Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Celebrity Book Club part 2



Love, Loss, and What we Ate by Padma Lakshmi; 336 pages, 2016
Padma has been the host of the show Top Chef for 10 years. While I have never watched the show I found her book very interesting.  She was born in India and moved to the NYC as a small child and raised by a single mother. She flew back and forth between countries and thus never felt like her childhood belonged to either culture. Her family were vegetarians but her mother wanted her to eat more mainstream to be American. Then she spent most of her twenties in Europe as a model. Did you know she was in Mariah Carey's Glitter movie? lol

She's written for magazines in their food and fashion sections. She has a keen interest in spices and wrote a book on that too. She's most famous for her role on Top Chef where she says she typically gains 17 lbs after each season. I learned that she can't sit between tapings because she might wrinkle her dress. She suffers from endometriosis, which result in painful bedridden periods. She is a co-founder of The Endometriosis Foundation of America, which is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing awareness, education, research, and legislative advocacy against the disease. 

She talks about how she disliked her dark skin color. She hated moving to LA for junior high because it meant she would have to repeat her name over and over again to new people. How when a teacher comes to her name on a sheet of paper there's a long pause, then stuttering and stumbling so she went by "Angie" for awhile. The difficulties of being an Indian model when "modeling seems to her to be the domain of white girls." She was in a horrible car accident as a child and ended up with a large keloid and scar on her arm. This scar kept her out of the running for many modeling gigs. Famed photographer Helmut Newtown saw something in her and "gave everyone in Milan and Paris the courage to use her without camouflaging her scar."  Today she says she loves her scar as it's a part of her. 

She says "my choice of men could have been pulled directly from the "She Has Daddy issues handbook" because she never knew her father and dated men twice (or more) her age.  Including her ex-husband famous author Salman Rushdie.  She's had her own jewelry business and a line of frozen foods at Costco. She talks about her love of cheese which started while living in Paris. When she was 40 years old she gave birth to her first daughter which came with a lot of tabloid publicity guessing who the father was.She explains how took her 13 months to take off her pregnancy weight, she went from a size 4 to a 14. "Simply being born female in our society is to grow up being told your worth as a person is tied to how slim and attractive you are."  The book is full of rich recipes, spices and how a meal in India is not a meal without rice. "And just as it's impossible to go back to cheap balsamic after tasting the good stuff, it's hard to slip on rayon once you've worn cashmere." 

Her book inspired me to brand out in my selection of cheese at the cheese counter at Whole Foods and buy good quality balsamic vinegar, not the general one I've always gotten at Trader Joes.




The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer; 336 pages, 2016

Amy got a $9 million advance for this book, while for Trainwreck she only paid $300K. Girlfriend is hustling! The book is a series of comedic essays. 

She jokes that she looks like Bruce Vilanch or Charlize Theron in Monster without make up on. lol She talks a lot about her lack of self-esteem and not thinking she was pretty or had a hot body.  She's surprised when men are interested in her, especially "men who have access to tiny models."  She considers herself to be an introvert, it doesn't mean she's shy, it just means she enjoys being alone. When people say " I don't usually like female comics" she gets really offended because It's not like anyone would so casually say, "I don't usually like black people." 

She's generous with her money by giving her sister and most of her amazing best friends six-figure checks to make their lives a little easier. She's donated the majority of her salary for the fourth season of her TV show to the crew. "I don't believe that money changes your level of happiness.But things do get easier. I still get drunk and binge-eat late at night. But now it's just on more expensive wine." Her favorite wine is Rombauer chardonnay which she said she wants served at her funeral. For $40 it was the most expensive bottle of wine I've ever bought. lol Although I don't like chardonnay, the Rombauer was really good and I could drink a whole bottle without any negative effects afterwards. lol

She talks about her dysfunctional mother, probably too honest. All of her many "justifiable" firings in life. She says that "Failing can only make you stronger. I think for anyone to become good at something, they have to fail a lot too." I could totally related to her on three things that make her insanely furious:
"Girls with their hair down at the gym. Unless you're covering horrible burn marks pull that shit up in a ponytail.People who stand too close to you while you're in line for something. Just give me six inches, but twelve would be great.Radio commercials, Every single one ever."

I remember when Amy spoke out about Glamour magazine calling her plus size, which she doesn't feel she is. Then plus size model Ashley Graham got offended and said to Amy, "You thrive on being a big girl, but when you're grouped in with us, you're not happy about it? That, to me, felt like a double standard." In the book Amy says she has never been less than 150 lbs. I think we are not used to seeing average sized women on TV.  She really comes off as a real woman in the book saying she is food-motivated and really loves to eat pasta and drink wine, in fact they are her favorite things. lol 

She notices how women in the audience at her shows always have their arms folded to cover their stomachs. 

Amy gets serious and talks about how she's prone to blackouts. 
 "Blacking out is when your mind goes to sleep but your body keep right on doing whatever your drunk-ass self thinks is a good idea. Blacking out is NOT passing out asleep in a drunken stupor. Quite the opposite. Your brain is sleeping like an innocent little baby, but your body is a rave and it keeps making decisions.it's dangerous because you might look like  a regular drunk girl, but you're actually a zombie who won't remember shit later. I want to encourage you to avoid drinking to the point where you're unsafe especially if you have this cool genetic quick and are prone to blacking out."

In conclusion she says even though she's strong and healthy, she still has to fight the urge to give up about twice a day.  Complete raw honesty.


20984861Derek Hough -  Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion; 256 pages, 2014

I'm a big Dancing with the Stars fan so naturally I had to read Derek's book, who by the way has won the Mirror Ball trophy six times! By age 31, he's already written the first chapter of his memoir with this book. Dancing was in his blood since his  grandparents were dance teachers. He was raised Mormon in Utah as the youngest of 5 children. He had an awkward childhood not fitting in at school and was picked on a lot. When his parents divorced at a young age Derek separated from his 4 sisters and moved into his father's apt. Then to get away from everything, 11 years old Derek was sent off to live with another family (strangers to his parents) in London to pursuing dancing.

 He spent his childhood years smoking and competing in many dance competitions. This resulted in bone spurs in his neck from years of whipping his head around. He said dancers all have injuries, but never talk about them, they just get on with it. "Pain happens, but suffering is a choice." Never throw a pity party for yourself. He gives lots of self improvement advice! 


When he's not on DWTS he choreographed a ballet for Misty Copeland. For the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics he choreographed a short dance program and Meryl and Charlie  ice-skating routine for which they won a gold medal! Derek has won 2 Emmys for Outstanding Choreography on DWTS. He's also had a re-occurring role on the TV show Nashville. You can see him on GMA often, hosting one-off shows on TV and doing dancing tours.


"No one can reject you. No one can dump you. It's just a decision. If you're feeling rejected, you're looking at things all wrong, just because someone chooses another person over you, doesn't mean you're not good enough." 


 
Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index; 256 pages, 2016

A-Z celebrity encounters, most about a page or two. The short chapters just don't go into dept into the stories. I loved her show  My Life on the D-List, I met her at the book signing for her last book, and have seen her comedic show live. Reading this book has changed my opinion of her.  I understand now why celebs hide from her, she can be a nightmare. Some of the things she says to the people in this book (that she just met) are on  rude side. Then she accuses people of being lame or whatever for not being able to take her shtick.  ome of the friendships she has surprises me like, for instance she's a regular at Cher's house to watch movies.  Cher told her "no matter how old you get, your boyfriends can never be older than 35."  Kathy says about Rosie O'Donnell that she " has a skill for joining people together who are likely to develop meaningful bonds". Rosie introduced her to Gloria Estefan, Cher and Rachael Ray - who gave her a key to her NYC apt to stay anytime. Suze Orman has helped her with her finances. Barbara Walters told her, " Female newscasters don't get older, they go blonder."  She ran into Billy Dee Williams once and said he walked by "like a wondrous vision of old-school dapper: perfectly coiffed, wavy hair, sporting a casual suit, and anchored by a full-on lame scarf, very sparkly and with fringe, wrapped around his neck." She claims Ellen kicked her out of a backstage dressing room at the Emmys and when Ellen read this book she called her up to chew her out! lol So Kathy said in an interview that she doesn't understand why Ellen isn't her friend, after all they are both female comedians in their 50s. 



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Kristin Cavallari - Balancing in Heels; 272 pages, 2016
I had no idea who Kristin was but she was promoting her book on the morning news show I watch so I thought I'd pick it up from the library. She's best known for being on a show called Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County but also her her own shoe line with Chinese Laundry. She wrote this book in her 20s about being a mom, eating healthy and fashion. She sweats by charcoal pills to reduce a hangover taken before you start drinking. She used magnesium to help her sleep at night. One piece of advice I really liked from her was this:

Always be on time, or even a few minutes early. People who are consistently late drive me crazy! Being late is disrespectful to the other person, implying their time ins't as valuable as yours. Stay true to your word. If you say you are going to do something, then do it. Otherwise, don't say it at all. Broken promises are another pet peeve of mine! 
Related Posts:
Celebrity Book Club
3 Must Read Memoirs
3 More Memoirs I Like
3 Fascinating Memoirs
Chelsea Handler - Uganda Be Kidding Me

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