In a world where reality TV “celebrities” constantly complain about how they’re edited, I had no idea what to expect when I went to see Kelly Cutrone speak and sign her best-selling book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, in Atlanta last Wednesday. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised: not only is Kelly Cutrone exactly the same in person as she is on TV, but she’s also generous with her cupcakes.

I’ve been to a lot of book-signings before, but never to one where the featured guest had anything before “writer” on his or her resumé, and they’re usually pretty boring affairs. Not this one – Kelly came in with one of her spiritual advisors and immediately started re-arranging the crowd of over 700 people so that everyone had a decent view, dismantling part of the set that Border’s had created in the process. It was more or less exactly like watching her re-arrange the crowd at a fashion show on Kell on Earth, except this time, she didn’t kick anyone out. She did send a store employee running for a latte, however, and that was almost as good.

After speaking for a few minutes (she didn’t want to, but the crowd demanded and she gamely appeased us), Kelly took questions for nearly an hour and a half, ranging from her thoughts on marriage (“I don’t want to make you a sandwich and hear about how your day was, I’m BUSY”) to what’s expected of young women (“It’s like a really nasty Stepford Wives version of Grand Theft Auto“), and then she did an impression of Ava’s dad and made fun of Audrina. The bigger-than-expected crowd erupted into cheers and applause several times – as book signings go, it was even more entertaining than her show indicated it would be.

The more she talked, the more I felt good about not only showing up to the signing and buying her book, but also about watching her show and writing about it every week. She admitted that she didn’t like her book cover and didn’t think that it represented her, and when asked if she saw her public persona as a sort of activism, she said that yes, she was dressing in all black and wearing no makeup on television on purpose, and that women need to be more aware of the negative body image that they display for their daughters. The idea that a woman on reality television might actually care about doing something that’s positive for women as a whole is kind of stupefyingly awesome, and also, sadly rare.

Things only got better when we Q&A ended and we lined up to have our books signed. I saw a friend from college, Valentina, and pulled her into line with me even though she didn’t have a wrist band (yes, you had to get a wrist band when you bought the book in order to line up to meet Kelly) or a copy of the book. When it was my turn, I got my book signed and got in a little PurseBlog plug (of course I did), and when I commented that the cupcake that she was eating looked fantastic, she told me to take one. Had Kelly Cutrone just given me a cupcake? I think she had.

And then it got better: Kelly noticed that my friend didn’t have a book or a wrist band and asked her why. After explaining that she had interned for Teen Vogue and The Colbert Report and STILL couldn’t find a media job in this market and therefore couldn’t afford to buy a book, Kelly not only gave her some career advice, but she whipped out a credit card and bought her a copy of her own book. And then signed it. And then she got a cupcake too.

Not only that, but Kelly let the girl in line before me user her Blackberry to make a call and more or less seemed as cool as you could expect anyone to be while hundreds of people lined up to get a little bit of face time. She didn’t mind holding up the line for a couple of minutes to talk business with me, and I totally got the Mother Hen vibe that she seems to project over her young employees on Kell on Earth. In the end, it was less like meeting a reality TV star and more like meeting a real person that has just so happened to have a fantastically interesting life, and it was totally worth the several hours that I spent in Border’s to meet her and get my book signed.

Plus, you know…free cupcake.

Oh, and she also gave as a juicy little piece of Kell on Earth gossip: remember the Irish intern? Tim, I think it was? They had to fire him because he was claiming to have slept with Kelly and Emily.

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Leah

    She’s amazing – she makes me proud to be a reality TV junkie.

  • Michelle

    WOW! And everyone says she’s a bitch? She’s just being real! I love it!

  • hfxshopgirl

    love her! can’t wait for more kell on earth

  • LuluMakeup25

    Amazing! I’ve just started reading her book, and it is awesome! :-)

  • Leticia

    We don’t get Kell on Earth here in Brazil but I’ve seen her on The Hills and she looks totally real. This is pretty awesome, to know that some people can still be this great, beyond fame or any kind of “power”.

  • cge

    I’m very surprised when she shows her softer side, like when she started to cry on the season 2 premiere of The City last week, after Whitney’s Fashion Week fashion show. I’m just not sure what to think of her. Hard to read. But this much I do know: if I had worked for her when I was young and starting out in the P.R. business, I would have died from the stress! She’s brutally tough on her staff. I know she wants to teach, and she wants everyone to work to her standards, but I just think her delivery could use a little work sometimes!

  • Relli

    that’s so awesome Amanda. Do you know what her book tour schedule is? I have been looking all over and I cannot find it, I would love to attend if she has not already come through my city.

    • I actually can’t find it either – a friend of mine that doesn’t even live in Atlanta told me about it about a week ahead of time and I saw several mentions of it online after that. If you fan Kelly on facebook or follower her on twitter (@peoplesrev), she usually mentions appearances ahead of time.

  • Sofia Nolan

    Brilliant woman!

  • Karen K.

    I LOVE this woman!!!! She’s a total woman’s woman and watching me makes me want to be friends with her so bad! She seems like an amazing person to know and to be able to call up and shoot the sh** with! (fb)

  • 19yearslater

    Sounds like a blast! I think that saying about never meeting your heros is totally untrue if you have good taste; and Kelly sounds awesome in person.

  • Maryann

    I hope she comes to San Francisco because I love her attitude and I would buy HER a cupcake in order to get a signed book! Congrats, Amanda – it sounds like you had a super fun day! (fb)

  • Brigette

    I attended the Atlanta Borders book signing too! Glad to hear you had such a fantastic time! The long wait was completely worth it…to be honest, I thought I’d be really nervous to meet her but you are so right in that it was nothing like meeting a reality star. She’s so down to earth and I thought it was so great that she took the time to talk to each person!

  • gacats

    Amanda- I am envying you right this minute.
    Here’s why I like Kelly Cutrone- she is a person, pure and simple. She just is….. no artifice.
    Thanks for this recap. (fb)

  • Stacy

    “Sounds” like it was a fantastic time and a great memory to look back on.

  • ingrid

    YEAH!! i hear kelly is amazing in person! my best friend waited for 4 hours at the Indigo at the Eaton Centre in Toronto to get me a signed copy for my birthday as a surprise. When she told her that it was for her best friend and she couldn’t afford a copy at the moment (struggling actress that she is), Kelly whipped out a copy for her and signed and gave it to her for free. that woman is awesome and her life has been nothing but crazy interesting.

  • PhotoGirl

    I’m impressed. And envious. Lucky Amanda!

  • Idealist

    Almost in tears that I missed the book signing right here in Atlanta where I could hav actually met Kelly & possibly ran in2 you! Does that sound nutty? lol I’m just huge supporters of the both of you. But after reading this post I feel like I was there a little bit. She is everything that I imagined her 2 b & she is a positive role model for women! Can’t stress that enuf!

  • BLynnT

    This was so great to read – 1) that someone is actually being portrayed accurately on reality TV and our impression is not simply a product of the editing and 2) that she really is as cool as she seems and cares as much about being a strong female (and helping others do the same) as we see on TV.

    Thanks for the recap, Amanda!

  • Jane

    I am so happy for you and completely envious. I love her show and I can’t wait to buy her new book. I love the fact that she is so cool I could never stay calm when 700 people are watching and waiting for me to sign their book. She sounds like the real deal, a wonderful person, mom, boss, and business woman. We need more strong female role models like her to be in the public eye. Congrats on a signed book and a cupcake! (fb)

  • Savannah

    I have the book and, its fantastic! I missed out on the book signing in Toronto unfortunately. (fb)

  • lolanyc

    I love Kelly. I didnt like her much on the City.. but once she got her own show and showed how she was with her daughter she seemed more real and nice. Love her show. Hope she comes back

  • Jocelyn

    I’ve never heard of her but she seems interesting. (fb)

  • PAPERFASHION

    this post made me so happy… i love her! let us know how the book is :)

  • erica

    She’s freakin awesome. I love a strong woman like that. I put her on my list along with Judge Judy and Tabitha Coffey

  • Lasata

    shes fantastic (ipad)

  • Ginger

    I read her book a few months ago then promptly gave copies to all of my female employees. Such great advice. As an entrepreneur, I can relate to so much of what she goes through with her team… not so much on the Studio 54 lifestyle beforehand. Now I want to give you a cupcake!

    (ipad)

  • Need Your Help

    Does anyone remember Kelly’s awesome advice for Lauren Conrad when Lauren was leaving People’s Rev? Know where I can find the quote? It was short and sweet. I need the exact wording.
    Thanks!!!!

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