January 2017

Clinton Kelly

Snark and style
Interview by
The former co-host of “What Not to Wear” delivers candid and comical observations on growing up gay and other topics in an entertaining new memoir, I Hate Everyone, Except You.
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The former co-host of “What Not to Wear” delivers candid and comical observations on growing up gay and other topics in an entertaining new memoir, I Hate Everyone, Except You.

My favorite line from the book is addressed to your fans: “Start focusing on you . . . your power, your value, the stuff that goes way deeper than designer jeans and the perfect shade of lipstick. But also on the perfect shade of lipstick if that makes you happy. Because you deserve to be happy.” What do you think needs to change for women to stop equating their appearance with their value?
A cultural revolution, I suppose. Men and women have tied a woman’s value to her looks for a very long time. That kind of thinking doesn’t magically cease overnight, but we could begin by praising our daughters, granddaughters, nieces for qualities in addition to their beauty, like their intelligence, strength, creativity, talent. And we could start teaching boys at an earlier age not to behave like pigs.

You write about how hurtful it was to you and your husband when Ted Cruz called the ruling on marriage equality one of our nation’s darkest days. You briefly considered moving to Sweden but write, “even if he, or someone just as horrible, becomes president, it’s not worth jumping ship.” How are you feeling post-election?
Well, I’ve been experiencing a wide range of emotions. I want to be clear, I would never leave the United States just because I don’t like a president. I love this country very much and believe the vast majority of Americans are good human beings. But if the Supreme Court reverses its marriage equality ruling, I’ll have a big problem with that, as I’m sure you can understand.

In the hilarious chapter “Clinton for President!” you eat a marijuana gummy bear and then talk about how when you’re president, you will make American fabulous again. So, Clinton Kelly 2020?
I’m not gonna lie: Part of me thinks I could do a freakin’ awesome job as president, but another—much larger—part of me doesn’t want to work that hard at anything. Taking all those meetings would be torture for me. If I’m on a conference call that lasts for more than 10 minutes, I want to commit hara-kiri.

You have a funny fake sitcom script in one chapter. Do you think you’ll ever try writing an actual TV pilot?
So glad you liked it! I have a drawer full of sitcom scripts I’ve written. Writing them and subsequently squirreling them away is a weird habit of mine. I never show them to anyone because I assume people will think they’re stupid. But then again, a lot of really stupid stuff makes its way to television.

Your afterword is addressed to your grandma, saying you didn’t share any stories about her because she’s all yours. Come on, tell us one thing about your grandma!
Aw, she’s just a dream. She’s 97 and originally from New Zealand. When I was a kid, she’d make me a proper cup of tea—she would never use a tea bag!—with lots of milk and sugar, then read my tea leaves, like a fortune teller. She always saw all these wonderful things happening in my future. . . . And this is why I didn’t include any stories of ours. I’m totally crying. Thanks a lot, Amy!

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our review of I Hate Everyone, Except You.

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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