Part mentor, part mistress of mean and pure New York, fashion PR maven Kelly Cutrone cuts a new crop of employees and clients down to size on ‘Kell on Earth,’ her new Bravo show premiering tonight.
As Whitney Port’s brash boss on ‘The City,’ Cutrone, 44, took her bit part on the MTV series and chewed it up for all it was worth–landing her own show in the process. (Don’t expect to see the MTV girls anywhere on this ‘Earth,’ though Cutrone will still appear on ‘The City.’)
I had the chance to interview Cutrone, decked out in her usual MO–all black, no make-up, talking loud, fast, and occasionally filthy–at a party a few weeks ago, where the no-nonsense owner of fashion PR firm People’s Revolution threw me for a loop. As I tentatively approached my line of questioning, I didn’t even get my entire first sentence out before Cutrone cut me off. Damn, had I pissed her off already? Um, no. She was so intrigued by the cherry-red cocktail I was holding … she asked to have a sip. By the end of our conversation, she hugged me goodbye. So much for NYC’s wicked witch of the east.
Here’s the scoop on ‘Kell on Earth,’ served straight up and dirty, from reality TV’s latest break-out star.
Describe your new show in one sentence:
“It’s ‘Sex and the City’ on steroids with a dash of ‘Survivor’ and a bit of ‘Mama Knows Best.’”
On being the voice of reason and telling it like it is:
“Anytime I can be seen as the voice of reason, which is hilarious to think, I’m happy.”
How did a minor character from an MTV show land her own show on Bravo?
“I’m a kook, but I’m also a mom [Cutrone has a seven-year-old daughter named Ava], there are a lot of these touch points on the show that people can relate to.”
Looks like you’ll be opening up more of your personal life. What else will ‘Kell on Earth’ bring?:
“On one level, it’s a look behind the curtain of the fashion industry. It’s also about people pursuing their dreams. And on a third tier, it’s about the concept of powerful women, chicks who are really ruthless–are they witches, are they bitches? Then there’s the single-mother angle. Those are the arcs.”
It isn’t always pretty people and parties:
“The fashion industry is cruel. I actually get fired on the show…the half of America who sees me as the Cruella de Vil will go, ‘Yeah, she’s getting fired!” and the other half will go, “Oh no, that’s not supposed to happen!”
On making her own rules:
“We have a new human resources law in my office: you need to know what your name means. It started when I hired this Indian kid … he had a beautiful name, so I asked him what it meant and he didn’t know. I was like, how can you not know? This is ridiculous. Go downstairs and call your mother. So I told everyone after that, you better know what your name means or you can’t work here. Everyone should know what their name means.”
Appropriately, “Kelly” means “warrior.”
There’s one more crucial Cutrone code: “If you need to cry, go outside.” Which also happens to be the title of her new self-help book: “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” is out Tuesday.
‘Kell on Earth’ premieres Monday night at 10 p.m. on Bravo.