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The "Punk Rock Dear Abby" is Back: New Wisdom from Kelly Cutrone

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Kelly Cutrone just published a new book, Normal Gets You Nowhere. You could call it a self-help book (which she would sort of hate, even though she does describe herself as the "punk rock Dear Abby"): it's a guide to upping your game both as a unique, self aware human being and as a good citizen of this planet. It's the same mix of "take no prisoners" tough love, awesome profanity, jaw-dropping anecdotes, and quirky vulnerability you know her and love her for. She's out touring behind the book, and we caught up with her for a few minutes at The Grove. In addition to straight talk on the book, she talked about hot air ballooning (which she'll never do again), multi-tasked like nobody's business, and almost got upstaged by Brady mom Florence Henderson.

Kelly's Rag & Bones are pretty amaze.

So what's the worst advice you've ever been given?
From my mother, constantly. "You need to find a good man to settle down with who'll take care of you, provide for you."
Even now, to this day. She's like, "But what if you have a stroke and can't take care of yourself anymore?" I think I'd have bigger things to worry about, Mom.

What's the best advice?
That's a tough one, since I've been fortunate enough to receive a lot of good advice from a lot of smart people in my life. Probably to never compare yourself to anyone else. It's the toughest thing you can do, but so worth it.

In the book, you talk about finding your own unique role models. In today's generation, who do you think is really leading by example; who are the young women you'd be proud for your daughter to look up to?
Right now, there are so many ways for people to be involved and committed to activism. Let's see, I think Drew Barrymore has had a very interesting trajectory: she's had some, shall we say, darkness in her halls and has come out the better for it. She's been vegetarian, outspoken on social issues, she's also been pretty upfront about having problems with men, which is refreshing?and she's got a successful production company and is a very talented actress. And she's done it on her own terms.

And Natalie Portman conducts herself with such beauty, grace and intelligence. Who else?so many strong, smart women out there, like Chelsea Handler, Tina Fey?you know what? I'm also going to say Katy Perry. She's a remarkably shrewd business woman?I'd rather have my daughter be into her than Demi Lovato.

What about you? Even though you are successful and a literal role model, who do you look up to, or look to when you need to be inspired?
I am incredibly lucky to have a group of good women in my life. They're all true, good hearts, many of them so much smarter than me. They're not my peers, exactly, but it's important to know all different kinds of people?

?just as one possible example, I would say Jane Fonda is one of those inspirations. Here's a woman that spoke her mind, and she was right, and she got treated like shit for it. And she didn't stop. But she's had, has, it all. What a career. And damn, we should all be so lucky as to have a body even half that good.

You've done a lot of press, for the show and for your books. What question are you sick of, or what can't you stand to hear anymore?
If I have to hear someone talk to me about their passion for fashion, using that phrase one more time, I'll scream.

And what's the weirdest question you've been asked?
Some 16-year-old girl asked me how to give a handjob.
(Ed. note: This was not, in fact, on the book tour. The anecdote is in the book, though)

What's the last thing you purchased, or what were you totally smitten with?
These Rag & Bone oxfords I'm wearing right now. Aren't they great?
· Normal Gets You Nowhere [Harper Collins]

189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA