anchondo told NewNowNext. “Reggie came over and we basically screamed, cried, fondled, laughed and threw shade for an hour or so.”
Later, while re-listening to “Drunk in Love,” Anchondo heard about Dunkin’ Donuts’ plan to dominate Southern California by 2015. ”I thought, ‘why not do a video parody?’ It fits with the song.”
When it came to shooting the video, though, Anchondo had to ask his partner’s family in Pennsylvania and Florida to send the actual Dunkin Donuts boxes—the chain hasn’t opened up in his neighborhood just yet. He bought the dress, the wig (“I had to cut and style it myself, so luckily her hair is messy in the video.”) and all the donuts before heading out to a freezing San Francisco beach with Reggie. “I can’t believe how committed Reggie was!” he says, pointing out that you can see White’s teeth chattering from the freezing water.
So what is Anchondo’s goal with “Dunkin’ Love”? “We hope Beyonce and Dunkin Donuts will see it and share it,” he says, humbly. “Who knows? Maybe we will get a coupon or something.”
Since making her television debut last season, Drescher has been hard at work writing her memoir, Leggy Blonde. And unlike her new tagline, her debut book is much more serious in tone about her life as an amputee. Amongst other things, the book chronicles how Drescher lost her leg in a freak barn accident as a child, and the various ways that both she and those around her have dealt with that loss throughout her life.
With a book hitting stores next Tuesday and the new season of Housewivespremiering on March 11, Drescher fans certainly have a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks. I caught up with the television star and new author about writing her first book, why her’s is an important story to tell, her plans to lobby in the nation’s capital, the juiciness coming up in Housewives, and much more.
ALEX NAGORSKI: February is a busy month for Real Housewives books. In addition to yours, this month sees the release of new books from Beverly Hills’ Brandi Glanville and from Carole Radziwill (check out my interviews with Brandi and Carole about their respective new books), your fellow New York cast mate. Have you already read either of these books yet, and if so, what are your thoughts?
AVIVA DRESCHER: I’ve read Carole’s. I liked it very much and I think it’s completely different from her first book. It doesn’t have anything to do with her first book at all and I think it’s really courageous that she took a stab at writing a novel. I think it’s great.
I really enjoyed Brandi’s first book. Obviously, it was her trying to get revenge on her ex-husband, but I thought it was really good. I hope she does well with her second book too.
So if someone wanted to purchase only one Housewife book this month, what would you tell him or her about why they should pick yours?
Well, I think that Carole’s book is more of a beach read, whereas I think my book can really touch everybody. It’s not just for Housewives viewers. I think it can touch everybody because it shows by various examples how you can get through life’s trials and tribulations.
Everyone’s touched by anxiety, health issues, addiction, divorce, and marriage – whether it’s your own relationships, your parents’, or whoever else’s – everyone gets touched by these things and I touch on all of them.
So I feel like my book has a more of a serious/funny tone to it, but I do think that everyone can relate. Mine’s more of a serious book, whereas Carole’s is more of a beach read. And if you are a Housewivesviewer, I think that this is a good way to get to know me without an editing team involved.
That’s a really interesting point. How do you think that this book depicts you differently than the show has?
Well, I think that most of all, it shows that there was definitely a misunderstanding between the camera, the editors, the viewers and me. The show dwelled a lot on the bumps in the road that have happened to me. I think that the book really does show that in fact I don’t dwell on those things. And I think the viewers will see that. People will see it very clearly.
I also think that you see more of my sense of humor in the book. I think that when the camera’s around, I tend to get a little bit, you know, more uptight. But with the book, I have more control. I can be more myself to a certain extent.
There’s a point in the book where you discuss turning to fashion as an outlet to draw attention away from your prosthesis. Fast-forward to today, and you’ve published a memoir that goes into great detail about what its meant for you to be an amputee for the majority of your life. What made you decide to finally want to share your story and why is now the right time to tell it?
Well, I turned 40, and I think that at 40-years-old, you start to think about a lot of things in your life and you get a certain kind of sense of security and maturity about yourself – especially if you have children. It’s a time where you really start to officially grow up, and my growing up meant that I was done hiding. I’m done being ashamed of wearing a prosthesis.
There comes a point where you come to full acceptance – hopefully – in your lifetime. I felt ready at 40, and with the show falling in my lap, I felt that was an opportunity to do it. And I couldn’t just put it out a little bit because everything is so full force on the show.
It was a combination of being 40, having 4 children, feeling like a mamma bear, and feeling like a real complete grownup who was self-aware and secure. So it was important for me to come onto the show without really having anything to be ashamed of. Because I think that when you go on a reality show, you can’t really have any skeletons in your closet.
Yeah, I imagine that wouldn’t be very easy to do.
Yeah. So it was kind of a whole combination of like, “Okay. I’m going to go on a show. I’m 40. I am who I am. This is who I am and I’m not, and I’m going to be proud of it, and I’m going to use whatever obstacles are in my way to help other people.” And the helping other people part really helps me to not worry about any sort of uptightness that I had about my leg or my accident.
One chapter that really stood out to me was the one in which your parents took you to India at 15-years-old to see someone that they believed was the “avatar of a healing spirit” and could grow your foot back. You, however, did not share your parents’ faith in this man’s alleged abilities. What type of effect, then, did this trip have on you as a teenager when your parents obviously didn’t get the result that they were hoping for from it?
It just made me realize that parents are certainly not perfect. As children, we look up at our parents and we think they’re gods. Even when we hate them, we still think that they are all knowing. And I think that that was really my first step towards adulthood and separating from my parents.
In some ways, my parents were overprotecting, and in some ways, they were very, “get on with it, move on with it, do everything like everybody else.” I think that as a teenager, you begin to separate from your parents. So seeing this craziness that they brought me into not come to fruition definitely led me to being more independent. I think everybody’s parents are a little bit crazy in their own ways, but maybe my parents were a little bit more crazy than most.
Speaking of parents, the book also discusses your mother’s alcoholism and how you dealt with the tragedy of her early passing. What advice would you give to someone experiencing a similar type of grief today?
You know, they say alcohol is as addictive as heroine. And to live with someone who’s an alcoholic is so enraging and so painful. The extent where my mother went with it was just one of the most horrific things in my life. Alcoholism took my mother’s life from me and deprived my children of her, my father of her, and my family of her. Every day that I raise my children, I think about my mom. I think that the only way to deal with alcoholics is with a very, very severe tough love and that would be the message that I would get out.
I always second-guess and say, “Well, if we were tougher, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten to that point.” Now look, rationally, I don’t think that we are responsible at all for her death, but the message that I would say is, “throw them out of your house. Take away the keys. Take away their money.” Make them hit rock bottom before it’s too late, so that the alcoholic can want on their own to get the help that they want. Because the drug is so strong and unless they are on the floor naked and aware of it, they’re not going to get help. And by the time my mom was so bad, her brain was already going from the alcohol. She didn’t even know she was hitting rock bottom. Do you understand what I’m saying?
Someone else going through this needs to really, really get knowledge and get in there. Don’t sweep it under the carpet. To someone who lives with someone with alcoholism, I would say, “don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault.” We’re all responsible for our own actions, we all have to deal with the consequences of them, and only alcoholics can really help themselves.
This disease really affects and seethes into everybody around it, not just in the way that an alcoholic is disruptive and not a functional person in society, but it psychologically affects the people around you. So I would say don’t feel guilty and just remember how that person was before they got lost in the alcoholism. Remember them for the great person that they were, not for what they became.
I really loved the theme of survival throughout the book. You write about a great amount of loss – not just in terms of your leg and your mother, but also of past relationships (including your first marriage, Harry). Each time, you learn from your experiences in what seem like very universally applicable ways. Is there any particular message or experience that you want your readers to take away with them after they’ve put the book down?
I would say as long as there’s breath, there’s life. Life is very short and you’ve got to get as much joy out of it as you can. You just can’t know what’ll happen from one day to the next, so you gotta keep on loving the best you can and taking the high road – which, by the way, brings great pleasure. Enjoy every day to the best of your ability, and just remember that no matter how many times you get kicked, if you’re breathing, you can enjoy this life. You can find enjoyment out of this life. That’s what I would say.
And obviously when I say, “take the high road,” remember that on television I’m not being paid to take the high road. So I can’t really always do that on television. But in life, I do believe in taking the high road as much as possible.
What have you personally found to be the most common stigma about amputees?
When people say things like, “are you okay?” or “can you walk?” The most common stigma is that we can’t physically do what two-legged people can do. And that’s just entirely untrue. It’s just untrue. I mean, granted sometimes wearing six-inch heels is a little bit more of a challenge to me than, you know, it is for a two-legged person, but I can still do it. So I think that’s the most common stigma –that we can’t physically do everything that everybody else can do. And we can.
Another thing you mention in the book is your array of phobias, which was also the focus of a few discussions on last season of Housewives. What’s one that your fans might be surprised to read about?
They’ll probably be surprised about my passion for health, which to some degree, I guess, translates into a little bit of fear of things that are unhealthy. I’m definitely trying not to be fearful of things that are unhealthy, but I do avoid them.
Like, if I walk into my apartment and my babysitter’s making chicken fingers and she’s putting aluminum foil into my toaster oven, I’ll say, “Can you please not cook it in aluminum foil?” Listen, maybe it’s a phobia and maybe it’s a little kooky. But by the same token, over the past few days, there’s been a dangerous chemical found in many bread ingredients.
Oh right! It’s in Subway bread.
Yeah, but it’s not just Subway. It’s also McDonald’s. It’s also bread that you buy in the store. There’s a chemical in that bread that when heated up, it’s a carcinogen. End of story. My oldest son loves Subway and so on one hand, it’s like, “yeah, I’m really crazy and a phobic and I’m so health-obsessed,” but on the other hand, every day they’re coming out with a new plastic or a new ingredient that you can’t eat and you can’t use because it’s a carcinogen and everyone’s wondering why cancer’s on the rise?
On Housewives, my phobias were mostly isolated to flying and heights. But in my book, I just think that it’s more really about fear of death. Also, these other fears trace back to fear of death. I think that I have a right to be afraid of death because it kind of stared at me in the face at a very young age. I was six-years-old, so you know what? If I’m a little more afraid of bad things happening to me, I’m allowed to have that. But I think the viewers will definitely see in the book that it’s more than just flying and heights.
In the book, you talk about the various financial pressures that come with the maintenance of a prosthetic. You mention that, “Just as reconstructive surgery after mastectomies is paid for by insurance, artificial limbs for sports or aesthetics should be paid for by insurance companies.” How are some ways that you believe that goal can be achieved?
Well, right now in healthcare we’re really going backward. But when I’m done doing the show, I plan on going to Washington and lobbying for insurance companies to pay for prosthetic limbs that are needed for sports, and for activities and also for cosmetic needs. I think that it requires a voice and I think that now with the Boston Marathon tragedy that happened, amputees are actually coming more into the forefront. I think it’s something that can be attainable.
I think one way is by people who are amputees who are in the public to go and bang on the door of the government to assure that insurance companies pay for these limbs. That’s one way to do it. Another way to do it is to circumvent the insurance companies by raising money and paying for it ourselves, and that’s what I do.
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than to see somebody who’s lost a limb. If that’s not bad enough, these people are fighting to walk again and to get their clothing on again and to figure out their shoes. Some of them are always on crutches and it’s hard enough to go through that whole … I don’t want to call it a tragedy, because I don’t see it that way, but that challenge, and then for insurance to say that they are not going to pay for all the limbs and skins that we need is an insult to our intelligence, in my opinion. It needs as much attention as reconstructive breast surgery.
As someone who received their Masters in Literature from NYU, coming out with a memoir must feel like a total dream come true. Do you have plans to continue publishing books now that you’ve gotten a taste of it?
I love to write. I’ve always loved writing and I’ve found it to be really cathartic emotionally. To go back and to think about all of those experiences that I had, that I lived, and bringing them back up, has been so rewarding. I would love to write again. I really am hoping that this is just the beginning. This was not meant to be a preachy book or a self-help book. This is just like a “here is the story and here is how it happened” kind of book. I’d love to write children’s’ books about differences, and maybe even write about fashion or even a book that’s a little bit more self-helpy. So yeah, I would love to write more books. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity.
So switching gears a little bit to talk about the show, what have you found to be the biggest difference between being a new Housewife and being a returning cast member?
I think the greatest thing that brings people fear is the unknown. Housewives was such an unknown when I began, so I was very fearful about what would happen. I had no idea. What would happen to my family? Would people be following me down the street? Would there be stalkers? Would people hate me? Would people love me? Would I be able to raise enough money for amputees? Now, kind of in the same tone as my book, it’s sort of like: it is what it is and I kind of don’t give a shit. There are pros and there are cons and now I just sort of don’t give a shit. I don’t care as much. Last year, I cared so much more. This year, I really, really don’t care.
As I said in my book, I really feel bulletproof in terms of all the silliness. Last year, I was like this sort of virgin that could be prodded and pulled in different directions. This year, I feel like I just would never get too vested in the positive or the negative. It’s just a job and I hope I did my job well. Last year, I was more concerned about how I came off, whereas this year, I’m more concerned about people feeling entertained and if what I do on the show in my life can give people a moment of escape from their lives. I feel so happy also because of hopefully all of the people that I can help who are facing physical challenges. This show is just a little piece of entertainment, and if I can bring some people some distraction from their own lives and issues, then I’ve succeeded.
What do you think the addition of new cast member Kristin Taekman will add to this upcoming season?
You know, I haven’t … I think that she is a very beautiful addition, that’s for sure. And I can tell you that she throws a good punch.
I don’t mean that literally. I mean that figuratively. But we’ll see!
So I don’t know how much you can say about this, but ever since the trailer for the new season was released, fans have been dying to know: what is your leg doing on the floor in that final shot?!
You know, what is my leg doing on the floor in that final shot? How, I mean, I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I’m sorry.
That’s okay! So what was your favorite scene to film for the new season?
Oh, my favorite scene to film was with Heather Abbott, who’s one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon. I took her to my prosthetist and I’ll let the rest unfold from there. That was my favorite scene to film because I love her, and seeing her first in the hospital after the marathon bombing, and now seeing her run, it’s just amazing. Having been in the hospital room together right after the bombings and months later being at my prosthetist doing what we were doing was just so wonderful on so many different levels.
That sounds really inspiring. Is there anything else that you can tease that fans can look forward to this upcoming season?
A lot of my cast mates are going to surprise you. You’re going to be very surprised by the changes in relationships and changes in characters. People change.
Yeah. People change. The ones that seen normal become crazy. The ones that seem crazy become a little more normal. The villains stay the same. Mostly it’s a lot of changes.
Well, thank you so much for your time, Aviva. Is there anything else you’d like to add about anything at all that we didn’t talk about?
You know, the one thing that’s not in the book is that one of the things that I’ve done to help manage my anxiety is that I have a product coming out called Vivacalm. It’s an all-natural powder supplement that you put in a drink, and it really just calms you down and it can even help you sleep if you’re having trouble sleeping. It’s also really healthy for you.
When is that coming out?
That’s coming out in March. It will be in GNC stores exclusively for three months.
Very cool. Well, it was truly a pleasure reading your book and chatting with you about it.
You’ve really made my week. You have obviously read this book with such a fine-tooth comb and I’m eternally grateful for your time and kindness and you’re obviously super, super smart and thank you so much.
Leggy Blonde will be available in bookstores everywhere on February 25th.
Last week, Glanville and I sat down together after her book signing in Brooklyn, and chatted all things Drinking and Dating, her thoughts on Valentine’s Day, what fans cans expect from the upcoming Real Housewives reunion special, and more.
ALEX NAGORSKI: How do you feel you’ve grown as a writer between your first and second books?
BRANDI GLANVILLE: I don’t know that I’ve grown as a writer, to be honest. I think I’ve grown as a human being. I’ve moved forward in a lot of ways that have made me a better, stronger person. I always find humor in everything and that’s just how I roll, because if I didn’t, I would be in a straitjacket. And I honestly think that if you’ve grown as a person, it reflects in your writing.
Absolutely. Is there an added element of pressure now that you’re a #1 New York Timesbestselling writer?
No. I mean, honestly, not for me. I know I do the right thing 97% of the time. There are things I do that I fuck up a lot, but I know that I’m a good person. I would have stayed here [at the book signing] until midnight if there were people here until midnight. I want to make sure everyone that comes to support me gets a personal experience, you know? I’m not just going to say goodbye once it hits 9:00. I’m not drinking my own Kool-Aid. I’m very blessed to be here and I’m very thankful.
Can you walk me through your creative process? How do you go about writing – do you have a set amount of pages that you like to write a day, do you have to listen to any specific music, etc.?
You know, my book agent – or my “gaygent” as I call him – calls it a brain dump. I sit there and I just write and I write. Then I have all of these pages that don’t make any sense and I send them to my co-author, Leslie Bruce. And she’s, like, “Okay, this can go in this chapter, this can go in this chapter,” and so on. I just write, and it is really what I feel. I have a recorder in my car so I can remember when I think of something slightly prolific, because otherwise I can forget. I make myself laugh all day long, which I think is so important in being happy. There was a time where I was unable to do that. That was a very dark time in my life and I’m just really happy to be back where I am.
As the subtitle suggests, the book goes into this in a lot of detail — but I was wondering if in a few sentences, you can explain why you feel that social media is ruining romance?
Oh, gosh. I think that we’ve lost the mystery. I can find out what everyone’s doing at any time of the day. If they don’t text you back and they said that they’re busy, you can check their Instagram, their Facebook, their Twitter and see for yourself. If you have time to tweet, you have time to text the girl you went out with last night. So it’s just ruining the mystique. And if you go out anywhere, people stop and they want to Instagram and take pictures and we’re missing the experiences. Social media is making us unsocial.
I completely agree.
It is! Everyone’s saying “oh, let’s do this,” and I just want to be like, “ok, but let’s have a good time and fuck the pictures,” you know? My girlfriends and I have started a new thing where you put the phones in the middle of the table and anyone who touches their phone first has to pay the bill – because like, let’s have a real experience! Let’s go to dinner and let’s hang out and do what we used to do before this took over our lives.
I really like that idea.
No, it’s true. Seriously.
Some of my favorite things about the book are the many (and often hilarious) stories of outrageous dating mishaps you’ve had over the years.
Oh my god, they’re all going to murder me. They’re going to know exactly who they are in there. I will never date again.
What’s one in particular that still resonates with you as a big “WTF moment” when you look back on it?
Oh, well, there’s one that I call “The Criminal” in my book, and that was definitely one. Everybody deserves a second chance. We all mess up. I’ve messed up a gazillion times, so how can I judge someone for that? But there really are so few men to pick from in LA.
In New York, too!
No, there’s a lot of hot guys here! I used to live here. There’s way more hot guys here. I go out and I’m like, “Ooh! Ooh!” I get distracted. It’s like glitter for a gay man.
But in all seriousness, you want to give people the benefit of the doubt. The LA dating pool is so small and everyone that is anyone is dating a twenty-year-old supermodel and it’s difficult. It’s not easy to say, “Oh guess what, I’m over 40 and I have kids.” You know what I mean? It’s like, “Oh, welcome … and I’m an asshole on TV, so do you want to hang out?” And I’m an asshole in general, in real life, as you saw tonight – but I think it’s a fun thing. I always want to have fun, and that is the number one thing that I think keeps you young. It’s important to know how to laugh and make fun of yourself and not take yourself too seriously. It’s like, it is what it is.
So what’s something that you think readers of Drinking and Dating will learn about you that they don’t already know from the show and/or your first book?
I think everyone knows everything about me but I hope that through this book, they’ll see a little bit of a vulnerable side of me. I do share with them my trust issues and the fact that I sabotage things because of the heartache and the hurt and the mistrust that I’ve had in the past. And so, I want to share that with people, because all my friends and I, we sit around and talk about it, but no one puts it down on paper because everyone’s embarrassed. Like, listen, I’m sharing about my HPV — although I talked about that in the first book, so I don’t know why everyone’s so excited about it this time.
I honestly just want people to say, “guess what, it happened to her, and I relate and I’m not embarrassed anymore.” It’s a really big deal for me. Just look at Michael Sam, that football player who just came out. I get the chills every time I hear about it. That news has been out for nineteen hours, and I’ve already seen like eighty-five stories about it. I truly think that honesty really heals the heart, and that’s all we can ever give people. It’s the second that you become a fucking liar that you start to suck.
That’s not very prolific, but mama’s had two glasses of wine now. Maybe three.
I’m on my third, too, don’t worry. You’ve now written two books, both of which have titles beginning with “Drinking And.”
Right, Tweeting or dating.
So if you were to write a trilogy, what would the third installment be called? “Drinking And” what?
Drinking and being in love.
No, that would … that’s hopefully my endgame.
Well, that actually leads in well to my next question. Your first book acted as a tell-all about what happened between you and your ex-husband. This book, in contrast, chronicles your dating life after your divorce.
I was very angry back then. I even read it now like, “Ooh, yikes. Mama was angry.” But listen, breakups are breakups. Heartbreak is a universal thing. It’s a disaster. It’s a universal …
Yes. Thank you. It is. It affects everyone. You can be Anna Wintour, or you can be like, a person that does your nails. No matter what walk of life you come from, we are all affected by heartbreak in the same way, and that’s what makes us all human, you know? Listen, you don’t think that the biggest movie star in the world is not devasted because of heartbreak? They are. It’s something that we … it’s a universal epidemic, you’re right.
Generally speaking, what are the main things you look for today when selecting a potential new love interest? In other words, how would you describe your dream guy?
Hotness? No, I mean, I definitely have had a problem that I’m attracted to the hottest boy in the room and that’s always been my problem. Because everyone likes pretty things. And all my friends are gorgeous. I like pretty things, I can’t help it. But really, I try to find beauty in everything, and if I can’t, it’s hard for me. I don’t want to move forward in life with that person as my friend or in my life. Because there’s a little bit of beautiful in everyone … even in the shittiest people.
I’m curious as to how writing a guidebook on romance has impacted your personal love life. Was there ever any point during your writing process that you thought to yourself, “wow, I should take my own advice more often?”
Oh, absolutely. I give the best advice to my girlfriends. I can tell anyone what to do and I’m dead spot-on, but do I follow it? I don’t. If I did, I would be on cloud nine. But I don’t. I follow my heart and my heart is generally wrong. My brain is generally right. Generally. It is what it is. It’s a learning curve. No one’s perfect. I was listing … no, that’s awful. I won’t even get into that but I have a whole ‘nother story for you at some point.
Well I’m definitely looking forward to that! Both in the book and the on the show, you talk about how you don’t have a desire to ever get remarried, but that you would still like to settle down with “Mr. Right” someday. That being said, do you have someone special to share your Valentine’s Day this weekend? The way your book ends, it seems like you might not be celebrating alone this year …
Well, I’m here until Thursday night, and then I fly home on a red-eye and then I get my little babies. I’ll be with Mason and Jake on Valentine’s Day, the loves of my life, and we’re flying to see Nana and Pap-Pap in Sacramento. We have a book signing there. But I think Valentine’s Day is an asshole day.
It puts pressure on people. A lot of my friends break up before Valentine’s Day – especially the guys. They do it so they don’t have to buy a gift … and then they get back together in a week. Having male friends has taught me so much about dating and social media and the internet. Like, they’re all on every dating website that there is and it’s a smorgasbord for them. And they all say that they want relationships now, but then they’re like, “I like her on Monday, she’s Tuesday, she’s Wednesday, she’s Thursday.” I think we’re ruining ourselves with everything that is available to us.
You’ve had quite a busy few years. In addition to writing two books and starring in a reality show, you’ve also designed your own dress line, started a weekly podcast, and have even forayed into the acting world by filming a small role on 90210 and in movies like Missing at 17and The Hungover Games. Is acting something you’d like to do more of?
I don’t act. I’m just saying. The people that have asked me to be in their movies have been amazing, and I said, “yes, but I can’t act.” I’m not an actress but I do love making fun of myself, and if people want me to come in and don’t want me to necessarily say my lines right, then I’m happy to do it. I feel blessed to be asked to do anything.
My podcast is so fun and so amazing. Like, I just fan out. I had Bret Easton Ellis on it and I had a Backstreet Boy, I’ve had Robin Antin, Beth Stern’s coming … I just feel so lucky. I’m interviewing them! While at the same time, throwing myself under the bus. But I’m learning. No, I’m not an interviewer. And I’m also one of those people that’s like, “bleh, here you go.” So it’s gotten me in a lot of trouble but I can’t change who I am. So I can apologize when I fuck up and that’s really all I can do.
So what specific creative itch does writing scratch for you that none of these other outlets do?
Oh, my gosh. Writing is my literal Xanax. When I go to write, everything I’m thinking just comes out onto my computer when I type. I like my nails to be long stripper nails when I type. I took them off for a while and then when I started typing, I didn’t hear the click and I was so upset, so I got them back. I know that sounds weird but …
No, no. I get it.
It’s the truth. I need that. It’s such an outlet for me. I do it and it’s like, ok, I can go to sleep now. I don’t have to take a Xanax to go to sleep.
Last year, you were a fashion correspondent at the Oscars – but it was your dress that actually seemed to be the headline generator. Will you be returning to the Oscars again this year? And if so, what will you be wearing?
Well … that’s a great question. I’ve been told that if I come back, they have to approve my outfit, so we’ll see. I’m so very blessed to be very busy and I would like to go, but I want to still be me. I don’t like to be censored, and when people tell me what to do, I want to do the exact opposite. So if they say, “You have to do this,” I will do the … you will see everything, you know what I mean?
I’m a middle child, and my mom said to me, “I hope you have a daughter or son just like you.” And then she met Jakey, my son, and she was like, “good luck with that.” It’s true! I have a little Brandi and his name is Jake. And then I have the sweetest boy in the world. His name is Mason. He’s ten. They’re the loves of my life. They’re both amazing.
I bet. Speaking of having more Brandi, what I’m really dying to know is when are we going to get your spin-off show?!
Well, I mean, I’m not allowed to say. But …
I will be watching!
Yes! Thank you!
I understand that the reunion for the current season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was filmed a few days ago. How do you feel about how everything went down that day?
There’s a lot of crying, a lot of screaming, and, ultimately, I think, besides Jacqueline’s outfit, it all went well. She had her ice skating outfit on and I’m like, “Sochi’s calling, bitch.”
Was it that one that she wore earlier in the season? It had like, giant rhinestones and the, like …
No, no, no, no … You will see. Six weeks, you’ll see.
What else can you tease that viewers can look forward to in this special? Are any of the conflicts resolved?
I have to be very careful what I say here. But there’s, you know, a lot of emotion. I mean, we’re a modern family, to be honest. We are very similar to that, and we love hard and we fight hard. It’s kind of like Survivor meets Housewives.
Are you and Lisa (Vanderpump) on speaking terms again now after the reunion?
We … you know, she’s an amazing woman. I love her hard and I have issues with her hard. She’s fucking perfection. I love her, you know? But we definitely have our issues.
Cool. Well, thank you so much, Brandi. It’s been a blast chatting with you. Is there anything else you’d like to add about the book or the show or anything else that we didn’t talk about?
Ingrid Michaelson transformed into everyone from John Lennon to Lady Gaga in her 2012 music video for “Blood Brothers.” Today, she pays homage to Robert Palmer with her new single, “Girls Chase Boys,” a stunning, gender-bending salute to Palmer’s 1988 video for “Simply Irresistible.”
“Girls Chase Boys’ started out as a break-up song but took on a deeper meaning as I continued writing,” Michaelson explained on her website. “More than just being about my experience, its focus shifted to include the idea that, no matter who or how we love, we are all the same. The video takes that idea one step further, and attempts to turn stereotypical gender roles on their head. Girls don’t exclusively chase boys. We all know this. We all chase each other and in the end we are all chasing after the same thing: love.”
The song is a soaring anthem of self-empowerment and hope, not unlike her friend and collaborator Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” (Look for the inevitable Katy Perry knock-off soon.) The video finds the songstress looking smoldering against a backdrop of chiseled man-candy, who are fully made up and rocking skintight pink tank tops. As it progresses, the shirts come off, dance breaks are had, women join in, everyone butt-grinds and Michaelson remains as flawless as ever.
It’s impressive how Michaelson manages to tweak the sexualization of women in music videos without coming off like a buzzkill. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for the rest of 2014.
Kate Winslet is no stranger to playing complex, multi-layered characters.
In her new film, Labor Day, the Academy Award winner takes on the role of Adele, an aggressively agoraphobic single mom who lives with her tween son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). Not only can she not lift a finger without her hands shaking, she also only leaves her house once a month to pick up groceries and supplies from a local convenience store. And by astutely observing how she mourns the loss of love and ambition in her life, Henry has taken on the role of caregiver for his mother.
But unlike some of Winslet’s previous characters – like Revolutionary Road’s April, Little Children’s Sarah, or the titular character in the HBO miniseries, Mildred Pierce – Labor Day’s Adele is not someone whose immense sadness comes as a result of a laundry list of regrets or paths not taken. Instead, she’s someone who has been dealt some of the most tragic cards that life can offer. This leaves her with a profound sense of resignation and a fragile day-to-day existence. Simply put, her son provides her with the only reason to get out of bed in the morning.
“There is, sort of, a common thread that runs through all of them, which is that they’re in situations that they are trying to basically find their way out of—and find themselves at the same time. There’s got to be something on a subconscious level that I relate to that maybe I’m not even aware of,” Winslet recently told The Hollywood Reporter while discussing the various depressed women she’s played throughout her career.
“I would certainly say that relationships in my own life, from a young age, have featured very heavily. I’ve always been in a committed, strong relationship, from when I was 16 years old,” the actress continued. “I was a serial monogamist. I just didn’t do the flings and things; I just couldn’t do it because I’m a very determined, committed, passionate person. If I’ve ever been in a situation in my own life that hasn’t been going the way that I had thought it would, I sure as hell wasn’t going to walk away without giving a fight, you know? And so that, I suppose, is what I have done in my own life, and, as a consequence, I’ve ended up playing characters who, in tandem with those periods in my own life, subconsciously, were in something that they were trying to get away from.”
Adele had lost hope of escaping and finding inner peace long ago. That is, until Labor Day weekend in 1987, when a series of terrifying circumstances force her to harbor a fugitive in her suburban New Hampshire home.
During one of her monthly outings, Adele encounters Frank (Josh Brolin), a bloodstained stranger who asks her for a ride while firmly gripping Henry’s neck. When they get into the car, Frank reveals that the place he needs to go is Adele’s house, so that he can hide out for a few hours until the police stop looking for him and he can continue on his way.
When they arrive at the house, Frank suggests that he tie Adele to a chair in her kitchen. That way, if he’s found, she can claim to have been kidnapped and won’t be seen as an accomplice to his escape. Reluctantly, Adele agrees under the condition that Frank not harm her son.
But as Adele’s trembling hands remain confined with rope, she begins to bond with the man holding her hostage. It’s not long before Frank starts to put his mark on her house – whether it’s by fixing loose floorboards, getting rid of the crink in the door, or by cooking delicious meals that Adele and Henry can’t help but salivate over.
Naturally, Frank’s visit goes from a handful of hours into an overnight stay, the overnight stay turns into a period of a few days, and a few days turns into visions of happily-ever-after. As Adele watches adoringly while Frank teaches Henry how to throw a baseball, she rediscovers what it means to have something to look forward to and to dream of a better future. Despite the circumstances that brought them together, could Frank and Adele be one another’s salvations?
Director Jason Reitman is convinced Winslet is the perfect actress for the part. “There’s no other actress that brings to life vulnerable, broken women without judging them and then making them flower in a beautiful way, making them sensual and making the audience want to watch them fall in love,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “I really relied on her, making a movie where the characters almost don’t talk and everything is conveyed through a glance or a little touch. She and Josh are the experts. I had to learn from them.”
Labor Day is quite a change of pace for the director, whose previous work includes such quirky films as Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up In The Air and Young Adult. This time around, he’s taken a far more subtle approach by bringing to life a script (based on Joyce Maynard’s novel of the same name) that places an emphasis on storytelling through the actors’ physical performances rather than on expansive dialogue or verbal exposition. By the time Adele and Frank begin to share and explore their feelings for one another, the audience has already seen the evolution of their relationship—even before the pair recognize what is happening to them.
Reitman’s trademark move of having one of his characters guide the story through voiceover narration is still present, this time in the form of adult Henry (Tobey Maguire) reflecting on the events surrounding Frank’s introduction into his and Adele’s life. He also employs a series of flashbacks that are inter-spliced throughout the film, telling parallel tales of what led Adele into her heavy reclusiveness, and the full story of why Frank was convicted to 18 years in prison. Along with the film’s main story, these three narratives intertwine to paint a larger and often harrowing portrait of the extreme actions that love and family can trigger in human beings.
While the film’s plot does require a bit of a leap of faith from its audience, Labor Day is a unique, intensely interesting character study that serves as a master class in acting. What truly carries the movie is Winslet and Brolin’s head-on portrayal of these two outcasts. This is what propels one of the most simultaneously unconventional, bold and romantic love stories of the year – including one of the most sensual pie-making scenes in contemporary cinema.
Both actors deliver powerhouse performances that make Labor Day a must-see film during an already crowded awards season. And while the movie may not make it on any “Best Picture” lists, its two leads certainly deserve to garner a lot of ballots for their astounding work come Oscar time (Winslet already received a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for the film).
“I probably am more drawn to films that really delve deep into the human condition and relationships,” Winslet explained to The New York Times. “It’s playing those roles that you get to see how odd everyone is. I do love that. There’s no such thing as normal.”
Labor Day opens for limited release on December 27th and will expand to theaters nationwide on January 31, 2014.