Monday, April 7, 2014

The reality of Carole Radziwill

There are a lot of closet "The Real Housewives of New York" fans out there. I learned that when I interviewed Carole Radziwill, a star of the Bravo TV reality show, before her book signing in Charlotte last week at Park Road Books.

So many people called me, emailed me or approached me in person wanting to know what I really thought about her. The Number One thing they wanted to know is if she looks too skinny in person. (The answer is no, she doesn't look too skinny. She looks trim and healthy).

Let me rewind back to my phone conversation with her.

Carole was in between business meetings in New York City, and I'm pretty sure at one point she was eating during our interview, but she's a busy lady so that didn't bother me. The only other person I've interviewed who did that was music/fashion mogul Russell Simmons, so she's in good company. I really appreciated that she let me run over my scheduled 30 minutes with her. Some celebrities won't so that was kind of her.

I did not have time to read her New York Times best-selling memoir "What Remains," and her new fun novel "The Widow's Guide to Sex & Dating" beforehand, but I bought them at her book signing and I look forward to reading them.

Here's the link to the interview:

Among the Bravo TV insider info she told me is that she was friends with Andy Cohen before she joined "The Real Housewives of New York" in season five. Her favorite fellow "Bravolebrity" is Jenni Pulos of Bravo's "Flipping Out." "She's  a doll," Carole says. "I've met her at a few parties and she's so much fun. Such a sweetheart. She just came out with greatest book ("Grin and Bear It: How to Be Happy No Matter What Reality Throws Your Way.")

Carole also shared with me how she prefers to entertain.

“I like to have people over to my apartment,” she says. “I don’t like overly produced parties. I’m rebelling against the whole New York scene of parties that are branded and have sponsors and gift bags. I like to have a random mix of people over to my apartment. People like to hang out in the kitchen, so I set up the bar in there and let people serve themselves. If people spill drinks I don’t care. I like a very Holly Golightly apartment party that’s filled with fun music, talking and drinks.”

The night of her book signing I didn't get a chance to talk to her before she started the program and I had to leave early to pick my husband up at the airport, so I never did get to officially meet her in person. When she was introduced to the audience, I thought that she looked even more beautiful in person than she does on TV and that she's very witty, intelligent, polite and charming.

(The photos of her in this blog were taken by photographer Daniel Coston at the book signing).

Some of her fellow "RHONY" cast members accuse of her of not being a "girl's girl." I don't know about that, but my intuition was telling me she's a guy's girl. I have a feeling men love her. I bet she has beaux of all ages who have crushes on her. I don't imagine that she sits alone in her New York apartment very often unless it's by choice.

It's also clear she's a woman in love - with the character Claire she created who's the heroine of her novel. It was very interesting to watch how much she cares for Claire and it gave a peek into the life of a writer. She read two excerpts from the novel and it sounds like a hilarious and frothy read, but with more insight and intelligence than the average "chick lit" novel.

She thought Charlotte was beautiful and a weekend spent covering NASCAR for the luxury travel magazine Departures had turned her into a giddy NASCAR fan, which was fun to see. She had met Dale Jr. and sat in Jimmie Johnson's car. Now she has even more reasons for guys to love her.

Random observation on my part: She has elegant and truly lovely hands. I had never noticed that from watching her on TV. I think I'm always too busy looking at what she's wearing because she has an incredible sense of style.

After our phone interview, I went a little cray-cray as they like to say in reality TV and sent her a list of things I hoped she would do while she's here. One was visit the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art for its collection of Giacometti sculptures (in her novel, the main character's husband dies after being hit over the head with a Giacometti sculpture).

I also hoped she would drop by Capitol boutique. (When I asked Carole if she would have time to shop while she was here, she lowered her voice and in a very charming way said, "A girl always has time to shop.") Visiting I.C. London was also on my list for her because the store carries Carole's friend and fellow RHONY star Heather Thomson's Yummie Tummie shapewear line.

Carole already knew about my last suggestion, which was to visit Heather's sister-in-law, the highly respected Rabbi Judith Schindler. (Heather's husband is Jonathan Schindler, the brother of Rabbi Schindler.) "Heather told me I need to go see her," Carole said.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson


Unknown said...

Minor clarification - Heather Thomson's husband, Jonathan Schindler, is Rabbi Judy Schindler's twin brother.