I sat down with Kelly Cutrone, founder of hip PR company People’s Revolution, reality-TV star and author of The New York Times bestseller If You Have to Cry, Go Outside and a new self-help book, Normal Gets You Nowhere.
Carole: Do you really believe normal gets you nowhere?
Kelly: Most people that have something other people want, whether it’s spiritual enlightenment, things or career cred, are not normally normal. It seems that people who venture outside the circles or squares that they’re placed in by gender grouping or what they do and dare to question or be excited continue to evolve. My whole thing is to encourage young people and women to be themselves because there’s so much pressure to conform. I don’t think the world is going to move forward until the individual rises up.
Carole: How do you balance your spiritual life with running People’s Rev?
Kelly: In India there’s a practice called karma yoga, which means we work for the divine. A couple of the gurus (the mother and amma) who I follow don’t believe that anything is wasted, so even your own ego bonanza or firework folly is useful to the yoga. I was doing intense chanting and meditation for close to 16 years; then I stopped. I still did spiritual practice but not the same way. It scared me. I was feeling too empowered. Nobody wants to be divine all the time. People like to be divine from 11 to 9 and then not so divine. I allow myself the right to do intense practice, and I allow myself the right to fuck off.
Carole: Mainstream media likes to blow smoke up our collective ass with its weapons of mass distraction. How do you justify promoting people like Nicky Hilton?
Kelly: Projection is a funny thing. Nicky’s a smart nice person who was educated at some of the best schools in the world and does a lot of good from a philanthropic standpoint, as do her mom and dad. I don’t know the Hiltons as Pop-Tarts. I wanted to use my cred to give her the same right as anyone else who would enter into fashion. I believe if people want to work and they come to the table with some talent, they should be allowed to. If anything, my roster is too ethically driven. I do Jeremy Scott, Paco Rabanne, Westwood and Agent Provocateur — all the outsiders.
Carole: You’re developing a pilot for Bravo called Normal Gets You Nowhere. Do you think being under the microscope of reality TV contributed to the suicide of Beverly Hills house-guy Russell Armstrong?
Kelly: Yes. The first week I was shooting Kell on Earth, my Bravo show, not when it aired, I called my agent and said, I never want to do this again. They were, like, Why? And I was, like, It’s the new snuff. Reality stars are like gladiators. Every season people want to see more. Do all the people having babies on reality TV really want to, or are they just willing to go the extra season? Do I think that TV causes suicide? No, but I do think that people having shame and humiliation and poor distribution networks can back someone into a corner. The way things are edited on TV can be really brutal. People need to understand when they’re signing up for that stuff what they’re signing up for.
Carole: You offer sex advice for straight women in NGYN. Does the Kella-Sutra work for lesbians?
Kelly: I never think of my writing in terms of gay or straight. Everybody thinks I’m gay.
Carole: Yeah, we do.
Kelly: I prefer to have sex with guys but have slept with one woman. I was 25, had tattoos and was getting divorced from Ronnie Cutrone, was very bossy. I’m down for chicks 100 percent. I just prefer to have sex with men.
Carole: Why do you think young people are so apathetic in North America when it comes to social and political injustice?
Kelly: They’re over-medicated by capitalism and media, and they don’t really know because there are so many distractions: 70 kinds of cereal, Wii, PlayStation, TiVo and the internet. I know I have a very hard time staying informed and even informed. You can’t necessarily believe it because all media is a brand pushing its own agenda
Carole: Who are the most creative, cutting-edge designers right now?
Kelly: I like Jeremy Scott. He has a great sense of humour and understands pop culture. Rihanna and Katy Perry love to work with him. I love Dries, but it’s really expensive. I’m trying not to buy $1,800 dresses. I’d rather give my money to other causes right now.