Reality TV star and PR guru Kelly Cutrone sat down with GLAMOUR.com to talk TV, books and also her involvement with British beauty brand Illamasqua, of which, Kelly is US Brand Ambassador... Hi Kelly, let's talk about the TV first. You recently finished The City last year, so do you have any upcoming projects?
I just shot a new pilot for MTV, which is called Normal Will Get You Nowhere. Hopefully it will get picked up. It's really cool. Basically, it's about small town kids. I'm a small town girl and the pilot focuses on this small town girl. She wants to be a skateboard designer. Nobody in her family believes she can and they think art is for dreamers and freaks. The show centres around me going in and having a chat with mom and dad and I try and sort the parents out. Then we grab their kid, bring them to NYC and help them in what they want to do, whether it's getting them an internship or a real job.
Did you prefer working on The Hills or The City?
The City was pretty fun to shoot but The Hills was very funny to work on because the people on the cast were so freaky. At the end of Lauren's run on the show, she was getting really tired of being on it and she would encourage me to, like, you know, trip Stephanie Pratt up a little bit. She was like, "Why don't you just throw clothes at her today?!" Also, when we had cast parties it was a little bit more fun to be at The Hills' ones because there were Heidi, Spencer, Justin Bobby and Audrina. But the finale party, the last one, was really amazing because Spencer was not allowed to come - they asked him not to - and he ended up on the property and everybody, Lauren for example, was terrified of what he might do. So the gossip was pretty awesome.
Were you disappointed when The City was cancelled?
I was surprised that it was cancelled - the ratings were really high, but we didn't really know it was happening. I mean, sure, we all made a lot of money and had a great time from doing it... But I just wanted it to end a different way. This is how I wanted the season to end: you would be in this super high-powered NYC board room and the camera pans over all these accessories, so you get an idea of who it was. Then you would hear the voices, "No I'm not going to do it, I always do it. You do it!" Then the shot goes to Olivia, who is at Bergdorf Goodman, shopping, and then the voice will be like, "Who is going to kill Olivia?!" That is how I wanted the season to end.
Indeed, you famously clashed with Olivia Palermo on The City, what are your real thoughts on her?
Listen, they wanted her to work in my office. I didn't think that was going to be a very good idea and that was what prompted the move to Diane's [Von Furstenberg].
The two series showed the day-to-day workings of a fashion PR at People's Revolution, as somebody in the fashion industry, what are your thoughts on the John Galliano scandal?
I feel really bad for him. You know, I feel bad for him because it's clear he had too much to drink and I don't know anybody who hasn't blacked out or been a mess or who has never said anything they don't regret. I do think it's really f***ing sad it's really, really sad when you spend forty years of your life bringing beauty into the world and just a couple of hours bringing ugliness in and, like, you are kicked out. But I also feel sorry for my friends that are Jewish. I'm really, really sorry any time that anything anti-Semitic is done and again it comes back to love and compassion but, you know, can I understand how that can have happened? Yeah, I can. Have I ever been around drunk people or said something while drunk that I regretted? Absolutely. Is it full of shame? Yes. Would I have wanted to do this in front of the whole world? No.
So, let's talk about your involvement with Illasmasqua. How did your appointment as US Brand Consultant for them come about?
It came about after two charlatans known as Joseph Corré and Julian Kynaston got in touch! I did [the PR for] Agent Provocateur for 8 years with Joe and Serena [Joseph Corré and Serena Rees, the founders of Agent Provocateur] and then a year ago, Joe came round with Julian, we talked PR and I said I really think I would be better as a brand consultant because I don't wear a lot of make-up. I mean, I love make-up and I'd like to point out that I did make an effort with my nails today - kind of an Egyptian head wrap take on the French manicure. So, yeah, that's how it came about and the rest is history.
What upcoming projects with Illamasqua can you tell us about? I'm trying to get us our own float in the Halloween parade. I think it'll be really great to have a late-night Illamasqua float. Halloween is so massive in New York and our tagline, in a sense, is 'transforming your alter-ego', so I thought it would be really great to have the Illamasqua creatures of the night. I also want to do some crazy Illamasqua thing for Christmas. At the moment, I'm thinking I just want to get really hot chicks dressed as Illamasqua elves and get them going around NYC or something cheeky like that.
Illamasqua is famous for its bold, brights and unusual colours, along with having a very unique identity in the beauty industry - is this something that attracted you to the brand?
Yes, but also because it's a family brand and because it's unisex. You know, it's really great if you can find a guy that likes to wear make-up and then you can all travel together! In fact, they're products for the whole family... Well suited for these tough economic times.
What's your best beauty tip?
Do everything that you want to do. I think so many people are afraid to express themselves - the most beautiful thing is to be yourself, then you can play with those aspects of the self and not be afraid of it. I'm 45 now; I've already done it all. I've had a shaved blue head, I've had long yellow dreadlocks, had my face painted, I've worn red lipstick, I've had a bob... I mean, I've done all of the different incarnations and what I've learned is that there is nothing sexier than a person - man or woman - just feeling really cool about who they are and owning it. Whether it's a transgender person or a hot preppy girl, whatever it is, if you're owning your thing and you're in to it, it's just so beautiful, because confidence is beautiful.
Tell us more about Illamasqua's involvement with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation...
I always cry when I talk about Sophie because I'm a mother with a child and I always think, whenever I think of her, about being her mum; how hard that must be when you put everything into your child and have it taken away like that. Just the thought of being a mother and not being able to be there and knowing that thing that you love more than anything was kicked to death by another human being... It is such a sad thing to think about. I mean, that could have easily been me once upon a time. Check out my Facebook - there are photos of me on there with my head shaved and then another with me with really long dreadlocks. Black and blue dreadlocks. Sophie had these dreads and, I mean, it literally could have been me. I don't want that to happen to anybody and I have a lot of friends and employees who might be considered 'out of the box', shall we say - and I think about the amount of courage it takes for them and, you know, she just wanted to be a little goth girl. The thing about it is she wasn't even hard-core goth or anything. When you see pictures of her, she was just a pretty cool goth girl. For me it's also the thing about stamping out prejudice, hate and intolerance everywhere and the only way we're going to do that is with love and compassion and in not accepting that type of behaviour around us, whether it's at a dinner table or in our own homes or on our block. The short film that Illasmasqua did - when her soul split - really captured it, and also the fact that her mum is able to continue on. I mean, they're angels, the pair of them, Sophie and her mum, because she's just really into the keeping the memory of her daughter going and trying to use what happened as a big message to other people. I always talk to people about Sophie and I just got a whole bunch of bracelets sent to Perez Hilton. I was like, "We've got to get Perez wearing the Sophie band."
You've been hugely successful, not only with People's Revolution but as a TV star and most recently a writer, firstly with If You Have to Cry, Go Outside- a New York Times bestseller - and lately Normal Gets You Nowhere. What inspired you to write?
I always thought I would. I'd often say, you know, "My life is a movie..." and, "When I write my book..." and so I kind of manifested it. Then I got a phone call from the spiritual and empowerment division of Harper Collins and I thought I really wanted to do it because I didn't feel like there were really a lot of options for women as far as spirituality goes. I'd bought into the whole career thing, so for me, I just thought it would be cool to speak to young people in a language they understood, that would be easy to assimilate. Also, I made it part memoir, because it's funny and I think it's really encouraging to a lot of people because they don't realise that most people who are successful come from the middle of nowhere - they somehow think there's a secret, or that you're supposed to come from a rich family, and it's just not true.
How would you describe your books?
I think they offer a way of looking at the world and your career. I think there is so much programming and structure as to what young people think they should do and I think these are an invitation to re-think that structure. It's also a celebration of youth and intuition and I really feel like that book is an invitation to get to know yourself. I think that's all we can hope to do in this world. To support the Sophie Lancaster Foundation,
Image: Kelly Cutrone, centre, with The City stars Roxy Olin and Whitney Port.