You may know Kelly Cutrone as the harsh (sometimes brutal), all-black-wearing, straight-talking boss lady from “The Hills” and “The City.” She's all those things.
She’s also the former wife of Andy Warhol protégé Ronnie Cutrone, the mother of a young girl named Ava, and she used to run with Anthony Haden-Guest, the writer who would later be immortalized in “The Bonfire of the Vanities.” With such a packed autobiography already, what could have convinced her to take part in a reality show?
“I really thought a lot about it,” remembers Kelly Cutrone, who heads the PR and branding company People’s Revolution. “Then, I decided it was an interesting way to talk about what I wanted to talk about. Also, I thought it would be an interesting way to brand and work with my clients. And I think I was right.”
Cutrone, 44, has built her success from a series of similarly correct hunches. At 21, she moved to New York City from suburban Syracuse with $2,000 from her father, who according to Cutrone, said: “This is the only money I’ll ever give you if you want to move to that hellhole. Call me anytime to pick you up and bring you back home. Otherwise, you’re on your own.”
Evicted from her apartment after six months, because she couldn’t pay the rent, it was Hayden-Guest who suggested that she should become a publicist. Cutrone says that when she asked him what a publicist did, he answered, “Oh, it’s nothing. It’s what you do anyway. You just talk all day and introduce people to eachother.” That’s when Cutrone decided to go into publicity – another decision that has paid off for her.
And when the publishing company, HarperOne, called to offer her a book deal, she jumped on it. “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” (co-written with Meredith Bryan) will be out next February. The book contains her trademark “Kelly-isms,” as she calls them, on life and gaining success.
Recently, I got to speak with Cutrone about life in “The City” and her thoughts on her infamous interns and assistants: Whitney Port, Roxy Olin and, of course, Lauren Conrad.
Are you comfortable with how you’ve been portrayed in "The Hills" and “The City”?
Yeah, I am. When I started, I already knew myself and I already liked myself and I already didn’t care what people thought of me. So I was pretty thick-skinned. I wasn’t a young woman who was in the middle of trying to figure out what I was about. I was aware of the negativity that is placed on women who are seen as powerful. That doesn’t seem to actually apply to men, as much, and certainly not Caucasian men. I wasn’t aware of it to the extent that I actually went through it, but I think I did a really good job of not running away and sticking to the fact that almost everything I said was coming from a place of truth.
Have you always seen something in Whitney?