May 17, 2010

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside

Book 21 on my list was Kelly Cutrone's If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You.   Loved it.

Kelly is, among other things, the founder of a fashion PR company called People's Revolution and she is a total badass.  She has appeared on The Hills and had her own reality show on Bravo called Kell on Earth.  I think people like to think of her as a publicity-seeking, crazy bitch, and maybe the publicity part is true but I also think of her as brash but honest.  She'll let loose on one of her staffers with a tongue-lashing but follows it up with a kind word or a compliment, which I find endearing, and compassionate.  I mean, obviously I don't know her or anything, but that's the way she seems on TV.

Anyway.  The book.  I started reading it thinking that it would be a name-dropping tell-all memoir in the manner of Janice Dickinson's bio, and there was some of that.  Listen to this:

My marriage ended with an explosion, not a slow fade.  When I told Ronnie I was leaving him, he didn't take it well:  he grabbed a German ceremonial dagger out of his closet and put it to my throat.  I managed to escape, which is when he called my father and said, "Lee, I'm going to kill your daughter and then I'm going to kill myself."  He subsequently pushed me down the stairs at the office...
Yikes.  I learned that during her life, before she started People's Rev, Kelly was a fabulous NY It Girl, almost died from drug addictions, and worked as a tarot card reader on the boardwalk in Venice Beach.  She is very spiritual. She is a single mom.  And at one point she was a hippie rapper!  Check these lyrics:

Deep in outer space,
Trying to get a grip on this thing we call the human race,
Rat race, out of place,
Krishnas calling out, don't you hear your name?
Darkness keeps on dancing, it never stays the same,
Yes the Mother loves you and it's time for you to know,
Heaven is a comin', it's a souled-out show.

I mean, come on.  "Souled-out show."  That is so awesome. 

She's entertaining, too. At one point she calls out the fashion industry for producing "images of girls who look like they've been gangbanged on Alice in Wonderland adventures and calls them ad campaigns," and in another spot she discounts the "popular notion that 'spiritual' refers only to vegans in Whole Foods whispering to each other." Ha!

Now:  Gossip about her life aside, for the most part If You Have to Cry was kind of a self-help book.  Surprise!  Kelly (I feel that we're on a first name basis) tells the stories of her life but mixes them with heaps of advice on finding your own "religion", creating your brand, making your career work for you (not the other way around), and just encourages her readers to be authentic and true to themselves.  It's really quite positive and uplifting.  She writes, "I fundamentally believe in grooming the next generation of women to win, not in trying to be come their friend," and provides her "unspoken rules you must know to pole-vault forward on your sword of truth, light and ambition and not get stabbed by it."  A little hippie-trippy, sure, but I admire her attitude.  When I finished the book I realized I had marked over a dozen pages for rereading.
I enjoyed this book, and I think Kelly is great.  I'm also totally afraid of her, of course.

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