Tag Archives: frisky q and a

Frisky Q&A: Nick Verreos From “Project Runway Under The Gun” Wants Your Boyfriend To Wear Makeup

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Once upon a time long ago in a land far away … well, okay, it was 2005 on Bravo … there was the world’s most friendly and energetic designer, Nick Verreos. Although he was eliminated on episode 10 (boo), his involvement on the show shot his line,  Nikolaki, co-designed with his partner David Paul, to stardom and now Katy Perry, Eva Longoria and Beyoncé  are all fans. It also made him a regular presence on fashion red carpets and a regular guest on the TV Guide Network’s “Fashion Wrap.”

Verreos hasn’t strayed far from “Project Runway,” though: this year, he joined the cast of  ”Under The Gunn,” a “Project Runway” off-shoot hosted by the one and only Tim Gunn. The show brought Verreos, and other alums Mondo Guerra and Anya Ayoung-Chee, to mentor and coach teams comprised of 15 designers. Not surprisingly, Verreos was the winning mentor.

Part of the “Under The Gunn” final prize was to work with Benefit Cosmetics to create new uniforms for their in-store staff members. On Monday, Verreos and winner Oscar Garcia-Lopez hit up a Benefit store in SoHo to show off the brand’s adorable new apron (Sophie and I are wearing them above with Nick and Oscar!), kvell about his love for their products, and give his endorsement for the makeup-for-men trend.

Our chat, after the jump:

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Frisky Q&A: Great Author Sara Benincasa Talks Young Adult Fiction, Zelda Fitzgerald & Women In Comedy

Frisky Q&A: Great Author Sara Benincasa

A show of hands: who had to read The Great Gatsby in school?

Most of us, right? You’re probably overly familiar with the tale of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, if not from high school English class then from the Baz Luhrman spectacle in theaters this past summer. I hope you still have room in your stomach for more, because there’s a new Gatsby tale in town: Great, by Sara Benincasa, a young adult novel retelling of the classic.

But Great isn’t just any old retelling: the star-crossed lovers in this story are a same-sex couple set in the modern-day Hamptons. Jacinta is an “It girl” blogger who lives next door to Naomi, our narrator. While she rides out the summer at her mother’s extravagant summer home, Naomi tries to piece together Jacinta’s love affair with Delilah, a family friend of her mom and the Daisy Buchanan character in the story. It’s a familiar tale, but a completely different take on modern sexual mores and class.

And Sara Benincasa isn’t just any writer, either. She’s also one of my dearest friends. We met about seven years ago when she was a New York City-based standup comic and hosted a “Gossip Girl” fan festival. (Dorota came. It was amazing.) Over the years, I’ve watched Sara’s writing and comedy career skyrocket to much-deserved success. I’m genuinely thrilled for her that Great is such a good book and that more books from Sara are coming down the pipeline soon.

I called Sara up over Skype last week to chat about F. Scott Fitzgerald, feminism and how her memoir is being made into a TV show (!!!) by Diablo Cody. Here’s our conversation, after the jump:

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Frisky Q&A: Academy Award-Winning “ANITA” Director Freida Lee Mock

Anita director Freida Mock

Before she transcribed this interview, our intern told me that she wasn’t entirely sure who Anita Hill was. I could hardly blame her. Even with a segment on the Anita Hill testimony during a gender studies class in college, I didn’t know too much about Anita Hill myself.

The new documentary,”ANITA,” revisits Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 after she revealed that her former employer, Clarence Thomas, had sexually harassed her. A quiet law professor in Oklahoma, Hill had privately revealed the sexual harassment she suffered under Thomas, which was then leaked to the press. Immediately thrust in the public eye, she was asked to publicly testify against Thomas and decided to go for it. Sexual harassment laws were on the books, but this was the first time in many people’s memory that a woman subordinate to a very powerful man had spoken out. Not at all surprisingly, Hill was repeatedly asked to repeat graphic testimony about Thomas’ behavior; she was accused of being a liar or a “scorned woman”; and worst of all, treated as if it were her character that was under consideration. That both Hill and now Supreme Court Justice are both Black only added another layer of pressure to her decision to speak up. Thomas famously accused the 14 all-white men seated on the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Hill’s allegations of conducting a “high tech lynching.” (He later blamed “pro-choice liberals” for going after him.) Eventually, Thomas was narrowly confirmed by the Senate. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Melissa Gira Grant, Author Of Playing The Whore: The Work Of Sex Work

Melissa Gira Grant Playing The Whore

If you’ve done any reading on the Internet about the business of sex work, chances are you’ve come across Melissa Gira Grant. She’s written about sex, politics, labor and tech everywhere from the UK’s Guardian to The Atlantic  to Jezebel and Valleywag, making her one of the top intellectuals to turn to when America needs an explanation about why we’re so weird about sex.

A former “web cam girl,” Grant just published her latest book, Playing The Whore: The Work Of Sex Work, which is unlike any book about sex work or feminism that I’ve ever read. In it, she critiques law enforcement’s treatment of actual or perceived sex workers; labor issues surrounding sex work; and the tendency for governments and some outreach workers to treat all sex workers as “victims” in need of being “rescued.” However complicated you might have thought issues pertaining to sex work were before, Grant’s excellent book is extraordinarily illuminating.

Grant recently spoke to me about “whore stigma,” feminism, police, and the media’s struggle to accurately cover sex workers. Our Q&A begins after the jump: Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Avital Norman Nathman, Editor Of The Good Mother Myth

avital norman nathman

You know Avital Norman Nathman as the columnist behind Mommie Dearest, our feminist parenting column. But Avital is also the “mom” of her first book, The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood To Fit Reality.

The anthology explores the same ground she writes about here on The Frisky, like teen parents, postpartum depression, the changing face of the American family. Contributors included maternal health advocate/model Christy Turlington Burns, New York Times Motherlode blogger K.J. Dell’Antonia, Feministing co-founder Jessica Valenti, Manifesta co-author Jennifer Baumgardner, The Radical Housewife blogger Shannon Drury, and many others.

I’m not saying this just because Avital is one of our columnists — I genuinely loved The Good Mother Myth. It provoked me to think about feminism and motherhood in ways I hadn’t before and opened my eyes more to how gender identity, race and class alter the experience. I gave Avital a call over Skype to chat about her book, myths surrounding motherhood, and how to know when you’re ready to have kids. Our interview, after the jump: Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Janet Mock, Author Of Redefining Realness

Frisky Q&A: Janet Mock, Author Of Redefining Realness

After being the subject of a 2011 Marie Claire profile, writer and activist Janet Mock decided to tell her story in her own words. And what a story it is. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, is out this week. It’s a brave, honest and gripping memoir detailing Mock’s turbulent childhood and experiences as a young trans woman finding herself.

Despite digging deep and sharing intimate details of her past, Mock still manages to pepper her book with vital LGBT statistics and snippets of important history regarding trans women. While her debut book is most certainly a memoir, it also provides a carefully crafted way to begin discussing the very real issues and challenges many trans women and men face on a daily basis. After quickly devouring the book, I had the pleasure of speaking with the author herself. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Joyce Maynard, Author Of Labor Day & Kate Winslet’s Personal Pie Instructor

joyce maynard QA

Seeing your novel be made into a mainstream film is one thing. But teaching two of Hollywood’s biggest stars how to bake your mother’s pie recipe? Joyce Maynard has the life.

Maynard is the author of Labor Day, a novel about an agoraphobic, fragile single mom  who is brought out of her shell by a fugitive on the run. In the film version, “Labor Day,” which is directed by Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up In The Air”), the marvelous Kate Winslet plays Adele, a divorcée buckled by heartbreak who we desperately want to find love again. We just aren’t sure we want her to find it with Josh Brolin’s character Frank, a prison escapee and big, scary, imposing man sent from Central Casting. Good job on that beard, Josh!

At first Frank forces himself into Adele’s house seeking cover, which she provides under fear of injury. But this hostage situation becomes a love affair when Frank proves himself to be a sensitive and caring individual (despite his murder record) and that’s just what Adele needs. Their unconventional love story is narrated by Adele’s 13-year-old son Henry. He watches Frank with a wary eye — but is happy to have a father figure and delights in seeing his mother smile again.

I spoke with Joyce Maynard about teaching Josh Brolin to make pie (photo proof above!), writing like a 13-year-old boy, and her desire for an unconventional love story. Our Q&A begins after the jump: Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Emily Matchar, Author of Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing The New Domesticity

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QA Emily Matchar Homeward Bound

One upon a time, the phrase “domestic diva” referred to Martha Stewart and stereotypes of 1950′s housewives. But you may have noticed recently that all your friends are knitting and growing their own kale. Your cousin is raising chickens in her backyard. Your mom is making her own pickles and selling them on Etsy. And everyone is wondering why you aren’t baking your own bread yet.  (“It’s so easy!”)  Congratulations, you have been hit by New Domesticity, an aughties phenomenon in which traditional homemaking tasks experience a revival in the hopes of saving money, eating fresher, improving health, and cutting the government out of your personal life.

Journalist Emily Matchar always loved reading blogs, especially the do-it-yourself (DIY) and homesteading genres. She was surprised to see a lot of middle-class professionals, including Third and Forth Wave feminists (not the likeliest group to embrace washing their laundry by hand), taking on pioneer woman-style chores and calling it a feminist choice. Matchar got curious what was going on. Why would people milk their own cows if they could just buy milk at the store?  Why would parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Were women who quit their jobs to devote themselves full-time to growing nearly all their family’s food could really be serious? Quickly Matchar fell down a rabbit hole where answers only lead to more questions.  There are liberal Earth mamas, conservative Mormon housewives and even some pioneering dudes who read the same blogs about DIY homemaking tips — and they are everywhere. In her new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing The New Domesticity speaks to a bunch of these folks and paints a fascinating portrait of this new twisty-turn in feminism.

I spoke with Matchar over the phone in Hong Kong, where she is currently living about New Domesticity, traditional gender roles, and the pleasures of breaking your bed. (Apparently, it really is so easy.)  Our conversation, after the jump:

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Frisky Q&A: Teen Designer Talia Castellano Is Fighting Cancer With Fashion

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Tania Castellano was seven-years-old when she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the nervous system. Despite the diagnosis — and the harrowing treatments — Talia pressed on with the business of living. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Talia reveled in her favorite activity — playing with makeup — and created a thriving YouTube presence with more than half a million subscribers. Her channel, Makeup Is My Wig, features hundreds of videos. There are videos of her happily chatting to the camera, (seriously really good!) makeup tutorials, and reviews of her favorite new shopping purchases, or hauls. Basically you could spend, like, a thousand hours watching Talia’s videos and never get sick of them. She’s smart, funny, approachable and really, really cute.

Earlier this year, after multiple rounds of treatment, Talia found out that the cancer had spread all over her body. Now 13, she knows she doesn’t have much more time, but has a few things she’d still like to accomplish. On the top of that list? Becoming a fashion designer — even if she’s designing from a hospital bed. And that’s where fashionista Urbana Chappa — herself a cancer survivor — stepped in. She’s collaborating with Talia on a new fashion collection called That Bald Chick, which reflect Talia’s upbeat personality and spunky style. Plus! All proceeds from the collection’s sale will go to Talia’s family, who are facing sky high medical bills.

For her part, Talia has a very Zen approach to her cancer. “I’ve gotten so many benefits from [cancer],” she said in one of her videos. “Having a YouTube channel, having to inspire people and having people look up to me … the journey of having cancer was amazing. But every journey has an end.”

After the jump, The Frisky speaks with both Talia and Urbana about their collaboration, and how fashion keeps Talia’s spirits up. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Tyler Marcum, The Man Behind The “I’m Getting Older 2″ Video, Talks Unicorn Masks, Beyonce & The Importance Of Dancing In Your Underwear

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Tyler Marcum will heretofore be known as the man who made a “sensible mashup” of himself dancing to “Landslide” in his underwear at age 20 and again at age 30. The moment I saw his “I’m Getting Older 2″ video, I knew two things: 1) that we needed to be friends and 2) that he was going to be an Internet sensation. The Internet sensation thing is already happening. His YouTube video got nearly 67,000 views in the span of one day. The friendship thing, well, I think our first conversation went well. We talked about lots of exciting things like unicorn masks, “winding it back,” and the importance of dancing in one’s underwear. Check it out after the jump. Keep reading »

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