Pepa Takes Her Shot at Reality Match Game
As the tectonic shifts in all things media continue, the fact that we're soon to be treated (?) to a reality show about a publicist may not seem like much of a tremor to most people — but it is definitely a dividing line between the traditional ways of the PR business and the new.
Kelly Cutrone, already well known as the she-devil boss of fashion wannabes Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port on hit shows "The Hills" and "The City," is about to debut her "Kell on Earth" on Bravo, Feb. 2. It will take us into the life of the scary Cutrone, who sports jet black hair and no makeup and not only suffers no fools, but grinds them up smartly if they get in her way. We'll see — in a reality TV way — how she finds time to mother her 7-year-old daughter as a single parent and author a book ("If You Have to Cry, Go Outside") while handling the day-to-day blitzkrieg that is the behind-the-scenes world of New York fashion.
"I didn't set out to become a television personality," declares Cutrone, whose People's Revolution fashion PR firm has offices in New York, L.A. and Paris. However, she quickly learned how much she loves the medium, and "being messaged right into people's homes — an amazing method of showcasing our agency and our lives."
So there you have it: The old school rule about clients being the stars and publicists working anonymously in the background is being obliterated. It's been eroding for years anyway.
Cutrone maintains that her clients are glad to see her shine — and stresses that if they have troubles, well, those don't make it onto the show. "I know I'm taking a risk, but I did not go into this blindly. The truth of the matter is, it's an incredible platform to advertise our clients — they can brand themselves further along with me," she tells us. "People outside the fashion arena are much quicker to get on the phone and that is a good thing for my clients ... And really, when the TV cameras are here, we're working harder. Why? Because we're being watched."
PEP GIRLS: Sandra Denton — aka "Pepa" from Salt-N-Pepa — is the newest celebrity looking for love on VH1 and she says regardless of being famous, finding love isn't easy. "I'll tell you one thing, when you raise your standards, I don't care if you're famous or not, that's when it's hard. When your standards are low, honey, you have a lot of dates," says Pepa with a laugh. "When you finally realize and know what you want and follow it through, it gets a little hard. You don't tolerate the B.S. anymore.'"
Now, after a long hiatus from dating, Pepa has joined three of her best friends as they look for Mr. Right on "Let's Talk About Pep." "I was off the dating scene for like four years. I wasn't dating and I was celibate so I was ready to try and find love again. I thought it would be great to do it with me and my girls," she says of starring alongside radio personality Kali Troy, journalist Jacque Reid and Joumana Kidd, who used to be married to basketball superstar Jason Kidd. "I went through some trauma and some bad relationships. I made up excuses for things that I allowed to happen to me. I just wasn't in a happy place and I was like, 'What is wrong?' I just had to stop, reflect and figure out what I want."
While Pepa's longtime collaborator, Cheryl "Salt" James, doesn't appear on the show, she did serve as an executive producer. "Cheryl was behind the scenes and she loves it, from what she's seen so far. She prays about me finding someone all the time. She's married and happy and here we've got four single women on the prowl. It certainly was fun to have all those men lined up!"
A HISTORICAL ENCOUNTER: "It was amazing — not an experience to take small in any way. It was like seeing my grandfather resurrected. It stirred up a lot of emotions. We were happy and sad at the same time. My dad and I both definitely teared up. I know I won't forget it." So says 17-year-old Hutch Dano, describing what it was like to have a private family viewing of Disneyland's newly refurbished and improved Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction. "Mr. Lincoln was modeled after my grandfather," he says.
The "Zeke and Luther" star's late grandpa, Royal Dano, also provided the voice of the 16th President — with Walt Disney himself directing — for the popular audio-animatronic presentation initially created for the 1964 New York World's Fair.
Hutch says, "I remember sitting on my grandfather's lap when I was like, 1 and a half. And when I was 6 or 7, I started watching all the Western TV shows he did and all that kind of stuff. But this was one of the things I didn't get to see or hear. I was sad that they'd closed it."
Not only is Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln back, but the team working on it was able to expand the use of the original recordings made by Hutch's grandfather. The audio was improved and "the new animatronic figure is much better," says Hutch. Returning to work on "Zeke and Luther" this week after their holiday break, he says he's going to get his cast mates to visit the attraction as soon as he can.
MORE REALITY: Casting is under way for a reality show pilot that deals with teens and parents who've had relationship troubles re-establishing their familial bonds — hence the title, "Family Bonding." They're planning the pilot around a nuclear family with a mom and dad and either a son or daughter age 14-16 — who must be great-looking and have winning personalities.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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