Interview: Carson Kressley (MJCCA Book Festival November 15) wants everyone to look fabulous

ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: TV personality Carson Kressley at the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 5, 2016 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Breeders' Cup)

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: TV personality Carson Kressley at the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 5, 2016 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Breeders' Cup)

This was posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 by Rodney Ho on the AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Carson Kressley broke onto the pop culture world 13 years ago with a splash, dispensing saucy fashion advice to clueless heterosexual men on the ground-breaking mid-2000s Bravo reality series "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy."

Today, he is well established as the go-to person to help any fashion-challenged human being of any ilk and is now a judge on Logo's "RuPaul's Drag Race."

It's a bit surprising that he's only now releasing a book targeting women called "Does this Book Make My Butt Look Big? A Cheeky Guide to Feeling Sexier In Your Own Skin and Unleashing Your Personal Style." He will be appearing at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta Book Festival November 15. (Tickets here.)

"It just seemed like the right time," he said in a recent interview. "It was a long time coming. I had time in between shows. I knew I just needed to write this. I dusted off my laptop and came up with this book."

The book title, which reflects Kressley's sense of humor, was the first thing he came up with.

My interview with Kressley in early 2015 where he talks about Donald Trump's hair 

"I have had this habit of taking Instagram photos in front of the Pyramids or The White House. I'd just tag it with the caption: 'Does the White House make my butt look big?' Or the Pyramids," he said. "It's a phrase a lot of women use. I wanted to go with the funny. I feel so many people get stressed out when they dress in the morning. It should be celebratory or festive. This isn't rocket science. It doesn't have to be scary to discover your personal style."

His book covers a lot of ground, packed with lists ("The Ten-Step Closet Enema"), advice ("Being a Barganista") and more advice ("Packing tricks from a red-eye whiz"). He includes a calendar listing when stores have big sales. He describes apps that enable you to sell old clothes and make money.

"It's like a hundred magazine articles, the best ones," Kressley said. "All the basics you need to know to give yourself a five-minute makeover. How to improve body confidence. All the things I've gleaned along the way doing various television shows. It's truly a compilation of things I've had in my head."

Kressley said his book isn't trying to force a particular look or style on someone. Rather, he hopes to provide tips that enable women to figure that out themselves. "I want to help them find their style nirvana, their perfect look and clothes that makes them feel gorgeous," he said.

Part of that is navigating the complicated marketplace of fashion today, which is available on apps, in retail stores, on TV. "There is more fashion out there than ever," he said. He himself shops all over the place, from Marshall's and TJ Maxx to Neiman Marcus. "We all love the thrill of the hunt," he said.

And he interviewed some of his friends with good fashion sense, from Cher and Sharon Stone to Kathy Najimy and former Atlantan RuPaul. RuPaul, in facts, provided Kressley with some deep thoughts to end the book. "The truth of the matter is we are all just spiritual beings having a human experience," RuPaul told Kressley. "As Deepak Chopra said, we're all God in drag. It's important to not take our imagery or accoutrement too seriously."

Kressley loves RuPaul. "His wig still fits," he said. "He's always been amazing and enlightened. He's a great friend and inspiration to me." Winning an Emmy for his reality show "was a long time coming and very well deserved."

He is also part a new game show on Game Show Network that debuts the same night he is at the Marcus Jewish Community Center called "Window Warriors." Eight designers compete for $100,000 by creating windows, the types you see at Macy's in Manhattan that highlight clothing and furniture they are trying to sell.

"It has a lot of fashion elements like 'Project Runway,' with a little bit of DIY," Kressley said. "They have to create beautiful windows out of living plants or recycled materials or using live models." Shot in Los Angeles, the season finale will be at the venerable Macy's in Manhattan.

Kressley has also taped NBC's revamped "Celebrity Apprentice" under the new host Arnold Schwarzenegger set to debut January 2, 2017. (We know what the original host is going to be doing next year.) "We taped it last year. I forgot what happened," he joked.

The cast includes WNBA player Lisa Leslie, comic Jon Lovitz, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil and the man he was most excited to hang out with Boy George (real name: George O'Dowd.)

"It was such a weird experience because I grew up with him. He should be look a lot older than me! I remember roller skating to 'Karma Chameleon' in Allentown. Now working with him was so bizarre. I think the world of him."

Kressley was always amazed how put together Boy George looked, too.

"He had his eyeliner on perfectly at 7 a.m. when I barely had my pants on," he said.

As for Schwarzenegger, Kressley said he wasn't aware how much of an entrepreneur he was. "He was big in business before he even started appearing in movies," he said. "He's done well in real estate and construction. I really thought he was a fantastic host."


Carson Kressley

7:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 15

$18 for members, $24 for general public

Marcus Jewish Community Center

5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody

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