I am happy to say my afternoon meeting has been canceled so I can enjoy this glass of wine.
I had a glass of wine before “Ellen” and “Steve Harvey” this week. So, cheers!
What shall we toast to?
We are toasting to not sucking at relationships!
In your new book, “I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To”, you stress how knowing oneself is important. What is something you didn’t understand about yourself in your 20s that you understand now?
More of what I want. It’s not that I necessarily execute that, but I’d say now I understand more of what I want and need in relationships as a woman. I think that people think that having a child and having a career make it difficult to have relationships. I’ve been asked that a little bit, and I think that that’s not really the case. I think that having a child and having a career make you know more of what you want in a relationship and make you realize what you’re looking for and it weeds things out.
You wrote that your gut speaks loud and clearly to you, but when is a time you completely ignored it in a relationship?
I think that has happened a lot. It happens on first dates, it happens with a lack of chemistry sexually, it happens if someone is cheap, it happens if someone says something that turns you off and is an indication of the future and usually that becomes true. It happens early on. The signs come early on.
Is there anything the press hasn’t asked you about from your book that surprises you?
The fact that women need to control themselves. No one has brought up that chapter. People have brought up online dating a lot and the lack thereof in my life. I don’t know, let me look at all of the chapters and see what people haven’t asked! People haven’t really mentioned “Get a Life” or “Master the Catch and Release”.
Can you predict what the media will have a field day with?
Yeah, I know once it comes out of my mouth if it’s going to get picked up. I knew that when I mentioned my weight that it would get picked up. It’s a little rampant lately, unless I’m just feeling it more. It’s a sensitive topic, relationships, and I didn’t originally plan for this book to be out right now. When I started writing this book, I didn’t even know that I’d come back to the show [“Real Housewives of New York City”], so it’s all sort of happening at the same time and it’s a little bit of an overload. Some things have been taken out of context, a lot of speculation about my recent relationships, which I haven’t been very public about, so it’s been an interesting time.
You write about the attachment hormone, oxytocin, and how it tricks you that you’re in love– making you overlook the red flags and incompatibility traits. When did you learn about this and do you wish you knew sooner?
I think I do wish I found out sooner. My therapist, Dr. Amador who is throughout the book and is the voice of reason, told me about it first. I think he said that when you have sex with someone you confuse it for love if you’re connected, and that’s scary for women because you think something is real that’s not and that can make you make ridiculous decisions. You want to be more careful of who you give it up to!
Do you apply your relationship advice to business as well? For example, cooling off before sending an email, or is it a different game?
I think it’s very much the same. I think there are so many parallels between business and relationships because business can be emotional if you’re passionate about it, and relationships can be sensible. You can’t be a crazy person leading with your emotions. So, I think you should sit with something and process it, so you don’t come in guns blazing with emotion. A lot of time the delivery is more important than the content. The person hears the way you deliver something and that’s what they take away. If you lack kindness or if you’re being controlling and nasty, they don’t hear what you’ve actually said. If you come in from a place of compassion and clarity, people might be able to hear what you are saying. You need to be a little bit surgical about the way you say things.
How has the way you handled rejection in business changed over the last ten years? Is it easier to not take things personally now?
Ten years ago it meant more and every rejection meant the threat of not being able to pay my rent and not having a future and not knowing what I would do with my life. Now I don’t get that much rejection to ideas of mine, but people not watching the show or not buying the book or not buying the drink might be some form of rejection. Something not doing as well as I thought it would and missing the mark, that would feel like a sense of rejection, but I’m very resilient. I think everything happens for a reason. I really do. Relationships, work, if it’s not supposed to happen it’s not part of the path. The past has never proved to be incorrect. The past has always proved to me that even if something is uncomfortable in the moment you find out later why it’s happening.
Do you ever look back and think fondly of the days when you were young and naïve in your 20s?
I really don’t. I don’t believe in regret. I have a really great life. I’m really fortunate and blessed. I was really scared that I would never be successful and never achieve my potential and that meant a lot to me. I didn’t know if I’d have a child. I now have a beautiful daughter. I have not been successful at relationships, but I used to not be successful at business and I became successful at that, so I will be successful at relationships.
What would you tell that girl in those uncertain moments if you had the power?
Try not to wrap it all up and feel like you have to figure it out so early.
What is your strongest quality when it comes to business and what is something you still work on today?
I’d say my strongest business qualities are execution, passion, drive, directness, certainty and marketing. I would say my downfall would be how I don’t have major bedside manners, so with my partners I will just tell them, “That doesn’t look good,” or, “I’m not saying that, that’s ridiculous, I would never eat that,” being a little harsh.
Did you ever imagine Skinnygirl would be as big as it is today? Was this the plan: salad dressings, sweetener, popcorn, etc?
No. I never imagined it would be as big as it is today. It’s non-stop. There is no end in sight. The answer is no. I never thought it would be this big. I can’t even believe I have eight books. I didn’t know how to dream this big.
Does it seem like the time has flown by since your appearance on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” in 2005?
No! If it’s really only ten years ago it feels like it was 20 years ago. I’ve done a lot in ten years then. What I’ve done in five years would take people ten lifetimes to do.
What was more of a moment for you, the cover of Forbes or when you had the first Skinnygirl bottle in your hand?
I’d say the cover of Forbes was a real moment. It was surreal, surprising and did not seem even possible. That felt like, “I’m not worthy” and “the emperor has no clothes.” I couldn’t even believe it.
What is the hardest part of getting an idea for a product to the shelf?
Distribution. Getting the word out is so hard, so people know it exists. Even if they know it exists, they have to be able to know where to find it where they are. It’s the awareness and distribution. I’m still going through it. My bars are at Target, Skinnygirl Sparklers are at Walmart and there is something else online. So you can’t go in one store right now and get everything. Eventually that will be the case. It’s a process.
Let’s talk “RHONY”. Do some ladies need help writing their tagline for the opening of the show?
For me, Season 1 and even 2 and 3, it was what I had just naturally said. “New York City is my playground,” I think I just happened to say that in passing and they just used it. Now they ask you for your tagline. A lot of times Bravo just writes them for the women, but I wrote mine. I knew what mine was for this season.
“I’m not a housewife, but I’m real.” Another effortless remark?
Somebody that I was close with suggested it.
What do the viewers not see when you’re chatting on the show?
If it’s a big scene there could be 2-3 cameras. If there are eight women they need more cameras. Typically 1-2 cameras, one sound person and then hiding in some other room would be one or two producers that you don’t really see. You don’t realize they are there.
If you had to be stuck in an elevator with one of the housewives, who would it be?
Definitely Carole [Radziwill]. Carole or LuAnn [de Lesseps], but probably really Carole.
Do you and Carole connect because you’re both authors?
Yeah, we do. We have very different processes and styles.
What is your writing process? Do you check yourself into a hotel and binge write?
No, that would be Carole’s process and Andy Cohen’s process. Mine is constantly, constantly, constantly writing. I make it all in a pile and then organize it.
Does writing come easily to you?
For me it does. It’s easy for me to convey what I’m feeling … My whole book is written in the editing process. I do chapter by chapter, read one chapter today, edit one chapter tomorrow. So it’s one day at a time. I don’t binge write or edit. It’s in my notes section of my phone. There are stories and emails I’ve cut and pasted, and then I try to organize it and create a table of contents out of it. That goes here, that goes there. It’s like cleaning out your garage. It’s an overwhelming process, but you just have to go in there and tackle it.
Love or success if you could only pick one?
Do you believe everyone has a soulmate?
I think people can and do have many different soulmates, but I do believe in them. It doesn’t mean you are going to necessarily end up with them. It doesn’t mean it’s logical lifemates, but it may mean that you are connected forever.
What have been some of the fun, trivial perks of fame?
I would say my relationship with Ellen [DeGeneres] has been a major moment, I wouldn’t say it’s trivial, but that’s been really awesome. Silly things like being asked to be in “Sharknado”. I’m not doing it, but I found that to be funny. Emma Stone or Ricky Gervais being big fans of mine, but probably the most trivial, craziest thing was on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” when Anne Hathaway mentioned Skinnygirl Margarita. We were dying.
What did you do with your first big paycheck?
I just put it in the bank. The first thing I really bought, I bought a Christian Louboutin bag retail in Texas in the beginning. I usually don’t buy things like that, just walking into the store and buying something that expensive. I have the copy of the check in a safe somewhere, like the copy of the first wire of money that I ever had that was big.
Are you a morning or night person?
How do you stay fit?
Vinyasa. YogaWorks or yoga at my house. I have two yoga DVDs of my own.
Three wishes if you were granted them today?
That I could sleep on command, health and happiness for my daughter and that I wouldn’t suck at relationships.
When you’re having cocktails with Andy Cohen, what kind of drunk is he?
Fun and silly.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Lastly, what made you pick your pinot noir for our conversation?
It’s Chicago, which feels like old school Italian and it’s pizza. I’m actually in the mood for that, so it was a good choice!
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