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Frisky Q&A: Now I See You Author Nicole Kear On Going Blind In Her 20s

nicole kear now i see you

Buying your first piece of IKEA furniture. Backpacking around Europe. One-night stands. Splurging on dinner Friday night and spending the rest of the week eating ramen. These are just a few of the things most of us expect of our 20s.

Something that isn’t on anyone’s list? Slowing going blind from a degenerative eye disease.

It wasn’t on Nicole Kear’s list, either. And the Yale and Columbia graduate intended to live her life like it wasn’t. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, fell in love, got married and even attended clown school. Yet through it all, Kear knew a degenerative eye disease she had been diagnosed with at 19 was slowing taking her vision away. She was told she had one good decade before she would be entirely blind. Her family and husband  knew about the disease (retinitis pigmentosa), but Kear was embarrassed and hardly told any friends — she had lots of excuses for why her eye makeup looked messy or she wouldn’t drive at night. However, Kear and her husband settled into new parenthood, and she had to come to terms with the realities of her disabilities, including learning how to walk with a cane.

I read Nicole Kear’s funny, fascinating memoir Now I See You in almost one sitting and came away from it thinking, I could be friends with this person. She’s smart, spunky, and makes it easy to put yourself in her (unfortunately, no longer high-heeled) shoes. I gave her a call at home in Brooklyn to chat about blindness, how she managed to write a book with three young kids, and giving strangers the benefit of the doubt.

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PurrVerse: Behind The Lens With Sex Worker Photographer Isabel Dresler

purrverse-photography

Recently I got a chance to meet Isabel Dresler (safe for work), who I’ve taken to calling “photographer to queer porn stars.” She’s shot with some queer porn faves like Courtney Trouble, Dylan Ryan, Andre Shakti, and Siouxsie Q. We got to chatting at a shoot for the cover of the East Bay Express on the local porn scene, where Betty Blac, Jolene Parton and I helped fulfill her desire to have a photo taken while she was being smothered by breasts.

There’s an interesting combination of intimacy and high fashion that manifests under her gaze. I was curious to ask her a bit more about it, as well as why she decided to focus attention on marketing photos for sex workers. I liked how she called herself more of a scientist than an artistic photographer, investing her time in the study of her subject (which could be anything from insects to fancy homes). Everyone seems to be obsessed about the sex part of sex work, but it’s still work. As such, middle class indoor sex work often requires some practical and related investments: a decent website, a second phone, and, of course, some excellent photos.

Here’s my conversation with Dresler, after the jump: Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Pattie Byrnes, The CEO Of Fit 4 U, Teaches Me How To Pick A Bathing Suit

I consider myself to be a fairly body-confident woman. I enjoy my body’s curves. Even though I would like to lose some weight around my tummy, I don’t want to hide myself, either. I’m not confident enough to wear a traditional bikini, though, so come summertime, I’ve always just rocked a one-piece — it covers said tummy and also because I don’t want to worry about a bikini top splashing away. One-pieces never looked particularly good or particularly bad on me; they were usually just whatever Old Navy was selling that season.

It wasn’t until I got fitted for a cherry-colored bathing suit (above) by Fit 4 U — a special two-piece designed to hide tummies — that I found a bathing suit that I genuinely love. It’s a tankini top with ruffles down the middle and matching bottoms. First of all, it looked like cute lingerie, but it still appropriate for the beach. Second of all, the ruffles are feminine and fun but not too “foofy.” Third, it hid my tummy without looking like some kind of obvious Spanx-type situation. And fourth, it made my boobs look awesome, too! I went away for a weekend with my husband and I was genuinely excited to wear this bathing suit in the hot tub. (FWIW, he thinks it’s cute, too.) Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: “Mike & Molly” Star Swoosie Kurtz

swoosie kurtz

“I forgot to get married and have babies” is often a line women with successful careers hear from their peers as a warning to reprioritize their lives. Yet this is exactly how Swoosie Kurtz, currently starring in “Mike and Molly” with Melissa McCarthy, explains why she is 69-years-old and never married and without children. But never fear, Swoosie has no regrets.

How did a girl with an unconventional name grow up to conquer stage and screen— starring on ”Sisters,” “Pushing Daisies,” and “Nurse Jackie,” as well as taking home multiple Tonys, Emmys, Obies and Drama Desk Awards — and still be happy without “a family?” Well, her family. 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: Ani DiFranco On Patriarchy, Motherhood & “Having It All”

Ani DiFranco interview The Frisky

When I arrived at the basement of the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts, I found folk musician Ani DiFranco in the midst of trying to get her six-month-old son Dante down for a nap. Minutes later I spotted the young baby — still very much awake — strapped into a carrier about to head out on a walk. This meshing of work and life happens daily for DiFranco, who is back on the road after having taken some time off to have her second child. Like his sister before him, Dante has joined DiFranco on tour, and the singer has been relearning how to split her time between motherhood and music.

While her son (hopefully) walked his way into a nap, DiFranco and I discussed everything from hitting the road as a mother of two, the notion of “having it all,” her ever-growing relationship with her fans and so much more. Keep reading »

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