"I personally don’t want to hear about anyone having a kale shake and egg whites"
Julie Klam is the beloved and best-selling author of memoirs about family (Please Excuse My Daughter), friendship (Friendkeeping), and woman’s-best-friend (You Had Me at Woof, Love at First Bark) and now celebrity. With The Stars in Our Eyes, Klam is in true form: as a veteran of Vh1’s Pop-Up Video and David Letterman’s Late Show, there are few people as fluent in celebrity as she.
Extra Crispy: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Julie Klam: Well, first I want to say that [when] I worked for David Letterman many years ago, I remember a big publicist called and was furious because her huge star client was on the show and Dave barely mentioned the project she was shilling, and Dave said, “I don’t care about the project, I want to hear what she had for breakfast.” So, I applaud your question and the answer is: coffee yogurt, banana bread, water, and coffee.
Is that a normal breakfast for you?
Yes, every weekend I make some loaves – pumpkin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread and I eat those with the same damn coffee yogurt 365 days a year, unless I’m travelling in which case I have a yogurt parfait and a muffin and coffee and water.
While reading The Stars in Our Eyes, I was reminded of the infamous celebrity profile trope of a beautiful celebrity (a woman, always) eats something fried in front of a reporter (a man, always). What is it about a skinny lady performatively eating a donut, a french fry, a slice of pizza, whatever? What interests us so much about it?
I don’t think people like seeing other people diet, it’s not fun, it’s sort of depressing and makes us feel like whatever we are doing, it’s not measuring up. And celebrities know we already see them up there on the screens looking impossibly perfect or walking the red carpet, they know we don’t relate to that and so they figure if they confess to eating “Just Like Us” we will like them better. I personally don’t want to hear about anyone having a kale shake and egg whites. Even though I myself fall into a coma if I have syrup in the morning, I want to hear that Gwyneth Paltrow is having chocolate chip waffles, which of course she isn’t.
What drew you to the subject of celebrity? Why now?
I’ve always liked celebrities, since I was old enough to be aware of them. My first doll was Julia, from the TV show with Diahann Carroll and even though on the show she was a single parent and a nurse, the doll wore a gold and silver lamé jumpsuit. That is the interpretation of life I prefer. Now I think there are two things operating, we have our first “celebrity” president and I think it’s important to find out why a certain segment of the population all the sudden thought it was a good idea for a reality show star to run the free world. Second, I think we use celebrities to escape from reality, and the reality right now is requiring a lot of escape. Maybe more than ever before.